En Holländare på cykel i Stockholm

| 24 kommentarer

Via Nederländska ambassaden fick jag en förfrågan om jag kunde peka en landsman tillrätta. Denne landsman heter Erik Tetteroo och är konsult inom stadsutveckling och hållbar mobilitet och en del av Dutch Cycling Embassy. Nu skulle han komma till Stockholm med sin fru. Hade vi några cykeltips? Med hjälp av vår Facebook-grupp Cyklistbubblan kom mängder av tips och Erik lovade att höra av sig om hur det gick. Här är hans reseberättelse:

On my 47th birthday I visited Stockholm, for the first time ever. The Swedish capital had been long high on our wish list with short breaks, so this was a very nice gift. As a Dutch consultant in the field of sustainable mobility and urban development, it is quite natural for me to explore the city on two wheels.

A good opportunity to discover the Swedish bicycle culture and a useful preparation for a workshop I’ll be giving at Göthenburg next May. But to my surprise I found out that the City Bikes in Stockholm stay in a long hibernation. What now?

Through my contact with the Dutch embassy in Sweden, I came in contact with my countryman Jeroen Wolfers and eventually ended up to Simon Bouloussa of Bicycle Factory. We were very kindly received by Simon in his beautiful bikeshop at Närkesgatan, where many special models are available in all colors. Simon is an enthusiastic entrepreneur with a special background. Born in Morocco, lived in Amsterdam for six years and ended up in Stockholm.

Here he is trying to get more people on the bike. A good aim, because with only 7% of the modal share Stockholm scores quite low. And while the possibilities seem quite good, with a high density in the city center, few large height in the city and many amenities within easy cycling distance. Because at distances up to about 7 km a bicycle is usually faster than car or public transport, there are many opportunities for cycling. Simon was kind enough to lend us two bikes, so that we could explore the city of Stockholm on two wheels – in winter!


Simon Boulossa och Erik Tetteroo. Foto: Neline van der Loo

What immediately struck us was that most of the cyclepaths were under a layer of snow, while the lanes for cars were neatly cleaned. In many places the bike lane was even too bad to discover, and elsewhere the route ranged strangely from the roadway to the sidewalk and back. A more clear positioning for the bike would be very welcome.

And more space too: the width of bicycle lanes is often very limited, and must often also be shared with oncoming traffic and pedestrians. I consider it a poor choice to give cyclists so little space. Stockholm has lots of nice wide streets, there is really enough place in public space, but the division between lanes for cars, public transport and cycling is very unfavorable.


Svenska cykelfält på vintern. Foto: Erik Tetteroo

We met few other cyclists. Those who still bike are especially sporty types, and that is a big difference with the Netherlands. With us, almost everyone gets on the bike for daily business. Children use it get to school, people go shopping with large panniers or on a ‘bakfiets’ and commuters cycle in their best suit to the office.

Even the Prime Minister can often be seen on his bicycle near our parliament. Cycling is part of our culture, an everyday activity, and the most practical way to get around. It costs little, you stay fit in there and it’s just fun! In most Dutch cities, over 40% of all trips are made ​​by bicycle. This increases the liveliness on the streets, reduces CO2 emissions and is usually better for the local economy. In The Hague for example, the city has closed some main roads for cars and that has resulted in higher sales for many stores.

Bianchi Café. Foto: Erik Tetteroo

Bianchi Café. Foto: Erik Tetteroo

Unfortunately I don’t see that bike culture yet in Stockholm. The Bianchi Cafe at Norrlandsgatan is surely beautiful, with delicious Italian coffee and snacks and great racing bikes on the wall and ceiling. But it also puts the emphasis back on the sports cyclist that dresses up in lycra to drop some performance.

While the bike is also and above all an excellent tool for every day driving to work. Whether for a relaxing ride to the magnificent Vasa museum on Djurgården, or for discovering the wonderful park-like island. If necessary, the bike fits perfectly on a small ferry. Try that with a car!

We really enjoyed cycling in Stockholm. It is a beautiful city and great fun to explore by bike. All major facilities are quickly and easily accessible on two wheels. It is time that the Swedes learn to love cycling more, and free the City Bikes from their hibernation. Or even better, buy a decent bike at Simon’s Fietsfabriek. It’s a way to honestly earn the title of capital of Scandinavia!

Erik Tetteroo

Tycker du som Erik, eller vill du fråga honom något om hans resa eller cykelsituationen i Holland? Ställ på engelska i kommentarerna, så kan han läsa och svara!

Författare: Jeroen

Jeroen är till vardags copywriter på Raring Design. Han har pendlingscyklat sedan 2008 och året-runt-pendlat sedan 2010. Cyklar på en Cykelfabriken Filibus Plus lastcykel med elassist.

  • Ingrid

    Linköping. Vi har snö och is de flesta vintrarna _och_ barn som cyklar till skolan vintertid. När det blir höst går cykelaffärerna ut och erbjuder montering på köpet vid köp av dubbdäck. Fast det är inte lika vackert som Stockholm däremot många av samma dumma fenomen.

    • Hasse

      Förort i södra Stockholm: min sjuåring är bokstavligen den enda elev på sin skola (en stor sådan med flera hundra elever) som fortsatte att cykla under hela vintern. Cykelställen gapade tomma, bortsett från just hans cykel, och snöröjarna använde cykelparkeringen för att dumpa snö.

      • Thomas

        Min sjuåring cyklade på eget initiativ till skolan (JS med tomma cykelställ) en gång (Pappa, kan jag cykla idag? Fast det är snö? – Självklart!), men promenerar nu hellre efter att hon körde omkull i halkan. Blir dubbdäck även till henne till nästa vinter 😉

  • Kristian Jelse

    Erik – Thanks for an interesting article and very welcome to Gothenburg in May! I hope to see a short review of our cycling infrastructure as well after that.

    What kind of workshop will you host? Will it be an open or closed event?

    • Hej, Erik kunde inte logga in, men här är hans svar:

      Hi Kristian, the workshop is part of a one-day seminar on behalf of the region and city of Gothenburg. We represent the Dutch Cycling Embassy, and the topics are cycle infrastructure, cost-benefits analyses, influencing behavior, stakeholder management and gaining (political) commitment. I’m not sure wether it’s open or not, but can discuss that with the organization. Let me know if you’re interested! And I’m pleased to write a short review on Gothenburg too.

      • Kristian Jelse

        Great! Please let me know when you know more!

  • Gotta love Simon’s ”angry cyclist face” 🙂

    Were they talking about cycling infra just moments before the photo? 😉

  • Kostymcyklaren

    Vi är så pinsamt långt efter… Fast då finns det gott om lågt hängande frukter för politikerna att plocka! Utrymmet för förbättring är ju enormt. Börja stänga några gator på söndagar tror jag vore riktigt bra.