By Tim and Laura Moss
Monday, 25 November 2019
Three months before their son was born, Laura and Tim Moss embarked on a cycle-camping trip up the west coast of Denmark.
Our plan was to cycle through Denmark on the North Sea Cycle Route, which weaves up the west coast of Jutland. We were drawn by the pastries, the 400-odd miles of largely traffic-free cycling on offer, and the flat topography. These factors were particularly important to us on this trip because I was six months pregnant.
I cycled throughout my pregnancy, right up until my due date and beyond. I found it easier than walking, because the weight was off my legs. It was one of the few times I felt almost normal, able to cruise along and forget for a moment that I was carrying around an infant and a couple of pints of amniotic fluid.
I cycled throughout my pregnancy…I found it easier than walking
However, the extra cargo did mean our priorities were somewhat changed when it came to choosing a destination for our annual cycle tour. Finding quiet roads and car-free routes felt more important than normal, as our risk threshold was lowered. Hills are also harder when pregnant: a combination of the extra weight and having to keep two hearts beating rather than one.
All of which drew our attention to Denmark’s west coast. The area is marketed as a child friendly destination. We interpreted that as including children as yet unborn.
Tickets to ride
Our journey started with a train to London, where we were greeted at King’s Cross by Harry and Megan in cardboard cutout form, celebrating their wedding day. Train staff marked the occasion by handing out tiny Union Jacks, which stayed on our bikes across Denmark.
This was followed by a Eurostar train to Brussels, where our arrival coincided with a gay pride event. We passed an evening roaming the streets, soaking up the vibe and eating waffles.
The next part of the journey was the big one: an overnight bus to Hamburg. We had heard good things about Flixbus and their bike-friendly policies but, as we stood on a dark backstreet at 1am holding tightly to our touring bikes, we began to have our doubts. Sure enough though, the bus turned up when the timetable said it would, the driver strapped our bikes to a rack on the back, and we slept all the way to northern Germany.
On first impressions, Northern Europe was everything we had hoped it would be. The terrain was flat, the banks of the Elbe were bustling, and it was pleasantly warm. The only problem came when evening fell and we realised that everywhere was closed. In northern Germany and Denmark, the Pentecost is a serious business; all the shops and restaurants close for the duration of the Whitsunday holiday.
Once we arrived in Denmark, the route followed the coast. We pedalled amidst sand dunes on a broad, empty trail. On our first night, we headed in search of the campsite marked on our map. Demarcated with huge Danish flags, it was visible from a mile away. As we got closer we realised that it was one of those big, camping-and-caravaning sites, and we braced ourselves for a high Scandinavian price tag.
“Twelve quid for both of us”, Tim said as he strode out of reception, looking relieved. “And that includes showers, wi-fi, a fully-equipped kitchen, and use of the TV room”.