Blue skies and downpours

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!).

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Imposing front of the cathedral

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Flowers can grow absolutely anywhere

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Each of these carvings is unique!

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This picture doesn’t capture how golden those tiles really are

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The famous astronomical clock in the cathedral (with our excellent tour guide, who left for Greece barely an hour or two after the picture!)

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).

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Marc, Taylor, Steph, Brandon, Cassie, myself, Robert, Seth, Adam, Gilly, and Mindy all made it through the weather!

More pictures and different lessons

Hey all! If you are so inclined as to wish more blogging upon yourself, my professor, Marc Schlossberg, has set up a blog of his own documenting the trip. Not only does he have more pictures, but he has links to the blogs for the 15 other students, all of whom post better pictures than myself… I think. They would have to be pretty bad at the photography thing to be worse than me.

Anyways, that’s beside the point. If you want, check out all the pictures and thoughts here: https://marcschlossberg.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/welcome/ .

I didn’t realize I was joining a biker gang

Hello everyone! Thanks again to everyone keeping up with the adventures! I have to say, it does make me pay more attention why I’m out and about, looking for the crazy things that I think you all might like to hear about 🙂

Day 2 really felt like two different days. We started out with a guided tour of Copenhagen with Bike Mike (which I highly recommend to anyone visiting Copenhagen!), who made things super interesting with his bright Hawaiian shirt and brighter personality. When we first started at 10, it started to drizzle, which was about the time I realized that I completely forgot my raincoat, ugh.

It didn’t really matter though. All 22 of us from the University of Oregon group (and professionals from Eugene and Springfield) and a few other tourists rolled about behind Mike for a morning of exploration. We looked like the world’s least intimidating biker gang… 30+ tourists in bright colored rain jackets, wobbling around on the cobblestones, attempting not to run into each other, probably breaking many a traffic law.

It was really a great tour. Mike is very knowledgable about the city and the Danish people. To begin, we heard about the history of the country. I had no idea that until recently, the Danes were constantly at war! (According to Bike Mike, it’s the women in charge now who finally put a stop to that… Can’t say I’m surprised!) We saw some of the amazing old buildings throughout the city, including one of the folk schools here that has formed the basis of much of their modern society. He took us to the Danish equivalent of the White House, Capital Building, Langley, and a few castles that have no equivalent.

It wasn’t just a history lesson though. The city has many modern areas, a lot of which are developed brownsites. The harbor area was really cool. We biked all over the newly developed sections that bordered the harbor. The water is filtered there NINE times daily, which means that, had we been so inclined, we could have hopped in for a swim! After a gorgeous ride through a landfill-turned-nature-reserve, we happened back into the main city right as the sun was coming out. We got to bike along the water, passing the new Theatre and Opera House on our way back to the Little Mermaid. (I looked for my tourist friend, but she was nowhere to be found 😦 )

After the tour, we all ate lunch at the coolest place I may have been yet… Paper Town. It is an old warehouse (I think?) that now houses dozens of different kinds of food trucks. Vegetarians should stop reading now, because I had a freaking ostrich burger! An ostrich! Pretty good, and being able to finish lunch with a scoop of ice cream is just the best kind of day.

Yikes. Once again, you might actually be wondering if we are actually taking a class here… For the second half of the day, we got to be on our own. I took full advantage of the time. I set off to really get immersed in the bike traffic. In an effort to get better, I just took off in a completely new direction with no plans except to see what I could see and, hopefully, make it in the city by myself.

I did both! First, bicycling here is getting easier and easier, which is impressive, since it isn’t hard. On Sunday afternoon, there were tons of bicyclists out due to the super nice weather, so I got to experience something closer to bicycle traffic. Locals use their bells to kindly alert tourists to the fact that they are going to fly by at twice my speed. I also got to see a GORGEOUS bike and ped path along another waterway that I stumbled across. Once again, the sheer amount of infrastructure dedicated to bicycles in this city makes me wonder if any city resident even bothers to own a car.

The only issue I encountered so far this trip did happen later in the evening. I dragged two of my roommates, Cassie and Miranda, back to the park I found to watch the sunset (at freaking 10 pm!). I was leading on the way back to the hostel, and simply got the traffic lights confused… I went with the vehicular traffic light instead of the bicycle light. I’m really not trying to be dramatic, but honestly, in the States, I probably would have died.  Instead, here, there are so many safety mechanisms like separated bike lanes and awareness of bicyclists on the part of drivers that I didn’t even realize that I got mixed up until my roommates caught up with me and told me. The driver I cut off didn’t even honk. At home, if he didn’t hit me, I would have been cursed out for sure. It is just crazy to me how biking is just a way of life.

Anyways, that’s probably enough rambling about myself. Thank you again for checking in 🙂 I hope your summers are going well and that you are having some great adventures on your own!

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It’s real! I actually have a bike!

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Look at that sunset 🙂

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Just stumbled on this gorgeous site on my afternoon alone

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Just one of the many castles and impressive buildings we saw with Bike Mike

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There’s Bike Mike! He’s great!

Chapter 1

Hello all!! I am normally really, really, REALLY bad at staying in contact with people, but I think that traveling Europe for 6 weeks deserves some extra effort.

First off, thanks for looking at this! I am certainly not going to promise that I will be any good at this blogging thing, but the plan is to use this to keep you all up to date on what I am doing, share pictures, and for those worriers out there, let you know that I am still alive!

In case you have no idea what I am talking about (or really were just interested in what could possibly make me post on FB!!!), I am taking a graduate course in Europe this summer! The course is a Sustainable Bicycle Transportation Seminar. Dr. Marc Schlossberg at University of Oregon is leading the course, which will look at bicycle networks and culture in Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands. If you are interested in reading more about what is happening, here is a link to Dr. Schlossberg’s website that has more information: https://blogs.uoregon.edu/schlossb/study-abroad-bicycle-transportation/

I just want to say a quick thank you to Dr. Lindgren from Oregon Tech for the introduction to Dr. Schlossberg and to Dr. Schlossberg for the opportunity to take this class!!! If you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited!

If you aren’t a transportation nerd like I am, this blog may get a bit more interesting in mid-July. After the seminar ends, my sister, Sydney, and one of our best friends, Hannah, are going to join me in Switzerland for a trip through Italy, England, Scotland, and Ireland!

There you have it. The next couple weeks in my life. It is CRAZY. I am writing this on my first flight, and yet I don’t think all of it has really sunk in…. Oh, well, no turning back now. On to Edmonton! 

P.S. I will not be reachable on my regular phone number until August. I’m still unclear exactly how things are going to play out, but I think I will be able to check Facebook Messenger pretty regularly if you need to get a hold of me. If this plan changes, I will let you know!

P.S.S. If you have traveling overseas and have any specific tips on the places that I am visiting, please let me know! We have lodging and most of the transportation figured out for the whole trip, but we are still really flexible on seeing the sights!