Cycling isn’t simply a matter of getting on your bike and ride forth. It is a series of endless choices and decisions, just like life. What kit shall I wear ? Where do I want to go ? Shall I turn left or right ? Should I stay or should I go ? As I find myself digging out the full winter riot gear, for the purpose of this feature, I debate with myself which bike to take. With a new Festka Asphalt Titanium having arrived the day before Christmas it is very tempting to immerse myself in this beauty, but it will admittedly be the cycling equivalent of bathing your new born child with Clinique Super Explosive Exfoliating Body Scrub cream if such existed. With the roads literally laced with salt I leave the Festka for drier, none-snowy days and instead opt for my Cross bike. Although this ride is largely on road the Cross bike gives me the freedom to cut through the King’s former hunting grounds – Store Dyrehave – a 4 kilometre wooden gravel road, and other gravel sections, into the heartland of North Sealand, Denmark.
Having enjoyed the first 10 kilometres through the “Army Road”, passing the base and training grounds of Her Majesty the Queen’s Royal Guards, the bending, picturesque road has led me through woodland to the home of the woodkeeper. A simple yet beautiful home, picturesquely placed on the outskirts of the woods, where clearly love lives in abundance judging by the black, wooden door and the single red rose. For a moment I think Depeche Mode “Violator” before I press onwards in -4 degrees Celsius. With a light north west wind, and the wind-chill factor hitting the -7 degree Celsius spot, it does not allow for tea and “Enjoy The Silence” with the woodkeeper.
My Dedacciai carbon Cross bike allows me to cut through wooden, gravel sections of the route, which during Summer normally is cluttered with club rides and riders who only venture out between April and late-August. I am not your typically Cross rider. I do not participate in Cross races, or run with my bike, but instead hugely enjoy the freedom it gives me to explore routes I did not know existed had I stuck to the normal routes I ride. Especially in winter this is a blessing as you would otherwise be riding the same roads as you do in summer, and be bored already when spring arrives. Furthermore, with the ice covered roads this morning I’m thankful for the 35mm tire grip.
Passing the lake of Esrum the bitterly cold wind bites my nose and forehead. Despite the Deep Winter Baselayer, and facial cover, it still feels like a numbing, frozen headache on my forehead as I climb the 11% gradient climb to Fredensborg to visit the summer residential home of Her Majesty the Queen. With the flag not visible, and only a single guard freezing his nuts off, it is clear “Margrethe” is not inviting for warm tea and scones today.
North Sealand of Denmark is a haven of cycling routes. Many riders from Copenhagen make the 25 kilometre journey Northbound to experience something other than City Riding. With only 45 minutes from inner Copenhagen you can easily reach the scenic landscape of North Sealand without spending an entire day riding. Isolated train tracks snail through the wooden landscape, and even though they claim “Cycling Is The New Golf” it is clear Golf is not “The New Winter Cycling” as I pass the Texas-inspired “stables” of the primary Golf club in North Sealand where the field lays empty on the snow-covered lawn.
Cycling is a game of Cat and Mouse. You can hunt or be hunted. Go on a break-away, and rest assured the “wolf-pack” will be on your tail until the finish-line is in sight. This morning I may not have a “wolf-pack” on my tail, but the sight of four pheasants hung from a hook is a reminder to – perhaps – pedal a bit harder ahead of season-start. There is something strangely odd and yet intriguingly beautiful looking at the four pheasants hanging there against the black wooden wall.
Living in North Sealand I find myself extremely fortunate to have the best of all worlds. Within 5 minutes I can be on the open roads. Adding another 5 minutes I can blaze through amazing gravel lanes in the nearby woods, and as I head home from my “Ride of the Week” I am spoiled with beautiful views and amazing scenery, with a view to Sweden across the pond, and the odd Longhorn insisting on sharing its dental hygiene with me.
Like life, cycling is a series of choices. Turn left and you get your favourite climb or road. Turn right and you get something else. Pick the wrong kit and you might overcook. The list of choices is huge, but this is exactly what drives us to mount our bikes, head out and experience the roads which lie ahead of us. The distance or speed, in which you ride, does not matter. The importance is, you look up, away from your Garmin and handlebars, and yes – this is possible, to experience the beautiful world opening in front of you. This is why we ride!
KIT USED (from bottom):
God’n’Famous Camelbak Waterbottle
Rapha Cross Shoes
Giro Air Attack Helmet
Isadore Apparel Winter Tights
Six Point Merino Wool Knee Length Socks
Rapha Deep Winter Gloves
Isadore Apparel Merino Gloves
Isadore Apparel Performance Oversocks
Isadore Apparel Thermerino Jersey
Isadore Apparel Merino Softshell Membrane Jacket
Rapha Wool Cycling Cap (Vintage)
Rapha Essentials Case
Oakley Jawbreaker Photochromic Glasses
Rabens Saloner iPhone 6+ Essentials Case
Rapha Deep Winter Overshoes (Not shown)
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