27 December 2011

60 km to Christmas and Back

Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_8
This year I decided to ride my bicycle to christmas. The kids were already with their mum down at grandma's house in Roskilde, west of Copenhagen, so I just needed to show up on the 24th, which is christmas in Denmark. Lovely sunshine that day, so I hopped on my Velorbis, wearing my respectable christmas clothes of course, and carrying a bag of presents on the front rack.

I had just downloaded the Endomondo app for the smartphone, too. I don't normally have a clue how far I ride around the city - and don't know anyone in Copenhagen who does. I know how long it takes to get to places, not how many kilometres. But this app sounded like fun so I tracked the journey to Roskilde and the journey back again.

The Endomondo app has an option for 'Cycling - Transport' which is great, even though they still call everything you do a 'workout'. I figured that riding 30 kilometres and averaging 20 km/h would get me there in about an hour and a half. It takes an hour to get there with bus/train/walk, so 30 minutes extra was no big deal. On the way out, however, there was a pesky headwind of about 9 metres/second so it took a bit longer. Not to mention the hills. But no matter. It was a lovely ride. On the way home a tailwind of about 11 metres/second pushed me back to Copenhagen.

It was nothing special, just a nice bike ride. If it had been raining, I would have taken the bike on the train.

The route is simple from Copenhagen to Roskilde. It's an almost completely straight line along Roskildevej. Roskildevej was built between 1770-1776 as a replacement for the old King's Way (Kongevej). Kings had various Kongeveje around the country for their use and then there were other roads for everyone else. Roskilde was an important town and home of the national cathedral where most of our kings and queens are buried so building the road was a given. The prime minister, J.H.E. Bernstorff, hired a French road expert in 1764, Jean Rodolphe François Marmillod, to carry out the work on this and other routes including, not surprisingly, Bernstorffvej north of Copenhagen.

Before the motorways were built, Roskildevej was the main artery leading to Copenhagen from the rest of Denmark.

I don't get out of Copenhagen much so it was going to be interesting to see what it was like to ride those 30 km. You know, the quality of the bicycle infrastructure, the wayfinding, etc. So I took some photos.

Bicycle Ride to Roskilde Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_1
At left: About five kilometres into the trip. Protected cycle tracks still under my wheels and they are quite wide. There are about 4000 cyclists a day on this section of the route.
At right: Farther out. About 10 km. Wide, protected cycle tracks. I might as well just say now that there were protected cycle tracks on the ENTIRE route. Every single centimetre of it.
Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_2 Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_3
At left: Nice and wide.
At right: Shot backwards. Cycle track and loads of buffer space between the cycle track and the road. Nice, since the speed limits were between 60 and 80 km/h.
Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_4 Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_5
At left: It was christmas so there wasn't much traffic. The 23rd of December is the big travel day here so there were few cars and few cyclists. Most people at this time of day - 14:00-16:00 - were already at their destination. Nevertheless, there were other cyclists on the route, most with bags of presents.
At right: Many of the neighourhoods in the suburbs were designed in the 1970s and feature bicycle and pedestrian ways that are completely separated from the roads. We'll be getting out to some of these towns in the spring to show you all what they're like.
Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_6
Vis stort kort
The only time the cycle track deviated in form was leading up to a large roundabout located next to a big box store area featuring IKEA and others. Then the cycle track turned into a right-turn lane and if you are heading straight or left, you moved out into this bicycle lane up to the roundabout. Here's the link to the roundabout on Google Maps.

Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_11 Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_12
At left: I love the old milestones along the way. 20 km from City Hall Square here.
At right: I hit a stretch of bi-directional cycle track just past the 20 km mark. There was still a cycle track on the opposite side of the street, this bi-directional section was pure A to B due to access to this side of the road and various businessess, etc.
Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_13 Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_14
At left: Every time you hit a town - in this case Hedehusene - the cycle track looks like it does in every city in the country.
At right: Here was the narrowest section of cycle track, heading under this old railway bridge.

Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_17 Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_18
At left and right: The cycle track was much wider under the motorway.
Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_16 Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_19
At left: Five kilometres to go to Roskilde
At right: Roskilde Cathedral. One km to go.
Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_10 Bicycle Ride to Roskilde_15
In the Danish national anthem the praises of our hills and valleys are sung. You forget about it in Copenhagen sometimes, but head out of town in any direction and the landscape is rolling. I didn't rise out of the saddle at any point, but the hills surprised me. Long, gradual inclines. You can see the altitudes on the Endomondo links at the top, I think.

