Tag Archives: bicycles

Excuse Me Sir Could You Open That Sandwich? Copenhagen Part 2

17 Jun

So I think last time ended with me telling you about Copenhagen city bikes. I could go back and read my last post to be certain, but I find its best not to linger at the scene of the crime, so to speak.

Moving on, my friend had some things to attend to that night (he knows who he is), so I was happily left to my own devices for the evening. Unhappily however, I was also beginning to feel as though I’d been up since 3am. I then realised in my delirium that this was the case, and decided I should take care on my city bike not to end up like this:

“I was clipped by low-flying zeppelin, the driver was talking on his tin can and string”

Side-splitting and period-appropriate humour aside, I was careful not to ride dangerously or doze off on my final venture for the day. Or maybe I just stayed in and dreamed the second hot dog. I’m not sure.

The next day we decided to get back in to the thing I missed the second most about Denmark. No, I didn’t go and experience paying 60 per cent tax. We went and bought stuff to make these:

These may have been professionally made ones, I can’t keep track of all my photos.

This is what’s called smørrebrød, or open sandwiches. They are typically made with dark rye bread and can include any toppings you wish. The Danes have strict rules about what combinations you can and can’t have though. My friend once put paté and cheese on the same one and was deported for a minimum three months. They go easy on a first offence.

To be honest I could have written a whole post on smørrebrød. Then I realised the only one who’d be interested is me. And since I don’t read (or even spell cheque) this blog, said post would be slightly more pointless than my upcoming tech review of the Sega Mega Drive.

That night it was time to re-visit The Studenterhuset (Stoo-dent-err-who’s-it). Also known as The Student House, this handy bar is a must-know-about if you’re an international student in Copenhagen and not raking in sweet Danish student payments.

The bar keeps costs down by getting student volunteers to run things in exchange for drinks. This works extremely well for all concerned and the free drink system has never been rorted by any students ever. The bottom line is that rather than paying the standard 40-50 Danish Kroner (AUD $6.50-8.50) for a beer elsewhere, you can get it for around 20-25 Danish Kroner (AUD half the last figures I quoted). During the day it also offers cheap coffee and cake, and a cosy place to sit and plan your next sandwich.*

With that we come to the end of another installment on Copenhagen. Until next time keep your bikes upright and your sandwiches open.

 

Safe travels, thanks for reading. J

*Inbox me if you’d like a copy of my sandwich spreadsheet.

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A Pedal Down Memory Bike-Lane: Copenhagen Part 1

12 Jun

If you’re reading this it means one of two sad eventualities has come to pass:

1. I’ve lost my douchy writing notebook at Gatwick airport and someone has found it and subsequently stolen my ideas;

2. Or much more likely, my plan to stow away unseen in a Danish hotdog van has been foiled by meddling kids, and as such, I’ve had to return to London.

Not that I mind being in London, but my latest trip to Copenhagen has reminded me why Princess Mary tolerates such a tedious royal existence. You see, this was my first visit in four years since spending a semester there on exchange at the University of Copenhagen.

I could tell you I was studying back then, but I admit four hours of classes per week is lazy even by my own low standards. Though this did leave time for me to sample the local culture and do all the touristy stuff while others learned all kinds of important things.

So in essence this was less of a tourist visit and more of a nostalgia visit, where I yearned for the simpler days of choosing either Carlsberg or Tuborg, and getting overseas study loans from the Government instead of working.

I was excited but apprehensive upon first arriving. Would I still like Copenhagen? Would it be like I remembered it? Do the Danes still stubbornly refuse to top their sandwiches with a second piece of bread?

Happily in two of the three cases the answer was “yes”. In the third case the answer was “why the hell would we? You can make 100 per cent more sandwiches using only one slice, southern idiots.” Harsh but fair I think.

More on that later, but my first port of call was to reacquaint myself with what I missed most in my four-year absence.

I’m sorry to have to bring you a photo of a sub-par hot dog, they usually have pickles on top.

