Joergen Nilsson rides a bike every day and has done so for the last 70 years. In spite of his age, he often sits on his bicycle for more than an hour a day – but he rides more carefully now than he used to. His own father rode a bike until the day he day turned 84, and Joergen Nilsson would like to do the same.
“I prefer cycling, because you never have to wait. You decide when you want to leave, and you decide which way you want to go. You comfortably reach your destination, and at the same time you get your daily exercise,” he says.
A lifetime of cycling through Copenhagen has given Joergen the gift of experiencing the city under very different circumstances.
“I began cycling in Copenhagen when I was a child, during the Second World War. That was actually a good period for cycling in the city. There were only few cars and they quickly ran out of fuel. Then there were horse carriages, but they were of course quite slow,” he remembers.
Later on in the 50s, Joergen experienced the number of cars in the streets growing rapidly, and that made life more difficult for cyclists. The authorities had not yet discovered what an important role cyclists played in the city traffic, so for a while city planning was mainly directed towards supporting car traffic.
“Fortunately, the conditions for cyclists have improved. Especially in the last ten years, more cycle lanes have been built, and other initiatives have made it easier to be a cyclist. It seems that the local authorities have discovered that many citizens actually ride bikes,” he says.
He has also noticed that cycling has become fashionable.
“The growing awareness of health and environmental issues means that more people see cycling as a sensible means of transportation; perhaps it also makes some people use their cars a little less,” Joergen suggests.