Living in Stockholm, I am back on my bike again, for the first time in 25 years. I don’t have a car and I am loving it since I can get almost anywhere on my bike. I enjoy the fresh air, the beautiful surroundings and the comfort of parking my bike wherever I want to. Not to forget that it is environmentally friendly and cheap. I do admit, if it rains I like to opt for public transport but believe it or not, this hardly happens.
In the Netherlands, there are more bikes than people. Cycling in the Netherlands is often social and casual. The Dutch cycle side-by-side to chat, or even with 3 or 4 or more people. Sometimes they have someone sitting on the back of the bike and/or up front. In Sweden it looks more orderly. People often cycle behind each other and most Swedes wear a helmet or a ‘Hövding’. This is a great Swedish invention and the world’s first airbag bicycle helmet. You wear it like a collar around your neck and in the event of an accident, the airbag inflates like a hood that covers your head.
Sweden for cyclists
It’s the first time since we left the Netherlands that we are in a bike-loving country again and it is great. First of all, it’s a beautiful country and secondly, there’s a bike-friendly infrastructure (at least in most of the urban areas) and drivers are considerate when it comes to cyclists. Additionally, there are public electric bike pumps posted around the cities; how convenient! Yes, when it gets snowy and icy I prefer to walk but I noticed that a lot of Swedes just continue cycling, with or without spiked tires.
A few rules to keep in mind while cycling in Sweden:
– Helmets are obligatory until the age of 15
– Traffic lights apply to bikes too. You could be fined 1500 kronor for red light jumping.
– You are not allowed to ride your bike in a pedestrian area, on sidewalks or on a pedestrian crossing. Trust me, Swedes won’t like it if you do. If there is no bike path, you must ride on the right side of the road.
– There are parking spaces for bikes but ‘informal’ parking is also allowed as long as your bike is not in the way.
– You are not allowed to carry another person on a one-person bike unless it’s a child in a child seat.
– This might speak for itself but bikes need to be equipped with a working bell, lights, reflectors, brakes, etc.
– You are not allowed to ride a bike if you are drunk. While there is no legal limit for the alcohol volume accepted when riding a bike, the police can decide if you are not able to ride safely and fine you.
– Bikes aren’t allowed on most trains.
Cycling without age
Since recently I don’t only cycle to get myself around but I also take elderly on a bike ride. With a trishaw, I cycle with residents of a local nursing home. Cycling without age is a movement started in 2012 by Ole Kassow in Denmark. At present more than 1,200 chapter locations around the world offer Cycling Without Age. It is a wonderful initiative where the elderly get a chance to get out, enjoy the fresh air and the community around them and the most interesting stories are being shared during the ride.
Written by Nicole Dekkers
‘I moved to Stockholm in August 2017 and I have been in love with the city ever since. I came here with my husband and our three teenagers. We’re a Dutch family and have lived in different parts of the world for the past 15 years. We feel fortunate to call Stockholm our home now. Travelling is our biggest passion and we can’t wait to explore more of Sweden and Scandinavia. Every move is a new adventure and I like sharing my experiences while getting accustomed to the Swedish culture.’
Don’t miss out! Get updates on new articles, opportunities and other goodies by signing up for our newsletter.