This should come as no surprise to loyal readers. If I’d travel round the world for a good coffee and croissant, I’d certainly go a little bit further for a fast-food hot dog. Anyway once I’d met my friend (who thankfully hooked me up with mercifully cheap accommodation) and dropped my suitcase off, it was time to find the traditional Danish method of transport. Sadly, I’m not talking about these, as they’ve yet to take off in the mainstream market.

“The future is here, and it’s needlessly hideous.”

No, in fact I’m talking about something that already gets a disproportionate number of words dedicated to it on this blog. Can you guess what it is? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not Ludacris, so it must be….

Copenhagen’s tribute to Steve Jobs.

Copenhagen has long been an exponent of the city bike scheme. And the best thing about it? They cost exactly the same to use as the MacDonald’s toilets and the Melbourne tram system. At least I think so, I’ve never paid for any of those things anyway. That’s right, they’re free!

They may not be the most efficient bikes going around. In fact I think Lance Armstrong may have trained on these to make it seem like he was riding an ACME rocket when he got on his actual bike for the Tour de France, but what do you expect for free? All you need to do is find a depot, deposit a 20 Danish Kroner or 2 Euro coin and you’re off. As you can see on the handlebars, there’s also a handy built in map so you can tour the sites or stalk Princess Mary. Whichever you prefer.

Anyway you all know about my six minute pledge by now, so I will save the rest for another time. In true BBS style I’ve managed to convey considerably less about my chosen destination than would seem acceptable on a regular travel blog. So til next time, keep it irregular everyone.

 

Safe travels, thanks for reading. J

For Cycling and Seismographs: Flatness can be good

25 Apr

Unfortunately this past week has left me wondering if it’s possible to blow your nose so hard your skull comes out your nostril. Never fear casual readers, a mediocre “travel” blogger’s work continues even in the throes of illness.

Ever since I caught my first glimpse of the road race at the 1992 Olympics, I’ve been interested in cycling. It was an old TV and my memory isn’t what it once was, but I believe it looked something like this:

I believe the 1992 games were the last Olympics before compulsory mustaches were abolished, a great shame.

Fanatical readers will no doubt recall I recently rediscovered my love of human-powered transport by purchasing a possibly-stolen bicycle. At this point I’d like to profess my complete ignorance and say there’s no way to know for sure. My conscience is clean anyway.

As an added bonus, because I am now in the rigours of part-time employment I have also discovered the joys of bicycle commuting. By now surely at least one loyal reader is saying “bikes and commuting have been round at least as long as hipsters, why is this important enough to waste six minutes of my day?” Fair enough too, but as friends of mine will tell you, I only recently discovered the joys and warmth of wearing long pants instead of shorts all year round. So in perspective, this is a big deal for me.

This new found love with bicycle commuting has caused me to notice still more things, as us amateur “travel” journalists do. So without much more rambling, here is a list of reasons why cycling in London is the most awesomest thing since the wearable tent. Click the link, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

I realise I’ve been going on a bit lately and don’t want to break my six-minute pledge. If I do I promise I’ll treat the next homeless person I see to their very own wearable tent. Anyway, here’s the list:

  1. It’s cheap, like WAY cheap. As an example my commute to work today cost me exactly £0.00 (AUD $0.00). Please don’t point out the fact that I had to buy the bike in the first place, that would ruin it. But in the long run it’s very cheap.
  2. Despite the excessive motion in the area, you somehow sweat less from your crotch than when you’re on the tube. Reread earlier post for my other thoughts on the tube.
  3. You get to stave off “travelling expansion” with less risk of running in to gangsta bees, or at least a better chance of outrunning them.
  4. It frequently takes less time to cycle than to drive the 12 or so kilometres to my place of employment.
  5. London is a relatively flat city (ie. good for biking).

This last point caused me to consider the appropriateness of cycling in various cities. For example London is relatively flat, as are two of the world’s great bicycle cities: Copenhagen and Amsterdam. On the other hand Sydney is, for lack of bothering to find a better word, un-flat. I’m guessing that’s why as far as I’m aware, there is less of a bike culture in Sydney and even less of a lawn bowls culture. And don’t even think of trying to play snooker…

 

Thanks for reading, safe travels. J