Day 05, Tour09, Koge, Denmark to Verberod, Sweden

Copenhagen, from near the main Railroad station
The Copenhagen Tourism office is in that building in the middle of this image
Check out all those bikes!

I'm combining two half days of riding into one day for this report. The first day, I rode about 20 miles from Koge to a house my friends had rented in southern Copenhagen. Then I spent the rest of that day playing tourist with them in the city. The next day, I spent the morning with them and then rode to the main train Station - about five miles - and took a train to Malmo, Sweden. From Malmo, I bicycled about 30 miles to Verberod, Sweden.

The Baltic, looking down a side street off highway 151 about ten miles north of Koge
The purple plant in the lower left hand side of this image is lavender

The ride to my friends rented house was flat, easy, and pleasant, but my bad knee started hurting and I generally was feeling wiped out from yesterdays 'long' ride. I was very glad I hadn't planned a full day of riding since I don't think I could have done it -{.

When I got to my friends house about 10:30 AM, they - still jet lagged - were just getting up. We visited, they had some breakfast, and we left the house for a day of tourism about noon. We got back about 7:30 PM. It was really enjoyable day and I got to see some neat parts of Copenhagen. My friends will be doing this sort of tourism - traveling using Copenhagen's excellent public transportation and on foot - for almost a month and don't expect to run out of new things to see. It is an attractive city with lots of stuff to see and do.

A really impressive fountain near the old fort and the water bus stop

The Little Mermaid statue, Copenhagen's signature image

We walked about half a km to the nearest S-Tog - local train - station and rode the train into the central train station. At the train station, I bought my tickets for getting to Sweden the next day. There used to be ferries, but now there is a combination of bridge and tunnels connecting Copenhagen and Malmo. The only way to get a bike between them is to take the train.

We had lunch at the train station - they wanted 50 Kroner - $10 - for a beer! - and headed for the city tourism office a few blocks away. Then we walked - fun in a city like Copenhagen - and used the S-Tog to visit the area around the Old Fort. There is a lot of nice open land and water around the fort and it is near the harbor where the Little Mermaid statue is located. Just south of the fort we stopped near a beautiful church with a very impressive fountain. Then we took the water bus up the river. That was a great way to get back near the center of Copenhagen.

The Water Bus, part of Copenhagens public transportation system

My friends on the back of the Water Bus

We rode the Water Bus to its last stop and then walked up a canal and then over to the train station. Coming from that direction meant that we walked past Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagens famous Amusement Park, which is located next to the main train station.

An entrance to Tivoli

Around noon the next day, I rode to the main train station, changed my remaining Danish money to Swedish money and took the train to Sweden. Riding into the middle of Copenhagen was fun. With dedicated bike lanes almost everywhere and polite drivers, even riding in heavy traffic can be reasonably relaxed. It was also a good way to see more of the city.

My friend's teenaged son had tried riding near their rented house, which, of course(!), came with bikes for all four of them to use, and was a little concerned when a car passed a few feet away from him at moderate speed. He was worried because he wasn't used to the bike and was a bit wobbly when riding it. We talked about the relationship between bicyclists and cars in a city like Copenhagen, and I pointed out that each had certain expectations of the other. Cars yield right of way to bicyclist and pedestrians in bike lanes and on sidewalks, and bicyclists and pedestrians stay in their lanes and obey traffic lights - special ones for bicyclist in many cases. This contractual relationship is especially important riding in the center of town!

The train to Sweden was very crowded. The train I ended up riding - it left about 12:30 - was a train that went up the west coast of Sweden to Gothenburg, and it was Friday during the traditional holiday season, so it was probably more crowded than usual. Anyway, it was good to get to Malmo.

In Malmo, I walked, pushing my bike around the area around the train station looking for bike paths that might take me east. I didn't find any, so I cranked up my GPS and used it to route me to Verberod. Getting out of Malmo was tricky, but things went pretty well after that until the small road I was on ended at a big area which had recently been commercially developed. My GPS had routed me on a road that no longer existed.

It was difficult finding my way out of that dead end, but my GPS and I finally got back on an appropriate road that the GPS knew about. Part of the problem was that highway 11, which the GPS sometimes wanted to route me on, did not allow bicycles. I was usually able to find bicycle paths along or near 11 when that happened.

A bike / car road paralleling highway 11

The start of a bike route to Verberod which

A bike path along 11 - part of the bike route to Verberod

The underpass to get to the other side of 11 on the way to Verberod

Riding in Sweden is not as easy as riding in Denmark. There are far fewer bike lanes and the drivers are much more aggressive. The main roads do not allow bicycles and they don't have consistent bike lanes along them. There are bike routes, but you have to know where they are and how to follow them. In Denmark you can just ride and not worry about routing. They have created an infrastructure for bicycling comparable to that for cars. In Sweden, as in Germany, they have bike routes and bike roads that make it possible to travel long distances, but not as easily as you can in a car.

It took me twice as long as it should have to get to Staffanstorp. When I got there, traffic was heavy, so I went into town looking for a place to take a break and snack. I settled on stopping at a supermarket and eating bread and cheese while sitting on a shaded part of its parking lot. It was pleasant break and it was fun seeing what the supermarket had to offer.

As I road on to Dalby, the land got hillier and I got tireder ;-{. There was a long hill to climb coming into to town and I stopped, most of the way up, to rest and cool off. The temperature was in the low 80s and there was no shade on the road. Climbing is really hard on me now. When I got into Dalby, I stopped for good, but expensive, coffee and ice cream. Then I cranked on up a long hill - more than a mile before coasting down the other side and back to near highway 11.

I was worried about 11, but I saw a sign for the bike route to Verberod just before the road I was on ended at 11. I've seen several of these signs - for Staffanstorp, Dalby, and Verberod - and usually been able to follow them. In each case, some guess work and a lot of faith was required ;-}.

My GPS lost its route and destination before I got into Verberod (!), but I had looked up where I was going on Google Maps and photgraphed the maps on my computer screen, so I was able, using my camera and the GPS, to find my destination. It is lovely and peaceful out here, in an area south of Veberod that was a place for summer cabins. Most of the cabins have been enlarged and become year round homes, but they are widely spaced in the forest and still have a peaceful, away from it all, feel.

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