However, when the weather was fine, dry, and balmy, cycling was quite a pleasure and no bother. But, if you remember from my last post, which I don't blame you if you don't as it was so long ago, I was starting to have sartorial dilemmas on what to wear so as to look cool and refined like a true Copenhagenite, whilst also staying dry during the autumn showers.
Subsequently, the dilemma has developed as the temperature plummeted and has basically been hovering around zero, often below, rarely above since early December.
Studying fellow Copenhagenites for hints and tips it has become apparent that there is no shame in being completely bundled up with multiple layers. So what have I learnt:
1. Hat - essential. Only once, actually twice now have I made the mistake of heading out without a hat. An ice cream headache is nothing on the wind billowing around what seems to be a head of hair not as lush as in its heyday. Can be coupled with ear warmers, or actually for the real Nordic look, just the ear warmers if the wind chill is not so bad.
2. Scarf - as mentioned before, a true statement of being a Copenhagenite, usually the more voluminous the better. Preferably also one that can be pulled up around the face for those truly brisk days.
3. Gloves - I thought the pair of gloves purchased last year from a well known outdoor adventure store, marked windproof, waterproof etc would be perfect. Not quite it seems. A ride home a few weeks ago, during which the wind chill I was later told was -10 dec C, resulted in my hands resembling frozen claws by the time I got home required me to look for an alternative solution. The solution however, was remarkably courtesy of my biker friends who advised a pair of silk inner gloves would do the trick. And indeed they did. There's also something about wearing silk gloves, I'm not quite sure how to describe it. Or perhaps, best not in a public domain.
4. Boots - whilst a fine pair of leather shoes from a reputable English shoemaker, may look smart and improve one's stature. They are not the most practical for keeping one's feet warm. Boots are therefore essential, paired with some thick walking socks. Keep the smart shoes in the office, and wear sturdy and warm boots for the commute. Particularly as I have my eye on a pair of serious snow boots, usually worn by Nordic trawler men, but it seems perfectly acceptable also to be worn by men, women and children alike to keep the elements off the feet during the Danish winter. And these have a bit more edge than a pair of Hunter wellies.
5. Coat - well yes, I hear you say. Now if you remember the last post, this is probably the most difficult decision. Long, short, rainproof, windproof, smart, practical, rugged, the types are endless. In my experience, windproof is an essential requirement but also packing some warmth. But, not too much as having overly wrapped up once or twice and arrived at work a damp sweaty mess, it's essential to get the under coat clothes right. And I'm now afraid to say, that for the first time since being a kid, I am wearing vests again. Again perfectly acceptable behaviour for men here. Admittedly I did raid my father's wardrobe over Christmas, but I must say his endless supply of fine cotton vests from his childhood shops in Calcutta really hit the spot. Not to mention, he's not going to miss a handful. But back to the coat topic, I have noticed that the coat brand of choice seems to be from Fjall Raven (no idea how to pronounce), purveyors to the Swedish Crown no less or from Canada Goose. Although for the latter, I think the nice fur trim looks more elegant tucked up around the face of an attractive young lady. Like Mrs B of course.
So, so far, so obvious. It mainly just seems to boil down to having the right gear, but maybe taking care of branding and fashion choices. Like most times.
Les pieces de resistance however have been:
The beard: I noticed that as the temperature cooled, the number of beards seemed to increase proportionally. I first thought that this was a fashion fad, as indeed it seems to be at the moment. However, having decided I couldn't be bothered to shave over the Christmas break, I suddenly realised the practical benefit of a beard when out on the bike. It was a real help in keeping the face warm! The only downside however is that Mrs B, Miss R and Mstr T have been viewing me with suspicion and scepticism since. My colleagues however have been very complimentary and I am now saying that I am going "full Viking" which has gone down very well. Outside our house that is.
The long johns: And I am not talking any long johns, as available from Marks & Spencers. I am talking about the King of Underwear from the ex King of Tennis. Bjorn Borg ("says ja!") long johns. Available in funky designs and with a waistband a teenager would be proud to wear above his / her jeans, these have been the secret weapon in keeping warm on the bike. Clearly however, its difficult to say other than from my own personal opinion the coolness and attractiveness factor of this item of clothing...
|Essential winter kit - says Ja!|
I now truly feel, after 10 months of living in CPH, I am embracing my inner Dane.