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The roadbook is a collection of maps, instructions, and chronological directions to help its reader navigate over unknown terrain. It is a book that must be followed to a tee in order to successfully reach the end of one's journey.
But at the end of your journey, you will always come up with a roadbook that looks quite different from the original. Sure the roads you ride along will look the same on a map. You will start from the same towns, finish in the same villages, and follow the instructed directions to navigate the route verbatim. But that first roadbook does not give you information about the beauty of the landscape. It says nothing of what to do when your legs are on the limit and you are feeling completely mentally depleted. There are no step-by-step instructions about managing the punctures or circumnavigating the incoming storms.
It cannot tell you how invigorating it is to ride together as six women through unknown roads and the support and strength you enable each other to feel. The roadbook you started with simply stated the quantitative facts: 3 days, 530km, 3800hm. The book you find yourself looking through in the end looks much different. It is not something that can be written in words or shown through images. It is a mental scrapbook that speaks volumes.
In the end, it is not the distance you travelled that you will remember best, nor how many metres you climbed in one day. All the information you relied upon to get you from start to finish loses its importance. Anybody can follow a roadbook from Aarhus to Copenhagen over three days, but nobody will ever be able to follow the roadbook of these six women and their experiences they shared over those same roads.
“I am used to riding mostly on my own. However, this experience of riding along with five other women made me realize how much your capacity increases when riding together. The rain on day one suddenly did not feel like a bad thing. Instead, it felt like a challenge we had to conquer together. The steep hills became something that tied us together and I wished that the long days in the saddle did not have to end.
“Riding my bike makes me feel alive. It is such a simple thing to do and yet there are so many perspectives to it. I like going into nature, escaping into a bigger universe while sensing the tires against the ground, listening to my breath, the birds, and the sounds of not braking but just going further. I like feeling my body getting exhausted little by little as the hours pass, exactly as I felt on day three when my legs were sore each time we started after a break. Then you must continue riding to get warm and remember that pain is temporary.”
“I love the mental aspect of long-distance riding. When the body gets into the flow of continuously pedalling; when your mind stops fighting you and it doesn’t matter if there are 50km or 150km left for the day.
“Riding around Denmark with six strong women was a powerful experience. It was an extra energy boost; feeling secure and safe, yet extremely powerful. We had each other’s backs no matter what, in a way that felt different than when riding with men.
“I want to do more long-distance riding with strong women.”
“I’ve been nervous about riding my bike before, but only when it was a race situation. This was a different kind of nervous. The kind where you are a little bit worried that you might not be able to make it through what you set out for, but at the same time excited! 530 kilometres in 3 days was way more than I had ever done before.
“I love riding bikes. All kinds of bikes. It gives me a feeling of freedom and adventure when going on longer rides on unknown roads. But it’s also a way of hanging out with most of my friends and catching up on everyday life. Clearing the mind after long days at work by going hard and feeling nothing else than the burning lungs and legs. It’s more of a lifestyle than a sport.”
“I really like how cycling enables you to go and explore places you have never been before - both mentally and physically.
“The freedom of the bike to go anywhere enabled us to explore the country we live in. We visited many great places during the trip that I had never visited before or even heard of. I can only imagine how many more lie out there for us to explore. This trip has truly inspired me to go for more long-distance adventures with my bike.
“If you know Denmark, you also know you can’t trust the weather. We rode for hours through rain and wind but riding with people who share the same passion as me gave me a lot of energy to push through the challenging times and somehow made the good times even better.”
“On this trip I was able to explore so many new roads. I love it when my bike takes me places and makes me discover other routes and landscapes than normal. Denmark really showed off everything it had to offer. It was beautiful and tough and it was only made better by the fact that I could share it with the other five girls.”
- Anna Thea
“Cycling can be just as beautiful as it can be brutal. To be honest, I was not looking forward to riding in foul weather, but somehow it ended up being some of the best moments of the trip. To ride 530 kilometres is an accomplishment, but adding harsh headwind and cloudbursts somehow made the experience even more beautiful.
“We all have demanding full-time jobs and none of us are professional riders, but it felt like we were a team. Sometimes we rode side by side without talking, other times we were so caught up on each other’s stories that we forgot about the brutal conditions. However, we always worked hard towards our goal of reaching Copenhagen together.”