This summer I did my first solo bike ride from Germany to Copenhagen. When I found out the European World Messenger Championships were happening in Copenhagen it felt like that was just a few jabs of a map away to go and join in. It was windy, full of windmills, powered largely by E numbers and I made friends with some ducks on the way.
It turns out that being on the continent and living in Berlin this summer means that my habit of jabbing at maps and working out whether I can cycle there is more rife than ever. I’d never really had to think about how I felt thought about England being an island before, but being in another country is good for making you aware of things you’d never have thought of otherwise I suppose. Like saying convoluted forms of thank you too much.
Continents are cool. Europe is great. Some Americans and Australians have said that you see a lot change in a short space of time, and I’m feeling that right now. I’m enjoying understanding that. I’m also – mostly – loving the trains here which can take you straight into other places really quickly without checking in and waiting around in the same way. I don’t know that it’s ‘Slow Travel’ but there’s something awesome about seeing the world whizz by. Travelling ten hours on a train doesn’t seem a chore, because you’re changing country and that concept is still blowing my mind.
90 miles/155km in a day isn’t impossible but it was my first bike ride by myself, and in Europe. Generally I figured nothing too bad was going to happen, which seems to work out as a rule to live by. On the whole, it felt like I was wearing all the memories of past weird cycles with friends like a little mental cape of accumulated joy.
From Berlin, Copenhagen is a train ride to Rostock, then a short cycle to the ferry during which I learned how frequently it’s possible to get lost. The ferry takes you to Gedser and from there it’s pretty much one long road up the country. That said, cycling by myself on grand-sounding rides unfortunately doesn’t suddenly make me better at directions. I muttered at my Garmin a lot.
You then get a ferry across to Gedser in Denmark, and then a long ride up Denmark through some islands, which was unexpected (because I have weak geography) and very cool. Some of the bridges were crazy windy. The windmills beforehand were probably a giveaway there.
Around this point I realised I’d managed to plan my Garmin route down a motorway and was getting to grips with cycle lanes. They don’t take much brain power. It turns out there’s basically one long road all the way up Denmark, which was blowing my London mind and to start with I refused to believe this and kept stopping to double-check that was a real thing. This amused some slow touring cyclists who kept catching me up with a face that looked a bit suspicious of my ‘some of the gear, absolutely no idea’ vibe.
Lunch – needs work
Crossing Danish islands was beautiful and windy as fuck, which suddenly felt a bit like being on the Golden Gate Bridge or somewhere disproportionately bigger.
I had this view for about six hours.
I can’t say I’ve ever been so happy to see the Generator Hostel in Copenhagen.