onsdag, marts 22, 2006

A day in the life of a Danish bicycle

This past Monday was the official opening of my own personal bicycle season, by which I mean it is warm enough (barely) that I don't have the excuse of winter weather to convince me to take the train or the bus. The star of this season is, of course, my bicycle, which is also one of my most prized possessions. I would like to honor her - yes, her, as she is clearly a 'dame cykel' (lady bike) - by sharing the events of a typical day in her life, yesterday. The following is what I imagine she would be thinking, if she did that sort of thing. And for all I know, she does.

8:35 I have just been rescued from the cellar where I live. A lot of my neighbors never get out, and sometimes I worry that I'll never leave either. The good thing is that, when I do get out, I usually get to go somewhere far away...at least an hour, usually more. Today's journey should be an hour and 15 minutes, but will probably be longer. Serves my owner right for not taking me out more; it'll be a while before I can go faster (not fast though...my owner is always very slow). The bad side is that most of the places I go are nice enough, but the way there is usually on side roads along highways or on ring roads, so I don't see much in the way of natural beauty.

10:00 Well, the ride was o.k. and not too much longer than normal. There are still not too many of us on the roads because of the weather and the time of day. There aren't so many of us parked here either, but a lot of students live in dormitories which are within walking distance.

16:05 A bicycle's life is all about waiting. What was my owner doing in that building anyway? Couldn't she see that it was snowing? Didn't she think about me...I could have rusted! Anyway, I've just gone from school to the main library, through Christianshavn; my siteseeing for the day. I spend an awful lot of time parked in front of libraries, though I would think that taking me places is much more fun than books. I think I've seen some of these bikes before, but I can't be sure.

16:50 Now, I'm in Nørrebro, where my owner has Danish lessons...does that woman do anything other than study? There used to be a nice courtyard with lovely bike racks, but there's some construction going on. So I'm in the passageway to the courtyard. I'm in a prime position because we're here a bit early, but I guarantee you that I'll have six other bikes resting on me by the end of the evening.

20:15 Hey, my owner is out of class already. Something about finishing a practice exam early...so, amazingly, there are some things she does fast. I'm all set to ride home, but can you believe she's forgotten my lights? I'll bet on purpose. I think she should just ride illegally, but I know she won't. Now, she's actually going to walk with me to the train station, can you believe that? What an indignity!

20:45 The shame! I can hardly speak. There were no trains on the first line, so she decided to take the replacement bus. Bikes just don't go on buses; it's not allowed, and not done. She put me on the bus anyway, and then had a big discussion with the driver about whether we could stay, and how was she supposed to get home otherwise (while I was thinking, what about me...duh!). The driver talked about how it's her own responsibility to have lights, and how the space I was occupying was specifically for prams and very old people. And then...he let us stay. So embarassing...like maybe I couldn't do my job or something. Now we're on the train. I am on trains a lot, along with lots of other bikes. It's a sad fact of life that Danes ride bikes, but normally not for very long distances...anything over a half an hour away is seen as pretty far. So, maybe I should be glad that I get ridden at all, seeing as I live way out in the 'burbs.

21:05 Home sweet home. I was one of the very few bikes in my cellar to go out today, and I can feel a bit of envy from some of my neighbors - only some of them...others are not so well, and prefer to stay inside. This is the second day in a row where I've had some action, and I hope it lasts. I wonder where I'll get to go tomorrow?

30 kommentarer:

Sangroncito sagde ...

What a lovely post and a nice peek into your life.

And now we know why Queen Elizabeth 2 of England called the Scandinavian kingdoms "the bicycle monarchies". (Actually she was being bitchy and suggesting they weren't real monarchies in the British regal sense). But I'm a big fan of Queen Margarite myself!

Simple American sagde ...

It enjoyed the day with your bike. How dare you leave her alone outside. haha ;)

Vanessa sagde ...

you bike is lovely!
now that you mention it, need to get my own bicycle out of storage and onto the roads.

angel, jr. sagde ...

I wish I had the stamina to bike. It seems like such a relaxing sport and one that allows for reflection.

Meow sagde ...

What a wonderful post. I enjoyed the travels of your bike ... very cute !! I have a nice bike, but find I am too lazy to use it very much ... it is much simpler to get into the car and drive !!
Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog.
Hope you are having a great day.
Take care, Meow

Vesper sagde ...

There are not enough bikes here in canada.

True Blue Guy sagde ...

That was lovely ! very well written ! - I remember we used to write essays like this

Maddy sagde ...

I love your bike - and I love
my bike too - mine is black
-they would get along I think-
and misbehave behind our
backs when we have a coffee.

Connie and Rob sagde ...

Very cute post. Try not to leave her alone for too long cause she does look a little sad when you were taking your Danish lesson.

Take care,

Morningdew sagde ...

This post reminds me of an evening I spent in Florence where I wandered around just taking pictures of parked bicycles. It was lovely!

Helen sagde ...

Hello, I'm a Swedish bike and my owner hasn't taken me out for months... First she claimed I had a flat tyre, then there was ice on the roads and now she says there is snow! I can't see out from my windowless bike celler but I'm sure the snow can't still be there..Maybe one day she'll remember me and take me out again! I'm very jealous that you get taken out on trips by your owner. Love Helen's Bike

Plume sagde ...

