29 July 2007

Danish Bike History A rough start, a glowing future

Our bike culture has come a long way over the past century and a bit. Back in the day, in the late 1800's, riding bikes was not considered cool. Cyclists were spit on and heckled [kind of like riding in American cities in 2007...] because cycling was viewed as a disturbance.

Indeed, cycling in some Danish cities was illegal. The town of Slagelse, for example, first legalised cycling in 1885.

Since then, however, we've gone from strength to strength, creating one of the world's leading bike nations and the world's foremost bike city - Copenhagen.


Above: The train station in Odense, Denmark in the 1940's.
Note the bike racks on the right.
The same as these ones in a Copenhagen backyard.

Above: Manned bike parking in Odense, Denmark during WW2.
An association that battled unemployment set up safe bike parking facilities so you could leave you bike behind for a cheap price - 25 øre - and not worry about your tyres getting stolen. Rubber was rationed.

Another manned bike parking area in Odense, Denmark in September 1952.
You paid the man in the little wooden shed.


[Archive photos from the newspaper 'Fyens Stiftstidende' and the city archives]

1 comment:

Niklaus Strobel said...

I've just read in a german book (Illustrierte Fahrrad-Geschichte by Jutta Frank) that the first bike parkings appeared in Copenhagen, prior to 1926. It doesn't specify if the parkings were manned or unmanned. Do you know anything about this? I'm looking for information concerning the worlds first bike rack. Copenhagen is likely to be the mother of such bicycle-related inventions.