Do you know those ‘elephant’ jokes? You know, like, how many elephants can you fit into a Mini? Two in the front, two in the back! How do you know there are elephants in your house? There’s an empty Mini parked outside! How do you know there are elephants in your fridge? Footprints in the butter! Boom, boom! 😛
Which got me thinking the other day. How do you know when there are Danish kids in your house? A pile of shoes or boots at the front door!
Or… You can’t get into your garden for bikes, helmets and rucksacks!
My own two (half Danish/half Scottish) little ‘uns have had a tough day today. I’m off to give them a cuddle. And tell them a few (bad) jokes.
Are you ready? Tyres pumped, lights checked, cycle helmet strapped firmly on? Tomorrow, Friday, is Cyklistdag (Cyclist Day) for my DD12 (dear daughter, aged 12) who’s in the 5th grade. It’s a campaign, organised by the police and schools in our area, to improve road safety. Many kids bike to school – either accompanied by their parents or alone, from the age of about 10. Yep, it can be hard to find a bike parking space at school in the morning – come early if you want a good spot… 😉
So what does Cyklistdag involve? Well, the class will be divided up into small groups of 5/6 kids and they’ll cycle round the commune with volunteer parents.
There are a couple of stops with ‘challenges’ along the way. This year I’m helping out with the Manøvrebane, where the kids will have to manoeuvre round cones, ride over a ramp and complete a slalom track. Another ‘challenge’ is to name all the things that, by law, must be on a bike. Which reminded me that, um, I badly needed to go check our bike lights and change some batteries. Job done!
My favourite ‘challenge’ is Lastbilens blindevinkel (the truck’s blind spot). A huge lorry is parked outside our local library and the kids are given a traffic cone which represents their bike. They’re told to place the cone alongside the lorry, at a spot where they think it is ‘safe’ and where they think the lorry driver will be able to ‘see’ them, if he turns right. (Even if most Danish lorries now have special cameras fitted, there are still – unfortunately – several fatal accidents each year involving cyclists and right-turning-trucks, so it’s vital information for the kids.)
After they’ve placed their cones, the kids are then invited up, up, up into the drivers seat. So they can see exactly what the driver can see.
And – ta da – suddenly realise just how important it is to keep their distance… A real eye opener!
Next year, in 6th grade, the kids will take their cyklistprøve (cycling proficiency test) where they’ll cycle the route on their own.
Will you be out in the traffic tomorrow? Give us a wave! Or, at least, give way!
You all know that the Danes are big bike enthusiasts, right? That’s why I did a Scaredy Cat Challenge a few weeks back Can you smell carrots? in order to get me back in the saddle… There are cyclepaths the length and breadth of the country and lots of kids bike to school. No such thing as schoolbuses here, that’s only something we see in Hollywood films. And the Danes bike all year round – in all weathers. I’m sure I’ve told you before that the Danes have a quaint saying “Dårligt vejr findes ikke – kun forkert påklædning!” (There’s no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothing!)
But did you know that really, teeny tiny Danes bike to kindergarten? And crèche? They get to ride in style in one of these…
I think they probably painted the names on this one to avoid it being stolen. No wonder, as the going rate for a cycle trailer is about 4,000 Danish kroner. About £460 or $660! Mind you, there’s space to fit two or three very small Scandinavians in one of these things…
They come in all shapes and sizes. And colours…I love pink and turquoise together! 🙂
Pink not your thing? How about camouflage?
Whatever colour you go for, just remember that it isn’t always sunny in Wonderful Copenhagen. Remember that rain hood!