Biking’s coming dwelling? Copenhagen gears up for Tour de France Grand Départ

Bike-friendly Copenhagen is gearing as much as host the beginning of the world’s most well-known biking race.

The Tour de France will start within the Danish capital on Friday, a spectacle scheduled right here in 2021 however postponed because of the COVID pandemic. 

“It’s actually superb to be welcoming the world’s biggest biking race!” Copenhagen’s Lord Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen informed Euronews.

“To us, the Tour de France is an excellent event to advertise the well-known Danish biking tradition even additional and encourage everybody to go biking as a substitute of driving. 

“As a result of to Danes and Copenhageners, biking isn’t just a sport. It’s a lifestyle, and we’re proud to be referred to as the world’s greatest biking metropolis.”

A complete of 176 athletes can be hitting the roads in and round Copenhagen for a straightforward 13 kilometres crisscrossing metropolis streets and waterways, previous royal palaces and parks in entrance of 1000’s of cheering spectators. 

The gruelling work begins on the second day with a 199-km experience from Roskilde to Nyborg; adopted by day three which sees racers set off from the city of Vejle on a 182km path to Sønderborg. 

“I’m actually trying ahead to the entire metropolis coming collectively across the Tour. I’ve been counting the times, and now we’re so shut! I can’t wait to see the riders on the town. Ever since I used to be younger, I’ve watched the Tour de France on TV, and at any time when I’ve the prospect, I’m going biking myself,” stated Hæstorp Andersen.

Copenhagen particularly is benefiting from this second within the highlight of the biking world. Native residents have watched as some common landmarks have been swathed in yellow, a nod to the yellow jersey given to race leaders. 

A fan park will present the progress of the Tour racers on large screens, and newbie cyclists will get to attempt the Copenhagen route for themselves the day after the official race, because the Danish capital extends the celebrations into the weekend with a “competition of biking” that is anticipated to draw 20,000 individuals. 

“Copenhagen is so prepared and the entire metropolis is already buzzing with enthusiasm. Biking lanes have been painted within the iconic yellow color, flags have been put up alongside the route and our shops have adorned their home windows with Tour de France merch,” stated the Mayor.

Biking’s coming dwelling

Should you assume there is a sure feeling that “biking’s coming dwelling” — to borrow a phrase — in Copenhagen you then’d be proper. 

The Danes have lengthy championed biking, and Copenhagen alone has greater than 400km miles of motorbike lanes; a “inexperienced wave” mild system that permits cyclists to experience at a continuing velocity and by no means be stopped by site visitors lights in the event that they time their journeys excellent on common routes; and trash cans together with bike lanes angled in direction of the oncoming cyclists.

The town even has its personal time period in city planning: to “Copenhagenise” means to prioritise pedestrian and bike customers as a substitute of autos. 

“The Danish mentality: we prefer to be impartial, however we nonetheless prefer to be social collectively. It is a small nation, small distances; you do not have mountains. So I assume that is why lots of people might see that the bicycle is a very nice technique to transport your self,” stated Jens Peter Hansen, president of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation

Authorities in Copenhagen are placing their cash the place their mouth is, spending greater than €100 million within the final 15 years to facilitate two-wheel journey: with 12 “motorways” completely dedicated to cyclists and 5 devoted bridges – and round 15% of all journeys within the Nordic nation are made by bike.

“Lots of people in Denmark take duty for themselves and for his or her well being, but in addition for the local weather. That is why we experience bicycles,” Hansen stated. 

Cheaper than public transport

Friday’s Grand Départ marks essentially the most northerly stage of the Tour de France ever, a reward partly for the fervour Danes present yearly of their enthusiasm for the competitors. 

Within the capital, they estimate pedal-power saves a million days of labor stoppage and makes greater than €130 million in financial savings yearly.

“It is manner cheaper than public transport, than renting automobiles or proudly owning a automobile, and on prime of that, you get round manner faster as properly. So, throughout, it is good for you, it is low cost, it is quick,” says Mads, an area resident who makes use of his bike to get round. 

In keeping with figures from the promotional organisation Biking Embassy, the morbidity of adults who use their bicycles each day is 30% decrease than that of non-cyclists.

But Danes are biking lower than 20 years in the past, a pattern authorities hope to reverse with the Tour.

“I believe it is so inspiring to have the world’s biggest biking race right here… once we see the skilled cyclists the younger children additionally wish to stand up on their bikes,” says Copenhagen Mayor Hæstorp Andersen.

“Copenhagen is so prepared and the entire metropolis is already buzzing with enthusiasm.”

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