"Bike the City," in partnership with Københavns Cykelbørs, the city’s oldest bicycle rental shop, is offering GPS guided bike tours around two areas of Copenhagen. The tours, which run about two hours each, are designed to give the user all the information of a traditional guided tour, but with the freedom to move at their own pace.
Anton Ryslinge, architect and urban designer, researched, wrote and developed the tours from scratch. Inspired by car rental tours in Berlin, Ryslinge wanted to bring the independent and flexible tourist experience to Copenhagen’s biggest transportation staple.
"There are two main advantages to this type of tour," explains Ryslinge, "You are able to be by yourself without a group, and you are able to improvise.”
This type GPS-guided tour, which is exclusive to Copenhagen, is currently offering two different routes: the "Copenhagen Classic," and the "Nørrebro" tour.
While the Copenhagen Classic tour hits all the familiar and more noted spots that the city is known for (The Little Mermaid, The Round Tower, Nyhavn, etc), the Nørrebro tour is a unique mixture of urban spaces, historic spots, miniature landmarks, and scenic views that is as eclectic and diverse as the neighborhood itself.
Ryslinge, a former Nørrebro resident, “wanted to take people beyond the surface of the neighborhood” by showcasing smaller, less traditional spots. "Tourist attractions are not where my heart beats; I wanted to show other parts of the city as well," he explains.
The GPS itself is a repurposed cell phone and rests in a small (and relatively discreet, for those worried about looking too touristy) box that sits on top of the handle bars. As you begin cycling, the GPS guides you to your next destination, signaling your arrival by chiming when you are within 20 meters of the site.
From there, riders hop off their bikes and listen to a 3-4 minute narration about the area (the English version is read by former BBC personality Peter Baker). The audio descriptions are both informative as well as anecdotal, giving the listener insights and facts about the area that many locals perhaps might not know themselves.
Users can choose to play the audio aloud, or listen through a set of headphones (headphones are available for purchase at the shop for an additional 10 DKK). The device also has accompanying photo galleries showing the location from different views and at different times of the day. The recordings are controlled by the user, so it is up to the individual whether he feels like staying at the site, or moving on to the next.
If you fall off the path, the GPS will set you back on the planned route, so you are able, and encouraged, to explore a path of your own. Ryslinge designed the tour with foreigners (read: not as experienced) cyclers in mind, so the majority of the routes are on designated cycling paths and away from busy streets and intersections.
Tours are available in three languages: English, Danish and German, and are competitively priced at 225 DKK, which includes a full-day’s rent of bike as well as (the option of) a helmet. Users can share their device with a partner, and the GPS’ five hour battery life means that you are able to take advantage of both tours in the same day.
Ryslinge has two other tours in the works, “Copenhagen Murals,” which will showcase some of the city’s best street-art, and “Sensing the City,” a tour inspired by the Mindfullness Movement that aims to provide an alternative, sensory experience for the users.
More information on the tours can be found at Bike the City’s website www.bikethecity.dk .
What: GPS-guided bike tours
Where: Københavns Cykelbørs, Gothersgade 157
When: Mon-Fri 8:30-17:30; Sat-Sun 10:00-13:30