Bicycle Ride Home from Roskilde Bicycle Ride Home from Roskilde
The plan was to ride home after christmas evening but when I went out to the bike at 01:00, the front tire was punctured. Fixing a flat at 01:00 in the morning after loads of red wine was not a preferred option. So I slept there and left the next day, after fixing the flat.
At left: On the way home I saw lots of great things, too. Right turns at red lights allowed for cyclists.
At right: Signage for the route number on the national cycling network. Denmark was the first country in the world to develop a national route system for bicycles, thanks to this man.
Bicycle Ride Home from Roskilde Bicycle Ride Home from Roskilde
At left: Confusing road signs for motorists. Me? Just head straight.
At right: Bicycle and pedestrian tunnel through the earthen sound dykes separating the noisy road from a residential neighbourhood.
Bicycle Ride Home from Roskilde Bicycle Ride Home from Roskilde
You can beat this section of the route. Wide and gorgeous cycle tracks under the motorway.
Bicycle Ride Home from Roskilde Bicycle Ride Home from Roskilde
At left: You can ride your bicycle safely to the tractor/farm equipment shop if you like.
At right: Or to any of the big box stores along the entire route.

13 comments:

Pearlswine said...

Loved the cycle diary! Will definitely give that route a whirl some fine day.

Erik Griswold said...

This is what needs to be included in your presentations about cycling in Copenhagen! Even out in Big Box-land (Taastrup's City2 and Denmark's first IKEA) the bicycle is accommodated, and for not that much additional cost.

Fancy a trip to Hillerød, Hundested or Helsingør some time? IIRC you will find similar bicycle facilities all the way to those cities as well.

rorowe said...

Thanks for sharing your route. If I could ride between towns on cycle-tracks (at least along the highways), it would make longer trips so much easier. We can dream, right?

La Morcuera said...

Riding home for Christmas. Like it.

Frits B said...

Ha, so familiar. So Dutch :-).

(the code word for this message is a rather sinister "abortor" = I will be aborted; how fitting)

TN said...

I would love to see more of these sorts of posts, to help us see what Danish cycling looks like outside the city core of Copenhagen, and perhaps understand what some of the challenges and successes are outside the city core - clearly, there are lots of successes shown in the photos, but that painted bike lane into the roundabout looks rather unprotected compared to the rest of the infrastructure shown.

Pearlswine said...

I did it! ...well almost. As far as Trekroner (approx. 3km outside of Roskilde town centre).
Fierce westerly wind slowed down the outward journey, but it blew me back home.

Thanks for the cycle diary. I would have hopped on a train otherwise. It's great to see these journeys written about - if only to increase awareness that cycling on good cycle lanes outside of Copenhagen is very accessible.

oboe said...

Couple of thoughts:

Wide, protected cycle tracks. I might as well just say now that there were protected cycle tracks on the ENTIRE route. Every single centimetre of it.

I'm quite jealous. But I would note that looking at the map route you generated, it's pretty much a straight shot. What's the cycling infrastructure like if you were to ride to, say, Gadstrup?

Also, that's one dead-flat route. My wife and I rode to a New Years Eve celebration last night from NE Washington to Columbia Heights. Decent cycling infrastructure the entire way).

She wasn't very appreciative of the 10% grade up 13th Street, though, or the prospect of sweating through her fancy duds.

oboe said...

Roughly 20 km roundtrip, btw. In one night. Camel hair and wide-wale trousers. Wife in fancy red dress and lovely wool coat.

http://g.co/maps/gjhav

You guys are spoiled. :)

oboe said...

Oh, one last comment. I do about 60km round-trip twice a week to get to work outside the city. Most of it is on segregated cycle (MUT) paths.

Since I don't have the luxury of dawdling I wear (*gasp*) cycling-specific clothing.

Anonymous said...

oboe: You are perfectly right that outside of the larger cities and towns, things get a lot more problematic. In some places, traffic is very light, and the roads so narrow that cars can't go very fast (they try to, sometimes anyway) - in others, fast traffic, narrow shoulders, no parrallel routes. Small wonder that many kids in the countryside are brought to school by car (schools that are ever fewer and often far away from home). Cycling in the countryside is a lot more dangerous than in the urban areas. 1/3 of all bicycle accidents happen out there, in spite of a lot less of the total cycling.

Ignacio said...

Hi to all! Does anyone how much distance or time do the Average cyclist in Denmark cycle? I live about 11 km from my workplace, and not being from Denmark, I find this quite hard to do every day. Do the rest of the people find it normal? Because I see MANY people doing regularly short hops around the city, not more than 3-4 km long. I just want to know if I am being too lazy!

Ignacio said...

Hi to all! Does anyone how much distance or time do the Average cyclist in Denmark cycle? I live about 11 km from my workplace, and not being from Denmark, I find this quite hard to do every day. Do the rest of the people find it normal? Because I see MANY people doing regularly short hops around the city, not more than 3-4 km long. I just want to know if I am being too lazy!