It's Tour de France time, and this year's edition is kicking off from the stunning Danish capital of Copenhagen. It's also become one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world over the past 50 years, with cycling infrastructure which makes other countries crack with envy.
All this meant that when we were looking for a new place to feature in our epic series with komoot, of course we had to feature Copenhagen in the month that it hosts the world's biggest bike race! We've been very lucky to bring Ulrich Scheibelein of Copenhagen Cycling Club on board to be our expert guide, telling us all about the wonderful city he calls home and also sharing two fantastic routes, that take in some of Copenhagen and also take you out of the city with plenty of picturesque scenery.
Whether you're currently in Copenhagen, either a local looking for new route inspiration or a visitor for the Tour de France, or you're visiting at a later date then we're sure you'll find plenty of inspiration to get out on your bike after reading. Over to Ulrich...
"There is only a few things a small country as Denmark is well known for globally, and it’s easy to remember and can be counted on one hand: the poet Hans Christian Andersen, 60s Danish furniture designs, The Little Mermaid and Carlsberg... who still claim they “probably” make the best beer in the world!
But our capital Copenhagen has become one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with some amazing cycling infrastructure. If you pass through Copenhagen on a busy morning during the week, you’ll see exactly what I mean. Commuters on all sorts of bikes cruise on close-to-perfect bicycle paths in a striding stream through the streets of Copenhagen, to get to work in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way. Yep, Copenhagen is probably one the most bike-friendly cities in the world. At least we like to think so.
The cycling culture in Denmark has flourished over the past 10 years and grown from being a working-class sport to being a universal sport cultivated by a wide crowd from all sorts of social groups.
People in Denmark loves to ride bikes, and with gravel entering the scene five years ago, cycling has become a diverse hobby which now many can participate in with confidence due to the less restrictive rules which often comply to the good ol’ discipline of road cycling in general. Of course we love road cycling in Denmark too, but there’s just so much more to it nowadays which for many is a relief.
If you go back 10 years there were no lifestyle cycling cafes in Denmark to be found, where you could sit down with likeminded people to have a coffee after your ride and look cool in your newest kit. Today we have a bunch, and there’s plenty of opportunities to get inspired by the cool cycling scene that surrounds Copenhagen, which are represented at all age groups wherever you chose to ride you bike.
Cycling is a lifestyle and a way of showing you have time to hang out with friends and socialise. It’s not all about work after all!
The first new-era cycling cafe which opened around six years ago was the Rapha Club House, but shortly after a couple of young guys named Emil and Joakim opened up Cranks and Coffee in Klampenborg, which today is the main location for a terrific cafe, mechanic workshop and a newly established cycling club powered by the local brand Pas Normal (their market share is on another level here on their home turf Copenhagen, you’ll notice). At Cranks and Coffee you’ll find the stylish cyclist combined with some serious group rides on all sorts of level.
Not far from Cranks we have Copenhagen Cycling Club, which is a destination for all-road cycling gear and plenty more. At CCC you’ll find a broad selection of premium brands from Open, Mosaic, Enve, MAAP, Silca, René Hersé, UltraDynamico, POC, Kask... the list goes on.
CCC make their own espresso blend with local roastery Nordic Roasting Co, but even though it’s not an actual café, it’s important for CCC to serve great coffee to their loyal visitors and new customers.
CCC works together with national CX team mechanic Jacob Lindsel, who is running the workshop Rule No 4 just 2km away from CCC. In Farum you’ll find the established Velo Pavé with a great loyal community and a workshop. It's well worth a visit if you ride up north during your stay in Copenhagen.
At Nordhavn (North Habor) you’ll find Palmaras - Cycling Cafe and Bikefit where a very dedicated team offers bike fits, apparel from Black Sheep, training programs and great coffee amongst other services. Overall we are quite spoilt when it comes to cycling cafes within a relative short distance, so go visit them and enjoy!
As you'll already know, Copenhagen is hosting the Grand Depart of the world’s biggest cycling event the Tour de France this year, and recently it has been difficult not to notice the preparations which started already a year ago. As the owner of a small specialty store, we have been super excited about what this means to our cycling industry in Denmark.
One thing we quickly noticed was the countless calls which started to come in at the beginning of 2022, with all sorts of questions like “do you guys do guided tours” or “does your shop do bike rentals?”... even a globally respected media outlet named road.cc asked us to write an article about cycling in and around Copenhagen! As local bike geeks, we were therefore honoured to shine a light on some of our favorite rides which we hope you’ll give a go, if you happen to be in Copenhagen during Le Tour or anytime soon.