"Jeg er så glad for min cykel lalala". Interessant dag. Min stakkels cykel står flad i skuret, jeg får jo næsten dårlig samvitthed. Tak for fødselsdagshilsnenen!

kimananda sagde ...

Sangroncito, everyone here likes Margarethe, too. It was a great shock to me when I moved from England, where people's feelings towards the royals is intrusive and ambivalent at best, to Denmark, where the royal family is (apart from Prince Henrik) seen as talented and hard-working, and where the tabloid press is there, but not at all negative or slander-oriented.

Mr. American, not just leaving her outside...leaving her outside in the snow. How could I?

Vanessa, thank you! And you are a brave woman to cycle in California. Here there are bike paths everywhere, and cars are a lot more aware of cyclists. I'd be afraid to ride a bike over there!

Angel Jr., luckily it's comparatively flat here, so it doesn't take much stamina. I have to get off my bike and walk if I even think about hills! So, it does end up actually being quite relaxing...I find I can do a lot of thinking and problem solving on long rides.

Meow, if I had a car, or for that matter if I had a transport pass, I would never bike. That is why I don't buy a pass, actually. I need to save the money, and it's my only exercise. I recommend cycling to everyone, actually, but I don't think it's so realistic to use it if a car is so much faster.

Vesper, there are not enough bikes in many places. I would say that Denmark (and Holland, and China) are exceptions to that. And even here, a lot more people could bike who don't.

Blue, thank you. Do you have a bike? If so, do you/would you bike in San Diego?

Madelyn, I think my bike would like to meet your bike...my bike is very mischeivous all on her own...it could be scary if she had a partner in crime!

Connie, I try, I try...but sometimes I just have things to do. The picture I didn't take was in the break when I saw that there was another bike parked right in front of mine (double parked). There's always a danger when there are lots of bikes, that one bike will fall, and cause a domino effect. This happens often, especially around big rail stations, and I do not look forward to the first time I have to get my bike out from a pile of bikes!

Dew, that sounds wonderful. My project for when I get a camera that I can actually adjust is to go around taking pictures of bicyles in all of their permutations - and the riders. The things people will wear (especially in the summer) and still ride...stilletto heels, mini-skirts, you name it. I'm always amazed.

Dear Helen't bike, don't worry, I'm sure your owner still loves you. It's just that it's so easy to get lazy when it's cold. Soon, Spring will arrive, and you'll get to go many, many places. And I hear that you will soon go from being a small town bike to a big city bike! How adventurous for you! :-)

Plume, din stakkels cykel! Men jeg tror, at de fleste danskere jo bruger samme undskyldingen! Så hvor bor du hen i DK? Fra din blog, har jeg ideen om, at du bor meget ude på landet...er det rigtigt?

Jack P Toerson sagde ...

I wish I lived in a bicycle monarchy. Everytime I ride my bike I get cut up something rotten by cars.

Devil Mood sagde ...

I really wish I could ride a bycicle here but I live in a very high part of the city and I'd end up having to carry the byke up and down, instead of it carrying me.
It's funny that you say that the byke is a "she" because, as you know, it is a feminine word in portuguese and I can't think of it as being other than feminine. Sometimes I accidentally refer to things as "she" or "he" when it should be "it". It's hard for me to think of things without a genre...maybe we can address this question one day.
It's lovely that people use their bycicles so much :)

Devil Mood sagde ...

Damn...I can't seem to write bicycle correctly, sorry! I'll learn someday...

marybishop sagde ...

I love this post; I love your bike; I love you for writing this post!!!

So enjoyable to read Kimananda...thank you!

kimananda sagde ...

Jack, I know what you mean. I have a bicycle riding friend in London who was always encouraging me to bicycle when I lived there, but I was always a bit afraid of traffic...this friend also had regular near misses with cars as far as I remember...and one near hit also.

Miss Mood, I can never remember how to spell bicycle either, and I know what you mean about hills...I could never see riding in Lisbon, because everything involved walking up and down steep hills. And my bike's name (which I couldn't find a natural way to work into my post) is Leta, which is of course a short form of bicicLETA. Language is fun! :-) We should definitely meet up when I'm in Portugal and discuss these things.

Mary, tusind tak (literally a thousand thank yous)! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. :-)

Devil Mood sagde ...

Oh Leta, lol, that's good! I didn't see that one coming :)

Diana sagde ...

what a peek-a-boo into ur life!u seem into obsessed with ur bike in a big way

Ali sagde ...

Great post you got there - insightful, from the perspective of a bike. I wish I could do the same... bikes tend to lack luck in my part of the world - they get stolen as much as they get used by the owner.

Etchen sagde ...

That is a beautiful bike! How long have you been riding?

Neets sagde ...

you blew life into ur cycle... very creative. i loved the way you've talked on behalf of your bike. :)
thanks for dropping by my blog. sorry couldnt get here any faster... i dont have a cycle u see, had to walk the old fashioned way to your blog... ok jokes apart... had been busy with work and salsa classes so, weekends is the only time i get to unwind...
here is the translation to my poem:
My thanks to Jaya sweety, Rusty and Vampy, I have revamped my poem, with their help. Thanks guys, u are simply amazing.

