05 May 2009

Saturday Morning Ride to IKEA on the Cargo Bike

Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen
One of life's necessary evils is a trip to Cheaptown - aka IKEA. Like everywhere else on the planet, IKEAs in Copenhagen are located in big box areas outside of the city. There are two within 10 km of our flat and I headed out to one of them to buy some boxes for my son's room. He has 15 kg of LEGO and when we redid his room we figured some stackable shoe boxes on the wall would be great for the LEGO.

If we need some bigger things from IKEA, we will usually grab a car from our car share programme. But on a Saturday morning I hopped on the Bullitt cargo bike and headed off to get the boy his boxes.

As you've probably gathered by now, there are separated bike lanes basically anywhere you want to go in Copenhagen. Even places you DON'T want to go, like IKEA. Here's a little photo series of my Tour de IKEA 2009.

In the above photo an onramp leads to one of the main motorways into/out of Copenhagen. The bike lane I'm on continues down under the ramp, while the cars go up.

Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen
Photo Left: These are signs for the regional bike route network, informing you that route 50 leads into Copenhagen. The bike lane on this stretch of motorway runs alongside the three lanes for cars. Separated, of course. It's a busy stretch for all traffic and in the morning rush hour bikes roll happily past the kilometres long traffic jam.

Photo Right: I turn left to get onto the northbound bike lane running parallel to the #19 Motorway. The classic Copenhagen Blue colour guides the way.

Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen
Photo Left: It's a bus stop. Many busstops in Copenhagen are designed like this. The bus passengers disembark onto a little 'island' where they must wait for a hole in the the bicycle traffic on the bike lanes before crossing to the sidewalk. Even out here in the suburbs. At busstops that don't feature an 'island', the bicycles are made to stop for the passengers.

Photo Right: I'm riding along the motorway now and another onramp for cars is coming up. I just keep riding straight.

Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen
Photo Left: Pity the motorists in a bicyle culture. All that bicycle infrastructure... it's hard to tell what's up and what's down. So it's nice that they get little car pictograms painted on the asphalt to help them identify parking.

Photo Right: I'm off the bike lane parallel to the motorway and here's a roundabout - traffic circle - near IKEA. The bicycle lane is clearly marked and hey, there's even a hobby cyclist in lycra out for a lovely Saturday morning ride! So THIS is where they are!

Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen
Photo Left: Here's the other side of the roundabout. The bike lane on the circle hooks up with the main bike lane on this stretch of street. The principle is the same for all traffic. Whoever is in the roundabout has the right of way.

Photo Right: Arrival. Needless to say, IKEA has a ramp up from the street for bikes and prams.

Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen
Photo Left: It's a tiny detail, but I like it. There's a sign on this emergency exit asking you to park your bicycle in the bike rack. But there's no red circle around the bike, with a red line through it. Just a nice pictogram of a bicycle and a polite text.

So here's me ready to go home. My Bullitt is loaded up and the boxes are tied firmly, but really badly, onto the cargo box. Typically for a visit to IKEA, I bought stuff I didn't plan on and probably don't need. A parasol for the kids in the front yard is sticking out.

In the background you can see fine Velorbis Churchills with trailers. IKEA loans out out these free bicycles and trailers to customers so they can transport their stuff home, just like the free car trailers they have. 20% of IKEAs customers in Denmark arrive by bicycle or public transport. Here's the full story about IKEA Denmark's bicycle loan programme.

Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen
Photo Left: The quickest way out of IKEA is down the ramp for cars. The bike lane parallel to the motorway is just at the end. Ready to transport me safely back to the city.

Photo Right: Heading home.

Cycling to IKEA in Copenhagen
Arrival. Now all I need to do is find Felix so he can help me carry the boxes up to the flat.

Photo: Jens Dresling/Politiken
Here's another motorway, the #16. I used to cycle each day along this motorway on my way to work out of town and it was always splendid passing the traffic jam heading towards the city centre. The entire traffic jam.


chdot said...

Hi I've mentioned your post on my site


Your last photo reminds me of the road to the Forth Bridge where, at one point, cyclists have to pass within feet of vehicles coming the other way at 70mph without any crash barrier at one point....


portlandize.com said...

