At some point last night, I agreed to spend the day touring Copenhagen on a bicycle with Gilles. In my defense, I was really tired and probably not making sound decisions.
It seemed like an innocent undertaking. I mean, this is a city devoted to the bicycle. Beautiful, dedicated lanes … respectful car traffic … dedicated traffic lights. It seemed like a no-brainer.
… until the proverbial rubber hit the road.
Our hotel provided us with 2 bikes consistent with the dozens of bicycles we had seen going leisurely by late Sunday afternoon after we arrived.
To my surprise, I discovered these single gear monsters were HEAVY, and in hindsight I’m convinced the weight is to prevent you from being blown off the road by the gale-force winds. After a day of riding around downtown Copenhagen, I feel like my face has been sand-blasted.
… but I digress.
These beasts were old-fashioned, pedal-backwards-to-brake kind of bicycles. I haven’t been on one of those since I was a kid. Did I mention it was really heavy? I was breaking a sweat before we even left the parking lot.
Once on the road, reality hit. It was no longer a peaceful Sunday afternoon. It was Monday and the bike lanes had become super-highways. In Copenhagen’s rush hour, I discovered a whole new meaning to traffic congestion … there were now hundreds and hundreds of bicycles clogging the bike lanes, often bumper-to-bumper moving at frightening speeds.
These people were in a hurry and this was definitely not going to be cycling for the faint of heart.
Did I mention helmets? No, of course I didn’t … because we didn’t have one. Like 99% of the cyclists in Copenhagen, our heads were unprotected.
I can’t begin to tell you how insane that is – I wish I had a dollar for every time we’ve lectured our boys on the merits of wearing a helmet, and here we were throwing common sense to the wind. I lost count of the number of times my life flashed in front of my eyes today.
Gilles would periodically forget about his terrified wife somewhere behind him. His racing instinct would kick in and he’d start to chase down the Pelaton that had just passed him.
At one point when I finally navigated a busy intersection, I looked up in time to see him bobbing around the next corner and crossing a bridge … not where we had intended to go. If I could have caught up with him, I might have hurt him.
What’s worse … Gilles wants to do it again tomorrow.