We can’t ride across the bridge that joins Fyn to Sjaelland. It’s not just us, bikes are not allowed on the bridge at all. So in order to avoid a several hundred kilometer detour we hop on a train in Odense and take a bit of a leisurely morning ride to Ringsted. We get off the train and it is raining. So we don our rain gear before setting out. A few kilometers into the ride we doff the gear. Then we have to put it on again. This happens too much in the 45km ride to Roskilde. I seem to be finding routes that are almost all along country lanes. So, despite the wet, the ride is absolutely pleasant.
Denmark has over 7000km of dedicated bike roads, lanes and paths. There are 11 long distance cycling routes each highlighting different areas of the country. Over the past couple of weeks we have followed bits and pieces of several of the routes. We have done it accidentally but as we progress along our daily path we find we are following the red 6 or the red 1 and it appears over and over. Ya think maybe we had done it on purpose, but we have not.
The first few days of riding we follow Route 7 and Route 8. Route 7 starts at the north tip of Sjaelland Island, the island of Copenhagen, and heads more of less due south ending in Rodbyhavn. Route 8 starts in Rudbol, close to the west coast on the German border traveling more or less on the south edge of Denmark and ends in Mon, the eastern most of the main group of islands. These routes take us through the laid back, touristy world of the country.
The next few days we spend on the ‘wild’ west coast. This is one of the most travelled routes and always gets good reviews. We weave our way on and off Route 1. It starts on the north tip of Jutland in Skagen and ends in Rudbol on the German border. We start very close to the German boarder, joining the route in Hojer and followed more or less 1/2 the route cutting out at Sandervig.
As we travel east across central Jutland. The red numbers disappear for a while.
We then head south and we start to see Route 5. It begins in Skagen and finishes in Sonderborg, traveling more or less along the east coast of Jutland. Our experience with it starts in Aarhus and we leave it behind as we cross the bridge to Middelfart. We did travel a very small section of 5 when we left Sonderborg many days earlier.
Once the red 5 signs disappears from out vision we start to see Route 6 signs. Esbjerg is the gateway of the route that cuts across the middle of the country ending in Copenhagen. We pick it up in Middelfart crisscross it to Odense. As mentioned above we take a train ride to Ringsted but we then pick up the trail and follow it on and off to Roskilde. On Sunday we will travel along parts of the last section of the trail into Copenhagen.
Sometimes the terrain on these National Bike Routes is gruesome. I don’t think road bike friendly. Especially with a loaded bike. Sometimes the riding is off road and OK for touring but not for racing bikes. And I could not figure out how to know this before arriving there past the point of no return. There maybe indications on the detailed maps as to what kind of terrain each section is but if you are just crossing paths with these route on an ad hoc basis the maps are not really something one would purchase. That said most of the time these routes follow hard surfaced, low traffic roads and the riding is spectacular. They are a good guide line for setting up personalized routes to see the entire country.