Bring your own bike if you travel to Copenhagen and want to ride outside the city, because there aren’t really any fair quality bike rental opportunities if you’re not a member of Rapha's RCC in Copenhagen. Yes it's strange, but that’s just a fact and something which is well worth considering if you're planning a visit that involves a lot of bike riding.
Cafe Parforce in Klampenborg 10km from the centre does offer bike rentals, but mostly mountain bikes and gravel bikes. It is located right in the backyard of the public park Dyrehaven, and Birger the owner is a great guy through and through, so if you really can't bring your own and need a two -wheeler during your stay, that would be my recommendation.
We have chosen two of our favorite classic road rides for you, as it's the year of the Tour de France in Copenhagen after all; but if you are into gravel, Copenhagen Cycling Club offer dirt rides every week, and everyone is welcome to join. Just check the events on our Facebook page for rides coming up!
43km, 50m of elevation
Starting from the main square just outside the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, this route takes you on a seaside loop around the island of Amager (pronounced Ama’r), also home to one of the oldest cycling clubs in Denmark called ACR (Amager Cycling Ring). The ride is a common training route for cyclists of all sorts of levels, from the beginner to the more experienced rider, and it’s for a reason.
Only 2km into the ride you hit the coast side of the western part of Amager, and from here you’re riding along the seaside overlooking Køge Bay and then Øresund, which on a day with clear skies gives you a climpse of Sweden and the Øresund Bridge connecting Amar with our brother land.
The great thing about this ride is that it's the perfect terrain to just cruise on perfect tarmac; either just meditate in a solitude mode, or have a good chat with your ride buddy, because the parkour is not very challenging and it's a straight line continuing for 30km or so.
If you decide to stop for a coffee and a Danish pastry, check out the fishing village of Dragør. Dragør is a protected village which goes back to the 17-18th century, with old houses and a beautiful little harbor which is well worth stopping at if you don't need to get back in a hurry.
Ama’r is a pearl of nature with the seaside on your right and the protected Nature Park Amager/Amager Fælled on your left side, which used to be a military training ground but protected around 1992 by the Danish Nature Agency, to become an attraction for locals and visitors over the next 30 years.
5km after you pass Dragør you start to see planes flying in over Øresund to find their position to land in Kastrup Airport, and from here the ride takes you right about on a 5km cruise alongside Amager Beach. On a sunny day it's a great place to take a dip before you arrive back in Copenhagen.
Bring sunscreen, your camera and a little cash on your ride, if you plan to do a bakery stop halfway. Enjoy!
60km, 250m of elevation
Each Saturday or Sunday when the locals have a weekend off, we go for a ride of course. If you live around Copenhagen or are visiting our capital on a business trip or during a vacation, you should definitely go for a ride up along the Northern part of Sealand, which takes you through everything from forest areas, small idyllic villages to windy bays on a ride which is a true classic for locals.
We have done this ride thousands of times, but you never get tired of this often challenging route. It can be tough mostly due to the wind, which can get pretty strong and has a tendency to suddenly show up, giving you an even bigger bang for the buck, or that extra TSS on your training ride. It’s a must, and there’s plenty of bakery stops along the way which are just as legendary as the ride itself.
Starting from Copenhagen Cycling Club in Charlottenlund, where we offer you a great pre-ride espresso or cortado, the ride takes you through Klampenborg, home of nature park “Dyrehaven”, and already after 2km you hit the 400m legendary climb The Klampenborg Hill. The KOM for this nowadays is ridiculous hard to get, as you need to climb with an average speed of 55 Kph. Perhaps there was a little bit of motor car pacing involved here!
This is a nice leg opener for what's to come on this ride, and for the next 5km you ride through the small suburbs before hitting the long stretch up north in Kongevejen. From here you have rolling hills all the way up to Kettinge, where you’ll turn right to make your way through a beautiful landscape of forests, country roads and country fields as long as the eye can see.
After approximately 15km you’ll hit the main coastal road Strandvejen on your way back to Copenhagen. Make sure to visit Humlebæk Bakery just 2km from the Nivå Bay, which is well known for their pastries. Many cyclists pass through before they start their well known interval from Nivå Bay to the Klampenborg city sign. It’s a great ride, and you can do it casually or join one of the many cycling cafe social rides.
A special thanks to Ulrich and everyone at Copenhagen Cycling Club for putting this great guide together. Check 'em out here