Today about flow and control.
There's something intensely satisfying about using the bike to get around. While biker weblogs in Copenhagen worry that Danish children don't learn to play with and enjoy bicycles, I am rediscovering the sense of freedom I used to feel as a teen-ager, the agency and control the bicycle gave me.
My first bike was stolen though, and it was years until I had another bicycle of my own: at high-school I bought a Raleigh racing bike that gave me a sense of flying, as I zoomed past the cars stuck on the road into Ålesund every morning in the seventies. I used that bike for years, and I also used it to ride almost to the railway station. Now, that may not sound like such an achievement, but where I grew up that was a 2-300 kilometer ride, included crossing at least one mountain, and at the time also came with bonus sleet, the terror of brakes failing in a frozen, wet downhill trek with a heavily loaded bike, and nowhere to sleep over when I reached my destination.
Imagine my delight today, when I rode down to the railway station, zooming through the sunny, quiet Copenhagen Sunday streets, to buy tickets for the IR 11.0 conference.
Now, a regular morning or afternoon in rush traffic, biking isn't all that easy. I am learning the trick to it, and the number of rude comments yelled at me are slowly growing less, but I still have to focus. Even experienced Danes have to focus, as proven by the encounters I witness: bikers almost getting into fights as they ride side by side, disagreeing about some move that happened behind me before the two (normally male) push past me in angry competition - just to have to stand still and ignore each other at the next red light. And sometimes my biking colleagues come into the office, all shook up, talking about how they were hit - several times - by other cyclists, in the 20 minute ride through morning traffic.
Copenhagen bikers come fast and ride with intent. But on a sunny Sunday, the air crisp and clear and the sun low, throwing the glare off the water into my eyes, biking in Copenhagen is just the right balance between challenge and mastery. I own the streets. I make clever rounds in order to get at the place I want to go in the best manner, and I smile secretly at other bikers as we move smoothly from being on a vehicle to being pedestrians. We have all the options, and then some. And so I make an extra loop around the block, to come from just the right angle into the back yard, and I roll into place with a wide grin plastered all over my face. The act of biking is putting me in a flow state of mind, where I could go on and on, exploring Copenhagen just because I can.