To bike, or not to bike?

Since the 1980s, bicycling as a mean of commuting has become a culture sign of the Nordic metropolises. Arrived in Stockholm for less than a month, are you still vacillating between having a bike and using public transport?

First, I am absolutely disinterested in the race of bicycling vs public transport: in the past 12 months, I spent half of the commuting time on train/bus/metro, the other half on my own bicycle. Below are the main points that a potential bicycle buyer need to think about:

Cost

The bill of public transport is simple. With a valid SL card you are entitled to all the public transport connections, including metro, commuter train, train, bus, tram, and even ferry within the entire Metropolitan Stockholm (Link: How large is it?)

Normally, a secondhand bicycle with gear costs about 800 – 1500 SEK from a private seller, while 1000 – 2500 SEK from retailer. In addition, the accessories vary from individual to individual. Here is my “bicycling kit” which I consider as basic:

Clockwise: rain jacket and jeans (699 SEK), sunglasses (598 SEK) , summer gloves (299 SEK), winter gloves (59 SEK), wool scarf and hat, helmet and basket (200 SEK)

Time

Stockholm is a developed city whose urban area  is covered with a network of railways, roads and of course bicycle routes. Let’s have a look on how far you can travel in morning peak hours  on foot, by bike, by car or by public transport (the city center as origin):

It can be seen that if you live in the city, the area covered  by bicycle is commensurate to that by car, only slightly smaller than that by public transport! Based on my personal experience, if the destination is well-connected by metro line (e.g. KTH), then public transport is more time-efficient; if it can be directly reached by bus only (e.g. Karolinska Institute, Lappis), then bicycling probably saves more time.

Weather

Although winter in Stockholm sounds so brutal as the Game of Throne, it is far not the reality. Clearing of snow is pretty swift in the bicycle paths in the city, which makes  wind the biggest hurdle to cyclers. Having bicycled since the middle of January, experience tells me that warm, wind-proof clothes and shoes, a wool scarf and cap, a pair of thick gloves, plus a strong determination to go to school will suffice!

Yes, I will buy a bike

There are different ways to buy a bike:

The cheapest: join the Facebook group “Lappis” or “Lappis market“, there are always graduating students selling their own bicycles at low price

The most options: visit the local website blocket.se and search for “cyklar” you will find numerous advertisement from locals selling their bike

The most convenient: go to any of the bicycle shops in the town and pick one. The price is usually a little bit higher compared to the two alternatives above, but you can adjust it until it fits and in this way you will never get a malfunction one

OBS if you purchase from a private seller, remember to check if the bicycle has both front and back lamp: if not, it is illegal!

Hmm……give me more time

If you love to experience bicycling in Stockholm but are reserved about the huge investment , Stockholm’s City Bikes is designed for you: with a city bike card, you can get access of thousands of city bikes in 140 spots in the city. A seasonal card which is valid from April until October costs only 250 SEK.

Visit their website: http://www.citybikes.se/home

No matter you use public transport or ride your own bike, they will take you to your destination, enable you to explore this beautiful city. Enjoy!

A park in Södermalm

The Royal Palace

The Old Town

3 thoughts on “To bike, or not to bike?

  1. Tianlin He Post author

    I would say to check if the chain and the tires are in good condition. Otherwise, reparation of bicycles can be expensive afterwards.

  2. Coleen Provence

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