Rental Bikes in Copenhagen

I needed a bike to get around the city. What fun would it be to go around the world's leading bike city without one? I have checked for a bike rental system and found multiple ones. There is the Bycyklen system which rents electric bikes by the minute or hour. I have registered online already and was told that I could then unlock the bikes with just my contact-less credit card. The hostel also told me that they rent city bikes, but I could not have reserved.


Chris already arrived at the hostel with his electric longboard. I rented a bike at the reception, it costs 250 DKK for 72 hours, that is 33.52 EUR. I had to give them my driver's license as a safety deposit.

My bike had a really simple light system: There are magnets attached to the wheels close to the axle and a small lamp mounted on the fork. On every rotation of the wheel the magnets induce a current in the lamp and it gives a short flash.

The light is on the 3 o'clock position, the black magnet is at 5 o'clock.

This way you have position lights which should be sufficient in a forgiving infrastructure. At home I have a hub dynamo, a 40 lux headlight and parking light function front and rear. On the other hand Bonn does not have anything that would deserve to be called "forgiving infrastructure". Unfortunately the front one of my first bike did not work, so I exchanged it for a different one.

The second one was similar to the first but had a SRAM "Automatix" hub in the rear. This has an automatic two gear transmission. As I later returned the bike I was glad to get rid of it. The saddle would not stay at the height I wanted and the automatic transmission was working against me most of the time. Especially that it shifted into high gear when going over a bump really annoyed me.

Do you know the Chinese restaurant owner from the TV show South Park? He pronounces his restaurant "city wok" as "shitty wok". And from the second day with a city bike I was starting to call them "shitty bikes". The automatic transmission of the second bike kicked into the high gear at around 17 km/h. Usually I ride with more cadence (rotations of the pedals) and less force as I just have more stamina than force. This automatic transmission made this impossible, I had to slow down in front of hills to get into low gear again.


Chris and I then planned to go to that park in the north that we got recommended. I tried to rent one of the Bycyklen bikes for that. For this I had signed up two months ago, had set up a username and code as well as my credit card. For some reason the code was not accepted. I tried to reset but did not get an email. Then I tried registering again but my email was already taken. So I called the service and they just reset my PIN. This does not feel too good as the knowledge of the username apparently suffices to gain access.

The new PIN then worked and I checked out the bike. Driving an electrified bike is a very different feeling as it feels as attached to a rubber band pulling forward. I started with the support on level 2 (of 4) and found it quite fun to accelerate with. Once I reached 25 km/h it would just drop all support altogether. After a while I found the sweet spot at 24 km/h with the right amount of pedaling.

The hydraulic front disk brake is very nice, I might want to have that on my next bike as well.

Eventually we started the return trip. The battery indicator on my bike was still unchanged. I expected that it would eventually warn that only little energy remained, Chris expected a range of several hundred kilometers. Rather close to his girlfriend's condo it notified that the battery was low and would have power for another three to five kilometers. Nice, could not they have said something earlier? When I returned the bike it had 11 % left, I started with 94 %. We did around 50 km with moderate support. So the range is just a bit over 50 km it seems.

Unfortunately the rental period turned out to be 504 minutes, and they bill by the started hour. This trip then has cost me 180 DKK, around 25 EUR. Still I was glad that I took that bike and not another one from the hostel with a low saddle and possibly automatic transmission.

Donkey Republic

For the last days I tried out the Donkey Republic rental system. They have city bikes where your phone connects via Bluetooth to the lock and unlocks the bike. You can return it at any station, which are just defined spots where there usually is a public bike rack. They also have a carrier on the front:

The carrier is attached to the fork which means that there is a massive moment of inertia attached to the steering. This turned out to be extremely difficult to maneuver such that I find this carrier highly unusable.

Besides that the tire pressure was very low, the saddle could not be set high enough for me and the brakes were really squishy. They were cheap to rent, but that is all.

When I got back home I was so pleased to have my own bike again: 30 gears, 6 bar tire pressure and a saddle which is not too wide and too soft.