United Cycling and Twelve.Sixteen has ridden in the slipstream of former stars, unfolding the cycling history, where it was created back in the days, and still is – at Kysten.
United Cycling ambassador, Stefan Djurhuus, joined the ride on his Argon 18 Gallium Disc. Kysten is a route that he knows in depth from his time as a pro. This is where Stefan became a real cyclist.
In this blog post, Stefan is telling the story about his first meeting with the savage of Kysten.
Where the Savage Stories are Survived
By Stefan Djurhuus
When the legends residing around Copenhagen arose, this was the longest day-to-day ride. For some a necessary evil, and for most others, it is a mythical ride.
The reason being that most people don’t do +160km rides, and even they don’t know the actual route.
On this ride, you’ll always get new stories to tell. That is the beauty.
Strictly for the Hardboiled
As a youngster you only heard about “Kysten”. This was the longest ride known around the Copenhagen area. Back then it seemed endless and strictly for the hardboiled cyclists.
Later I learned, it was exactly that.
Once I was a novice, I strolled up to AB’s Baner (link to route) for the first time with a few training fellas from Amager. I had heard about AB. Every day, same time – 9 o’clock – there was a pack of rouleurs that would be down for a long, merciless day in the saddle.
Depending on the group, a route was chosen and there was no waiting. You could get dropped, or have a puncture, and be left midway, and you’d have to find your own way home – this was before GPS systems were available, so good luck and enjoy the headwind home. From the rumors about AB, I had actually been advised not to join those savages, but we did – at age sixteen.
More often than not, Kysten was the route. As Brian Holm says: “This is where boys become men. To this day, it is still the ultimate training route – around 160km from AB and back with a stop by a bakery”.
From Amager it’s approximately 190km, so my mates and I were in for the longest ride we’d ever had. Back then the commander-in-chief was Claus Holm, Brian Holm’s younger brother, a gentle bastard in his own rights. I guess he had taken the torch along with the GLS/Capinordic team riders, since Brian Holm and Jack Arvid no longer were regulars at AB.
True to tradition we rode from AB through Ganløse, Slangerup, Ølsted and then Liseleje out by the northern coast of Sjælland. That is the first part, which is beautiful, enjoyable and usually at steady pace.
From Liseleje the route kicks right towards Tisvildeleje, and so it began. My mate and I was up front and he was feeling exhausted, due to a sudden upswing in speed, so he wanted to roll to the back of the pack after five minutes of pulling the group.
We knew full well that it was not accepted, but at nearly ten minutes he convinced himself that he had nothing to prove. Just as we dropped back, people started laughing and yelling at us.
That was too weak, and the AB guys let us know.
Do or Die, Gruppetto or Breakaway
We proceeded along the coast, reached Gilleleje, then through Hornbæk – where we thought we could rest at the bakery, but they just kept going that day. From Helsingør, we ran into some heavy crosswind. One of my mates got dropped, and we had had a policy of sticking together, but on that day we clinched on, heads down.
He was pissed about it, but it was do or die, gruppetto or breakaway.
Since then, I learned that Kysten was no joke and AB taught me some valuable lessons about becoming a cyclist.
You are on your own, and you have to become accustomed to these long rides on a daily basis, if you want to be a real cyclist.
Who’s to say which route is the right way? Five cyclists would have five different versions, but when it comes to cycling, tradition is requisite in doing it the right way.
You pay homage to the tradition, the legends – earn their respect and emerge from that.
The route does not change by mishaps or convenience. It is set in stone. Just as the meeting point.