The family reunited
I left Vancouver with the girls prior to Christian, and after two weeks he was finally joining us in Denmark to start the first leg of our 2 month long bike trip. We spent a day at my dad's house to get the bikes ready, and pack all our stuff into panniers and dry bags. We were all very excited and a bit nervous. We have gone on a few weekend trips to the Gulf Islands, and one 5 day trip to Vancouver Island previously, but this would be our first long distance bike tour. I always thought that we should save the bike touring for when we had two kids, so here we go...
In the evening of Christian's arrival day my dad drove the family to Freltofte, where we set up camp. I took the train as we didn't all fit in the car. Here we enjoyed our first night at one of Denmarks many shelter spots. Denmark is littered with these small shelter spots, where you can sleep in a small shelter or set up your tent for free (or very cheap). It can be on public or private land. Freltofte Lejrplads just North of Ringe were located at the back of a private property. They had sheep and bunnies, there were an outhouse and water available. Only problem was the many moquitos coming out at dusk encouraging us to set up camp quickly.
The next morning we packed the bikes for the first time. It was definitely not efficient, but we managed to fit it all on. We set off towards Ringe on the country roads. In Ringe we had our first and only bikeshop stop (in Denmark). F's seat on the Haul-a-Day was lacking an essential snacking station and a bell. After a few quick upgrades we joined the railtrail towards Korinth. 16 km of flat trail with no cars. F biked the first kilometer or so, but quickly decided that the Haul-a-Day was more attractive.
We arrived to our next campsite late in the evening. It was not as obvious, so we spend some time biking back and forth on the hilly farm roads of southern Fyn. I just managed to catch the sunset from the hilltop above the tent after we arrived. The next day it was all downhill to the ferry to Ærø. They packed the ferry like a tetris game - it was quite impressive. Søby had a very nice shelter spot with a fishing themed playground, but since it was still early in the day we biked on to the south coast of the island. Here we found a shelter spot overlooking the grassy hills and the ocean. We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and evening in the sun.
We could have easily spend a few more days on Ærø, but my dad was meeting us on Langeland, so we hopped on another ferry back to Fyn. The northern east part of Tåsinge was a lovely ride through small towns with lots of small thatched houses, forested roads and a ride through Valdemar's Castle. Once we re-joined the main road though we had a stiff head wind for 10 km as we bike to the next Island; Langeland. Langeland was a lot more interesting that I had expected. We had a stop on a lovely beach, and then followed small country roads through fields and forests. After a long day we arrived at Emmerbølle camping, where my dad had rented us a little cabin for a few days.
Adventures with the extended family
The next day we spend relaxing at the nice campsite. We all had a lot of fun on the bouncy pillow. F and N both enjoyed the pool, and I enjoyed having a rest day for my legs. A few ice creams were also consumed.
After a day of relaxing we were ready for a big day to our next island; Lolland. My dad biked with us towards the ferry and on the first stretch on Lolland. Lolland is very flat and also very windy. There were some nice sections along the ocean, but crossing the island was rather boring. We stopped for playtime at a nice playground and later at the beach. That is a really nice thing about Denmark - you are never far from the beach. At the end of the day we ended up at a summerhouse my dad and his wife had rented for the week.
We spend a number of days in the summer house with my family. It was really nice to get some good food, wash our clothes and rest our legs. One day we visited Knuthenborg Safari Park. We biked there, and you are allowed to bike in some of the areas inside, but most of the places you need to be in a car to be able to see the animals. Luckily we could just join my dad's car. N was really excited to see all the animals. F mostly enjoyed the dinosaur forest, and I must admit it was really well done, and my heart rate definitely rose at times. We also spend a day in Lalandia, a big water park with lots of water slides. Christian and I had great fun on the slides, while F mostly enjoyed the wave pool.
Getting into the swing of things
After leaving the summer house on Lolland it felt like we really got into the swing of things. The routine of bike touring for an extended period made the kids settle down, and we all really enjoyed the simple life on the road. For the first time on the trip F also rode more than a few kilometers on her own bike. I think the novelty of the Haul-a-Day was finally starting to wear off. She had a few days were she covered around 15km.
The remaining part of Lolland was pretty flat, boring and windy. The only part I found interesting was the area around Nysted. Falster was however one of my favourite parts. We rode up along the east coast on nice forest roads with occasional glimpses and access to the Baltic sea. When we made it to Møn we were surprise encounter the first busy roads without bike lanes, especially because Møn seems to be super popular with bike tourists. Møn is also pretty hilly, but Christian and I both found that more interesting. F not so much.
