This summer the Car-Free Family took BART to the airport and boarded a series of airplanes, trains and for two bad days, a car, for Copenhagen, London, Bath and Other Places. We had a grand time, and I want to share a few of the experiences with you here.
Today’s story is about scooters. When we arrived in Copenhagen, we had been traveling hard and wanted to stroll around and play it cool. So when we saw some colorful signs on an apartment building wall and deciphered them to mean a garage sale was about to take place, we eagerly followed the arrows.
The sale took place in the shared inner courtyard of a Frederiksburg apartment building. Lots of families who seemed strikingly like us had spread out kids’ clothes, toys and even a few things with wheels. We had already stopped at a couple bike shops that rented bicycles, and were disappointed to find that none of them rented out kids’ bikes. It had been our hope to go native and bike around Copenhagen en famille.
But then, one of the nice, perfect-English-speaking Danish families pointed out that they had a scooter to sell, for 50 Kronors (about $7).
“Yah, it’s a good one too,” the lady said. And look at that! Here’s another $7 scooter!
We left that Danish garage sale ready to take on Copenhagen. Nope, no one had kids’ helmets for sale that would fit our kids. In fact, most kids riding bikes in Copenhagen didn’t even have helmets on, because biking is so safe there. (Some did. But some didn’t.) We told our kids that vacation concussions don’t count, and we were on our way.
We ended up walking 15 miles that day! We did’t plan that, but having the littles on scooters made it so easy to just go and go. Above, we are walking down a main shopping street toward amusement park Tivoli Gardens.
Sometimes things got cobblestoney and they had to walk their scooters.
After Tivoli, we took a boat tour of the harbor and canals, hopped on a bus to see the Little Mermaid, then enjoyed ice cream (kids) and beer (Erik and I) and a fried fish appetizer at a harborfront cafe. Then we took a canal ferry to a kind of food truck event except that it was all booths inside a big building. Then we walked and scooted a long way along the canal. And then we took a bus BACK to Tivoli to see it all lit up at night. It was an epic day.
Since the scooters set us back less than the price of a bike rental, we figured we’d just ditch them before we flew home. First, though, we brought them along on a train ride to Helsingore, home of “Hamlet’s castle,” and the kids happily scooted along another waterfront. Pebbles sometimes let Nutmeg borrow her scooter.
And we brought them on the train/bus ride to Legoland the next day. Towards the end of the day when crowds were draining out of the park, we retrieved the scooters from the luggage room of the Legoland Hotel and let the kids scoot around looking at the wonderful Lego creations.
When it came time to go to the airport, we were loath to part with the scooters. We thought maybe we could find an inexpensive bag to pack them in and check them on the flight, but we didn’t have much time for shopping between the train/bus trek back to Copenhagen and heading to the airport the next morning. So we just carried the scooters up to the check-in counter and asked the SAS employee if she might have a plastic stroller bag so we could bundle them together as one piece of luggage. We were only supposed to check five, and we had four others we wanted to check already.
The employee said she couldn’t put them in a bag together, but after giving it some thought she said since all our bags were small (really roll-aboard size) they wouldn’t charge us for one extra piece of luggage. We collapsed them and she taped them up securely so they wouldn’t flop around during the flight, then she sent us to the “odd-sized baggage” office, where we handed them over. We also met a nice Danish couple with a baby who was packing up their huge Danish pram in a special huge carrying case. They told us that their huge pram was the “Copenhagen” model and much smaller than the huge prams you would find in the suburbs.
A mere 12 hours or so later, we were collecting our scooters and other luggage at SFO and dragging them all aboard the BART home.
So now we have second-hand Danish scooters at home!