Denmark was almost the flat, well-signed, well-placed country of our dreams. Mountainous fijords gave way to Saskatchewan-esque farmland and despite the ever-present headwinds, we were making 70km days with our eyes closed (not advised). The only real draw-back was the rain (every god-damned day of our god-damned lives), and the occasional Google detour onto unpaved country roads.
Fresh off the world’s shittiest ferry (we’re looking at you Fijord Line), we cycled a very flat and only mildly rainy 70km to a warmshowers host just outside Aalborg. Our fantastic hosts let us stay an extra night so we could clean our disgusting clothing, use a kitchen and binge watch Netflix (Glow, why you gotta be so good). Once back on the road it was a mostly straightforward ride through Hadsund and Randers to Aarhus, where we planned to catch the ferry across to Sjaellands Odde and bike the last stretch to Copenhagen. In total, this stretch of our trip was less than 500km (Denmark is TINY).
Denmark is built for cycle-touring. Not only were the people friendly (and the beer more affordable) but the country is covered in free shelters which appear to be designed specifically for travellers. Not only were these shelters free and frequently accompanied by a fire pit, running water and outhouses, they are all listed with GPS coordinates on a free app (“Shelter”).
For some reason, maybe because the shelters are so plentiful, we continued to have difficulty finding hosts to take us in (save our awesome warmshowers in Aalborg and the anarchists that adopted us in Aarhus). So by the time that we arrived in Copenhagen, we were weary and wet and totally sprung for a hotel. Guys. Copenhagen was expensive as shit but with it’s shiny cycle highways definitely wins out for most bike-able city thus far. Also we accidentally bought 20$ beers, so beware because that’s definitely a thing.
I am writing this from a boat, somewhere in the Baltic sea on route from Finland to Sweden. It’s going on hour 11 of our accidental cruise, packed full of the standard VLT machines and terrible music. Like, knockoff songs that you totally recognise, or, WOULD recognise if it weren’t for the auto-tune and backround chorus of “Sex! Shots! Sex!”.
Our little tour started in Helsinki. Well, actually, it started in the airport shit show where I assume every international bike trip starts (“Bikes…? You had best talk to…anyone but me…” *closes gate*). Once we made it to Helsinki, we did the standard airport bike shop thing and then cycled the 18km to our couchsurf. It was 11pm when we arrived, but still light because the sun never sets here tabernac. Which, while great for cycling late, means we fall asleep to birdsong and I can read without a flashlight in the midnight glow.
We made it into Helsinki for Pride and Metal Fest weekend, so we were inundated with beautiful freaks everywhere we went. In my mind, Helsinki is always this way.
We ate, drank and sauna-ed with friendly Fins. I did my very best to avert my eyes (in the most non-awkward way possible) in the saunas and swear that the skin nearly peeled off my face as the temperature rose over 80 degrees celcius.
And then we cycled west. We stuck to a minor highway and were stoked to find bike paths a good part of the way. Also, we swore that we had just somehow travelled through time and space right back to Ontario. Until people started speaking Finnish, obvs.
Apparently Finland has this rule that allows all people to camp publicly as long as you aren’t being a total asshole. Something like that; you can look it up! So we camped in a half plowed farmer’s field. And by a bunch of stacked trees on a logging road. It’s real hard to sneaky-camp when the sun never sets, but no one seemed to mind.
Helsinki to Turku was just under 200km, but the uppy-downy was enough to make our legs swol and instill fear in our hearts for the mountains to come. Please send us your thoughts of tailwinds and mechanical quads.