The land of “more bikes than cars” is joining forces with the home of bike-loving IKEA to create an international ferry service for cyclists. In just a few months, the bike ferry will begin shuttling some 36 cyclists and their bikes at a time between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmö, Sweden.
Such bike-friendly ferry routes were once the norm for these sister cities divided by the Øresund Strait, a body of water connecting the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic. For decades, it was relatively simple to bike over to the old ferry port and bring your bike on a boat to cross over.
But in 2000, construction of the new Øresund Bridge, a four-lane bridge and rail tunnel between Malmö and Copenhagen, replaced the ferry services. This development made it easy for cars and trains to cross over, but nearly eliminated the ability to bike between the two cities. (Bikes are allowed on the train beneath the bridge for the price of child ticket.) Last summer, four bikers trying to cycle over the bridge’s 25,738-foot-long span were stopped by police and the bridge was shut down.
The new bike ferry is a repurposed fishing boat, the M/S Elefanten, built in 1940.