After days and days of using our feet to get around european cities it was time for a change, and what better city to try two wheeled touring in than Copenhagen. Copenhagen has more bikes than anywhere else in the world. They make the people of Portland look like a bunch of slackers. There are literally bikes everywhere. At the train stations there are bike racks two stories high, there are bike racks everywhere and people riding their bikes everywhere.
Jane found Biking with Mike on the internet, he is a lifelong resident of Copenhagen who left his job as a director at a large company to do what he loves -- bike and tell people about his city. There is no fancy signup procedure as each days tours are first come first served. If the weather is horrible there won't be a tour.
We left the ship at 9:30 and headed straight for Mike's bike shop. We knew the tour was not until 10:30 but we wanted to make sure we got a spot on the tour. We arrived by taxi 5 minutes later, but the shop did not even open until 10:00. So we walked around the area a little bit and decided to get a coffee at the cafe up the block from Mike's. One minor problem was that we hadn't taken the time to find a cash machine and get some Danish Kroners. After preparing our coffee we discovered that the credit card reader in the coffee shop was not working properly, and so we were unable to pay. In Decorah, this would not really be a problem, go find some money and pay me later. Who would have guessed that we would find the same attitude in a big city? This appears to be the Danish way. The proprietor of the coffee shop was perfectly happy to have us go on our bike tour, get some cash, and pay him later in the day.
Shortly after 10 Mike arrived. Bright green stocking hat, bright green shoes, a yellow and black livestrong vest and fashionable glasses. His bike matched his cycling outfit. Mike took us on a tour for a little over 3 hours. We saw the palace, the castle, the parliament buildings, the house where Hans Christian Anderson was born, the new opera house, a couple of parks, and a little lawless place called Christiana. We would bike for a while and then stop and mike would give us a short lecture on what were were looking at, Danish politics, Danish culture, local gossip, you name it and MIke knew about it. He is an excellent story teller. As we were riding there was no talking, the idea is to absorb the local feeling of the place as you are riding rather than chatting. It worked. It was fun, we saw a lot of the city.
Christiana was the most interesting stop on the tour. We had coffee in the moonshine cafe. It is the safest coffee house in Copenhagen. Why? The sign on the door tells the story. More than 6000 police inspections since 2004. Christiana is the counter culture area of Copenhagen, Mike discouraged us from taking any pictures in the area because you never know when you might accidentally capture a deal going down, and they don't like that.
We learned one word of Danish that really sums up our Copenhagen experience. The word is Hygglite, it is difficult to describe exactly what it means, cozy is one possible translation while fantastic is another. Internet people might translate it as "A Good Thing." Its a word they use in Denmark to describe when something is just right and good. Our bike tour of Copenhagen with mike was definitely Hygglite.
At the conclusion of our tour we paid mike and headed, on foot, back through the park on the way to the ship. When we emerged from the park, there was Mike on his bike. Hello he said, I wonder if you might have a few minute to talk to a reporter from the paper Politik? Its the largest Danish paper and they are doing a story about touring copenhagen on bike. It seems that the reporter for the paper was planning to go on Mike's afternoon tour, but because of the oncoming rain Mike had cancelled the afternoon tour. So, we agreed to spend a few minutes talking to the reporter and then we got our picture taken by one of the photographers from the paper. So, if you speak Danish you can read about the Miller family and our bike fun in the city of Copenhagen!