TRAVELS WITH GREASE AND PADDLE
Friday, May 09, 2008
Studies consistently show that Denmark is home to the world's happiest people. After two days of exhaustive research I can offer an explanation: sunshine, bicycles, and beer.
I was to meet an outdoor gear product designer from a European chain of retailers called Stadium, their Denmark head of operations, managers from around the country, the coach of the Copenhagen kayak racing team, and a bunch of other water-loving folks for an all-day event in Copenhagen that would showcase the Point 65 line and teach some kayak skills and knowledge to Stadium employees.
But first, a few free hours to soak up Copenhagen on its finest day of 2008. I ditched the trailer, then the car, and set off to find a bicycle. Copenhagen is arguably the cycling capital of the world. To find out more about this culture, or if you just want to see well-composed shots of fashionable Danes on bikes, click here.
The free city bikes were nowhere to be found on such a gorgeous day, despite my searching through the Nyham district. Not to worry, a helpful woman on her own classy bike told me, just find a people's bike. I would know one if it was a) unlocked, and b) looking a bit neglected. Soon enough, I had a sweet ride of my own. If I misunderstood this system, I apologize to the owner of a black cruiser. You can find your bike two blocks off the canal on Nyham....
Soaking up the bohemian vibe of Christiana, the beautiful King's Garden park, and the alleys and street of downtown, I quickly tapped into some of the legendary happiness.
Soon, I met my contacts and we made our way to the kayak club, setting up tents for the night and having a planning session while debating the merits of Carlsberg vs. Tuborg.
The next day was even more beautiful than the last. Folks trickled in and we were all treated to a smorgasbord more befitting a wedding than a kayak demo.
Some on-land instruction followed and then some time for everyone to try out the boats. The Danish racing team, peparing to leave for a meet in Germany, joined us on the water and soon we were all involved in some really fun relay races with ever kind of kayak imaginable in the fray. At sunset, with satisfied grins, my colleague Staffan, the young Swedish expedition paddler John, and I crammed into the Pointmobile, bid farewell to our hosts, and drove off, crossing the bridge into Sweden and passing through the beautiful southern farmland on our way north to more events in Karlstad.