Tour de hotdog
OK, so it’s my turn to do a write-up of my first cycling holiday. Hmm. I’m 37 years old and come from very flat cycling country… Why haven’t I done this before?? I managed to talk my friend Paul (Paul) into joining me on the journey from pretty much the top of Denmark over to Copenhagen in 9 days. With plenty of rest stops built in ;).
We took off from London on the 25th of August and even before we had done a mile Paul had a flat that got fixed on the train. We arrived at Aalborg train station where we put the bikes together and rode out to my parents.
After a quick welcome beer I took Paul out on a sightseeing tour of my home town. We took the bike lane up the big hill behind my folks’ place and I managed to climb the hill with no problems at all, only to be over taken on the last 20 metres by two 11-12 year old boys in full lycra gear and bling bikes. After a quick tour and a few drinks in town we went home to sleep, only to find out that later on in the night there was a riot in town between right wing football fans and trust trustafarian at a punk concert.
After trying to explain to my folks what a fixie was and why I was doing this ride on one gear, I discovered that I did yesterday’s hill on 82″ and not the planned 74″!
So we set off to meet my friends – 15 miles south for lunch, not sure it was us that was the lunch when I saw my friend’s little puppy Asbjorn.
After a good feed we headed south towards my uncle’s place with a wee break in Hadsund.
En route we started to see many of these windmills that over the last 5-8 years have popped up all over the place in Denmark. It seems that every time I go there there are more and more.
We arrived at my uncle’s place around 1900 – an hour late as we had chit chatted for too long at my friend’s place. It was great to see my uncle for the first time in 12 years. He took very good care of us with beer and an indoor bbq as the weather looked like it would turn any minute.
50miles covered – Gmaps Pedometer
We took off at 7.15-7.30am. Why at this godly hour on a holiday???! Cycling has a lot to answer for. We had beautiful weather for the first 30miles. And we saw where they make Danish bacon,
and more windmills. Even at high speed and pretty much right underneath them they are do not make much more noise than a car idling.
We arrived around 10 am in Aarhus and after a small break we headed for the old town, The Old Town. Denmark’s National Open Air Museum of Urban History and Culture.. Over the years old houses from all over Denmark have been taken there and rebuilt. This summer there’s an exhibition called “Power on two wheels” where we saw a penny farthing with tyres made out of rope!
After a great lunch we headed south again in the lovely rain. Don’t worry it was a wet summer in DK too so the UK didn’t miss out on much. 10 or so miles on Paul had his second visit by the fairies in the pissing rain.
The last 5-10miles wasn’t that much fun. Though I tried out this energy thing …
as you can see that it taste great.
We were wet, and having just dried out it started again, and we were dog tired. We arrived in the dry at my big brother’s place in Horsens around 1800.
50miles covered – Gmaps Pedometer
After a good feed the night before and an even better better sleep we we woke on our resting day to a big breakfast. We then nicked… erm… borrowed my brother’s car and drove out to Legoland in Billund :)
I haven’t been there since I was a wee little nipper all those 25 years ago. Even the bins were made of LEGO!
And I got the coolest thing ever – a stormtrooper LEGO keyring!
now how cool is that??? :)
We started around 10 am with a strong side wind and the hardest hill of the whole tour still left to climb. But, after the hill at 16 miles we had the wind right at our backs. We did the climb and got the wind right on cue and started to fly along easily at 18-20mph.
In Middlefart (yup, go ahead and laugh!) we got spaghetti carbonara that fuelled us up like nobody’s business and our speed climbed to 20-22 mph. We even raced a lycra lout for a few miles at 26-28miles. I think he was a a bit pissed off that two fellas on a biking holiday (one on the most disreputable fixie in northern Europe, plus trailer, quote Rogerzilla) took chase :) We arrived in Odense around 17:30 and made our way to the H. C. Andersen quarter where I had manged to book a B&B for only £43 a night with breakfast, Bed and Breakfast Odense City – Jytte’s Bed and Breakfast.
After a little walk around town we found a place to eat with unlimited ice cream ! Oh yeah there was a steak too but more importantly, there was ice cream :) And, oh yeah, after the ice cream I beat Paul at pool. <smug>
60 miles covered – Gmaps Pedometer
We skipped the first part of the ride as the weather looked like it would be wet all day through with a tail wind. And you can’t cycle over the bridge between Fyn and Zealand, so we took the train to Slagelse. On the train the conductor told some people to move away from some seats as we had bikes and had booked 2 bike spaces. That’s Denmark for you :)
We had arranged to meet up with Gus69 en route and after a few texts we learned that he was already on his way. We would meet him around Soroe. Just outside town I heard the tell tell signs that Paul was about to need to turn his bike upside up and change inner tube again, for the third time. So after our little impromptu break we headed into town and had a hotdog and chocolate drink while we awaited Gus69. He arrived and after greetings and “hi”s we took off again for the last leg of the days ride. We arrived at Gus69’s place and after a shower we had a policeman burger, one of the biggest and best ones I have ever had.
34miles covered – Gmaps Pedometer
We took off around 11 am with the aim of arriving in Copenhagen around 1400 at my mate’s place. And Gus69 even helped us in planning the journey, with hotdog stops et all. But as we got going the speed just stayed up as we had the tailwind pushing us along.
With 10min to go the sky opend up and we got well soaked, but after a shower and a beer we managed to warm up and dry off. My mate then took us into IBM where he works to show us how they do their IBM stuff.
Ended up in a Greek restaurant, with dance, music and food that I took home on the plate :)
22miles covered – Gmaps Pedometer
(a broken Paul)
After some time for recovering, we got on our bikes and toured Copenhagen.
Saw all the bits and even the trustafarians again, where I saw the only 2 fixies on the whole tour. Oh, and there might have been a few beers too, but the metro took us home safely.
20miles or so covered
We got up to learn that there was yet and other riot in town. Hmmm, looks like it is not a good idea for me and Paul to go out drinking in another country :)
After a few hours’ relaxing with the xbox we left Copenhagen for London. We found two bike boxes at a brilliant bike shop one road over from my friend’s place which he didn’t even know about! In Copenhagen the rain started and my box got the worst of it. Cardboard and water don’t go well together. So, after the airport staff and then me dragging the box around, the box was very dead and Stella’s chain ring got very damaged. :(
But apart from Stella losing some teeth, all in all this trip was brilliant. I really enjoyed it.
Thinks that I learned (and remembered) on the trip …
Denmark is flat. Very flat.
Plenty of broken glass on the roads and plenty of flint when raining. My tyres are cut to bits now.
Use anti p+mt+re tyres and for extra safety I will use these kevlar tapes inside the tube next time.
Some bike lanes are wider than some roads in the UK!
Some hills looks like they are flat when going up them (That is your “vertical flats” :) )
Plenty of room on the roads, and good quailty road surface.
Any wind that is not directly in your face is a tailwind.
Hotdog and chocolate drink is great biking fuel.
Bikes are not seen as a problem on trains.
Bikes are part of everyday life.
Bikes that are placed outside are just for commuting to and from, and they are all over the place.
Danes just pootles along, they don’t ride hard.
Hills get bigger in your memory as you get older. I climbed the much-feared hill behind my folks’ place with no problems this summer.
Here is the clicky for all the photos take both by Paul and me.