Joojhne se thak gaya hai yeh dil
Keh raha hai mujhse
Vahan pahunchna hoga mushkil.
Bujhaa de khwahishein apni,
Haath mein nahi aane wali yeh manzil"

My heart is tired of fightin
its tellin me
"it will be difficult reaching ur destination ,
give up on your dreams.
Your not gonna make it."

Khuda na khastaa
Yeh meri aakhiri ho

God forbid
this be my last

Har kisiko hoti hai taklifein
Uth.Uth ke chal
Kam karde ye doorian, yeh faaslein
Rokta tumhe kaun hai?
Raah teri dekh rahe hai yeh raastein

every one has problems?
Get up. Get up and march ahead
lessen this distance
these paths are lookin forward to having you choose/walk on them

Khuda na khastaa
Yeh teri aakhiri ho

God forbid
this be your last

Himmat de nahi rahi hai mera saath
Akeli hoon, phir bhi
Yeh kaun kar raha hai mujhse baat?
Aur koi nahi ,aks hoon teraa
Maukaa ab hai ,bada raha hu haath.

Courage isnt by my side
I am alone,
but whos this talkin to me?
no one else, i'm your reflection
This is your chance, i have my hand reaching out to u

Khuda na khastaa
Yeh humari aakhiri ho

god forbid
this be our last

Darr aur taaqat, sab the mere apne
Ruki main kyun?!!
Be-jhijak dekhungi khoob, ab, sapne
Rokungi nahi khudko,
Jo bhi ho, karoongi uska samna

fear and courage, were both mine
why did i stop my self?
undeterred i will watch more dreams
i will not stop my self, anymore.
What ever may come, i will face it

Khuda na khastaa
Yeh meri aakhiri ho

god forbid
this be my last

Do drop in when ever you like. :)

kimananda sagde ...

Ms. Mood, :-)

Diana, I don't know about obsessed...well maybe just a bit. But, do keep in mind that bicycles are a big part of Danish culture, and also a main form of transport for a lot of people. For me, it was a big thing for me to get my bike for many reasons. But this post is not obsession; it's just using any excuse to write a post, really. :-)

Mr. Jahan (is that the best way to shorten your name?), thank you for your kind words and welcome. It's too bad to hear that it's so hard to keep ahold of bikes where you are...there's a lot of theft here, too, but not so much that it puts people off riding, luckily!

Etchen, I got my bike in July of 2004. At that time I was still waiting for my work permit to come through, and had decided to put off buying a bike until I knew I could stay in the country...but then I decided that I just couldn't wait anymore, and bought her. I got my permit a month later.

Neets, thank you so much for such a detailed translation. 'these paths are lookin forward to having you choose/walk on them'...that's my favorite line. It's a beautiful metaphor, and I will try to remember it. And you are also welcome to visit anytime! :-)

al-Ferengi sagde ...

I believe, that is the one I was looking for.

But seriously, some year ago, I was aquainted to a person, who drove me absolutely mad with this. If I said, that I like black clothes, and she wasn't in pure black, an argument would arise on, how insensitive I was to tell her, how much I apparently hated her way of dressing. [this is a generic, made-up example, but her argumenting was this way]. Big flamewar, three years ago :p The backwards thing is, that it made me realise, how often I make that shit too, because I am soooo easily ignitable in a conversation, I still try hard to not do it.

Aww, nice story, I like it :D Nice idea to change perspectives from you to the bike :) Maybe you should show this to E. from our class, who is a writer?
Now I will try to pop out a two pages essay on automatic indexing, and I will take your blog as a reference for good punctuation. I don't think I will ever learn the workings behind it, but if I read lots of correct English I may pick it up by intuition, just like language :)

- denSorteSkorpion :)

plume sagde ...

Actually I live in Århus. In the suburbs, I guess. 15 minutes by bus to the center. "My" animals are at a "byggelegeplads". Sort of a cross between a playground and a petting zoo. Right next to Bispehaven and not too far from Gellerup, the big concrete blocks. It's like an oasis. A beautiful, wonderful place.

portuguesa nova sagde ...


And sooooo unAmerican.

kimananda sagde ...

Ms. Scorpio, thanks for the link...that is very cool. And good luck with the assignment...I keep forgetting that we have to do something for the workshop...let's see if I remember later today!

Plume, ah, now it is all clear! :-)

Ms. Nova, thank you! :-)

Daphnewood sagde ...

oh that was so cute. It seems even your bike notices how much you study. Don't think that it has escaped my attention of how athletic one must be to live in Denmark (one hour and fifteen minutes would probably kill me-sad but true).

great post Kim

kimananda sagde ...

Wow, you make me sound like a studious athlete. I assure you that going to class does not mean that I am actually studying (I do study a bit, but not nearly as much as I need to do to get things done), and riding a bike, even for an hour plus, does not mean that I'm athletic...it's quite flat here, and so not that strenuous to bike even for relatively long distances. But I like that you have such a high opinion of my skills! ;-)