To say it rained a bit last night would perhaps be regarded as an understatement. I awoke in the early hours of the morning to the thunderous roar of rain hitting my tent, and was somewhat alarmed I’d spring a leak, or get washed into the Oresund, however I’m happy to report I remained dry; another win for the Hilleberg Akto, now 3 years old but still going strong.
After the overnight rain at least there was sunshine in morning to dry off everything off, including a rather despondent looking Smaug. And for a change I didn’t have to pack my tent up wet! Today was also a new map day, always exciting; time to explore Denmark. I’m still wondering if I can get to Tarifa by 05 July, my birthday. It seems a bit of a stretch and might mean rushing things too much, but would be nice to celebrate my fortieth at the Southernmost point of Europe, or thereabouts.
Got on the road about 09.30, pedalling out of the campsite past the small tent of the cycle tourer I met last night; no sign of life, I hope she didn’t drown. The tiredness I first felt wore off quickly as I rode towards Copenhagen (Kobenhavn – havn means port, but can see where the word haven comes from) in the sunshine. Even the wind seemed to die down a bit as I approached Denmark’s capital, on the island of Zealand.
I made it into the city centre after riding along lovely quiet cycle paths, to suddenly find myself immersed in masses of traffic and pedestrians, a bit of a shock to the system. Copenhagen also turned out to be somewhat of a building site, with development going on all over the place, including a new subway station right in the centre.
I overheard a tour guide talking about the hotel in the above pic; I think she said One Direction stayed there recently, woohoo. Of more interest was the story about a Danish hero who attempted to assassinate Himmler when he was travelling back from Norway to Berlin during the Second World War; Denmark was occupied at the time. Unfortunately Himmler bypassed Copenhagen in the end, otherwise certain historical events might have turned out quite differently. I think tagging on to, or drifting between guided tours, might become a new hobby.
It was tricky to do much sightseeing with all the crowds and traffic, whilst laden with a heavy bike, so I didn’t end up delaying long in the city, instead pedalling slowly South West and stopping occasionally. I could have detoured to see the Little Mermaid statue, and Tivoli Gardens, however it would have been awkward and I wasn’t really in a sightseeing mood.
True to what I’d read Copenhagen really is full of bicycles, they’re everywhere. It will be interesting to see how Amsterdam compares if I go that way (still not decided).
Before I knew it I was out of Copenhagen, which I guess isn’t that large in comparison to other European capitals, and pedalling through suburbia. There’s not a lot to report from the ride down to Koge, it was fairly flat, straight, and boring. I did keep having to stop for traffic lights which was a bit tedious, and interrupts your rhythm. The cycle paths are good but I’m really noticing the increase in cars compared with Sweden.
I arrived in Koge after having to stop to pump up my rear tyre several times. After recording in my last blog post a puncture total of zero, I fear the tables have turned, and perhaps I have attracted the attention of Loki again. Luckily it was only a slow puncture so I was able to get to Koge campsite, book in, and get set up before addressing the issue.
I mended the puncture successful, thankful of the dry weather, but noticed a more nefarious problem during my endeavours.
Unfortunately a spoke had broken somewhere along the way; I thought I’d heard a distinctive ping earlier. It was on the rear drive side too, which I can’t fix as I don’t have a cassette removal device; maybe I should have bought a hyper cracker . Thankfully there are loads of bike shops in Koge, and the guy at reception recommended a couple for me to try in the morning, so I’d be able to get it sorted. There was no point in just suring up the surrounding spokes and carrying on, as it’d just get worse, more spokes would break, and I’d find myself really in the lurch.
One good thing; as I was fixing a puncture I changed my front and back tyres around, thus prolonging their lives with any luck. I felt quite chuffed to be following sage cycle touring advice successfully, however those Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres aren’t half stiff to get on and off.
Bike maintenance partially completed I paused to chat to a couple of German cycle tourers who turned up towing trailers, on their way to Finland. They don’t like their trailers, and recounted how unstable they make the bike, meaning you can’t really stand up on the pedals or go fast down hills. I’ve often wondered about one myself but am quite glad now I didn’t go that direction, and will stick with my panniers.
After a shower, but still with slightly blackened hands (impossible to get them completely clean after maintenance session) I headed into town to grab some food, and ended up succumbing to temptation and eating out at the Cafe Vivaldi, in the town square.
It was truly awesome burrito, with a nice beer on the side; portion size worthy of any cycle tourer, and with a salad too, so health bit covered. Post dinner and after a quick walk about I headed back to the campsite.
On the way back I noticed my front tyre going flat, so I’d either pinched the inner tube when changing the tyres round earlier, or picked up new puncture somewhere; it turned out to be a small metal staple, but I didn’t fix it until the morning.
Here’s a link to today’s ride – route and stats, a slow 75km, taking 5 hours, best speed up soon;
Not sure on route for next few days. Could go direct to Germany by ferry from Rodby, or round the islands; will depend on the weather and if I want to get serious on challenge of getting to Tarifia for my birthday. I think I’d prefer the island route, as it’ll be nice to see a bit more of Denmark. I did try to work out the number of miles to Tarifa; think I’ve got about 2,000 left, or 4,500 to get to Istanbul, or 6,500 to get all the way round and back home. Should be doable in the 5 months I’ve got left, considering I’m already over 1,700 miles in under 1 month. I guess it also depends on any problems I have with the bike, which as I’d discover tomorrow should never be underestimated.