Gothenburg: a bike-friendly city

Photo by Kateryna Kononiuk
Photo by Kateryna Kononiuk

My friend updated her status on Facebook where she wrote: “I love this city-the second day I get apples as a gratitude for I am biking”. Intriguing, indeed! What was it?  Yes, Gothenburg one more time prove its status of a cyclist-friendly city. As a growing city Gothenburg’s authorities care a lot about sustainable development of the infrastructure, improving system of collective public transportation, creating opportunities for cyclists and many other things.

I changed public transport for bicycle last summer. For me it was quite a big step, as I could never even imagine back in Russia that I will use a bike as a transport, not just as a recreation tool. So, it still was a long time for me to change my mind and decided to try biking. I remember as it would be just yesterday how hard it was for me to get through the very first week of regular bike-trips. Oh, lazy me, – I wasn’t really prepared for that kind of training. But pain in legs was over, and I started enjoy being a cyclist. My first bike in Sweden was a sky-blue city bike, as I used to call “Sea-gull”. It was neither new, nor modern. But I liked it. Yes, I use past tense because, for pity, after two months it was stolen.

My friends recommended to me to go to an organization in Gothenburg with an odd name “Cykelköket”. From Swedish it literally means “a bicycle kitchen”. They have a motto: “lär oss laga cyklar”. It means that it teaches us to cook bikes. But a verb “laga” can mean not only to cook, but also to repair or to fix. So, it is a word-play, which is so popular in Gothenburg! Anyway, the idea of this non-profit organization is to help it’s members to fix bikes, to learn how to ride a bike, and also it give away bicycles from time to time.  It can be some second-hand bikes which people don’t use anymore and give away for those who will gladly repair them and use. It’s a very good initiative, that receive this year a “Guldtummen” (golden thumb) prize – annual big prize from students of Gothenburg for people, organizations or initiatives that play important role for students!

So, I got a bike from Cykelköket, and they helped me to repair it and made it work. And I became a happy cyclist again. I like that Gothenburg City supports biking in always! Many people use city bike renting service, it is cheap and very useful. 3-days pass will cost just 10 Swedish kronos. You just need to mind that travel time should not exceed 30 minutes. If so, additional money will be charged.

A bike gate at Vasagatan, photo by boris_estrada
A bike gate at Vasagatan, photo by boris_estrada

Sometime supporting banners appear in major bike-roads. They tell that Gothenburg is proud of cyclists! It’s always nice that it’s not only healthy and environmentally-friendly, but also good for the community. Another big campaign for cyclists took place this week – near Valand on Vasaplatsen a special gate was constructed. People who were riding a bike that road received nice small presents from the Gothenburg City, like apples, juices, bananas and other. I unfortunately missed that, but my friend was there and that was the reason she wrote that encouraging FB status update.

If you are already commuting in an environmentally-friendly manner, take a look on an app developed in Gothenburg – Commute Greener, that let users to commute greener and integrate their activities into social media, challange friends, check improvements and even earn some nice and “green” prizes.

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