We’re back. For me, that means back to work, back to studying, business as usual. Nick, on the other hand, has just had his graduation and needs to figure out what his future will look like. But I am sure I speak for both of us when I say that the cycle trip to Copenhagen, the whole Cycling for Climate project and all experiences that came with it were fantastic, and has absolutely been worth all the painly bums and other inconveniences. If no one else’s, it has for sure raised my awareness of climate change and the COP15 process, and it seems that many people have enjoyed our site.
We have been a bit lazy reporting from Copenhagen. The place we stayed was amazing, the people we met were really friendly. We hooked up with the cyclists on Monday night for a drink. And we hang around the Klimaforum for critical of what is happening and what should happen in the Bella center. But Copenhagen at that time, was, in a way, really quiet. The police were on their guards, but the number of activists small and the actions had not started yet. I feel a bit sorry that we left already and we did not participate in, for example, the bike block, as a matter of peaceful civil disobedience.
Now that the project has come to an end, it’s time to give a big thanks to the people that have made it possible.
First of all we thank Mei-ing. Without here we probably would not have done the whole thing. Thanks for being art director and head of PR.
Next, big thanks to Hugo Huurdeman for making the interactive map, your advise and fixing our site.
Then there are all the people who let us spend a night: the families Verduyn and Van der Horst, Timo, the people from the barn near Hamburg with the nice lady that kept bringing us coffee, Henni with his apples from the garden, and the fantastic places we were couchsurfing at when we were with Kim and the other cyclists.
Thanks Kim Nguyen for starting ride planet earth and thanks to everyone we met in those last days and cycled with. That was great!
Finally, thanks to everyone that helped us out financially or otherwis, like our parents, de Praktijk and ISS.
Hope I didn’t forget anyone. Here are some new videos. A video of last day will follow soon…
After a hectic morning we made it to leave on time and actually be 15 minutes early at the meeting point in Roksilde, where we were joined by a bigger group of cyclists from around the world. Deligation cycled from Belgium, Spain and a big group of cyclists from Denmark itself.
As a big group we left Roksilde for our final 30km to Copenhagen. On this rather relaxed and slow ride everything that could go wrong went wrong. Kim was the first to get a puncher, Rico and several others crashed and fell, but luckely without any serious injuries.
On two further stops we were joined by more and more cyclist and the final 7km the group was as larg as 50 people. Making a lot of noice, singing songs and ringing bells, we cycled through the city. The campaign ended in the city center, where the group was met by several journalists and Kim gave a speach. It was a really nice celebration and a great way to end our journey to Copenhagen.
Tonight we will again have a great accomodation. We will stay in a warehouse in Copenhagen. Under the floating city project this warehouse will host up to 1000 people for the Copenhagen climate conference. It is already busting with activists and many more should come. There is still a lot of work to do here, making fire doors and just organizing the place. Sebas and I will get involed and see how we can help out.
Also we will make events in Copenhagen to highlight the importance of climate change, awareness and of course how everyone can do their bit by simply cycling! So stay tuned, more will follow.
We left this morning in high spirits and a bit delayed again heading towards Roskilde our final stop before Copenhagen on the Sunday! The next town was just 15km away and we finally found some free wirless internet connection and updated our map (after 3 days without wirless, we got a bit desperate…kind of strange we are really hooked). Amazingly Kim met his parents in this town who came from Austalia to meet him here in Denmark once he arrived.
After lunch we had a rain free but exhausting cycle to Rokslide. The whole group is really tired and Sebas and I have still not recovered from the brutal day of cyling that we had catching up with the guys, but we managed to get to our destination. Again we were greeted by lovely hosts that cooked food for us and offerd us the lovely and warm house of their parents.
It is incredible to know that just 30km away is our goal. In a way we can still not believe that we cycled all the way on our old bikes without any training and tomorrow it will all be over. Legs hurt, we are tired but extremely stoked about getting to Copenhagen.
Climate change affects us all and all of us need to act if we want to change something. A line that I read today on Rich’s jacked summs it up really nice: change starts and ends with us.
What a nice day! Well not weather wise, but certainly judged by all the nice people that we are cycling with now. Its a real change to be part of a bigger group. It starts by simply getting up in the morning and packing the bikes to set off for the day. While Sebas and I took never longer then about 30 min to have breakfast, load the bikes and actually start cycling, it took us today us about 2 hours until we left. In a way this was really great, considering the heavy day Sebas and I had yesterday, a relaxed morning was just great.
