Cycling northwest: Langesø Along narrow roads through new and old forest to Langesø and home through fabricated housing, with the wind at your back
A quick trip to Langesø – perfect for an early weekend morning or an afternoon outing – especially when the wind is westerly. See the route here.
The Northwest trip starts out just like the Southwest trip to Hesbjerg. But when you go along Sanderumvej, you just hang a right up Bavnedamevej, instead. It’s a rise that seems to last into eternity – perhaps especially since the trees of Elmelund Skov haven’t yet reached a height where they can screen out the Atlantic winds, which seem especially challenging here.
On the other hand, you can follow along in the forest’s changes from month to month. Year to year. It has occurred to me several times as I pedal up this hill, that until recently I saw forests as things that simply existed or disappeared – never places in the process of becoming. Maybe that says something about the history of Odense’s forestry.
When you get to the top of the hill, you’re basically in the middle of Denmark’s greatest single afforestation effort of the last two decades. Here, the first seedlings were plated in 2002, and with continuing additions, the wood is expected to number a million trees in the coming years. But you also breeze by lakes, open meadows, and over the railway that currently cuts through the forest. And also past small farm houses and spots of Christmas tree plantation left over from a time when this was just fields between highways, country roads, and train lines, all of which are slowly being swallowed by nature.
Then you pedal into the village, Elmelund, which boasts a few fine straw-thatched and mortared mementoes of a time when this was a little hamlet far from Odense. Here, you turn left on Elmelundsvej. Then through the hilly terrain with more new growth woods and still more fields until you turn right on the narrow curve of Fårebjergvej, which winds gently as it takes you past the second golf course in the area. Before you know it, you’re in the next village, Vejrup, where you take a left on Vejrup-Vej, a little tree-clad corridor that takes you out to Middelfartlandevejen, which you follow to the left.
On past the half-legendary Royally Approved Blommenslyst Kro, which has resided here since the 1800’s, given a name to the post district, and in the past few decades, delivered open sandwiches and brown hotel rooms to road-weary travelers in no particular hurry. The inn has burned down several times and what stands now is primarily the parts built as Motel Brasilia, named after the owner’s Brazilian wife in 1963.
Then to the right, along Kalørvej and at the first opportunity, left towards Ubberud. Then you’re past the midpoint between the two highlights of the route and entering an area that seems strangely foreign to the rest of Odense. I’m not sure whether it’s the rugged terrain, the dense forests, or Sepp Piontek’s aura that does it, but there’s a strange reminiscence of the Basque country, which has been sheltered behind its mountain peaks for so long that its language is crazy and its gene pool cut off from the rest of Europe.
Whoah! You have to remember to hit that left along Troelsevej through Store Ubberud. Ubberud is a fucking weird name for a town. First seen in 1355 as “Vbberuthæ” – a contraction of the very normal male name “Ubbi” and “rud” which means a cleared forest. Bam. Now I get why there are so many “rud”s around here. When you come out of Ubberud, there’s a little powder keg of a hill that will really put some sweat on your brow.
When you get to the intersection, go to the left by Nymarken and then on to Dyregrav Vædevej, which will take you through woods, meadows, and fields. To the right on Skovmarken and past a little apple orchard.
Here you hit one of the main attractions of the whole route. If you’re at speed, it will only be a brief moment – I’ve often wanted to stop and take a picture, but always end up passing on and stopping at the end instead, where the picture for this recommendation was taken. Near the end of Skovmarken is the beginning of a little hill, and here the road is enclosed by bushes and trees which are clearly only held in abatement with regular trimming. Ahead of you lies a corridor with a shining spot of light at the end, which, on account of the rise, points straight into the heavens.
Then, left along Troelsevej. The road winds and curves up and down in an irregular rhythm and past the scattered Basque farmsteads where (some) still speak a motley Germano-Danish, which tells tales of mullets, tracksuits emblazoned with dairy cows and broken singing voices.
Right before you turn left on Blæsbjergvej, there’s a dilapidated farm from the 1600’s on your right hand side that is now being renovated after a long fight between owner and the authorities. Along the way, large, stately birch trees begin to rise around you and it all starts to look like the Langesø people know and love. A sharp right along the narrow Limkilde, which must be Fyns most capricious road, whose 1.3 km constantly rises and falls past beef farms and the equally capricious hares, which often hop along the way.
Cross the right directly onto Langesøvej, which will take you through the old birch forest and down towards Langesø proper – both the estate and the lake, where you can either take a rest and contemplate one of Odense’s favorite escapes or make use of the acquired momentum to race up the steep incline after the lake. Here Hans Christian Andersen made a stay in 1843 and described the area with the following words:
“Langesøe in Fyen, one of the loveliest places I ever have known on this beautiful isle. One resides here in a true forest-solitude, one pretty park leads to the next, forests and hills array themselves most wonderfully.
Here is a quite Austrian kind of nature, the lake seems a river, the hills puff themselves up with pine forests, old trees hang over the water’s surface. Here you may rightly wander, singing “Waldeinsamkeit! ach ich möchte ich war weit “ Dear god, how I’ve suddenly become German, a frightful thing in these Schleswig-Holstein times!”
Mr. Andersen may have been a bit caught up in the spirits of his travels, because you can’t really call Langesø Austrian. But he hits the nail on the head in his description of the trees and the forest solitude that seems to hang about the place.
To the right along Blæsbjergvej and up yet another hill past equestrian training and… yet another golf course. Left along Krudtgyden and back towards Odense’s suburban civilization, which starts when you hit the wavering Pederstrupvej, which leads you to Rugårdsvej and in towards the city.
Rugårdsvej is a terrible bit of road for cycling, if it weren’t for the fact that you have the wind at your back 4 out of 5 days and can maintain a steady speed past cul-de-sacs, supermarkets and row houses. All necessities, but not much to look at. If you’re not in the need for speed, cars, and supermarkets, then choose Langesøstien in to town instead.
30km. 180 vertical meters. Through hilly landscape and forests old and new.Link to the event
Odense er et had-kærlighedsforhold. Det er byen som betyder meget for mig, men som jeg kun kan bo i hvis jeg lægger mine kræfter i at forandre den. Jeg føler et ansvar for hver halvfyldte koncert o...