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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Copenhagen thing.


Well  it is one  thing off my bucket list.
                 I’ve cycled in Copenhagen!
My daughter and I booked weekend break in Denmark. One and a half hour flying time from Manchester dumped us at Copenhagen Airport. A £3 rail ticket into the city and a change of train to Valby, on the city outskirts, left us in walking distance to the hotel.
The next morning after stuffing ourselves with a superb buffet breakfast we waddled down to a local bike shop. He wanted £8 a day for a city bike each. This was at 10.30am but he closed for the weekend at 2.30pm. He was charging us for a few hours. A deal was eventually done for the bikes to be rented until Monday morning for a total £12 each! Great stuff.
                         These bikes are a far cry from my usual steeds and Jade had not ridden for a couple of years but she thought her Gym spinning classes would get her by.
We tottered off into the traffic. It’s about 4 miles into the city and we were soon immersed into the bicycling scene. Wide cycle lanes with other cyclists whizzing by going to who knows where. I say whizzing, but in reality they were serenely coasting by. Heads and body high. Totally relaxed in their environment. None of our head down, go for it stuff. Most of our fellow cyclists were female, ranging from grannies with shopping to mothers carrying youngsters on the back of the bike or pushing their brood on bikes designed with a huge passenger compartment up front. Oh there was also the tall slim Danish beauties and fashionable young men doing their thing.
                          I was concerned about Jade riding behind me as there was no mirror on my bike and I’m an experienced city cyclist. However she was managing fine and was thoroughly enjoying the experience.
We were soon in the city centre and parked the bikes up near the famous Tivoli Gardens.  Parking is a bit of a problem as there are so many bikes!  However we managed. Time to explore on foot. This did not last that long as we were so keen to get back on the bikes.
                   Using a free city map, a tour of the Xmas markets was embarked upon, parking the bikes up each time and wandering among the stalls. I have to admit that, surprisingly, they were not as good as expected. The Xmas markets in Manchester are much bigger and better. But it was all a good experience. It soon gets dark over there and we were happy to ride back to our warm hotel, the bikes wheels spinning away charging the built in dynamo powering the “always on lights”.
                    The next day it rained all day but we persevered and rode again into the city for more sightseeing. To be honest we spent most of the time, once there in the warm dry pub.  The rain was very heavy. The weather does not seem to stop the cycling though . I assume for many it is their only transport and they are prepared for the weather. But that’s part of the experience.
                      It was with a heavy heart that we took our steeds back to their owner the next day.
                      I can say it was a great experience. The Danish people are lovely except for some of the service in Burger King or Netto. It’s expensive and the bikes saved us quite a bit of money in transport costs.
                       I love the way of life. It seems so relaxed. There are so many bikes that there is little road traffic compared to the UK and motorists are very tolerant of bikes.
                        The city bikes showed me a different way of looking at the bicycle and I never missed my faster bikes at home. We both felt perfectly safe and comfortable cycling over there. Jade who never cycles in the UK loved it and now wants to buy a bike. She never suffered on the hilly bits and kept up with the crowd. Oh she was also impressed with Danish men but can’t say I noticed.
                         It’s worth a visit just to change or enhance your view of the bicycle. I so wish the UK would follow suit. Pipedream I suppose.
                         The best bits were the bikes. The relaxed, feel good cycling. The lovely people. Good public transport. The good hotel. The breakfasts. 
                          Bad bits. The prices. The rude, offhand service. Dirty toilets in fast food shops. The weather.
Guarding bikes









Try finding a space for your bike.