Cycling too is different. The group moves slower, again very nice after the heavy day yesterday. The best thing about the cycling now is to have conversations with different people of very diverse backgrounds. Our group counts now 9 people in total, mainly from England, Holland, Germany and of course Australia.
We stopped for a short while at the city center of Oldense and held a rally, rolling out our banner as well as a banner that Kim and the other started collecting messages from people on the street for Copenhagen.
We had a relatively relaxed cycle during the day, and even swopped bikes for some time. Kim rode Teresa for a while Rico took Sebas’s bike(for those of you who haven’t followed this blog, Kim is the guy that that cycled all the way from Australia, and through who we met all the other cyclists here, and Rico is a German that cycled with him for a while). It was really nice to have a gear system!
The ride ended at the train station, yes we finally reached the train, which added another 200km to our journey, avoiding the ferry. The train ride itself was only 10 minutes. Once we got off the train we were met by a friend of a friend of Kim, our host for the night. Like yesterday we invaded another house, the lovely Danish family expected only 6 people and were a little suppressed once 9 turned up. They are really friendly, feed us, offered to wash our cloth and let us use their internet.
Tomorrow we have an other hard day with over 80km to go but should then be within 35km of Copenhagen, preparing us to get into Copenhagen Sunday afternoon. For our arrival a bigger event is planned and people are welcome to join us cycling into the city. Details can be found here: http://rideplanetearth.org/?page_id=474
What a day! This was by far the most exhausting day of cycling, and maybe we ever had. Just absolutely brutal. This morning we loosened the chain of my bike and amazingly by doing this the two problems of the day before simply dissapeared. So we headed straight to Mittelfart the first island off the European mainland. The road there was a real challenge. Not only was it raining and continued raining throughout the day, but we had strong winds head on and on top of all the steepest hill we have encountered so far, forcing us to get of our bikes and actually push them up the road.
After a great lunch break were both of us had two main courses we headed on the way was less hilly, but the wind got stronger and so did the rain. The aim for the day was to catch Kim and the others in Oldense. Pushing on relentlessly (especially Sebas was unbelivably, I stayed in his slip stream for at least the last hour of our trip and would never have made it without him!!!) we made it to Oldense and found a house full of amazing people and great hosts!
Our cloth is still totally soked and hopefully they will dry by tomorrow morning. After this day we are really tired and need to sleep now. We are looking forward to cycle with the guys tomorrow.
(Apologies for not uploading any pictures, but the internet is too slow here and we simply were not able to look for internet today….crazy day!)
This morning we left our warm hotel to enter the winter landscape of northern Germany. Icy cold but truly beautiful, the entire land was covered in white frost, with mist covering the near by lake and city dressing the buildings in a white coat. We headed further north towards Denmark, aiming to take our lunch brake at Flensburg.
To our surprise however, we never made it to Flensburg, but crossed the boarder to Denmark instead. After a short beak we pushed on and found a good place for lunch. Just before lunch my bike Teresa started to act funny. Occasionally the push into the paddles would go into no where. It felt like the back wheel was slipping, but it was not. After lunch the problem got worse and we decided to find a bike repair shop in Aabenraa (this is the place Kim and the others left in the morning). We found a bike shop and he guy there was helpful and said at the problem was simply fixed by tightening the chain, which he did.
Back on the road however, now two problems occurred. First the old problem was not fixed (it seems to be a problem with the back wheel itself. Crazy thing is that we changed the old back wheel to this wheel in Hamburg, so it should be fine!). The second problem was and still is that the chain was extremely tight, which means that cycling is even harder then normally.
The landscape changed too. It is much more hilly in Denmark and with a single gear bike and a tight chain cycling is really a pain at the moment. By six o’clock we stopped and asked our usual question to stay in a garage/barn. The first guy that we talked to was kind of nice, but even though he had a lot of space was unwilling to let stay there. He told us that in an event of a fire, it will be his responsibility if something happens to us…?!?
So we knocked at the next house and the man there Henny (this spelling is a guess) offered us his garage to spend the night in, as well as some lovely apples from his garden. This is also the place that I am writing this blog from, tugged into my sleeping bag. Hopefully we will be able to find a bike repair shop tomorrow that can actually fix Theresa and also internet connection to actually post this blog.
