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Come Rain or Shine

In the search of wide-open roads, the changing of the seasons and a feeling of freedom, a group of female riders came back with a clear idea of what exactly cycling does for them.

On any given morning in the early fall, Scandinavia can be just as beautiful as it can be brutal. The weather up here is a constant roll of the dice, and as the days go shorter, the colours turn golden before they whither, the idea of “one last big ride before winter" is what make a lot of riders head out. And that exact idea, inspired this particular group to embark on a two-day journey from Denmark to Sweden – 300 kilometers all in all with just about everything that makes road cycling special around here.
So what is it that cycling really can do for you? What makes us spend hours and hours alone or in the company of others, through foul weather, pushing through our limits? This group of women have more than the bike in common. Most of them are professionals, with demanding jobs, careers, and family that take up a lot of time. For all of them, this trip was a spectacular way to explore nature and above all the very idea of why we ride.

From Copenhagen to Båstad and back. From all the hours spent together as a group of friends, out came these reactions and images about life on the bike.
It's a feeling of freedom. Not in the sense of being free from something special, but of being in your very own world where nature surrounds you. That feeling after a ride when you're tired, but your mind is lifted. I think cycling helps me to create an identity where I can feel great and be who I am.

– Louise
The colours of autumn. The sounds of leaf and acorn you ride across and how the light caresses you. Even in the grey tones, nature around here is still beautiful with the coastal landscape, the fields, and farms. You can't escape the wind around here, the clouds gather and often, you get rained on. On the way back, we really needed to deal with that and coming home feels like a proper accomplishment that way.

– Birgitte
There is a feeling of clearing up inside when you ride through the forests and fields, seeing the colours turn into tones of red and brown. On this ride, we got pushed hard by the weather with rain and almost nothing but headwind. I think there is a sense of overcoming all of this that makes a lot of sense.

– Mathilde

Why I ride? There are thousands of reasons why. Some days it's for "freedom", the fresh air and nature, other days it's for pushing my self to limits that I didn't know I have and for the pain. Other days it's for meeting friends and just chilling, eating some cake and drinking coffee. I've been mostly riding in Sweden and it's mostly flat.

Having the nature around the corner is what amazes me the most. I don't have to ride more than 10km to get to the countryside and look at cows and sheep and what not. Also, Sweden is a big country, so if you don't plan your route well you will end up in the middle of nowhere with no grocery shop, maybe just a summer house or two. It's this emptiness and loneliness that I love.

– Lea

I ride bikes because it's the place where I feel most alive. The sense of speed, the pain in your legs and the motivational element in getting better.

I like the sensation of breathing fresh clean air and how it makes me want to keep going. I love the sound of silence when I'm alone or in a group. It gives a feeling of quietness inside when I'm on the bike.

I try to take in the scenery always – there is always something new to see, even on the roads you ride all the time.

I think cycling has taught me a lot about being dedicated and to not give up. That it's actually possible to enjoy something that really hurts because it helps you to become better and do things you didn't think you were able to.

– Mette

Thanks to Mercedes-Benz and & Hotel Skansen for support.

Photos: Ditlev Rosing