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Beggars can be choosers
Posted on 4/26/2010 11:00:00 PM

Day seven: Copenhagen-Nyborg Falster, 135km

After buzzing Copenhagen I am finally back in some nature - the youth hostel in Nyborg Falster is on the edge of town, next to the forest. There is also a larger soccer area (with six full-sized fields), so I got to see youth soccer game tonight. The view out the room is calming - there is a grassy area, with rabbits munching on their dinner and birds playing in the wind.

You can only rent full rooms this time of the year (unlike Copenhagen, where we were always seven or eight in the room). So I have the choice which of the ten beds I can take - but they are all too soft anyway...

I had a bit of a late start (9:20) from foggy Copenhagen, then missed a left turn. That in itself was no big deal, as there was a parallel road. The problem was the "bikes prohibited" sign on that road and the bike path, which led me to a dead end. A local was nice enough to show me the right away.

My initial plan was to go on the national bike route (no. 56 I think), but the youth hostel receptionist told me they would only be open until five pm and there was no such deposit system as in Vordingborg (the Copenhagen City youth hostel was open 24 hours).

Looking at the map, I realized that there was too much zig-zagging for me to be able to make the five pm deadline. So I did what I was trying to avoid - from Copenhagen to Vordingborg it was almost entirely the same route as on the way up. At one point I could see a lake to the east, where that bike route was supposed to be. It looked pretty and I am sure I missed some nice scenery.

But this way was a straight shot and mostly on a good-quality road. Only after the Storstrøm bridge (see day two) did I get to make a left and take a different route.

I did think the box turn was a Copenhagen specialty, but found out today in Nyborg that it is not. Nyborg is pretty small and laid back. As I was riding in the almost deserted center after the stores in the ped zone had closed, I didn't even think twice about making a left turn - there was not even a bike path. A guy behind me honked and I assume it was because I was on the roadway. That is unusual in some areas and at a construction zone they even put up signs that warn of "Bicyclists on the road!"

This was the third of three honks I noticed today. The first one was half a kilometer after my start from the youth hostel in Copenhagen. I had to pass another cyclist on the narrow bike path and so half an inch of my side pannier stuck out into the roadway. That prevented a van driver to get to the next red light as quickly as he wanted. He finally mnaged to queue up behind other cars at the red light, so as I passed him I waved and smiled - he waved and smiled back. Life is simply good around here!

For the most part people are so relaxed (see soccer game report) that I think it doesn't bother cyclists much that they lose time when they ride through the city and it doesn't annoy car drivers that they have to uselessly wait when turning right. As one guy I talked to yesterday put it: "If all people were like Danes then there would be no wars."

This didn't prevent a second driver (assuming he was Danish)  to honk at me. I was on that main highway with the one-foot "bike lane" and a commercial truck was approaching. I controlled the lane as there was oncoming traffic. Instead of slowing down early, then accelerating again to lose a minimum amount of time, he decided to slow later.

Maybe he thought I was going to jump into the ditch or something. Of course he had to slow and honked when he passed me - sort of useless at this point. But I smiled and waved as I watched him drive away - with the right truck side hanging over the white line of the one-foot "bike lane" - had I been in there it would not have been pleasant.

I came to Nyborg with plenty of time to spare and even had a free city tour - you guessed it, thanks to the city planners. While the main road would have dropped me almost directly at the hostel, cyclists were not allowed such simple things. I was routed (via several "bikes prohibited" signs - it seems there is some competition between Denmark and the Netherlands who can put up more of those) towards the western part of town, then through the center, finally coming out at the south eastern part.




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