For the end some good news. We are catching up with Kim and the cycling gang. We have the address where they will spend the night tomorrow are about 104km away. That is a hard day of cycling, but with a fixed bike it should be possible. Lets hope for the best.
Gooooood moooorning Schlesswig! 6.45 when the alarm clock went. We just had breakfast, it is nearly getting light and a look outside tells us it is freezing cold! See for yourself on the left. We’ll be getting on our way anyway, dressed as warm as possible. We just heared on the radio that the temperature will be between minus 6 and plus 3. Nice! Goog news is that Kim and the other cyclists are 130 km away from us. We are probably not going to make it to meet them tonight, but we might catch up with them tomorrow already.
Internet wise we are not so sure if we van find any connection today. Maybe there is a t-mobile hotspot somewhere or we get lucky tonight. Otherwise, we’ll surely get on line in Kolding, Denmark. From the moment we pass the Denish border neither of us speeks the local language. We’ll see if we can still make some friends.
We made a second video!It’s all material shot on day 2 and 3. It was great fun to make, but let us know what you think.
Alright, we made it to Schlesswig in the north of Germany. But first things first, as we couldn’t write a proper blog yesterday, here an update on what happened. After successfully abusing someones unsecured wireless network (this seems to be a more and more common feature of this trip, and it involves Sebas cycling slowly around town using his iphone as a network detector) we made our way out of Hamburg at around 5pm. It was dark already by then, but we needed to get some kilometers down as Kim and the others now had two full days head start. We made it out of town, this time without any difficulties (we didn’t have to go through the harbor again, yepeeee!), however after cycling around 35km Sebas’s backtire went flat.
We decided to ask on the next house if we could spend the night there, and luckely the inhabitants were really friendly and welcoming. So we spend the night in a barn, which was freezing cold. The temperature must have dropped below 0 degrees as i could feel it even through my new seeping bag. We got up this morning early and were greeted by a nice cup of hot coffee from the very helpful lady of the house (sorry I forgot her name). As the repair tools that we brought broke once we tried them out, we headed to the local hardwear store (on foot for a change) and got a new repair kit. The whole proceedure of fixing the bike took nearly 1 1/2 hours and we only managed to leave our barn at around 10am.
In a way it is amazing that Sebas got a puncher in his tire! The day before, repairing and preparing the bikes the guys at the Uni bike repair center told us that our tires are sort of un-punchable! Well, maybe not, but it took a 1cm long iron nail to go through the puncher proof tire.
After this long delay, we headed on facing the wind straight on. The day itself was beautiful, the best we had so far. Skies were blue and the sun was shining all day long, truly wonderful. It is strange, the challenges of this trip change from day to day and while we were fighting with the rain in the beginning, especially in Holland, with the hills between Meppen and Hamburg, we were now batteling with the cold and wind. The first hours the winds were straight in our faces and by around 1 degree, it was a real challenge to keep on riding strong.
Hence we decided on a new strategy. We worked as a team, one always in the slipstream of the other. We felt like cycling the tour de France. In fact it worked so good that we kept up the system for the whole day, and i think we will cycle like this for the rest of the trip. At lunch we decided to make it to Schlesswig, which was another 73km away, but we knew we needed to really start making some way good on the other guys.
The way itself was wonderful today, really peaceful and just really beautiful. We kept on cycling, and suddenly saw that ahead was a river, and the only possiblity of crossing this river was via ferry! Ahhhh we decided on cycling an extra 200km, chasing Kim and the guys to not have to take a ferry to get to Copenhagen, and there we were, being forced to actually step on a disel engined ferry. The ride was about 45 seconds long, but on principle it was really annoying.
Its getting dark early now, already at 4:20pm and at that time we were still about 35km away from our destination. Bicicle paths were rare on the last part of our trip and as we were cycling in the dark, Sebas and i decided to make the whole experience quick and painful. So we got our of our bikes all the speed we could and using our slipstreem technique held an average speed of around 23km per hour (believe me this is fast on our bikes!).
As we needed a shower and internet we decided to spend the night in a cheep hotel, from which this blog is being written. Up until now we don’t have wireless, so we can’t upload the pictures on the map, but we will try and find a free one later on. Tomorrow we hope to make some more way good on the others (now we are only one day behind!!!)