On Bicycling and Nordic Air

It is a Wednesday evening in my flat in Aarhus when I am writing this. I am lit by two light sources: two candles and the laptop screen. I have just gotten out of my shower, and I don’t feel like going into the world of film at the moment, I am too tired to read, it’s too late for music, but I don’t want to sleep yet. It’s possible I don’t feel as though I have done enough today. So, now then, I write.

It is early October, and I’m mostly settled in Aarhus, the few loose-ends I have with the logistics of my life abroad are being brought together and what cannot are being fused with a lighter. I am quite happy here, to be nondescript. I only feel terribly foreign now in grocery stores, and I usually feel just the right amount of foreign. I have learned many things in a very short time which is somewhat distorting how I perceive it; I feel like I have been here for years.

I keep thinking about that David Bowie interview where he’s talking about being in America and relating to the fly in his milk. That’s just about how I feel.

I have officially, I think I can say, made some friends here which is lovely. There are amazing and beautiful people everywhere who want to love and be loved, but they’re not always easy to find, especially when you don’t speak their first languages (as is statistically going to be the case).

I love it here by the way, did I mention that? Getting up early in the morning to bike to school and breathing the brisk nordic air is a pleasure I will never forget. The city is beautiful too; ancient roads, old buildings constructed through the last century or so, dreamed up by various brilliant designers, architects — artists — and stunning new buildings, places, and spaces too.

One of the many things the Danes seem to get right is green in urban spaces, though every urban space could do with more greenery and open soil, Denmark, and maybe I am better sticking to Aarhus, has done a glorious job. There are small parks throughout the city, at the end of tiny winding cobblestone roads and in front of centuries-old buildings, and then there are big ones too where many people come and enjoy that same air mentioned earlier. There is access to forested shores a brief walk from the city centre, and even the suburbs are green! I essentially live in a building, which is among a couple of other buildings, seemingly constructed within a park — a park, I should add, that people use and walk through.

Every person who has come to Denmark says the same thing: Danes; they like their bikes, they bike well, and they like it so much they built proper infrastructure to support it (or maybe it was the other way around). In this way, I am about to participate in tradition. As you have probably heard, cycling is incredibly popular here, most people have bicycles, and most roads are safe to bike on. They’re complete with bike lanes, often raised bike roads in between the sidewalks and the streets, and separate bike roads or pathways that can take one in and out of the city and various parks safely at all hours. I do not worry about biking home late at night because all bicycles here riding past sunset must have a front, and rear light and all of the bicycle paths are lit with smaller street lights. This is great for getting in and staying in shape and allowing one to explore at their own pace. The only real downside is biking in cold rain, that sucks no matter where you are.

Interestingly, and annoyingly, public transportation in Denmark (or again, Aarhus at least) is really good, but expensive as hell. To ride the bus usually costs 20kr. which is like $4CAD, so taking a bus ride back and forth into the city every day is impossible (you can buy monthly passes that give you discounts but they are monthly, not yearly and I still haven’t committed to one (I have no justification for this other than general overwhelmedness)). This is, of course, another reason bicycling is the go-to method of getting around here, not to mention that it is usually far faster than busing or driving.

Now, upon this last edit, I, as the reader, get to experience some dramatic irony because a few days ago I got in a rather unpleasant bicycle crash putting most of the digits on my left hand out of commission for a few days. Two thumbs up to the Danish healthcare system, one sort of gnarly looking. My mom, who edited this, tells me that I should give a more detailed depiction of the crash because it “adds interest.” I obliged, and here we are:

On Wednesday morning, heading to my 8am lecture, as I was cycling quickly downhill on one of the aforementioned bicycle roads, a little kid walked their bike just a little too far into the lane of oncoming traffic to see for me to avoid clipping the front of his tire. This resulted in my bike and I tumbling a few metres further down the pavement. Ever the dramatic, I let out a scream of pain — had I the option, I would not have — which, unfortunately, I imagine, scared the fuck out of the poor kid. I yelled up to them making sure they were unscathed (picture Anakin* calling to Obi-Wan on Mustafar from the shores of a lake of fire, mostly limbless). After confirming this, they then scurried off with their friends. Several kind strangers helped me and my bike up, deliberated with me where I should go (nearest guy’s house, ER, etc.) resolving that I needed to go to the ER so they could check to make sure that I didn’t have a concussion. One of them walked my bike and I to the nearest bus stop, the other gave me tissues to stop bleeding and typed the address to the ER in my maps app. At the bus stop, I was offered another house and some first aid but declined, opting to make it my mission to get to the ER and have them check everything out.

On the bus, I hid the mess of gore that was my hand and tried to quiet the deep breathing required to deal with the pain in effort to be a respectful bus passenger. After getting off the bus, I walked, phone in good hand, to the ER, they gave me painkillers in the waiting room, and everything was done and over within an hour. On Friday I went and saw my Danish GP, and he helped me figure out what all I should get to properly treat and clean my hand after two nights of messy and poor recovery. Now my cuts and bruises are healing up nicely, and everything should be fine soon, though it might take a bit to get back to guitar and functional typing. Bike repairs shouldn’t be too expensive either, which is nice.

Now, because I refuse to include some upsetting tale of woe in all of these pieces I am going to noncommittally commit to blogging more. This is utterly amazing, and I am extraordinarily bad at expressing that.

Did I even write about London???

Nope, I forgot to. There we are then, next blog will be on my trip to London from a little while ago, and then I will tell you more about Copenhagen, where I am going over the break (this week) for a couple of days.

Edited by my amazing mother.

EDIT 2017/10/23 I spelt Anakin, “Annikin” in the original post. Shout out to Annie in the comments who caught that!

2017/11/13 Properly credited my mom as editor.


Comments

2 responses to “On Bicycling and Nordic Air”

  1. hey dude, nice blog post! I like your style and it’s kind of fun to lowkey stalk you because you are kind of a cool guy. Anyway, since I am commenting anyway, I have to make a correction: as somewhat of a die-hard Star Wars fan, I feel forced to note that you spelled Anakin’s name wrong. That is my only complaint. Kind regards from one of your classmates (Edgy Early Modern Drama) – we talked about feminism in a pub in Stratford. Wow, how cool was that? (See how I mirrored your blog post somewhat?)

    1. Ahhhh!! Thank you so much for commenting and being the first person ever to leave a comment here! And I’m glad you’re enjoying the blogs and site, it’s encouraging to hear from people. Thanks for finding the error as well; this is a top tier internet comment! Stratford was super cool; we will have more exciting conversations soon I’m sure — see you on Wednesday!

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