Grist's coverage of Copenhagen climate talks

Copenhagen WheelThe ‘hybrid’ electric bike Copenhagen wheel concept (retrofit to your own bike’s back wheel hub) shown at Hopenhagen’s Future Cities exhibit.By April Streeter for

I went to Copenhagen because I could take a train, and I was really interested in what the mood would feel like on the streets (as opposed to what the mainstream press might say). Fairly good-humored, is my summary of the mood, both of the hosting Copenhagen citizens, and the multi-culti visitors. Those trapped in egregious police sting operations might not think so right now, yet the prevailing vibe I sensed was one of cooperation. And what was as good as the civilized ways most people accommodated each other was all the really wonderful roles bikes played at COP-15.

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1. Copenhagen Wheel is a hybrid e-bike for us all.

The Copenhagen Wheel project, from MIT’s senseable city lab as well as the Copenhagen municipal council (Kobenhavns Kommune) and Ducati bikes, has a goal to make bikes into “a new emblem for urban mobility.” Inside the bike’s back wheel hub, the designers put a motor, a 3-speed internal hub gear, batteries, a torque sensor, GPRS and a sensor kit that monitors CO, NOx, noise (db), relative humidity and temperature. Controlled by your smart phone, the bike isn’t intended to power you all through your ride but rather to add a boost for when you need it. No price or availability data yet mentioned.

2. OPEN is the bike share you leave anywhere.

OPEN bike sharePhoto via LOTSCopenhagen wants to update the small-scale bike share plan, used mostly by tourists, that it has had in place since 1995. So the municipality sponsored a contest to find its second-generation bike share. The result was two first-place winners, one from my very own city of Gothenburg. OPENbike, designed by Michael Koucky of Koucky & Partners, LOTS and Green Idea Factory of Berlin, takes a page from Copenhagen’s current bike share, yet definitely takes advantage of GPS and wireless technology to allow users to park bikes anywhere in the inner city. myloop by Thomas Coulbeaut from Japan, is a sturdy, iconic and futuristic bike concept and shared first prize with OPEN. Michael Colville-Andersson of Copenhagenize, and the award presenter, said the city doesn’t want to be tied to any specific design and will probably chose freely from all the concepts presented.

3. Creperie on wheels takes cargo bike to a new level.

Creperie on wheelsApril Streeter / Treehugger.comBack to the grittier, colder reality – it is very, very nice to walk by this super crepe-master plying his trade right smack in the middle of Hopenhagen in front of the city hall. Not only has this entrepreneur rigged a cargo bike so that his hot griddle is in the bike’s front cabin and his supplies, including gas canister, rides in the bike trailer. He also has an extra warming griddle so that he can serve more than one customer at a time with super-thin delicious crepes topped with Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread (and bananas, if desired). Copenhagen is very lenient with permits to bike vendors, which meant a lot of them parked all over the city for COP-15. The super ambitious among the bike business people even rolled right along with the Saturday demonstration, according to Copenhagenize, stopping to serve customers and then rolling back into the flow.

4. Pedaling to the music.

cycling speakersApril Streeter / Treehugger.comThis lovely woman was peddling as fast as she could to keep the speakers working at this cycle-speaker combo also parked on the square that was the central location for Hopenhagen events and displays. Roskilde, an annual Danish musical festival, has attempted to make its days of music as low CO2 as possible, and one of their innovations is the cycle-speaker, which also has a set of solar panels to help provide energy. Though it doesn’t seem so from this picture, the sun is shining as this woman pedals away.

5. Christmas power with bike-driven lights.

bike powered xmas treeApril Streeter / Treehugger.comDriving your holiday tree’s lights with a bike is perhaps not a practical, realistic idea. Still, it fell in with the general good-natured feeling at Hopenhagen, and people were lining up to put their feet to the pedals and make the lights circling this Christmas tree light up. It took at least five people cycling to make the lights shine full force…and these were LEDs! Gives a little glimpse into how much energy our holiday decorations can use.

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And to close, here’s the rickshaw seen around the Hopenhagen plaza – a place for tired feet to rest a moment or two. Hopenhagen RickshawApril Streeter /

Reprinted courtesy Follow Treehugger’s coverage of Copenhagen here.

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