Karl Tranberg Knudsen

Karl Tranberg Knudsen is a rider from the northern outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark, who first came to our attention when he posted shots of his incredible bike collection on saadl. We love engaging with our users and finding out more about their cycling history, and Karl definitely delivered.

Karl’s interest in bikes and cycling first picked up speed in 2010, when he got an after-school job at a Cannondale dealer just north of Copenhagen. That’s where he built his F2 hardtail mountain bike, which transformed his prior experience as a mere rider into one of an avid enthusiast. They say you can’t really understand the full experience of something until you build it from scratch. For Karl, this moment happened in that instance.

He currently owns 9 complete bikes – 8 of them fixed gear and the last one a hardtail mountain bike. They include:

Bianchi D2 Super Pista (09′)

Colnago Dream Pista (mid 00’s)

Eddy Merckx Elite Pista (02′)

Masi Speciale Pista (09′)

Pinarello Pista (10′)

Tornado Pista – Custom made in Denmark (From early 00’s)

Cannondale F2 Caffeine (09’) – the last year Cannondale was “Handmade in the USA”.

Banani Pista – Custom made in Denmark (From late 90’s)

and his “beater”, a Specialized Langster from ’08, which he’s built up to be sturdy and reliable, not to mention nondescript with its matte-black finish. It’s not his prettiest bike, but with over 40,000 bikes being stolen in Copenhagen alone each year, you wouldn’t want your everyday ride to stand out too much.

The first fixed gear bike Karl ever made was his orange Masi Speciale Pista, and it will forever hold a special place in his heart. After having conducted research beforehand and spending his days browsing bike shops in New York in 2012, he found it in Continuum Cycles, a local shop in the East Village. In fact, it was the frame’s history (it was previously used by an NYC messenger) that first drew Karl’s attention. Since then, it’s the one bike that he couldn’t ever part with.

In the past, he’s enjoyed riding throughout the coast of Denmark, the mountains of Mallorca, and the plains of Amsterdam. Last year, while travelling through Australia and New Zealand, he joined Auckland Bike Gang’s “Tuesday Night Rides”, which involved hours of riding and copious amounts of Sal’s Pizza and beer. Later on, he explored Wellington on a mountain bike with a local.

This past June, Karl and a friend rode 685km in four days on brakeless fixed gear bikes. They rode up the western coastline of Sweden, across the northernmost part of Denmark, down south to Aarhus (the second largest city in Denmark), and back. On the first day, they rode 195km on packed bikes – the longest he’s ever gone in a single day, and without a doubt the most beautiful and thrilling experience he’s ever had on two wheels.

Karl loves riding around Copenhagen, thanks to its bike lanes and continual initiatives to make its environment more bicycle-friendly. Despite this, it’s a city where you constantly need to be on your toes, especially when riding a fixie. Being smart as you ride and learning more about the world via cycling is his next goal, one he hopes to accomplish with his next endeavour – a planned tour from Amsterdam to Hamburg. But really, anything is possible.


Follow Karl’s adventures:

Instagram
Saadl
Pedalroom

Words by @jlyn7
Photos by @karl