We finally got our shipment of Cecilia Vanman’s book Copenhagen – City of Bicycles. You can order your copy here. City of Bicycles is a full-color, hardcover, 196-page book that provides an in-depth look at what makes Copenhagen the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. Vanman explains how Copenhagen was on track to becoming yet another car-centric city during the 1950s and 1960s, but then turned toward bicycles instead. City of Bicycles vividly illustrates how much cycling has become a part of everyday life in Copenhagen.
To me, the main appeal of the book were the portraits of dozens of cyclists, from all walks of life: Students, retired people, middle-aged professionals, young fashion models, recent immigrants, etc. It becomes apparent that nearly everybody in Copenhagen cycles. Eight out of ten Copenhageners cycle regularly, and more commute to work by bike than by car.
The bikes are as varied as their riders: classic city bikes, tandems, mountain bikes, recumbents, fully-faired velomobiles, two- and three-wheeled cargo bikes… a kaleidoscope of human-powered machines.
City of Bicycles goes on to explore Copenhagen’s bike builders, from the famous hippie commune of Kristiana that resurrected the Dursley Pedersen to modern design studios. Vanman examines messenger culture, bike polo and “bike wars,” where bike-mounted riders clash like medieval knights. She also reports on Copenhagen’s urban planners and their models for recreating Copenhagen’s success in other parts of the world. It is to Vanman’s credit that the book not only is comprehensive and well-researched, but also enjoyable to read.