I’ve come to notice during my time here that the humble bike is much more to a Danish man than just his means of transport. It’s his right-hand man when attempting to court women.
The bike serves many functions. Most notably, it’s an intimate form of transport when shared. That manoeuvre involves holding, squeezing, grabbing and pulling in a plethora of ways merely to stay on the thing … which is where my story begins.
It was a night of pølser and pilsner with ‘Hans’. I arrived for the date on my own bike, but he was bikeless – some excuse about a fladt dæk. Assuming he was speaking English, I was perplexed at how a ‘flat dick’ could prevent him from remedying his situation.
After three hours in Østerbro, I was keen to relocate. Knowing Hans lacked a bike (not to mention forward thinking), I compensated and asked the following: “Well if you like, we can both ride my bike to Vesterbro?”
“Are you sure,” he replied. “Yes,” I said, semi-confidently, wondering if I was going to end up doing the pedalling.
Turns out I didn’t end up pedalling, but I soon wished I was. Our journey consisted of me on the back, my arms wrapped tightly around him, changing my hold every 20 seconds as he continuously changed gears.
Let’s be honest though – to get a girl to wrap herself that tightly around you, after only a few hours, is a feat only the ‘bike’ can achieve. He knew that – and so does every Danish man.
Secondly, bikes are a perfect vehicle for showing off your manliness. Danish men love nothing more than displaying their limited range (after all, many of them don’t have cars to fix) of handyman skills on the bike.
I’ve never forgotten how one such Dane ‘fixed’ my family’s entire set of bikes when he visited my home in New Zealand once.
After half-heartedly suggesting to him we could cycle into town, but that our bikes were not in good order, he saw this as his golden opportunity.
Out came the oil, the bike pump and the spanner, and off came his shirt.
He pumped up the tyres, adjusted the seats, oiled the chains, tightened the brakes and, well, you get the idea. The debacle continued for an hour, and he didn’t just fix two bikes, he did all six.
The thing is: it looks cool and impressive when a man effortlessly unfreezes my bike lock or pulls my handle bars back into shape, but this was way too over the top.
Needless to say, he got the boot. But Hans on the other hand – I did hold onto him for a few more months.