For those of you waiting with bated breath to find out whether I got my Brompton to Copenhagen okay or not …
I got to the airport and packed up the bike, with my coat over the top as padding*, zipped up its cover, strapped it with the luggage strap and took it to the check in desk. At this point I was quite nervous because the bus driver had already wanted it covered before I brought it onto the airport bus so I had no idea what an actual airline official would make of it. I’d even scoped out the bike parking at the airport in case I needed to leave it locked up somewhere while I was away. They asked if I had any bags to check and I put it on the scale (16kg with coat, lock, burqa and front basket, if you’re interested).
‘I hope it’s okay, it’s my bike,’ I said, having decided that honesty was the best policy
‘Ooh, I’ve never seen one fold up that small,’ said the check in lady.
‘Ooh yes, is there really a bike in there?’ asked the check in bloke (it was almost painful as a proud Brompton owner not to be able to demonstrate the fold then and there but I restrained myself).
All I had to do was take it over to the outsize baggage area, where I had more or less the same conversation with the chap there. Job done. It turns out that when it comes to travelling by plane a Brompton is not so much a means of transport or a problem as a conversation piece. And it appeared unscathed at the other end: I would have been able to ride it right out of the airport into the city had I not had a sudden loss of nerve and got the train instead – not so much because of the distance but because of my non-existent navigational skills. This proved a sound move as, once at Copenhagen Central and with the help of a tourist map, the map at the station and my GPS, I still managed to head in precisely the wrong direction on my way to the hotel, and was in fact well on my way to the airport before I worked out I was going wrong. Cycle-friendly city or no cycle-friendly city, there’s really no infrastructure on earth that will prevent me getting lost if I really put my mind to it.
Since then I’ve been pedalling around trying to master the Copenhagen left, recce my route for tomorrow and not cause a seventeen-bike pile up by stopping in the wrong place to consult my many navigational aids. Amazingly, I even managed to find my way back to the hotel all on my own.
More on my return. Assuming I ever find the airport again, that is…
* when you realise that this is my very expensive (even in the sale) cashmere Jaeger coat that I bought to celebrate signing the contract on my first book, you will realise how much I love that bike