I’m writing a 6 part series on my 500 mile bike ride from Stockholm to Copenhagen, which I did in 6 days. So one post for each day of the ride. Get it? 😉 Here’s Part 6. I also wrote this post with ten of my favorite memories from the ride.
I woke up early the morning of Day 6. The sun was rising everyday at about 4:30 and I always sleep with my blinds open because I like natural light waking me up. So the whole time I was in Sweden and Denmark I was waking up early.
Now I know what you’re thinking. I had a HUGE breakfast, right? No, I didn’t. I never thought I would say this, but I was so tired of bread and cheese and all things Swedish breakfast. I was just over it. I had a reasonable breakfast. And rather than packing my huge lunch, I just grabbed some dried apricots, banana chips, and an apple.
It was pretty cool boarding the ferry alongside cars and semi-truck trailers. I shimmied my way though a row of cars to the front of the ship. Within moments of me reaching the front of the ship we were already moving. It’s just about a fifteen minute trip from Helsingborg to Helsingør. Swedes take this trip often to stock up on items that are cheaper in Denmark, mainly booze, which the Swedish government taxes heavily.
With it being such a quick trip I had only a few minutes to run up to the top deck and take some pictures before getting back down to the bottom and back to my bike. We approached the shore and the ferry gate opened up. We linked up to the road and were given the sign that we were free to go.
It was such a cool feeling to enter a new country by bike. I’ve entered countries by plane, by train, by boat, by tourist shuttle, by private car, and now, by bike. There was zero customs or immigration control. I just started riding as if nothing changed. As if I were riding from California to Nevada.
Helsingør is the location of Kronborg Castle, the castle which is the backdrop for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I rode my bike over to the castle and toured the grounds before making my journey down the coast.
Rides don’t get much easier than this one. Not really any climbing. Just meandering down the coast. About ten kilometers before Copenhagen the road bends and you get a good view of the city. I stopped and sat down on a sea wall and ate my dried apricots and banana chips (which are delicious together, by the way!). There was Copenhagen. I could see it. The end was in sight. I wanted to really relish this last part of the ride.
I got into the outskirts to Copenhagen and found a really cool garden that I walked and rode around. I mapped a route into Copenhagen that I thought looked interesting and hopped back on my bike.
I thought about how I felt when I left Stockholm six days earlier. Copenhagen seemed like this far off, distant place. Now I was entering Copenhagen. For months I had been talking about this ride and planning this ride. Copenhagen had always been in my future. Now Copenhagen was my present. It was weird for Copenhagen to be my present. As I write this now, it is even stranger for Copenhagen to by my past.
I was mesmerized by Copenhagen, and that is a whole post in itself. Copenhagen felt foreign. Not like London, which can feel like New York but with a British accent. Copenhagen felt foreign the way that Bangkok feels foreign.
The previous night, while in Helsingborg, I had started messaging my friend Josh about doing an epic bike ride in Italy next year. Accomplish one goal and move onto the next. It’s good to keep things in front of you.
I will say I am very proud of myself for the ride. I am happy to have done it and to have done it alone. My aforementioned friend Josh was originally going do do this trip with me. I would have loved to have had him along, but as a means of personal development, I am glad to have completed this journey all by myself. I told Monica before I left that there are a few things I am proud of. I think I am a good dad and a good husband. I think I am good at my professional vocation. I am proud of these things. I am also proud of the fact that in my 30s I became an athlete. I’m proud of the fact that I took on this ride and that I did it. I love that I combined two things I love — travel and outdoor adventure — and I did something that I’ll never forget.
I can’t thank Monica enough for letting me do this trip. Not just allowing me to do this trip, but empowering me and encouraging me. After this trip was already on the schedule, we unexpectedly bought a house. For a while I was back and forth on the trip, one day saying I was going to do it and another day saying I was going to pull the plug. One night Monica told me I needed to quit waffling and commit to the trip. She allowed us to commit a fair amount of resources, collect stamps in my passport without her, and leave her with the kids. Before the trip, it meant me spending a lot of time training.
Travel is my continuing education. Every trip expands my horizons and perspectives. This trip stretched me in new ways and required a good deal of self-reliance and resilience. I hope that I return home to my family as a better husband and father.
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It’s hard to believe it’s been a week now since I left Stockholm and started pedaling toward Copenhagen. Looking back, Day 1 was the hardest. I went to bed that night a little concerned that I had taken on something bigger than I had imagined. That night at dinner I thought about my ride the next day and how many miles I would try to cover. I was discouraged. I decided I was not in a good place to think about it and decided to go to sleep and think about it in the morning. The next morning I had a huge breakfast and felt a thousand times better. I resolved to take ownership of the ride that day and by day’s end I had ridden 130 miles. There were hard parts of the ride to come but in many ways, from Day 2 on, it all felt downhill. This has been such an amazing adventure. Today is my last day in Copenhagen and tomorrow I fly home. So desperately ready to be with my family again. Thankful for the opportunity to do this trip alone but desperate to get home. #stockholmtocopenhagen #cycling #sweden🇸🇪 #denmark🇩🇰