I want to ride my bicycle…

24 Nov

Since my relocation to Denmark, I’ve had to make a few adjustments to my lifestyle and not least my primary mode of transport. Four wheels have been reduced to two and baggage capacity has gone from what I lovingly referred to as “Narnia boot” to something more in the realms of “bedsit-in-London basket”. Yes folks, I have become a cyclist. After a fashion.

I love cycling but the problem is that I’m just not very good at it. I have all the elegance of a newborn calf and face ridicule on a regular basis, from Danes and foreigners alike. I am trying very hard but I don’t seem to have the natural grace Danes are blessed with, although to be fair I think they’re pretty much born on a bike whereas I have come to cycling at a slightly later stage in life.

We live 13km from the city centre of Odense in an area which Odensians have never heard of and therefore deem to be the sticks. Fortunately for me, though, there is a very scenic and peaceful cycle path which begins quite close to our house and runs all the way into the city centre. It’s a very beautiful journey and, free from the stress of manoeuvering amongst foreign drivers and road systems, I can concentrate instead on the loveliness of nature. This means I arrive at my destination in a pretty good mood, albeit a little sweaty.

You see, much as I love cycling and all the associated benefits to my health, my vanity has taken quite a hit. Whereas I formerly dressed in terms of outfits and coiffure, I now find myself instead choosing trousers based on their likelihood of catching in the chain, considerning whether my skirt is too tight to cycle in and, now that the weather is getting a bit more chilly, whether my down-filled coat is going to cause too much drag in a head-wind, cycling uphill.

When I first arrived in Denmark I was rather derisive of the fashion choices among Danish ladies, but now I realise: they dress for cycling. Simple as that. For instance I now understand the true glory of leggings. It only took a couple of attempts at cycling in skinny jeans for this revelation to occur. And as for the ubiquitous messy-up-do, what a godsend! I have curly hair, and the combination of a helmet and a well-warmed scalp is a guaranteed frisorial disaster. But in Denmark this is a problem which is very easily solved: I just chuck it up in a hairband any old way and nobody even bats an eyelid. Brilliant!

My way of life here is much more laid back and practical than my former high-stress lifestyle in Scotland and I am glad for that, but from time to time I do miss wearing my lovely, impractical high heels and crazy coats. I just have to save them for the rare opportunities when I can get my husband to give me a lift in the car.

Jeg er så glad for min cykel

Efter jeg flyttede til Danmark, blev jeg nødt til at vurdere min livsstil og ikke mindst mit hovedtransportmiddel. Fire hjul blev til to, og bagagerumspladsen blev fra en, som jeg med kærlighed kaldte for “Narnia bagagerum” til noget, der er lidt mere “etværelses-lejlighed-i-London-agtig”. Ja, jeg er blevet cyklist på en eller anden måde.

Jeg er helt vild med at cykle, men problemet er, at jeg ikke er så dygtig til det. Jeg er lige så elegant som en ny-født kalv og bliver tit latterliggjort af danskere såvel som udlændinge. Jeg prøver rigtig meget, men det viser sig at være, at jeg ikke har den naturlige ynde, som danskerne er velsignet med. Skønt, til min forsvar, er de næsten født på cykel, hvorimod jeg blev cyklist lidt senere i livet.

Vi bor 13 km fra Odense centrum på et område, som odenseanere aldrig har hørt om og derfor betragter som at være langt ude på landet. Heldigvis er der dog en naturskøn og stille cykelsti, der begynder tæt på vores hus og løber hele vejen ind i centrum. Den er en smuk rejse og uden belastningen fra at cykle i trafikken kan jeg i stedet koncentrere mig om det henrivende landskab. Det betyder, at jeg ankommer til min destination i rigtig godt humør, endskønt lidt svedig.

Ser du, så meget som jeg elsker at cykle og trods alle fordelene for helbredet, har min forfængelighed fået en nedtur. Hvorimod jeg tidligere klædte mig udtrykt i tøj og frisure, udvælger jeg nu bukser for deres sandsynlighed for ikke at blive fanget i cykelkæden, jeg overvejer, om min nederdel er for stram at cykle i og, fordi vejret bliver råkoldt, om min dun-fyldte jakke skal være årsag til for meget modstand i modvind, når jeg cykler op ad bakken.

Da jeg først ankom til Danmark, var jeg lidt hånlig over modevalget blandt de danske damer, men det gik pludselig op for mig: de klæder sig for at cykle. Det er så enkelt som det. Nu forstår jeg, hvor pragtfuld leggings er. Det tog kun et par forsøg på at cykle klædt i tætsiddende cowboybukser for denne åbenbaring at ske. Hvad angår den allestedsnærverende ‛messy up-do′ – det kom som sendt fra himlen! Jeg har krøllet hår, og kombinationen af et hjelm og et dejlig varmt hoved er en garanteret frisure- katastrofe. Men i Danmark er det et problem, der er nemt at løse: jeg sætter bare håret op med et bånd, på en hvilken som helst måde, og der er ikke nogen, der så meget som blinker. Fantastisk!

Her er min levevis meget mere afslappet og praktisk end min tidligere høj-stress levevis i Skotland, og det er jeg glad for, men fra tid til anden savner jeg at have mine smukke, upratkiske høj-hælede sko og mine vanvittige jakker på. Jeg bliver bare nødt til at gemme dem for de sjældnere oplevelser, når jeg får et lift i bilen med min mand.

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4 Responses to “I want to ride my bicycle…”

  1. alan watt November 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Sounds as if you are preparing for the Glasgow Olympics.
    Am most impressed with the photo shots of a lovely woodland area.
    Guess you take your love of Nature from your dear Mum.
    Hope you enjoy Christmas and all the best for 2013 to you both.

    ‘CHANCER!!’

    Like

    • Beesas November 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      Thank you! Merry Christmas to you and yours, Chancer 😉 x

      Like

  2. Jean November 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Ok, so you don’t even cycle with your high heels in your bike panniers. I gave that up…flatter business dress shoes for me. No, I don’t cycle in streetwear. There is a reason for me: http://thirdwavecyclingblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/cycling-chic-not-for-me-i-cant-afford-it/

    Like

    • Beesas November 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

      Excellent! I didn’t even know about that 🙂

      Like

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