Danish mayors: Proof that cycling is healthy

| August 11, 2016

During May, seven Danish mayors from the region around Copenhagen proved that it really pays to switch out passive transportation with a bicycle. For a month the mayors took part in ‘The Mayors Challenge’, meaning they left their cars at home for a month, and pedalled to work instead whenever their schedules allowed them to. All seven mayors are now both healthier and younger.


The Cycle Superhighways – a healty piece of infrastructure. Photo: Cycling Embassy of Denmark

An initiative by the Secretariat for Cycle Superhighways has proved to be a ticket to a healthier life. This is what the mayors of seven Danish towns close to Copenhagen have discovered, following their participation in ‘The Mayors Challenge’. A challenge which requested that they chose the bike instead of the car, when commuting to work during May. Before and after the challenge all seven mayors were subjected to health tests, to see the effects of one month of active transportation.

These health tests revealed significant improvements. In total, the mayors had lost 10.2 kilos, they were 11 years younger (from a medical standpoint), and had improved their fitness rating, blood pressure, cholesterol, and hip/waist-line.

Michael Ziegler, the mayor of Høje Taastrup remarked: “I’m happy to see that the relatively small changes I have made during the last month, have shown such visible results. It is truly an eye opener that so little is required”. Following his one month on a bike, the mayor experienced a significantly improved fitness rating, a lower fat percentage, and a body-age which went down almost four years.

The electric bike made a difference
The mayor of Frederikssund experienced the same impressive progress. John Schmidt Andersen chose to commute on an e-bike, and managed to cover 474 kilometres during May – all of which he would have previously driven by car. Choosing the e-bike instead, meant loosing 3.6 kilos, an improved fitness rating, and a body-age which went down 2.5 years in just one month.

“It pleases me, and it shows that it helps to just do a little bit. And it’s not like I feel I have changed a whole lot to get here”, John Schmidt Andersen remarks.

Measurable improvements to health is motivating
The positive numbers are surprising to Helle Adelborg, the mayor of Hvidovre. She managed to pedal 121 kilometres on her ordinary bike, lost 3.5 kilos, improved her fitness rating, blood pressure, and her body-age dropped 4 years.

“I would be lying if I said, that this does not motivate me to continue cycling. For me this is motivating. And I can feel I become happier from it”, Helle Adelborg explains.

In total the mayors managed to bike 1200 kilometres during May.

Category: Campaigns, Commuting, Health, Infrastructure, Newsletters in English, Planning, Politics

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Cycling Embassy of Denmark NEWSLETTER | August 11, 2016
  2. Danish mayors: Proof that cycling is healthy | December 3, 2016