Semester abroad: blog post #4

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As part of our study abroad blog series,  Juliette Vuillaume describes her on-going learning experiences while studying abroad in Copenhagen. In this post she describes her positive outlook on the biking culture in Copenhagen, and her future environmentally-conscious ambitions to keep up the biking once she leaves!  If you are interested to find out more about opportunities to study abroad please email: studyabroad@paris.edu

The story of my bike…

One of my friends from California is actually here in Copenhagen on exchange this semester, completely by coincidence. She is actually the person that I was staying with in Copenhagen until I got my apartment. She was so kind, and very generous to allow me to stay with her.  She showed me a bit of Copenhagen from her life, her friends, the bike rules, trivia night, as well as exploring the thrift stores with me!

I will refer to my California friend as my sunshine, because to me she brings such light and happiness into my life, and she understands my love and how much I miss California, and to keep her anonymous. So my sunshine has her own story of the bikes that she has had here in Copenhagen, and I won’t let myself tell her wild story about the bikes, but to get to the point, she has three bikes. The first two didn’t work out, but she is using Swap Fiets now, which is like renting a bike, many people here use it.  I would say if you are staying in Copenhagen for a short time (month to a few months), this is the way to go! She allowed me to use one of her bikes, the one with the brakes that didn’t really work.  Luckily the back pedal brakes were ok. This was my temporary bike, until I bought my bike.

Cut to maybe a few days / a week later, I got my bike. The reason why I wanted to get a good bike is because I read a book gifted to me on Christmas by someone in my family, she is a true beauty. The book inspired me to rethink a bit about traveling, it is called “How to Travel the World on $10 a Day”. So I am planning on biking from Copenhagen back to Paris this summer once I finish school. I also want to help the environment by biking, and it is much easier to get around by bike. So I needed to be a bit picky on my bike, I wanted something with three gears in the front and 7 gears in the back, and a baggage carrier on the back of my bike. So my friends and I found a place where we all got our bikes. I found my beast of a mountain bike, which I ended up calling Thor. I got my bike for 100 euros, which I think is a good deal. I have suspension on my bike and everything on my wish list! I just have to make sure that my lock will stand with time.

The bike culture here is insane! I have seen a few things here – cargo bikes, people bring their kids, wife, husband, friends in the space in front of their bike.  People sit there while they pedal. Something that really shocked me is that they are even used to transport blood: they use cargo bikes to get the blood from one place to another!  Just think about that, the fact the blood is transported by bike means that the bike is much faster than a car or a truck.

Well, off I cycle through Copenhagen never to take the metro again…

Until next time!