Denmark is recognized far and wide for its bicycle culture. The Danes are well known for their love of cycling. In any larger city in Denmark, thousands of bicyclists are a prominent feature in the cityscape, and the bicycle culture is one of the cornerstones of Denmark’s liveable cities. As a natural consequence, the two-wheeler has been the object of much design thinking over the years, and several prizes have been awarded in this field.
One of the most significant icons of Danish bicycle culture is the Christiania cargo bicycle, a carrier bike originally designed over 25 years ago and which has since become a huge success, even well outside Denmark’s borders.
As the name implies, the bicycle is produced in the free town of Christiania in the heart of Copenhagen, and it has become an established Danish design icon. This is partly due to its sturdiness and stability (buy one and you’ll be set for years) but most prominently due to the iconic cargo compartment, which is used for all kinds of purposes, from transporting goods and groceries to taking your kids to kindergarten. You’ll even see Danes riding them with their furniture piled high when they move from one flat to another.
Other bicycle-related products have also received the attention of the Danish Design Prize over the years. In the late 1990s, a highly useful bicycle accessory stepped into the limelight: the Dolphin trailer, which offers another way of transporting the kids by pedal power. The trailer was the work of Hagerup Industriel Design and manufacturer A. Winther A/S. Together, they had managed to design and produce a highly functional and practical solution for families looking for a healthy and environmentally sound transportation form. The trailer features seatbelts for added safety and is ergonomically optimized with adjustable seats. It even has a small compartment for carrying shopping or other paraphernalia while still having room for two children. Another convenient feature is a rain cover that folds down on sunny days. The Dolphin trailer was awarded the ID Prize in 1997.
Lastly, staying in the accessory realm, we would like to highlight the Basta Click 3000 bicycle lock from Basta Danmark A/S. Like anywhere else, bicycle theft is (unfortunately) quite common in Denmark, and needless to say, designing measures against it is not only useful but sorely needed. Many different lock models are produced in Denmark, and some of the most popular ones are made by Basta. The Click 3000 model is known for extreme endurance against forceful attempts to open it, which makes it one of the few locks that are approved by all insurance companies, who will otherwise often duck out when bicycles change owners in the night – if they were protected only by a non-approved lock. The design incorporates several unique features: The two hardened steel components that make up the lock are designed so that they cannot accidentally get into the spokes of the wheel when the bike is moving, and a dust cover ensures the longevity of the lock by protecting the internal working parts against dirt and other substances that might otherwise weaken the mechanism.
We would like to continue to celebrate Danish bicycle culture and hope to see new functional and beautiful bicycle products in connection with the Danish Design Award.