As can be somewhat seen in my photos from the ride along the coast, the clouds moving in over Sweden finalefly decided to open up on Monday morning for our 40 km ride from Lund to Malmo. But hey, all part of the experience, right? 🙂
Of course, before hopping on the bikes, we spent the (nice and sunny and rainfree) morning touring the Lund Cathedral. I didn’t get nearly enough good pictures inside, but that was because the guide we were listening to was really good! We heard all sorts of good stories about the cathedral, including one story involving a giant that was petrified to a column in the crypt! We also were able to briefly look at the ruins of another church underground. The cross shows the location of a coffin with remains from around 1100 (I think!).
Due to the rain that decided to join the party, half the class decided to take the nice, warm train up to Malmo. While they stood in the train station, loading 8 bikes onto the train (with stil quite a bit of difficulty), the other half of us pulled out our rain jackets, hats, ponchos, and rain pants. It was right as we left the station that the skies really opened up.
Luckily, it only downpoured for the first quarter of the trip. By the time we were leaving the city for the countryside, we were taking off the raincoats and enjoying the sunshine. This bike ride was pretty similar to the day before – mixture of dedicated bike trails, shared lanes with vehicles, and separated bike lanes.
The difference between this trip and most of the other long trips was the noise. There has certainly been portions of each trip that are noisy due to vehicles, but most of this trip was spent in silence. I hadn’t realized what a difference it makes to be able to chat with my classmates on these longer rides. Anyone on this trip can tell you, I’m probably one of the least talkative in the class, but even I got a bit bored. Headphones and some classic rock eased the tediousness, but bike riding is more pleasant with good company.
However, I didn’t feel this way in the city. Riding around in Copenhagen had enough going on, between local cyclists, traffic lights, and pedestrians that I didn’t have too many conversations, even when we rode around for hours. It was a good opportunity to compare the two types of rides and the impact that location and facility design makes. In the city, it seemed to me that more people were using the bike for commuting, and therefore were primarily concerned with efficiency, convinence, and speed. Lanes could be located close to cars, since the vehicles weren’t going as fast and people just wanted quicker routes. Out in the country, it seems to me that the facilities should be more geared towards a comfortable ride – wide lanes, removed from quick moving traffic, scenic, and inviting to those out for the weekend. It has been surprising, awkward, or unsafe when these are reversed.
The good news is that, despite the noise and a return of the rain in Malmo, we survived our bike ride. It was a lot of fun to brave the weather with this group (even if the weather wasn’t REALLY that bad).