After our AMAZING day biking through Denmark from Copenhagen to Helsingor, I am going to admit, I was more than a little concerned about another very long bike ride from Helsingborg to Lund in Sweden. This bike ride was going to be longer, the weather was looking dreary on Sunday morning, and I was a bit sore from the collision the day before (though my bruises still have nothing on Cassie’s!). However, my 40 mile bike ride was cut short in the middle…. Due not at all to biking, but a random nectarine!
If, somehow, somewhere, you get a chance to bike in Sweden, go ahead and take the opportunity. The entire class brought our bikes over to Helsingborg on the ferry. Half the class opted to take the train down the coast to Lund, but since I have a stubborn streak a mile wide and don’t like to back down from a challenge, I decided to take to the countryside (after, of course, a brief visit to yet another castle… no city seems to be without one here!)
Even though the clouds were coming in strong over Helsingborg, they cleared up just after we left the city and headed south. The first half of the ride took us through much more of a rural countryside than I had biked through yet. Eventually that gave way to a sandy bike and pedestrian path along the coast that dumped us into a nice fishing marine, which turned into another trail along the coast, and finally a full separated bike lane along a “busy” road before the halfway point of Landskrona.
While it might seem like I bring all this up just to share some of the pictures that I managed to take (which might be partially true ), the major point I am trying to make is that Sweden took us through almost any type of bike facility that you could dream up in about 20 miles. The ride itself was very pretty, as I already said, but it felt much different than the ride the previous day through Denmark.
If our guide, Adam, hadn’t been within sight, I certainly would have gotten lost on my way through the countryside. Wayfinding was a bit difficult. The routes were marked only with the name of the next town, not matter how small. Without a map denoting the smallest of those towns, it would have been really easy to take the “extra scenic route” (which may or may not have happened to Marc and Mindy!). Within the city of Copenhagen, I wasn’t really concerned with wayfinding, simply because everywhere we rode was either a separated bike facility on a street or a trail that followed a major road. I must admit, I wasn’t looking specifically at that between Copenhagen and Helsingor, but I don’t remember thinking how lost I felt either.
As I said earlier, the facilities varied quite a bit as well. There was a short stretch where we biked along a rural road, which is where I felt the most uncomfortable. However, compared to how I feel sharing the road in the States, I wasn’t worried at all. Drivers seemed to be very aware that bicyclists were likely to be on the route and weren’t traveling fast at all. The separated trails were really nice as well. Our route was not along an extremely busy highway, but just through the countryside. It was quiet enough to ride along next to someone and chat about anything, whether it be our views on biking infrastructure in the States or our favorite movies. The change in facilities and the overall peacefulness of the bike ride made it an excellent way to spend the day. If biking in the States was like that, I could see so many more people biking around just for fun on a Saturday.
Despite my intentions to do another 15 or 20 miles to the next city, I ended up having an allergic reaction to a nectarine when we stopped for lunch. (After some light internet research, I think I am allergic to the pollen that is in the air during the season for nectarines, peaches, and a bunch of other delicious fruits 😦 ) Three of my classmates and I ended up taking the train from Landskrona to Lund so I could get some Benedryl from another classmate in Lund.
We soon found out that multimodal trips are not quite so simple in Sweden as they were in Demark. In Copenhagen, 18 of us took our bikes on a commuter train shortly after rush hour and caused no issues, even though our bikes were overflowing into the pedestrian space on the train. When the four of us tried to board in Landskrona, we were denied entry to the first train that came due to lack of space (though it looked far from capacity where we stood on the platform). When we finally got on the second train, it was a very unpleasant journey. The car was crowded and people seemed annoyed that we would attempt to bring just four bikes into the car. When we finally caught up with the first half of the class in Lund, we learned they had just as much difficulty bringing their bikes on the train in Helsingborg.
Moral of the story: bike across the countryside in Sweden. It is gorgeous! Just make sure you know your route and don’t add a train trip unless you really need to.