Local transportation around Lund generally consists of bicycling and walking. Taking the bus and driving are also methods of transportation, but taking the bus is less common for students, and many students do not have cars in Lund. While back in California, the main method of transportation in my hometown is driving, it was not difficult for me to adjust to bicycling around Lund because I have always loved to bike!
Since Lund is a small city, it is entirely biker and walker friendly! With Swedes emphasis on sustainability and being environmentally friendly, Lund is the perfect place for an environmentalist like me.
How do people get around?:
Lund is a small town with about 80,000 inhabitants so parts of town are easily accessible by bicycling and/or walking. Since the town is comprised primarily of students, most people get around by biking, walking, or taking the bus rather than driving like they do back in my hometown of Milpitas, CA. Bussing is not as preferred because it is quite expensive, and takes about the same time to reach a destination as it would to bike. Riding the bus costs nearly 200 SEK (or $30) to take the bus every day for one week. Although driving is popular in modern society, there has not been any increase in car usage in the past ten years in Lund. Driving is typically reserved for older residents who work outside of the city. Of my days here, I have not seen any car traffic at all yet. I see cars drive to and fro every now and then, but very few cars navigate around the cobblestone streets of Lund, as the streets are narrow and not very car-friendly. This is a stark contrast from back in California, where car traffic is a common sight. My hometown in California is the complete opposite of Lund, because it seems as though every single person drives there! In Milpitas, the streets are not as biker nor walker friendly, and the air quality is not as great for doing so. Another way of traveling is by taking the train. Many Swedes take the train to get Copenhagen, which costs about 15 SEK one way, or $30. I often take the train to get to Copenhagen airport where I fly to other countries throughout Europe. The central train station is located in the Lund city center. The train goes anywhere from Copenhagen to Malmo and Stockholm in northern Sweden.
How did I feel when I tried this way of getting around?:
Since bicycling is one of my favorite hobbies, I was ecstatic that bicycling was one of the primary methods of transportation around Lund. Bicycling rather than driving was a smooth transition for me after the first week. The first week was the most difficult part because I had trouble adjusting to Lund because of the cold weather. When I first arrived to Lund, I walked everywhere but I lacked the right warm clothes to suit the freezing winter climate. Biking was even colder because I move at a much faster rate and the wind blows against me as I bike. After buying a thick, warm parka within the first week of arriving in Lund, I was ready to brave the cold and wind. Many of my friends prefer to walk instead of bike, since biking requires one to brave the winter cold. Every morning I bike to class, which is about ten minutes away by bike. On days where I feel too cold to bike, I walk to class, which takes about fifteen to twenty minutes. I thoroughly enjoy biking because I get to bike through snow and a white winterland, something I am not used to at all. There is something utterly delightful and peaceful about snow falling on your tongue as you trudge through the cold on a bicycle. I enjoy listening to music and bicycling to class. This is especially a joyful experience for me since I am from California, where it feels as though the sun shines 365 days a year. In California, even our winters are not very cold compared to Sweden. The season changes are not as drastic and exciting as they are in Scandinavia. In addition, the air is very fresh and crisp, and free of toxins or the smell of fuel from car engines as they are when bicycling/walking in California.
Is this way of getting around connected to the culture and environment, How?:
Bicycling and walking rather than bussing and driving are connected to Sweden’s ideal of being sustainable and eco-friendly. By biking and walking, Swedes can reduce their carbon footprint and prevent further toxins to be released into the air. These toxins are prevalent in gasoline and car fuel, released by automobiles such as busses and cars. Biking and walking are also great ways to get free exercise! Swedes are generally quite fit, and they live a fit lifestyle that involves a lot of mobility, whether it be through walking, biking, or hitting the gym. Swedes are also generally protective towards the environment. Not only are walking and bicycling examples of their sustainability, but recycling is also obligatory. Swedes separate their paper, plastic, metal, glass, etc. into separate bins and compartments that are apart from everyday household trash. Bicycling and walking are a safer and more convenient mode of transportation for Swedes since the city landscape and facility planning is so pedestrian and biker friendly. There are an abundant of bicycle lanes and locks available for use. Cars recognize bikers, and allow bikers to bike on the streets as well. To cross a street, a biker can just hold their hand out and make eye contact with the car driver to signal to the driver that they will cross. Lund also has many sidewalks and parks that pedestrians can walk through. Since the environment is very natural and fresh, it is a scenic journey wherever you go around Lund. There are always new sights and places to see, which make bicycling and walking even more joyful.