Biking in Gothenburg is a "wheelie" great experience

Going by bike in Gothenburg has given me a whole new perspective on the city.
Biking in Gothenburg
One of the first things I noticed when coming to Gothenburg was the bike lanes. There were SO many! And they have so much space! Coming from Youngstown, Ohio, a small city in the United States, bike lanes are not at all common. If you want to take a bike ride, most people only do it on designated bike trails inside parks and forests. If you want to actually ride to a destination, you have to do it on the roads, which I (and I’m sure the people driving in cars around me) hated to do. In general, in the US, people who commute by bike are seen as hippie “tree huggers”, so I was excited to see how different the culture surrounding biking is in Gothenburg and Sweden in general. All over the city, there are bike lanes, places to lock a bicycle up, and even to put air in your tires. 

I didn’t have the opportunity to actually ride a bike in Gothenburg until this year when the Styr & Ställ bikes were put into place for the summer. These bikes are available to rent throughout the city, you just need to download an app to pay for the ride, which is charged by the amount of time you have the bike rented. It just needs to be returned to another station, and which are located all over town. The process was very simple, and I rented a bike from right in front of the Chalmers campus, next to the Chalmersplatsen tram stop. I was able to use the phone holder on the handlebars to map my way over to Slottsskogen. It was so easy! I used the bike lanes the entire way there. Being new to biking in a busy city, it was a bit nerve-wracking at first to be among the cars and more experienced bikers. I was probably going annoyingly slow, but I just let them pass by with no problem, and it wasn’t hard to get used to the cars. Not to mention, it was so much faster than normal! I’ve walked all over Gothenburg now, and I really recommend it, but going by bike is a gamechanger. I was able to take a new path and experience the city a new way. You can even take a bike on the ferry to the islands surrounding Gothenburg!

There are many ways that students get bikes in Gothenburg. If you don’t need one often, the rental bikes are a great way to go, and they are quite cheap. Most students look to buy used bikes, which are often found on Facebook Marketplace and Blocket, or if you know of students leaving the city after finishing their programme, they may want to sell theirs. Usually, the student group Chalmers Students for Sustainability has a bike sale​ every year where they collect used bikes, sell them for very cheap, and allow students to fix them up at their Re:cycle event. Unfortunately, this couldn’t happen this year due to Covid-19, but hopefully, it will be possible again soon! I was able to buy a used one from someone I know, and I’m now learning how to get around the city via bike lane. I liked the phone holder from the rental bikes so much, that I even added one to my own bike!

I think being able to go by bike in Gothenburg gives a new perspective to the city. I was very used to taking the trams and busses all through winter, seeing the same buildings all the time. Now with a bike, I’ve been able to see areas I was unfamiliar with while getting better at city cycling. I love the public transport in the city, but I like that I can reduce my carbon footprint a little bit and freely travel, often arriving even faster than if I took the bus! In a place like Gothenburg, which is sustainably-minded and built to be incorporated with biking, I think it is definitely worth trying out this mode of transportation!



Author: Amanda​

Published: Mon 07 Sep 2020.