By Henrik Ortved (Rawbite Ambassador) and Nikolaj Lehmann (Rawbite co-founder)
It was mostly meant as a joke, when we first talked about a race on a Halfbike from Rødby, a border town in south Denmark, to Lyngby north of Copenhagen – a 161 km ride. A Halfbike is a standing bike with no saddle, which originally is designed for city cruising, i.e. short distance (5 km) and average speed of about 15 km/h. So it sounded quite like a crazy stunt.
However like the bumblebee that does not know, that it is not able to fly, we did not know, that it could not be done. So we decided to do it.
We chose the day to do it, mainly based on the weather forecast. Because you are standing all the time, wind is a crucial factor and should be below 5 m/s, if you have to face it for extended period of time.
On July 27th at 05.00 we took the train and arrived at Rødby Færge around 07.30 on a beautiful sunny day. After preparing the bikes and taking a picture, we sat off around 07.50
07.40 – Start of BSE2018 from Rødby Færge at the south of Lolland island.
The wind conditions were not all as expected. From the start we faced a 6-8 m/s wind, and since the whole trip was pretty much in the same direction (northeast to north), the perspective was bleak… This was total humilitation.
We did not speak to each other for the first hour, riding against the wind and our respective inner dialogue. However, if embraced, humiliation will lead to humility. When one finally come to terms with the fact, that nothing can be done about the situation, a serenity and openness arises. So we kind of surrendered to the experience, forgot about the destination and just took one city at the time. Of course it did not made the wind less annoying, just more acceptable.
A way of dealing with a long distance is to chunk it up. We knew that we could handle a 100 km, and therefor “only” had to deal with the first 60 km, which was reaching the city of Vordingborg. And so, slowly we pedalled our way across Lolland island, then Falster island and finally over a 3,2 km bridge with terrible asphalt to Vordingborg in a little over 4 hours – not particularly fast. Though the attainment of this first 60 km chunk did cost way more energy than planned due to the wind, we were happy to reach the other side of the bridge and the main island of Sealand… Now we knew it could be done.
After a snack in Vordingborg, we started out on 55 km stretch to Køge. This stretch was in an almost straight line going north/northeast, passing thru not much else than fields, lots of small hills, and the road constantly looking like it had no end. With the sun at it’s highest and temperature of +30, we called this stretch for “desolation road”. Luckily, as we travelled along desolation road, the wind started to turn toward coming more from east/southeast. We no longer faced the wind, which helped a lot, and we picked up quite a nice flow with average speeds of 20-25 km/h. Compared to the first part of the day, it really felt like we were progressing.
Around halfway on BSE2018 (80-90 km), it started to get hard. Though legs are doing most of the work, the whole body is at work on a Halfbike. So many part of the body gets tired and start aching, especially the feet. When standing up on a pedal for extended time the feet feels like burning. Because we also were sweating a lot, we decided to take a short break every 5 km to drink and give our feet rest.
This chunking up into 5 km stretches helped a lot, because the focus is on the next 5 km instead of how much remains of the total. When the body is tired and aching, and you focus on how long you still have to go, you will suffer. Instead, by chunking it up, you are “just” in pain for 5 km at the time, and that makes all the difference. We finally reach the end of desolation road and the city of Køge. From there, 45 km remained of the trip. Legs, arms, neck and feet were all hurting now. However it felt like we were progressing very fast. Though the last 20 km are slightly uphill, the wind was then from behind, which was definitely a nice treat. Also time is relative, and probably even more when tired and in pain. Before we knew it, we were home.
At about 7 pm, after 11 hours 10 min and 161 km, the BSE2018 was done. The rumor has it that this is an unofficial world record.
18.45 – The town sign of destination Lyngby – less than 2 km from home.
Now What’s Next?...