Tag Archive: bicycle

Bike Hawk Down

My friends with bikes, it would seem, are being taken down faster than Hueys in Vietnam.


On Saturday, I crashed a Danish girl’s bike and took a handlebar to the chest. I guess I had this one coming though, seems as I was giving her a lift on the bike – an act that, while chivalrous, will get you a fine from the police. A roommate of mine had just been hit by a car door a week earlier, leaving her with a mild concussion and another friend had a similar accident a few days later. He received three stitches as an unwanted bonus.


Two other girls I know have also been involved in accidents, one managing to rack up a staggering three crashes. Luckily none of my friends have been hurt badly. Except for the concussion girl – I suspect she won’t be with us for long.


Personally I will think twice the next time a damsel in distress asks me for a ride, the pain in my chest reminding me of what the rules are there for and why it’s especially perilous to ignore the rules with the current snowy conditions.


Still, cycling in Copenhagen, I feel, is not dangerous. All one has to do is follow the very reasonable safety guidelines. One – snowy bike lanes are no places for going Indy 500. Snow might slow you down a little but you’ll reach your destination with your head still on your shoulders. Secondly, while Danes generally respect the bike lanes, the rules alone will not protect you from a drunken pedestrian or a neglectful cabbie. Eyes should be on the road at all times, especially on a Friday night.


The resent mishaps aside, the last two weekends have been fun. Many people are leaving Copenhagen for good this weekend and we’ve been making sure that everybody leaves this city with only the best memories. Entertainment is all the more important if you consider that many students are still trying to wrap up the semester’s duties.


For me, today is the last day of studying as I hope to complete my essay on informal practices in postsocialist countries tonight. While I still have to work on my personal research project, at least I will not have to concern myself with deadlines anymore. Tomorrow I have to head to the CSS to print the paper, as well as to receive an exam form to be submitted with the said paper. It’s red tape as usual, but I think I will actually be enjoying the ride to the campus. I’ll be heading back to Tallinn on January 10th, and the good cycling times will be over then.


To make the most of my last three weeks here, I’ll be heading out to see the Little Mermaid on Thursday. I’ll hopefully be joined by a small force of brave cyclist undeterred by the cold and the snow.


I really need to come up with a name to this ragtag bunch of riders, as we clearly deserve one. And a flag. We also deserve a flag.





Hunter In The Dark

I finally managed to put my amazing stealth skills that I acquired in the navy to good use as, after having spent two hours roaming the dark streets of Copenhagen, I finally found my prey. I found it and dragged it back to my lair. I am the Dark Knight and the Predator, all rolled into one damned handsome package.


"Herro ladies..."


I am of course talking about my new bike which I found last night when walking from Valby to Norrebro. I found it in a dark alley, hiding and shivering – like a coward. I grabbed it by the horns and now I’m riding it’s tamed ass every single da… oh wait, no. It’s busted.


The trouble with “finding” bikes is, if that’s your preferred strategy for getting one, that you should never expect to find one in a good condition. Most of the working bikes are locked up and taking them would technically be considered stealing. And we all know better, right?


Compared to my previous beauty, this one’s a sad sight indeed. The basket is loose, both tires are shredded and the steering is unpredictable at best. When riding, it sound less like a bicycle and more like a steam train desperately trying not to explode. But where others see a corpse, I see a, erm… also a corpse but with a, uh… yeah.


But I’m sure I can fix it. I reckon that if I patched the tubes it just might have a few more miles in it to last just long enough for me to find a more impressive catch. Or it might explode. Seriously, a child juggling live grenades in a ring of fire would stand a better chance.



Bicycles vs. Predator

Today it really hit me just how much I miss my bicycle, as I was forced to walk from home to the campus. I made good time, as I got there in just twenty minutes, but I was considerably more tired than when casually cruising through the morning mist. Also, I think my laptop is getting fat, as it was dragging me down throughout the journey. Must remember to feed it less useless information from Wikipedia.


But another reason why I miss having a bike, a more important one, is that a bike is not just a mode of transport here. A bike is an inherently social thing. Whenever I go to a party or join a group of friends for a beer outdoors, everybody is taking their bike. I could take the bus or the metro of course, but not only would that be more expensive, it would also be lonelier. You’d be stuck in the belly of an underground robot train, whilst your friends are above you, enjoying the warm autumn sun and getting the latest gossip – all the while looking oh so suave.


This is why it is absolutely imperative that I find a new bike. Also, this time I’m gonna do what all the smart students do – steal one. As I’ve mentioned before, the common rule in Copenhagen is that if you don’t lock your bike, it’s fair game.


I’ll be going out later tonight for a few drinks. I’ll be taking the bus – one way, no return, guns on ready, locked and loaded. No need for a clip card – I will be walking back, face covered in war paint. Bicycle-blood will be spilled, oh yes!


I have already lit a bonfire in my room (to any roommates of mine that might happen to read this – please don’t take it literally) in preparation of my war dance that will accompany my plea to Cyklos, the mighty god of bicycle hunters. I will ask for good fortune and maybe, just maybe even sacrifice a young calf. Or in the case of a lack thereof, a bottle of “Danish Pride”. Whichever will do.


