I usually ride with the speed and agility of a Japanese horn, whipping from the bike path to the sidewalk, down a pedestrian street and across a patch of muddy grass at awe-inspiring speed. I would win that race by cutting a few corners.
Deadly London vs Addictive Denmark
My passion for cycling really broke out when I arrived in Denmark. Back in my hometown London, cycling is only reserved for those with a death wish. Your ‘bike path’ is a thin white line painted on a busy, narrow road. You are surrounded by traffic, ignored by motorists and hated by pedestrians.
In Denmark, we are overwhelmed by cycling infrastructure: big cool paved tracks, our own little lights and a community that actually admires this activity. Instead of spitting on cyclists, we actually celebrate them – it’s great! And it is so popular that there is real bicycle traffic. Real crowds of bikes wheel-to-wheel at red light early in the morning.
There is such a joy to be found by cycling here. Unlike public transportation, cycling has an incredible function: you are only as late as you want to be. By using your legs, gear and sheer determination, you are somehow able to get to where you need to be in record time. This may mean you are driving too fast through some yellow lights or briefly using a slightly illegal route, but you can handle it.
Work via the Champs-Élysées
There is also mystery, as there are some features, really unique to the Danes, that foreigners will never understand. They are so well guarded, these secrets, that one feels it would be rude to ask at all.
Such as the businessmen on their way to work, who already look like they are in the Tour de France. Where’s your clothes? Do you arrive at work in a lycra bodysuit and just slip into business clothes at the door?
And where is the sweat? I can not understand what these people look like and smell just fine when they appear to have come to work via the Champs-Élysées. At university I cycled 1 km downhill and stank like a Jutland pig farm. Do Danes have armpits?
David Blaine on a bicycle
Last question: how do Danes manage to glide off their bikes without any problems? After all, I stop awkwardly and get off like a sack of sand falling from a forklift.
In contrast, locals have the incredible power to move their entire body from sitting to standing next to the bike while somehow still moving while gently decelerating. They slide perfectly on one leg, after pushing their solid leg through the solid frame of a metal bike. And then they stop, without so much of a squeak of their pauses, perfectly and nicely.
What’s worse: No one seems surprised by this. You constantly see Danes ending their cycling journeys by breaking the basic laws of physics and other Danes just continue to behave normally. Can we please acknowledge that shape-shifting lizards have infiltrated our society?
Much to like, little to learn
It’s a pleasure to ride a bike, but I often feel guilty when I bend the bike rules. I see so many of my lycra mates waiting at red lights without a car in sight, braking after the yellows or improving their bikes with proper work lights.
But I can never be one of those mysterious people. They do not sweat and they do not respect physique.
Source: The Nordic Page