I wasn't really sure what to expect in terms of bike culture before arriving in Stockholm last week... From what I knew, Malmö in the south is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. But it is also very small, dense and has a high number of students.
On the other hand, I was well aware that Stockholm is far bigger and more spread. However, on arrival I felt a bit overwhelmed at how incredibly car-dominated most of the city actually is.
While there were sporadic elements of great bicycle infrastructure and what seems to be an embedded (but diluted) engrained cycling culture, I was left a little disappointed with the lack of two-wheeled enthusiasm. I was particularly shocked when a good Stockholm based friend of mine told me that she gets the underground the 2 miles to work each day!
In a sense Stockholm felt like the city was trapped somewhere between an American city of the 70s and a more progressive Scandinavian city of today (eg. Copenhagen). It'll be interesting to see how the city continues to evolve over the coming few years and whether infrastructure dollars will find their way into more sustainable approaches to street design.
Photo by Tom Oliver Payne.