Copenhagen crazy straw
(I hope to write more about Sarajevo, but also last week I was in Copenhagen and I’d like to write about the time I chose the crazy straw there. My crazy straws often seem to involve riding a bike to the airport, btw.)
Saturday, 1 December, Copenhagen, 1600 hours, end of a conference. My flight home wasn’t until 20.00 but the Copenhagen airport is weirdly huge and complicated so I wanted to make sure to get there around 18.00. What to do with 2 hours of freedom in post-wintertime-sunset Copenhagen?
At first I thought I’d rent a bike to ride around the city on to see a few sights, and then hop on a train to the airport. Then I thought: why not ride the bike TO the airport?!?! And a crazy straw plan was born.
Before I go any further, let me introduce you to one of my all-time favorite Tweets.
a guy i work with told me his old housemate tried to rollerblade to the airport once so he wouldn't have to pay for a cab and missed his flight by TWO HOURS, i haven't stopped thinking about it— garce (@hellogcoo) August 12, 2018
This tweet is a running joke in my own brain, to myself, as well as with a few family members. There were moments during my Copenhagen bicycle adventure where I thought, I HAVE BECOME AIRPORT ROLLERBLADING GUY. So much so that when I saw the above sign showing a bike path for the final stretch to the airport, I was EXTREMELY relieved.
Anyway, I showed up to pick up the bike and to my surprise and delight, it was an e-bike! I kept it on the lowest assist level the whole time, but even that helped since I had a heavy backpack on. However, it also added extra drama since I couldn’t figure out how to check the battery level and thus had no idea how much longer I had until it ran out. I ended up exchanging bikes halfway through at another station so I could pick up a fresh one, just in case.
At first, zipping along at e-assisted speed on the well-developed bike lanes/paths of Copenhagen, I thought THESE ARE MY PEOPLE. Then I realized with alarm that, uh, my people are kind of bonkers. I consider myself to be a skilled, confident, and aggressive-when-needed cyclist in busy urban settings. But I was almost out of my depth with these Copenhagen people. The bike stoplight would turn green and all the cyclists would immediately start pedaling frantically. They also use the non-intuitive version of the cycling hand-turn-signals (left arm held up at a right angle for a right turn, instead of just…pointing to the right like we do in Turku).
I eventually settled into a groove and felt like I could hold my own among these cycling maniacs. But then I noticed that I was flying by my planned sight-seeing stops without actually seeing anything. I get it, it’s winter in Copenhagen, but it was so, so dark. I couldn’t see anything. After I passed the Memorial Park without even noticing until five minutes later, I decided to just head for the airport and call it a night. That route still took me through a ton of central sights downtown, like the famous statue of the Little Mermaid, but I had to decide to be pleased to just be cycling near these things rather than actually seeing them.
And I am pleased! It was fun. More than seeing things, I really enjoyed riding a bike for a couple of hours in a beautiful (I guess, in the light?!?) city. It was exhiliarating and nerve-wracking and unforgettable. The crazy straw usually is.
I arrived at the airport at about 18.30, face and hands frozen but warm enough to stumble into the terminal and catch my flight home. I can now say I’ve been to a decent portion of Copenhagen, even if I didn’t exactly see most of it.