The danish rider explains the genesis and evolution of Copenhagen’s annual fixie race

The Sunshine Criterium is deeply connected to the city of Copenhagen, during each edition there is this special urban vibe that surrounds the whole event…. Last year we organized the 11th chapter of the race and the track has never been the same. Every time I go out on my bike, I explore my city and its hidden corners. Copenhagen is constantly evolving, its face keeps changing, and I want to pay attention to the new places that come up, I want to look for areas that can convey the right feelings to the riders.”

Architectural minimalism and human cosmopolitanism. Copenhagen is fertile ground for any fixie enthusiast. Its morphology seems tailored to serve as a backdrop, or rather, a home for riders who see the bike as a sporting tool, but also as a design element and a medium for building stateless communities. The Sunshine Criterium takes shape in this Scandinavian capital each year – a race that brings all these factors together, elevating them through the art of two wheels and the commitment of its planner, Magnus Bang.

The fixie made me who I am. It has brought me closer to photography, to a different aesthetic and, most importantly, to people. Whenever I travel around the world, I know that I can rely on old or new fixie-friends. A long time ago, during one of these trips, I participated in a Berlin competition. I was 18 years old and decided to create something similar in my Copenhagen. At the time I was working as a courier and together with a friend I started to set up the first Sunshine Criterium. We were inexperienced, but many people helped us. More than 10 years have passed since that moment and today the Sunshine Crit hosts hundreds of riders from different countries. This makes me proud and makes me realize, once again, the aggregating power of the fixie universe.”

Fixie is synonymous with community. Magnus underscores this concept and tells us about the pulsating atmosphere that surrounds each Sunshine Crit. Because the bike for these brakless athletes becomes an entry point into others’ lives and cultures, a tool for seeking both sporting achievements and human connections. Characteristics that come together year after year on the Copenhagen asphalt.

“It’s all about the mindset. National borders don’t exist for fixie riders; the fixie unites everyone. And this is also one of the best features of the city of Copenhagen. Here people are constantly moving and coming from all over the world, so many foreigners work as couriers. I always thought that this cosmopolitanism is also represented inside the Sunshine Crit. The riders are heterogeneous, there are for example former professional cyclists, athletes who have won stages of the Giro d’Italia and who have fallen in love with the fixie, but also very young enthusiasts. I remember for exemple a boy who traveled all over Denmark with his parents in order to compete on these roads…. I could not resist the desire to compete twice, I ended up second and third – they were the perfect results.”

Magnus smiles. And his smile suggests satisfaction for a youthful divertissement that has exponentially evolved into an internationally renowned event. But in the Danish rider’s vision, there is no room for greed or compromise. The Sunshine Criterium must remain true to itself and its spirit, reiterates this creative Nordic two-wheeler. A loyalty that continues and will continue to be fixie.

I don’t want to rush the evolution of the Sunshine Crit. It has to be slow and natural. My desire is to stay connected and true to the roots of this event. We don’t need huge advertising space or commercial sponsors – I don’t want partners who are far from our philosophy…. I know and we know the true value and purity of this collective moment. I don’t want to distort it. Government funds have always helped us, now our goal is to connect with companies and brands that can truly understand the Sunshine Criterium, its community and its multifaceted meanings.”

Testo a cura di: Gianmarco Pacione