‘The highest point in Denmark is only 170 metres above sea level. In the rolling landscape there are no hills that cannot be climbed with ordinary pedal-power, and that is just one of the many reasons why Denmark is the ideal territory for cyclists.’ Those were words that helped make the decision to nip over, pick up a hire car and make our base at a coastal summer house in West Jutland with hire bikes for transport.
The wheels nearly came off the trip as Ryanair decided, when we were airborne, to advise that we would be dropping off an engineer in Germany to fix a stranded plane. What was advised to add no more than a half hour to the flight meant we eventually landed at Esbjerg over two hours later than anticipated. Fortunately, the Danes know the meaning of ‘customer service’ and our hire car was waiting for us.
We found the Danish roads easy to navigate and as our summer house agency in Nymindegab must have had previous experience of Ryanair, they had advised us before departure what to do if we arrived late. Eleven at night was late but we were able to collect the keys and a detailed map and set out up the West Jutland coast. Tucked away in the dunes, the house was lovely, the hire bikes sound and the bonus of a sauna was an extra incentive to get out there pedalling.
Which for the next two days is just what we did with the main ride being a very long day up the peninsula to Ringkobing, returning on the far side of the fjord as darkness fell just before us. Highlights included visits to the birders’ paradise of Tipperne marshes, the largest windfarm in Northern Europe at Velling Maersk, the harbour at Stauning Strand, the Viking reconstruction of Bork Havn and, overall, the friendliness of the locals.
The light was amazing and, if it clouded over, you soon discovered that the sun would out in a few minutes. Walks on the nearby beach blew away early morning cobwebs and the long days’ cycling meant we made quick work of demolishing the food stocks bought at the local supermarket. On our last day, we squeezed in a visit to the lovely town of Varde and Denmark’s oldest town, Ribe, where we could not resist a visit to the Viking Museum.
Not long, to be sure, in Denmark but long enough to know that we’ll be back. Probably for a long cycle tour in a country that has the car firmly in its place and not out of control. Of course, we’ll catch a ferry this time!.
Denmark’s network of cycle paths offers thousands of kilometres of safe, interconnected, co-ordinated and well sign-posted cycle paths that can take you right off the beaten track. Many of them make up national routes, running either north-to-south or east-to-west throughout the country. On top of this are countless regional and local routes, all waymarked for cyclists.
A cycling holiday in Denmark is something for the whole family. It is both safe and easy, and the youngest can always ride on the back or sit safe and snug in a cycle trailer. Everybody can tag along provided the distances are planned to match what the youngest legs can manage and sufficient stops are allowed for. If you are not a regular cyclist, and usually travel by car, a cycling holiday can be a quite a revelation. For novice cyclists – old and young – Denmark is a safe and convenient cycling country.
Nothing could be easier than planning a cycling holiday as the routes are well publicised and there are lists of scenic sights, places to stay, etc. along the routes. Every region has detailed cycling maps that mark the cycle lanes, the scenic sights, places to stay and places to eat, cycle repair shops, etc. There are also altitude codes on the maps, which allow you to gauge how tough the next lap is going to be.
Bike rentals and transportation
You can rent a bike almost anywhere in Denmark on a daily or weekly basis. The local tourist office will direct you to the nearest bicycle rental agency. If you would like to bike in different areas of Denmark, there is always the train. Regional trains carry bicycles without a reservation – so you can rest your feet while the landscape rolls by. Both the cyclist and the bike must have a ticket. Excellent maps of Denmark are available which can be used for planning the holiday or during the trip. If you plan to use the minor roads, a good map is indispensable.