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Touring Denmark

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by mcfcbird, 28 Jul 2007.

  1. mcfcbird

    mcfcbird Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Manchester England
    Hiya

    Yet another post extolling the virtues of cycle touring in Denmark. I've just recently got back from my second cycle tour in Denmark, this time from the southern border with Germany to the city of Aarhus following national cycle route 5. The route is very well sign-posted for the most part and we hardly had to refer to the map at all. I say for the most part, getting clear of the odd town along the route can be confusing, but it wasn't a major problem and the Danes are very relaxed, friendly and helpful people. All in all I reckon we shared the route with major traffic less that 5% of the time over a five day ride.

    This time I was in the company of my wife - her first cycle tour - and unlike me she's fluent in Danish. One immediate advantage may be of interest to those who prefer to camp wild as opposed to something a little more organised. It's generally known that the Danish authorities provide what are known as 'nature camps' with the co-operation of private land owners. These sites are denoted by red triangles on the national and local cycle route map and are all listed in a book 'Over natniing' - available at tourist and cycle info outlets. Only cyclists and hikers are allowed to camp on them - no Hymers, cars or caravans - at a cost of around 10 - 15 DK pp. The book's text is largely in Danish with a few English passages at the back and useful to none-Danish speakers on account of the more detailed maps and facility symbols each site provides, which are listed by each entry.

    What might not be generally known and what the English text doesn't make clear is that a great many of these sites are actually free of charge and also provide facilities such as toilets, fresh drinking water, picnic tables, fireplaces and firewood; and the ones we found at any rate were all in superb, scenic and fairly secluded spots. They're clearly marked in the book. If an entry denotes '(S)' this stands for "Statsskovdistrikt" - indicating that it is a forested area with a free campsite. Additionally entries marked 'Admin' and 'Amt' are also free camping areas.

    Something great occurred at one such site. After spending most of the day riding to a particular site , which lay directly by the sea, we'd arrived to see the field that led to the actual camping spot occupied by around 150 young kids, a specially constructed stage on which a young band were conducting a sound-check and an open, barbecue kitchen. Naturally this was less idyllic than we'd imagined, fearing that we'd get little, if any, uninterrupted sleep and we debated whether we should push on and find another place. In the end we decided to take the experience for what it was and set up camp. About twenty minutes later one of the organisers came over and apologised for the disruption, telling us that everything would be finished by 9:30-ish. Apparently there was a small contingent of British kids and guardians mingling with the Danes that had come over for a kind of summer-camp and this was a one-day party of sorts. Sometime later the guy re-emerged with two plates from the kitchen - barbecued chicken, hot dogs, salad and Pepsi, brought to the picnic table beside our tent - waiter style. Just what we needed after a long day in the saddle. Naturally the Trangia remained in the pannier. The band wasn't bad either.

    As if that wasn't enough we were then joined by a small group of locals who'd come to have a small barbecue of their own to celebrate a friend's birthday, so we were even offered dessert in the form of coffee and some delicious birthday cake. They left smiling, joking and shaking our hands a couple of hours later.

    What impressed me about this site in particular was the placement of timber shelters around the camping spot, all facing seaward but set at odd angles to provide shelter from winds or rain should the weather turn. This was fortunate actually because that night as we slept in our tent there was a thunder storm. The tent is a good one so there were no problems but the following day it rained buckets and so we decided to wait it out before continuing. The shelters, while not standing height, are set deep so there was plenty of room for bags, cooking gear, thermal mats etc. The rooves were turfed with flowers growing out of them - aesthetic and practical and the overhang provided a perfect bike shelter - despite the rain coming down none-stop in torrents for the whole of the day, the bikes remained bone dry. As we waited for the rain to cease there wasn't much to do obviously, except talk, read, drink tea, look out over the ocean, dig out the ipod, cook lunch and dinner on the Trangia, quite boring some would think but actually it was the most relaxing, peaceful day either of us could remember in a long time and as such it was one of the highlights.

    The entire route, winding its way through rustic villages, past beautifully maintained traditional Danish cottages, between wheat fields adjacent to panoramic sea views, with picnic tables placed strategically along the route, was a joy and is highly recommended if you haven't done Denmark already.

    Massive Kudos to the Danish people for providing such a bike friendly experience and for being so welcoming..

    Have a great summer

    bird
     
  2. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Location:
    Penarth, Wales
    What an interesting report, mcfcbird, with those facilities it must have made for a really good holiday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  3. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    That sounds excellent:becool::thumbsup:.

    I have been to the German Islands of Fohr and Sylt may times. They are pretty close to Denmark and I would imagine the countryside might be similar (lots of windmills!)
     
  4. Brock

    Brock Senior Member

    Location:
    Kent
    Sounds wonderful, I'll make it there one day. Thanks for sharing your experiences, much appreciated.
     
  5. xilios

    xilios Über Member

    Location:
    Maastricht, NL
    Hey that sounds like a nice experience, thanks for sharing.
    Denmark is in the planing for sometime next year, we've already got the map :thumbsup:
     
  6. Dayvo

    Dayvo Just passin' through

    Location:
    O' slO'
    xilios!
    You made it here, too!
    Welcome. :thumbsup: