I’m not your average walk-in-the-park tour guide. I’m a Dane who has been around the bloc a time or two. I was born and raised in Denmark and educated at the school of life while trail-blazing the path less travelled. I live and breathe my country’s history, politics and culture. I ride my bike daily, rain, snow or shine—this ritual has gotten me through hell and back during my lifetime.
In 2007 I ditched the rat-race to start Bike Copenhagen with Mike Tours and what a wild, rewarding ride it has been. In my experience, the path less travelled is rarely a shortcut. It’s a long, winding road with many hurdles along the way. Flat tires. Detours. Turbulence. Conversations with strangers. Forks in the road.
For me, the first of many meandering adventures began when I set off on a 6 month hitch-hiking journey which rolled into five years abroad in the blink of an eye. A new hunger stirred in my curious, wandering, 22 year old soul. I had found my calling in life: to travel the world and explore the great unknown for as many waking minutes as I walk the earth. I had been turned on to a whole world of possibility. In the wise words of Denmark’s very own Hans Christian Andersen: “To roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live”.
So off I went, into the great unknown, finding pieces of the puzzle wherever I roamed. This is the story of becoming Bikemike.
One dark, cold, whirlwind of a night in 1978 just before Xmas, I met a fellow Dane named Christen at his home away from home in San Francisco. He greeted me in our mother tongue with “come inside. Stay as long as you want, but only if you join me for a bike ride around the city. We leave in 10 minutes”. Filled with intrigue and an appetite for adventure, I followed Christen into that blustery San Francisco evening. We rode through the night, winding up and down the hills, exchanging endless stories—him from a long life full of experience, me, at the very beginning of my journey. Christen was a fountain of knowledge, charisma and clever wit. He was an explorer himself and a kindred spirit. He opened my eyes to how one can experience the heart and soul of a place armed with nothing but a bike and a curious mind. He made me see the importance of taking a look beneath the surface. That there’s so much more to places than can be printed on the pages of a travel guide. It takes something special to capture these things, to bring a place to life and empower others to do the same.
Our impromptu night tour set the slow and steady wheels of change in motion. I had found a dear friend, a mentor for life and the inspiration for my tours had materialised right in front of my (now) wide open eyes. This experience was reinforced many years later, on the most meaningful tour of my life, when I strapped my two year old son into the baby seat of my bike and cycled around Denmark. Just like my tour with Christen, my eyes were wide open once again. It was as if I was seeing every detail of my beautiful country for the very first time, through the eyes of my child.