Copenhagen is the arguably the most cycling-friendly city in the world. And while it’s a lot easier to boast one of the highest percentages of bike commuter rates globally when your town is dead flat, Copenhagen has gone beyond topography to a seemingly civic mindset that anything that makes cycling better makes Copenhagen better. A case in point are the Copenhagen Love Handles. These recycled bike handlebars have been placed at 10 or so locations around the town so riders can avoid putting a foot down.
To someone who doesn’t ride, that might seem like an absurdly small gesture, but we know it isn’t. Even if it takes almost no energy to put a foot down, it breaks the connection between body and bike and disrupts the physical and psychological coherence of staying atop your ride more than any red light. The polished-at-hand-height utility poles located on every corner in Copenhagen punctuate this.
The Love Handles aren’t the only bike conveniences placed around Copenhagen. Not long ago the city installed “rest railings”, where riders could place foot or hand or both. The words on the foot railing say, “Hi, cyclist! Rest your foot here…and thank you for cycling in the city.” Some trash cans are oriented for cyclists to toss their rubbish while riding, too. They’re small things, but highly symbolic.