Most of the way we stayed at the small (and generally free) camp spots. We only had to share a spot once while we were at Bogø harbour. All the spot were really nice, but our favourite were definitely at Klintholm Havn. It was apparently a new site. It was right next to the main road, but most of the traffic on the road was pedestrians going for an evening walk. It had a picnic table, a small garden with herbs, and a fire pit with fire wood supplied. We had our only fire here and we were not prepared for it, so the only thing we could find to roast over the fire was some leftover spegepølse (nice salami) - it worked out pretty well. In the morning we woke up to freshly made buns and homemade jam - a kind soul had just left them on the picnic table for us. It was delicious and we devoured it all. We were also amazed that no naughty animals had tried to eat it. If you leave any food out in Vancouver it will be promptly eaten... possibly by racoons, or maybe crows, or maybe gulls, but definitely by something.
The White Cliffs of Møn
On Møn we spend a few days at an established campground, so we could so see the The White Cliffs of Møn (and wash our clothes). It was really cool to see this part of Denmark that I had never visited before. We went on a small hike above the cliffs and along the bottom. The cliffs are quite impressive and the water was great for swimming. N was so keen to get a swim that she went in with all her clothes and diaper on. It was so warm that we just let her, cause everything would dry quickly. We also collected a number of chalk pieces that we ended up carrying on the rest of our trip. After a number of days at somewhat primitive campsites, F really enjoyed having a quality playground, and the kid sized toilets and showers were extra popular.
Sealand and Copenhagen
During the planning of this trip I wasn't sure how far or how many days we wanted to spend on the bike. I kind of expected that we would have to take the train part of the way to Copenhagen, but as we biked onto Southern Sealand, we knew we would make it all the way on our bikes. In general we spend more days on the bikes that I had thought, but once in the rhythm of biking it just seemed easier to keep biking. On our first day on Sealand we did however make a stop for most of the afternoon at Kalvehave maze park. We were the only ones there and we had a great time. It was fun for the whole family. Christian and I had a great time competing against each other in various games, F enjoyed trying to find her way through all the mazes, and N just liked moving the different objects around. That evening we stayed at a small shelter near Bredeshave at Præstø. We had some trouble finding it, but it was a super cute shelter made from a boat turned upside down. Kids enjoyed the sand beach.
The next day we had our longest bike day so far on the trip. We covered around 70 km on our way to Hundige Camping. The riding was not particularly interesting, and after we pasted Køge it felt very suburbia. I got pretty tired on the ride and when F decided that she wanted to go in the chariot for a while we switch it over to Christian's bike for the first time. It turned out that it was super easy to just lay F's bike across my rack. Hundige Camping was pretty lame compared to the high standards we had seen in Emmerbølle and on Møn's klint, but it was still just as expensive.
Our final biking day in Denmark was going to the center of Copenhagen and it was a really great ride. We enjoyed the great bike paths near the ocean where we visited Oscar under the bridge - one of the forgotten giants. Afterwards we made our way to Avedøre to visit another of the giants: Hill top Trine. We never had to worry about going on the roads through the suburbs of Copenhagen, there were always a seperated bike path or bike lane. Hill top Trine is really cood, and she is located in a cool area with a few farm animals, nice shelters, and lots of green space. It would have been a great place to spend the night if we didn't already have plans.
In the early afternoon we made our way onto the 'bicycle snake', an elevated bike lane connecting you to a bike and pedestrian only bridge across the harbour. Vancouver has come a long way with regards to biking infrastructure since I moved from Copenhagen to Vancouver 11 years ago, but there is still a really long way to go. Despite the bridge being really cool I must admit that I was pretty worried biking over it. It was just so busy, and here I was with my big touring bike towing a trailer, taking up more than my fair share of space. We biked through Amager Fælled to get to our destination for the afternoon - a couple of cool staffed playgrounds called The Farm and The construction playground. The farm had a bunch of different animals that kids can help feed if they show up at the right time, there is also the classic playground equipment and a number of carts to drive around. The construction playground has a number of bigger structures, like a fort and a maze, build by kids and adults, but it also have around 30 smaller houses that anyone can continue building on. It is a really neat place.
We arrived to my friend Lene's house in the early evening. We spend two night with her while we got ready for the next leg of our trip. We hunted down bike boxes, packed the bikes, and contemplate how to get them to the airport. We also made time for a tourist trip to see the guard change at Amalienborg, a trip up to the top of the tower at Vor Frue Kirke, and of cause the playground and ice cream. In the end our largest challenge was getting our bike boxes to the airport (we still hadn't figured out that we could bike with all our stuff and the boxes). All the taxi companies claimed that our boxes were too big, so in the end we ordered a moving van to drive us the 5 km to the airport. It worked out great and wasn't much more expensive than a cab.
I was really happy we started our trip in Denmark. It was a great warm up trip with only small hills (more than expected though), lots of great biking infrastructure, great shelter and camp spots, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous the entire time. It was great to see corners of Denmark that I had not seen before and shared it with my family.