I Might Have A Death Wish

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.


I have no idea where I was half the time.

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.


… but I did catch some things – like the Rosenborg Castle … a former hunting lodge of the Danish Royal Family.  Built in the early 1600s.

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.


Like most old cities, Copenhagen is full of beautiful old churches.

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.


Nyhavn – a port district of Copenhagen and a major tourist magnet.

What’s worse … Gilles wants to do it again tomorrow.



About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in 52 New Things, Adventure, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to I Might Have A Death Wish

  1. Pingback: D = Denmark | My Life Lived Full

  2. treerabold says:

    A workout you weren’t expecting?!! Isn’t it amazing we all survived childhood with clunky old bikes and no helmets! But today I think about the people I’ve worked with that have head injuries and choose helmets!!
    Beautiful pictures!!


  3. afairymind says:

    That does not sound like a pleasant bike ride – I think I would have been terrified as well! You captured some great pictures though. I love the shot of Nyhavn. 🙂


    • joannesisco says:

      I really respect Copenhagen’s bike culture and I wish dearly we had even a fraction of their bike lanes. If I lived there, I think I could get used to it really quickly …. but definitely with a helmet!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. hilarymb says:

    Good luck Joanne … but Copenhagen looks beautiful – it’s a place I’d love to visit .. cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  5. No helmets? I guess that 80/90 percent wears a helmet around here. Are you prepared to bicycle around Oslo today?


  6. Su Leslie says:

    Great photos. I guess we used to ride heavy old bikes, helmetless, all the time as kids and survived. But that was then … and I never did it in traffic. Good luck for tomorrow.


  7. reocochran says:

    Bicycling sounds challenging and I worry about your sand blasted face! 😦
    But the photos are amazing. I love the castle, the sights and all of Copenhagen! The port Nyhavn is so beautiful and brightly colorful. I bet you both will have or did have a fantastic day again on bikes. 🙂 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us!


  8. Alex Hurst says:

    Copenhagen looks gorgeous! But yeah, there are NO helmets for cyclists in Japan, and only this year, they finally passed a law that prevents mothers from having more than two infants/children on the same bicycle with her. EVEN TWO IS TOO MANY. I am always mortally terrified for the young kids I see on bicycle baskets, zipping through traffic with no helmet.


  9. Lynn says:

    It’s funny how we have become so accustomed to riding with a helmet. I am sure for the natives there it is no big deal but for us, we somehow feel naked & unsafe! Happy walking today!


  10. Another day on a bike?? Put your foot down…literally! I always enjoy walking around cities when we travel. It’s just more relaxing, with time to look at interesting things and putter if you want and you can cover miles in a day…enjoy the rest of your trip.


  11. It looks so lovely but I’m with you on the helmets. Have a lovely day 🙂


  12. Sue Slaght says:

    Joanne tell Gilles he has been relegated to ride behind you! At east he will be able to pick up your noggin. It sounds fascinating to ride with such bike congestion but that is easy for me to say sitting on the couch. Ride safe!


  13. I suppose a tandem bike would be a solution? Yes? No?


  14. Nancy says:

    Or you could hire a cab and tell Gilles you will meet him there? 😊


  15. A sandblasted face on our Joanne? Horrible! But, must say……most envious of seeing something like that last pic……..wow! I hope tomorrow goes better…..perhaps a tow rope from Gilles’ bike to yours?


    • joannesisco says:

      There is no more bike riding for this tourist! I prefer to take my chances by foot. We can’t cover nearly as much ground but it will be better for our marriage in the long run 😉


      • LOL. Joanne, I don’t even have a comment back to that except to say I smile when I see a comment from you pop up and I almost never finish reading without a burst of laughter. Too much you are, just too much. No wonder Gilles is into these Ironman competitions….he’s trying to keep up with his wife’s mind!


  16. Heyjude says:

    Oh boy! I wish you luck! But glad you managed to stop and take some photos for us, especially the delightful colourful Nyhavn, but it does look awfully crowded there even on a Monday. And please don’t tell me you forgot the Little Mermaid?


    • joannesisco says:

      Apparently it’s been a poor summer weather-wise and Monday was the hottest day so far. The crowds were out in full force because of it.
      I imagine our time here would have been very different if the weather had been cold and raining.

      No – we have not been to the Little Mermaid … nor Tivoli Gardens. It was still closed when we got there and we never made it back.

      This afternoon we get on a boat for Oslo so I doubt we are going to make it 😦


      • Heyjude says:

        Been a bit like that here. Sun comes out and everyone goes outdoors to make the most of it! Well the Little Mermaid is very small so I am told so you haven’t missed much. Oslo eh? Are you meeting up with the Cardinal? Now he’d show you around!


        • joannesisco says:

          We did end up seeing the Little Mermaid on our way to catch our cruise to Oslo. She is pretty tiny … but pretty is the key word 🙂

          … and I did get to meet the Cardinal today! We shared a bottle of wine together and then he generously gave us a tour around downtown before I finally begged off tired. He was a great tour guide and it was wonderful to meet him 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  17. Mama Cormier says:

    Reminds me of the time I went riding in Montreal with my husband, using their Bixi bikes. They don’t provide helmets either and I also saw my life flash before me. I’ve never been so nervous riding a bike. My husband and my son also took off ahead of me. I was not impressed. Funny how our experiences are so similar.


  18. bikerchick57 says:

    May I remind you that YOU are the one in training for a big bike adventure. Quit whining and go pedal your arse off! :-p

    And, hey, if you happen to pedal past the bakery or confectionary…use the breaks and turn around. That’s an earned reward.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Sammy D. says:

    I’m sorry. i’m laughing out loud even while my heart is pounding in synch with what I’m sure was your pounding heart. I’m positive if you’d caught up with Gilles right before you killed him he’d give you that “wha-a-a-t?” the way men do when they’ve put OUR lives on the line and don’t have a clue.

    From now on international travel rules prohibit you from making any late-night decisions about pending activities. No matter how perky you feel!!


  20. NancyTex says:

    Bahahaha! Be safe, my dear! I have spent a lot of time in Copenhagen (for business) and I was always shocked at how cyclists weren’t getting hit in the traffic. Enjoy this lovely part of the world!


    • joannesisco says:

      Actually I wasn’t worried about the cars at all. The bike lanes are well respected and they even have their own traffic lights and left hand turn lanes where appropriate.
      It was the sheer volume of cyclists and the speed at which they manoeuver around each other that was terrifying. This is definitely not for casual cyclists.

      This is a gorgeous city. How lucky for you to have spent a lot of time here!!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. That sounds like a great idea to enjoy the city like the natives do. Too bad it didn’t work out as well as you thought. But, you were able to get some good shots and you manged to get home in one piece so all is well. Perhaps you can rent some more reasonable bikes and a helmet tomorrow. Oh, and avoid rush hour. Good luck!


  22. mickscogs says:

    Nice pics. Hire a helmet and go with the flow Jo 😉


  23. Oh. Just…Oh.

    You could consider it good training for Vietnam.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      Any time in the saddle is good training time I guess. That kind of packed Pelaton riding is a completely different experience for me. Helmets are definitely going to be a requirement from now on!


  24. Oh my, that is quite insane! Once again I am recalling the days of biking to school. I was helmetless as well. A death wish indeed!


  25. Solveig says:

    Good luck tomorrow, don’t forget the helmet!


  26. Purpleanais says:

    Lol, good luck for tomorrow 😉


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