Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ready for the roads of Denmark

The Danes, unlike Americans, are very used to exercise. They don't think twice about walking to and from their destinations each day. They also don't think twice about hopping on their bikes if the destination is too far to walk. Most Danes own bikes...and they actually ride them! There are designated bike lanes on each road in Denmark and they are usually filled with riders. This is a typical scene outside the train station.... there are bikes everywhere.

However, there are times that one's feet or a bike are not the best mode of travel....perhaps the weather is too horrible or the distance is too that is when a car comes in quite handy. However, not all Danes own cars, and the cars they do own are very small... you won't see the highways filled with big SUVs or King Cab Pick-ups.... because as I keep learning- Danes are not only concerned about the environment but they are making sure that their daily practices actually mirror that concern.

So as I mentioned, there are times they need to drive and there will be times I will need to drive once I get there. And it is there that my problem began because you see, Mads, like most Danes, owns a car that has a standard transmission and even though I have been driving for 20+ years, I have never learned to drive a stick.

Enter.... SHELLY! True friendship is the kind that not only helps you learn something new without making fun of you while you are trying BUT also volunteers her own CAR as the teaching tool!!

Shelly's task before I move to Denmark is to teach me to drive a stick and today was our first lesson! We figured if I learned to drive on her Honda, I could easily transfer my learning to Mads' Honda. (well, if learning actually occurred, that is!)

I am happy to report that not only was Shelly an excellent teacher, but I was not so bad as a student! I was timid at first, but once I got the hang of it, I was shifting like a pro... Ok, maybe not exactly, but I did only stall once!! It was GREAT! My confidence was high....and even though I did not venture out into traffic on this first lesson, I think I really understand how this all works! So watch out Danish Drivers.... here I come!
And just in case this does not work out like I plan for it to... I always have my 2 feet and several pairs of comfortable shoes!!


Nichole said...

Friends are wonderful aren't they? Good Job on learning to drive an automatic! I think it is great how much stuff you are going now to prepare yourself for living in Denmark. I have no doubt, you are going to be a very successful expat! :o)

Nichole said...

and by "going" I mean, "doing"

HOLMES said...

We will have several more lessons... but your "final exam" is going to involve traffic and hills!!

Jennifer said...

Hills! Yes, she must do the hills! That's the true test! Hanging on at a light on a hill, while not sliding into the guy behind you! Kel, you can do it! No prob! :)

Unknown said...

Hondas are the best to learn stick on. I love that in DK no one locks up their bikes! I was watching a show on the Travel Channel about the top 100 happiest places on Earth to live. And guess who placed #1 (where everyone interviewed rated their happiness at a 10)? That's right — your future happy home! :)

journeyinfinite said...

Cool things about working the stick shift:

Revving while at stoplights (in neutral!)

You can do quite peppy take-offs if you shift and let go of the clutch in mid rev. Burning rubber on the road may occur...this is advanced shifting!

The funky sound the engine makes in reverse

Downshifting when coming upon a stoplight -- it saves your brakepads and just feels cool.