Pray that my hunt will yield!




Grand Theft Bicycle

I don’t know how this could’ve happened, but when I walked out of the house this morning to take my bike to the shop, I was surprised to find it missing. I carefully went through all the bicycles on the street and and after a careful examination of each and every one of them I was indeed forced to conclude that mine had been nicked.


However, as I’m quite sure I locked it last night when returning from the field trip, it doesn’t make much sense to think that it was stolen. Unlocked bicycles are considered “common goods” in Copenhagen and if you don’t lock yours you shouldn’t be surprised if it’s gone within an hour (or a minute, if it’s Friday). I on the other hand am quite sure I locked mine. And yet it’s gone.


Also, there are literally a million other bikes on my street alone. Well, maybe not literally, but I can’t think why anyone would bother stealing my rusty old runt when there’s a perfectly good selection of better specimens around.


In any case, that’s 600 DKK down the drain. What’s more frustrating is that I must now find a new bike, which will in turn use up precious time. Until I do get my hands on a new one I’m forced to rely on public transport for getting around the city, which on it’s own means spending another 150 DKK on a clip card. With the semester now in full swing and with lots of other affairs requiring my urgent attention, I’ll be fortunate to get away with buying just one of these.


Luckily I still got some Vana Tallinn left and while sipping on 90-proof liquor is not the most productive way of dealing with a problem, it most certainly is the tastiest.




Blowin’ In The Wind

You really learn to appreciate a heavy dose of coffee, a strong meal and anabolic steroids if you know you have a long bike ride ahead of you and raging outside your window is something that can only be categorized as a mild hurricane.

Copenhagen is windy as hell and over the past few days the weather has really turned from “pleasantly cool” to “frustratingly haily”.

The reason why I must take my green limousine out for a ride is that foolishly I failed to register for my courses in time. Usually at the Copenhagen Uni it suffices if you simply show up for the first lecture but in my case the registration deadline for anthropology courses was August 15th. This means that I must ride to the campus and see if there’s still any courses available.

Later tonight I’ll be meeting a few of my Erasmus friends for a free concert at the Copenhagen Tivoli. An Estonian girl, who actually has to travel from Malmö to Copenhagen just to take classes will also be joining us, seems as the solitary life in Sweden is starting to get to her.

As for the bike ride, I guess I must be off now. If there is any upside to taking such a trip on a day like this, then it must be the buns of steel I am sure to attain. Buns of steel, and a will to survive stronger than that of a wounded buffalo surrounded by baby alligators.


I Want to Ride My Bicycle…

A few days ago I finally got something everybody in Copenhagen should (and indeed do) have – a bike.

Over here bikes are a big thing. In fact, bikes officially outnumber people three to one [citation needed] and will soon most likely become the dominant lifeform in the country. Yours truly will gladly accept the Master Bike Protector’s offer of truce and aid the bicycle race with their quest for galactic conquest.

But seriously speaking, a bicycle is a good thing to have in Copenhagen, especially if you’re a student.

I mentioned before that public transport, while effective, can be somewhat expensive. Unless you can get your daily affairs done without ever having to go too far out of your neighbourhood, a bicycle offers you quite a bit of freedom. And if you’re lucky you’ll find a good deal too.

Perhaps the best time to buy yourself one is when old-timer Erasmus students are leaving the country and are desperate to cash in on their two-wheeled (former) friends. If you cannot time your travel to coincide with the student migration, other channels exist that are worth checking out. DBA is a particularly useful site with plenty of second-hand bikes on offer. If you tap the “refresh” key persistently enough you can find a perfectly good bike for as little as 300 DKK. Some people have found bikes “just lying there on the street” but we all know better to call such affairs “thievery”. In certain parts of the city, such as Norrebro, people can be seen selling bikes on the street and there is a bicycle cemetary near the docks at southern Frederiksberg. The latter is perhaps not the best place for procuring a bike unless, you know, you have a morbid fascination with repair work.

My bike (henceforth to be referred to as “babe”, “baby”, “babée” or “hotness”) cost me 600 DKK and for a city cruiser with a nice vintage look this is not a bad deal at all. A few malicious friends of mine have pointed out that it is in fact a lady’s bike, but I do believe “a cruiser” is the more appropriate term to use. Sure, she has a bit of rust but oh boy, when you oil her up and… [EXCERPT REDACTED]… the chain is likely to last for at least a couple of more years.

As for traffic, Copenhagen humbly shivers at the feet of the bicycle armada. Bike routes are to be found everywhere and even if you do have to merge into traffic, the drivers will not try to murder you instantly. For someone coming from the streets of Tallinn, I surely appreciated this simple courtesy and the relative lack of casual hit and runs. I was initally quite uneasy about throwing myself at the mercy of the cars, but because the Danes value basic things like, say, human life, it didn’t take me long to get with the flow.

It should also be said that riding on the sidewalk is generally frowned upon and the Danes will eagerly engage you in mortal combat should you bump into them.