26 July 2012

Small Town Sweden - Big Bicycle Culture

Bromölla Cycle Track
Here's a brief reportage from a short R&R trip I made to Sweden earlier this week. The details of which you can read over at Cycle Chic - great getaway hotel if you're in Copenhagen or Sweden or are cycling touring in the Skåne area.

I took the Øresunds train from Copenhagen Central to Bromölla and from there it was a 7 km ride to the design hotel on the coast.

I've written previously about even small towns in Sweden have excellent cycle tracks and even keep them cleared of snow in the winter. I've also briefly covered infrastructure between small towns in Denmark as well as the infrastructure connecting cities all over the land.

While Denmark features over 10,000 km of national bicycle infrastructure connecting much of the nation, it is worth highlighting that Southern Sweden does just fine as well.

Bromölla Train Station Seatbelt on Train Bodelssons By The Sea_16
The trains all have roomy bicycle compartments and I always get a kick out of the seatbelts for bicycles that are provided. My Crescent bicycle from 1955 has a sturdy double kickstand but with my bags on it, I secured it with the seatbelt just in case.

From Bromölla to the hotel I was led through the woods on a country lane by directions offered by the hotel. Lovely. On the way back to Bromölla, I used the roadside cycle tracks.

Bromölla has a population of only 7400. And yet the town features cycle tracks on all the main streets. Including, if you look at the photo at the top, fully separated cycle track under the railway bridge.

Bromölla Nymölla Cycle Track_1
Between Bromölla and Nymölla (the latter with a population of 272), there are cycle tracks alongside the road the whole way. I passed several Citizen Cyclists along the way, even at midday on a Tuesday. In the town many elderly citizens were running their daily errands. The infrastructure makes them safe and makes them feel safe. Duh.

Bromölla Nymölla Cycle Track_2 Bromölla Nymölla Cycle Track_3
Signage along the cycle track specifically for the bicycle users and, at right, even a small town like Bromölla has bicycle traffic signals for crossing the regional highway. I'm not a big fan of crossing buttons for pedestrians or cyclists, but when I hit the button the lights changed instantly so bicycle users are prioritised even here.

Bromölla Train Station Bicycle Parking_2

Bromölla Train Station Bicycle Parking_1 Bromölla Train Station Bicycle Parking
The bicycle parking at Bromölla Station was adequate. There were three bike racks on three sides of the station with room for roughly 250 bikes - and they were well-used but not over-filled.

Bromölla - Swedens Smallest Library
As an added bonus, I got to see Sweden's smallest library outside the station. With books free to take home and bring back - if you remember to. All very casual and cool.

It was a warm and fuzzy feeling seeing this small town providing safe infrastructure for it's cycling citizens. Although it must be rather embarassing to see, for people in other regions and countries, that small Swedish towns in the boondocks are light years ahead or even large urban centres.

4 comments:

Edward said...

Great post. That little town puts my city of 1 million to shame.

I love that Øresunds train. Here's a silly question. Is a model of it available in n-gauge?

Mikael Colville-Andersen said...

Hey Edward. It's not a silly question... it's just quite unaswerable for me. :-)

Frits B said...

Looks like home, but then I live in the Netherlands :-)..

IbisTouche said...

Sweden is OK to go with bicycles, but only the parts where it is possible to go by Bike: we had our last half part of the vacation on the eastcoast and so high that the Øresundstog was not awailable - so high there is no possible way to go than to go by your bike! Some places it was impossible to bike away from E22 which is to dangerous to bike on.