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Free Bicycles

February 04, 1996

Regarding the Jan. 14 "Backpack and Budget" column item on free bicycles in Copenhagen:

I spent 10 days in Copenhagen last summer, and I can confirm that the bicycle racks are indeed very difficult to find. You almost have to be standing at a rack when someone turns a bike in if you want to get one to ride around. Once you get a bike, you don't want to return it because it's so difficult to find a replacement.

You cannot lock the bike, nor can you take it off the public streets and sidewalks. And there are many homeless people who wait to take and return your bike so they can get the 20-kroner ($4) deposit from the coin box on the rack.

I caught one guy who tried to steal my bike while I was eating a sandwich nearby. And someone took my bike at a small museum even though the ticket seller promised to keep an eye on it.

I spoke with the gentleman who oversees the bike program and tried to convince him that if they removed the 20-kroner coin box, the program would work better, but he did not agree.

I am an experienced rider, but even I, after a mile or so on the solid rubber tires, was ready to call it a day.



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