This post reminded me of something I've been thinking about lately in regards to Portland and bicycling infrastructure. I think the bicycle sub-culture in Portland is a bit subversive to the incorporation of cycling for everyone, because most of them are hobby cyclists, racers, mountain bikers, etc - and I think many of them are against most forms of separated cycling infrastructure because it would require them to adjust how they ride... that is, they would have to deal with slower riders. We have some completely separated bike/ped paths that connect Portland with some of its suburbs, and people use this for recreation as well as commuting and such, and there are often complaints that such cyclists use these paths as their own personal race tracks.

Anyway, there are plenty of people who ride bikes in Portland who don't care about the local "bike scene", but those who are involved in the bike scene I think are often a bit adverse to getting more people cycling, as they would have to give up having the run of the city to an extent.

To me, having infrastructure like this would be a dream come true. We have it good in Portland, but not like many places in Europe, yet.

We do have a decent (not great) route to our IKEA, which also happens to be near the airport, including a separated path that runs along a freeway, and last time I was at IKEA, I actually saw two bikes parked :D They must have been there for the meatballs though, as they had no way of carrying much of anything :)

Adrienne Johnson said...

Whatta ya mean? Not want to go to IKEA!!! You really are a pinko, aren't you?

There used to be a push sweeper you could get from Lego that swept up all those damn parts easily (we have about 20 kilos of those damn tripping hazards, as well. Also in Ikea containers : )

Maybe I will attempt to bike there next time (it involves a train and some interesting navigation to get to ours. Can't spend as much when you can't transport as much! ; )

anna said...

This sounds like poetry - a poem about bicycle infrastructure. Very elegant and smooth ;-).

jasmin lauwaert said...

Nice! In Ghent, Belgium, it's impossible to go by bike to IKEA, to access you have to go by tram or take the highway. No possibility to take a legal road for cyclists!

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I like the sequential approach.

One thing worth highlighting about roundabouts (gyratories) in Denmark is that not only does 'Whoever is in the roundabout [have] the right of way', but vehicles leaving the roundabout must yield to cyclists who are on the roundabout, i.e. turning off a roundabout is the same as making a turn into a side road- turning traffic yields to traffic going 'straight ahead'.

I tested this theory on a roundabout on the east side of Amager Faelled- I gave up after a dozen perfectly safe circuits!

RP, Dublin.

spiderleggreen said...

Heaven! I'm glad to see dreams are a reality, somewhere. That means it possible to create cities that are bike-centric.

You are right about the sub-culture that likes things unregulated and exclusive. I'm willing to let go of that for more bikers.

Kiwehtin said...

When I can't rely on getting furniture very cheap at IseeA (discarded piece of perfectly good furniture on the sidewalk), I go to IKEA for budget furnishings. Unfortunately, I can only do this by bus in Montreal since IKEA here provides no trailers and I have none, and the road network provides few usable connections for going there by bike from the inner more populated areas of Montreal. Unfortunately, our politicians in general still have not twigged on to better ways of doing things.

Unity Finesmith said...

I drooled when I read this and couldn't resist writing about your post (http://aucklandcyclechic.blogspot.com/2009/05/read-this-and-drool.html).

The facilities in New Zealand are nothing like this. And your comment about 'Hobby cyclists' made me laugh out loud. In New Zealand Cycling is considered by most to be a sport and Lycra, shaved legs and florescent clothing is the norm. Those of us that cycle in our clothes are considered either too poor to own a car and/or crazy to risk our lives on a bicycle.


BG said...

You know, I hate to be the killjoy, but I think somebody has to say it:

If you support bikes because they're good for the environment, then you should probably avoid IKEA. All that cheap wooden stuff is brought to you at the expense of uncontrolled logging all over Asia. And then it has to get shipped to you from there.

In most rich Western cities, it's easy to find old furniture and housewares that're perfectly good, inexpensive, and usually more durable than the IKEA stuff. Whatever you're after, I'm pretty sure you could get it on your cargo bike.

Still, it's probably better to start by encouraging people to do their normal shopping by bike, and then work on changing their ideas of normal shopping.

Anonymous said...

Is that a helmet that I see in the last picture?

portlandize.com said...

One thing IKEA is very good for, in this part of the world, is that it's one of the only places you can actually find real Salmiak Licorice. One of my favorite reasons to go there :)