I recently read an article about Silla Kongstad, a visionary Funeral Director, at Bededamerne in Copenhagen, that has taken an innovative approach to personalizing burials and cremations, the bicycle hearse. Silla has obviously touched onto something, because she has already taken the final ride for a dozen or so souls on the bike lanes of central Copenhagen. I was also intrigued to learn that Silla´s initiative has been well received by other cyclists, which is a relief, as the local bike behavior at times can be a little raucous to say the least. This latest addition to Copenhagen´s urban landscape is again affirmation of the integral part of the bicycle in most of Copenhagen´s residents psyche.
Copenhagen is a well documented role model for other cities coping with the challenges of urban living and transportation. However, with over 50% of locals commuting everyday, urban planners are having to look elsewhere for inspiration in solve an ever-increasing problem, bicycle parking. Holland, another bike nation in the Super League, is currently working on ambitious projects concerning multi storey bike parking and storage in Utrecht and Groningen. Hopefully, local planners and the Danish Cyclist Federation can reap some valuable inspiration and information from our Dutch pedal buddies.
If Silla Kongstad´s initiative captured recent headlines and rightly so, then a final mention for GoBike. Copenhagen has been providing public sponsored bikes for tourists and local commuters for years. However, the latest model, developed by Gobike should be warmly embraced by all. The bike has features such as, GPS and in-built tablet, so theoretically you can never get lost, an electric motor for those in-your-face windy days and puncture free bicycle tyres. The project, Bycyklen.dk is proving an immense success not only for tourists wanting to experience Copenhagen on two wheels, but also local residents who have taken warmly to this latest generation. GoBike have been successful in not only designing a durable bike, but a flexible and intelligent digital system making it easy to locate and pay for the two-wheeled darlings all on your smart phone. This summer the project was tested by the BBC and impressed. The team behind GoBike deserve great credit for this intelligent solution that is so central to urban living and transport in Copenhagen.