Cycling Malmö

The day began with an enquiry over free bike rental at the hotel, to which I was informed only two female bicycles remained. Luckily my good friend Michael Moss and I are the dictionary definition of modern day metrosexuals and we gladly accepted these beautiful white steeds. As we set off, I suddenly realised there were no brakes on the handlebars. These were old school bikes that require backwards pedalling to slow down and stop, a task easily achieved when I was encountered with my first obstacle of the day in the shape of an unaware pedestrian stepping out in front of me. However, starting up again proved more difficult. Normally I lift my right pedal back in to place, but since moving the pedal backwards is the braking mechanism, I was unable to do so. This meant I had to push off on my left foot, a task I realised I struggle with to the same extent as Zoolander does turning left. Eventually, though, we were away, the sun making a timely appearance as we swept through the streets of Malmö, making use of the luxuriously spaced bicycle paths that run alongside the majority of streets in this wonderful gem of a city. Cars were respectful and let us cross as our first port of call began to rise up into our horizon: the Turning Torso. Following a loop of the tower, we continued on to the seafront and were immediately blown away by the views (and the wind). We lapped up both, cycling northbound as far as the docks, before backtracking towards Daniaparken for a photo opportunity with our beautiful bicycles and the stunning views.


Cycling past the Turning Torso and posing with the fantastic Øresund Bridge in the background

A mandatory food and beer stop and we were back on our bicycles, making our way across some tight bridges filled with dilly-dallying pedestrians and oblivious children. This almost brought the second disaster of the day, as I slowly free-wheeled behind a large family, patiently awaiting my first opportunity to safely overtake. My speed dropped to such a dribble that I quickly lost control and started veering, albeit slowly, towards a bewildered looking elderly lady who stood motionless, apparently stunned by this bearded fool trickling towards her in a scene reminiscent of Austin Powers. Instinctively I grabbed at the brakes but to my horror quickly realised that this wasn’t my usual bicycle as I clutched at thin air. Luckily, the lady showed last minute footwork that Michael Flatley would have been proud of and disaster was averted. I apologised profusely as our cycle took us onwards past an interesting looking building across the dock that we had to check out. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a bathhouse, Ribersborgs Kallbadhus. Our lack of swimwear mattered not as the Scandinavians prefer their birthday suits and 4 years of living together means that Moss and I know each other inside and out (!). So the afternoon drifted on with little cycling but lots of naked strutting around saunas followed by dips into the Baltic Sea which certainly lived up to its name to shrinkage-inducing effect.


Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles. A common sight in Malmö

The cycle home was a solo affair as Moss headed elsewhere with another friend. I took this opportunity to put a proper shift in, and although I was overtaken by a man doing intermittent sprints on rollerblades, I quickly picked up the pace and was soon passing grandmas, children and parents with trailers with the ease of a hot knife cutting through butter. A slight detour to see some more of the city and the cycle was over. Though there was only 25 km on the odometer, I enjoyed my experience of the city. Malmö is a delightfully quaint place, with quiet streets bursting with cyclists of all ages. The cycle lanes alongside the roads provide the locals with well-connected safe and secure means to commute. The city is located just by the water, meaning there is always a gusty wind which I can imagine could get annoying on hard cycles, but the majority of the bicycling population appear to do so merely for commuting or leisure, and appear unperturbed by the swirling winds. Copenhagen is a 15 min train journey away and is a far more renowned cycling destination but I would recommend anyone to make the short trip to Malmö as they won’t be disappointed.