We are on a very important hunt, and taking one of the most important steps towards becoming a true resident of Copenhagen: we must find a bike. I have never walked this far down the street. The city is still new to me. We walk past trendy stores and coffee shops to an area that is filled with kebab shops. By the time we get there it seems like we have been walking for ages. The store has a reputation for selling cheap bikes, that is all. They are not necessarily good, and were probably stolen, but they are cheap and we are students.
The storefront itself comes off as being small. Incredibly small. Smaller than our living room. It is filled with wheels and accessories that he will try to sell us at unreasonable prices. This is the beginning. We step through dodging items as we go along and trying our hardest to shake the felling that this place is very very sketchy. We enter a courtyard and find numerous bikes lined up. None have price tags. We’re told that some belong to other residents of the building but not which. A vague hand motion is not enough to make me feel certain. Then we find it. Down a half-storey of steps there is a basement that must be home to half the bicycles in Copenhagen. They are shoved row on row with some hanging from the roof. There is no way to get any of them out. Not all of them look mechanically sound. Quantity over quality. The man who owns the store greets up. He works his way easily through the muck of bikes and takes us out to the courtyard. These are the bikes he wants to sell us and we’re not really in any position to object.
Then the summer I spent working at a bike store hits me. My friends know nothing about these machines and how questionable they are. They know nothing about locks or bike lights but I do. I know that these bikes are less than mechanically sound, but then again we’re going to be leaving them out in the rain for the next few months so what difference does it really make?
Bikes are selected with a sure why not style. We are glad to get out of that place and hope our new bikes are worth what we paid.