With the Tour de France heading to Denmark for the first time, I tasted the cycling and culinary pleasures of the capital – and tried out Stage 1 of the route

This is the first time I’ve actually enjoyed cycling in a city. Previously I have been a car-watcher on two wheels, a fume-breathing pothole dodger, my existence begrudged by every four-wheeled, “proper” road user. Now, just outside the Tivoli Gardens, an older lady shoots past me on a shopper-chopper with a cheery “Hihi”, which alerts me to the fact that I am on the wrong side of the bike lane. Imagine: a bike lane broad enough to allow safe overtaking. At the traffic lights there is a purpose-built leaning rail so my feet remain on the pedals; once across the junction, there is a waste bin specially angled to catch litter from cyclists.

In the light of this initiation, I am amazed that the Tour de France has never previously hit Copenhagen or Denmark, but 2022 is genuinely the first time. The lord mayor of the city, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, tells me: “For us Copenhageners, cycling is a way of life, and we are proud to be called the world’s best cycling city. I’ve been watching the Tour since I was a girl and now, like the rest of Denmark, I can’t wait to see the riders in town.” All those soigneurs, grimpeurs, rouleurs and possibly even the rare stagiaire will be swooping around these streets before heading out for two more stages in the countryside (check out James Witherell’s book Bicycle History for wonderful jargon). This July will also see a relaunch of the women’s Tour, which starts in Paris – an event that has had a fitful history since its inception in 1955, but hopefully will finally ignite the public imagination.

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Source: Gaurdian

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