June 27, 2012 (Day 15) Bike Day 9
Bike from Island of Møn to Køge
117km (73 miles)
7:50am – 7:40pm
weather: extremely windy!!, cool, but warming later in the day, first half of the day cloudy, second half sunny
What a day we are in for today. We had a choice this morning to either bike the full route all the way to Køge (advertised as about 98km) or just bike to Rødvig and then take the train to Køge (advertised at 60km). We decided last night to go for the full route and woke up earlier than normal to get out on the road as soon as possible. With the long, long days we aren’t worried about losing sunlight at all, but we didn’t want to be out too late. =) There are quite a lot of interesting spots to sight-see along the way as well and our main goal is not to miss them when they close at 5pm.
Breakfast this morning started at 7am and we were first in line. It was a decent breakfast and then we got out on the road while most of our group was still enjoying their breakfast. The first thing we noticed while out on the road was the coolness and the crazy wind! For the first 4km, we biked into the wind wall and we reached Stege wondering how they day would go. From Stege to the Queen Alexandrine Bridge, we were forced to bike on the road without a cycle lane and the road had about a 1inch shoulder. We didn’t stop, but just kept riding all the way to the bridge.
At the bridge, we found ourselves in some road construction and they only had one car lane open to cross the bridge. Luckily there was a bike lane across the bridge and here we really got the full brunt of the wind. The wind was flying across the bridge as a cross-wind to us that made it less safe to bike. Instead, we walked across the bridge. But, boy was that some of the most uncomfortable wind whipping across my face. It roared in my left ear and blew my hair across my face, burned my skin and made my eyes water. The most hilarious part, though, were the wind breaks we got as we passed the steel supports on the bridge creating a very brief break from the wind as we walked.
Once over the bridge we found a lot less traffic on the road, and though we didn’t have a cycle path, there wasn’t much traffic at all and we were able to cycle on to our next stop in Praesto. The clouds were out all morning and the wind was whipping. It was cool at first, but soon enough we were working too hard to wear the wind jackets and stripped down to our jerseys again. Of course any stop would give us goose bumps.
With the tough cycling and all the clouds and wind, I didn’t take many photos in the morning. We did stop in Praesto to find a cafe for a morning snack. And most importantly, we also found a bike store were we could pick up some bike lube and oil up our chains. Mine has been screaming for days and Mark’s finally started grinding as well, so we got fed up and bought the lube. Once we were oiled up we were so quiet that we forgot about the wind for a while to enjoy it.
After our morning stop, once again we just pumped our legs and biked on to Rodvig with very little stops. We were, however, extremely happy to see the sun start to come out and the clouds were cleared away. Once the sun was out, it was a lot easier to keep cycling. This morning I actually considered that we might change our plans and take the train into Køge.
One of the funniest stories today happened I think in the town of Fakse Ladeplads where we stopped at a grocery store for water and chocolate milk. First off, we spent a good 10 minutes trying to find water without bubbles, but once we filled up our camelbaks and drank our milk, we figured we’d recycle our plastic bottles. There was a bottle recycling machine, so I put in one bottle. All of a sudden the alarm started going off and I pressed buttons and then Mark said “Just put the other bottle in!” So I did. I shoved the milk container in and the alarms went off again and finally someone came out to shut them off. I guess this machine is only supposed to take containers that are marked for deposits and we were just trying to recycle. Haha, oh well.
With sun, my camera came out more often and the fields with their blowing grasses made a splendid backdrop to the cycling. We passed by some really tiny towns with cute Danish houses, too. Finally, though, we found ourselves in Rødvig where we took a little detour into the town and down to the marina to find lunch.
We decided to skip the ship motor museum in the interest of time and found a Thai place on the marina for lunch. Here we sat in the sun, with a break from the wind, and we did some people-watching while we ate. An outdoor Zumba group started up their music on the shoreline and we watched them dance away the calories and having lots of fun.
We also got our first glimpse of the Stevns Klint (large white cliffs on the shoreline to the ocean). The cliffs were one of the main reasons that we wanted to bike the whole way to Køge. In fact, the whole area of the Stevns Klint was well marked with a variety of sight-seeing stops.
We first stopped at Stevns fort. I was expecting a much older fort with possible ruins from hundreds of years ago, but in fact this was a very modern military base housing military equipment last used only several years ago. We were able to tour through the vehicles and equipment on our own and the information signs had English for us even. =)
Stevnsfort was built in 1953 where the fortress could monitor all ships entering or leaving the Baltic through the Sound and could control all ship movements. There was an underground barracks that were built into the limestone cliffs with 1-mile long passages 40 feet below the ground. The crew was protected down here from a nuclear blast and could last up to 3 months without any contact to the outside world. The fort was only closed in the year 2000 and in 2008 because a cold war museum.
On the road, we are back on small country roads without much traffic as we bike along the coast with less wind than earlier today. Also, with the sun, it’s becoming warm out. The next stop was at Stevns Klint and a church up on the cliffs. We walked through the church and then down the path to the bottom of the cliffs.
Here, the cameras really came out and were clicking. Down in the ocean, we found the waters full of jellyfish! Looking back at the cliffs, the sun was glinting on the white limestone and the views were picturesque.
I enjoyed biking along the coast mostly because the wind came from behind and also because of all the sight-seeing. Our next brief stop was at a huge, and deep limestone quarry. We could stop and take photos here, but of course we couldn’t go down into the quarry and several warning signs told us we’d walk into a pit if we kept going.
At this point, it was beginning to get late in the day (towards 5p) and we didn’t know we’d be able to visit the last two stops, Schloss Gjorslev and Schloss Vallo. (a schloss is castle in Danish). Schloss Gjorslev still had an open gate, however, so we took our bikes in. The place was deserted and after all the alarms we’ve set off recently, I was a little anxious going in the grounds even though the gate was open. =)
We got to see the beautiful outside of the castle complete with moat and flowered entry before we got back on the road and continued on. I’ll admit to becoming tired at this point. I realized that we’d be biking much more than the advertised 98km and though we decided early on to detour to see Schloss Vallo, we opted out by the time Køge was in our sights. Now we were back in the headwind biking northwest along the coast to Køge.
We stopped for an Oreo break about 10km outside of Køge. We could see across the coast to Copenhagen where we’d be tomorrow and possibly the coast of Sweden off in the distance, too. The last 10km were tough coming into Køge just because I was ready to get off my bike. But, we also found a cycle path going into the city that was long and flat and lined by trees.
Here we saw some more serious cyclists out on road bikes and we got out of their way. And we biked, biked, biked into Køge. Thankfully our hotel was in the town so we passed by the hotel and went into the central square to find dinner arriving at 7:40pm. For the first time today we saw some of the cyclists on our tour and we ate dinner and caught each other up on how our days went. The rest of our group took the train from Rødvig and they were curious to hear about our trip.
Dinner in the square was perfect. We found a sunny table at a cafe with good food and relaxed for the evening. Then, we walked back to the hotel with our bikes and pretty much went right to bed. Tomorrow is our last day of cycling and that means I don’t need to do laundry tonight!! How exciting.