This Explains So Much

So there’s this podcast about living in Denmark as an expat that I like to listen to. Most of the things the author mentions, I’ve already experienced, but it’s nice to commiserate and to know I’m not alone. But every once in a while, she mentions some facet of life in Denmark that I haven’t encountered yet, and it always fascinates me how this new tidbit sheds light on what I’ve experienced about Denmark. 

For example, her podcast from the 5th talks about biking in Denmark. I have my bike here and have biked around town and am already familiar with the Danish biking rules and etiquette and their crazy hook turns. However, what I didn’t know was that many Danes own an extra “ugly bike” which, well, Kay explains it much better in the quote below than I could. But let me just say that it finally explains why so many rusty, crusty bicycles seem to just sit in the train station parking lot getting rustier and crustier.


“Most people in Copenhagen have more than one bike, sometimes three. One might be a sport racing bike, or a mountain bike, and the other might be a ‘shopper’ bike, with a big basket for bringing home groceries.

It’s also quite common to have an extra, ugly bike.

An ugly bike is a bike that gets no love, and often no maintenance. It’s a rusted, broken-down bike you use for short commutes and leave at the train station.

When I used to work at Carlsberg, the beer company, I’d take my shopper bike to the train station by my house, get on the train, get off at the stop near Carlsberg, where I had another bike waiting – an ugly bike.

It wasn’t a nice neighborhood, so I needed a not very nice bike, something that wouldn’t be worth the effort to steal.

I’d ride the ugly bike to work. At the end of the day, I’d ride the ugly bike back to the station by Carlsberg, leave it there, get back on the train, get off at the stop by my house, and ride my shopper bike home. Two bikes and a train – that’s a pretty typical Copenhagen commute.”

((via)) Written by Kay Xander Miller in her podcast and blog: “How to Live in Denmark: An Irreverent Guide.”


8 thoughts on “This Explains So Much

  1. I’m not sure if you’ve been to the Copenhagen train station yet, but your mind will be blown by the number of (abandoned?) bikes. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.


    • 🙂 I haven’t been yet, but I’m looking forward to it, especially now that I’ve gotten used to the number of abandoned bikes around Aarhus.


  2. Pingback: More Sense Making and Danish Fashion | Our House in Aarhus

  3. I had a bike like that for a while too while commuting to work in Ry. Not necessary to wait for a bus there with the bike waiting for me there. Never knew there was a name for it though.
    The bike came back home with me when I ended my time there and got swept up in a yearly clean up effort by our building society. So it turned out it actually had a safer life at the station in Ry.


    • I’ll believe. I swear some of these bikes sit at the station for months on end without moving, getting stolen, or being removed by police/transport people.


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