Category Archives: Bikes

You haven’t lived…

Until you’ve moved by bike.

DSC_1879.JPG DSC_1889.JPG DSC_1897.JPG DSC_1900.JPG DSC_1903.JPG DSC_9440.JPG

Salted roads, seasoned riders

Enghave station (Dec. 3, 2010)

For the second winter in a row, we’re getting clobbered. It hasn’t been particularly cold, but there’s been plenty of snow, and every time it looks like it’s going to melt, we get a fresh layer.

This may sound bad, particularly considering that we don’t own a car, but in fact it’s great. It’s great because the two biggest problems with Danish winters are that they are wet and dark. Snow may be wet, but it’s not nearly as wet as rain.

Bella Hotel

And the sun may still sets at 4:00pm, the snow magnifies whatever light is available, from the sun in the day, and from streetlights at night. Snow definitely helps make winter less depressing. There are advantages to cyclists as well. For example, when is snows there are far fewer bikes on the bike lanes. Apparently a lot of people switch from bike to train, bus, or car.

But of course there are drawbacks. There may be more space on the bike lanes, but that extra space is often risky to use. Especially in the mornings, there is often a layer of ice beneath the snow. Read More →

Winter by bike

On the long way home from work

In some ways this is my first winter in Denmark. We had a pretty good snow when I first got here, but since then the winters were more rainy than snowy. We’ve made up for that this winter — there’s been plenty of snow, and it’s been crisp and cold for long stretches at a time.

But maybe it just seems more like a real winter to me because I’m spending so much more time outside. I spent the first two winters commuting by train, as the Microsoft offices are about 22 kilometers north of Copenhagen, so I wasn’t exposed to the elements much. And although I rode my bike last winter, the office was about five minutes from the apartment. now I bike 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) each way. Read More →

Ride of the day

Summer is over and it’s cold (about 4 Celsius / 40 Fahrenheit today). The leaves are changing, and I’m wearing a hat and gloves on my commute. But it’s not cold enough to stop me from going for long rides after work. Not yet anyway.

DSC_1835.JPG DSC_1844.JPG

Right now I’m doubly motivated. First, I still have  a lot of enchiladas, huevos rancheros, and stuffed sopaipillas from our vacation in New Mexico to burn off. Second, daylight savings time ends on the 25th, after which any riding I do after work will be entirely in the dark.

DSC_1848.JPG DSC_1858.JPG

Barn Sour

DSC_1547.JPG Most of my experience with horses was with a horse named Shiloh that my grandfather had when I was a kid. Shiloh was barn sour, which basically meant that she wasn’t ridden very often and had grown to detest the idea. She wanted nothing but to stay in the barn.

To ride her you first had to catch her, which wasn’t easy even though she didn’t have anywhere to run. She knew what it meant when anyone showed up and took a bridle off the barn wall and she’d make it as hard as she could. Even after I’d caught her she’d jerk her head to the side and try to keep her mouth closed to keep that bridle bit from going in. Read More →

Plastic Fantastic

The vast majority of the riding I’ve done for the last three years has been on my Black Avenue (there’s a picture here.) It’s a great bike, but it’s a single speed, and although single-speeds are increasingly popular and surprisingly practical in a flat city like Copenhagen, they’re not ideal for serious riding. Plus they’re hard on the knees.

DSC_9553.JPG DSC_9554.JPG DSC_9556.JPG

And so I’ve added a new bike to my small collection. It’s the fastest bike I’ve ever owned by far, and my first two rides confirm that I was indeed limited by my old bike. My average speed is up noticably and my knees hurt less. This bike just flies. Read More →

There’s a fly in my paradise

I’ve been riding in Copenhagen for over three years now, and it’s fantastic. I doubt there’s a better city for a bike enthusiast. It’s not perfect though. Here’s a list of things you’ll find on bike paths, ranked from best to worst.

  1. Cyclists that are predicable, considerate, and alert. This is by far the largest group.
  2. Cyclists that probably mean well but suffer from an iPod or cell phone dependency that prevents them from being either predicable or alert.
  3. Three-wheeled bikes. This includes parents on Christiania bikes, hauling their kids around, and some disabled people who have strange sort of scooter-tricycles, some of which are electric. This is a well-behaved group, but these bikes take up a lot of room. Luckily there aren’t that many, and they’re pretty concentrated in the inner-city.
  4. Racers riding $5,000 bikes and wearing full-body condom-like suits who act like they’re perpetually in the final stages of the Tour de France. I don’t like to be slowed down either, but it’s a reality on a public bike path. You mostly find these folks out in the suburbs.
  5. Tourists that are distracted by the sights and therefore periodically veer into the path of other cyclists. Or just stop in the middle of the lane without warning. This is only a problem in the city, in the summer.
  6. Pigeons, dogs off leash, stray cats, broken glass, etc.
  7. Cars parked partially or fully on the bike lane because the driver is more important than anyone else in the world.
  8. Steaming piles of fresh dog shit (this actually almost never happens, but I mention it to underscore the repugnant nature of the remaining two items.)
  9. Scooters on the bike lane legally. This means a scooter that is limited to 40 kilometers an hour, or about 23 miles per hour. Still, I think they have no business on a bike lane at any speed. Bike lanes are for bikes.
  10. Scooters on the bike lane illegally. This is the single most irritating and dangerous thing about riding in Denmark. These scooters are modified for speed, and driven by assholes that pass you without warning at three times your speed, and then leave you breathing toxic fumes. If you’re just too fat and lazy to ride a bike and really have to have a scooter, drive on the street with the rest of the motorized traffic.

Min nye cykel (my new bike)

I’ve been wanting a new bike for a while now. Not because I don’t already have two good bikes, but one is too fancy to be left outside, and the other needs some serious work after being ridden hard all summer and has brakes that fade and squeal when they get wet. Besides, it’s always good to have a backup, in case one bikegoes flat,gets stolen, or whatever. I looked for a used bike, but it turns out that fall is a good time to buy a new one, as every bike store is desperate to sell bikes.


I wanted a “winter bike” — one with internal gears and internal brakes. Neither of these two things are frequently seen in the US, but they’re pretty common in Denmark because bikes are ridden all year and the winters are wet. I also wanted a mountain bike. although I love my city bike, sometimes I want to hop a curb or climb a short set of stairs, and my city bike doesn’t really like it when that happens.

Read More →