Lifestyle

A danes view on cycling

In Denmark we are very used to riding bike every day, but that is very different in the rest of the world. I have on several occasions heard foreign people comment on the danish biking culture, and I have found it really interesting that it’s such a huge deal. Growing up in Denmark I’ve never realized it was so special? Therefor I thought it would be fun to hear what it’s like in other countries so I have spoken to a Danish biking expert who has been in the USA all summer, and he has also seen a huge difference in the biking culture from Denmark to the USA.

”In large parts of the USA you rarely see a bike, only in the big cities where the culture is more like the Danish one. Mainly because there’s no point in owning a car in the big cities. Especially in San Francisco where I spend 10 weeks this summer there are many cyclists. But with that said large parts of USA is almost empty of bikes, and that is in my opinion a huge loss, especially regarding the public health”, says Tobias Ehlig, who is the entrepreneur behind eCykelhjelm.dk.

In contrast to the USA in general Denmark is a huge biking country, and that makes Tobias – who is also an active biker himself – very happy.

”I am biking to the University every day and therefore I also know the very positive effect that cycling has on your soul. In shorter periods I have been driving to school by car in the morning, and when I arrive to the lecture I am not nearly as awake as when I have been riding my bike.”

He thinks that his daily bike rides gives him benefits not only when taking his health in consideration, but also regarding his contribution to saving the environment.

”In Denmark almost everybody own a bike and we love using it. But cycling to and from work/school has it’s risks. Riding a bike isn’t that safe and in Denmark we have so many accidents with fatal outcome every year. Therefore it made me very happy to see that in the US they where miles ahed of us in regards to wearing a bike helmet. From my point of view it seems though that this trend is turning around in Denmark these years, and in general my experience is that using a helmet becomes more and more popular. Earlier we thought that wearing a helmet was kind of stupid, but today it seems like a much more reasonable and responsible choice, that people in all ages respect”, says Tobias Ehlig.

Why we should celebrate failure in Denmark

I remember watching a movie where one of the main characters died. The people left behind were at a funeral and saying goodbye for the last time when one person decided they had grieved enough and said ’let’s not mourn his death, but celebrate his long and good life.’

I liked that quote.

And it’s possible to put it in context when it comes to creating a startup and failing.

Because, let’s face it – 99 % of all entrepreneurs will fail again and again and maybe eventually create something that works. That’s the nature of creating something. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it – but it’s not.

Oh, you failed? Maybe you should try something else..

When you decide to quit your job in Denmark to become an entrepreneur, this is how your friends will look at you:

They’ll tell you it’s a bad idea. So will your parents. Both of them do it with the best of all intentions – because they care about you. They don’t want you to get hurt. But in reality, they’re hurting you by creating boundaries that do not need to be there.

If you decide to start up regardless and you fail – of which the odds are pretty good – they’ll tell you ”I told you so,” roll their eyes again and wait for you to become trapped in the rat race with a job again.

This is bad.

I had a great trip to New York in spring 2012 with the law faculty at Aarhus University. In New York, and in the rest of USA, your friends will say ”Great, that sounds awesome, how can I help?” if you say you want to start up for yourself.

And when you fail – because people do that of course both in Denmark, USA and everywhere else around the globe – they’ll say ”Nice try, when will you try something new?”

Failure is acceptable because failure means that you tried. At least in the USA. In Denmark, failure is failure. And some people treat failure like the imminent end.

American Seth Godin, whom is one of my favourite authors, has some interesting views on failing. Check them out here:

Doesn’t work – next

It rarely works out the first time. And if it does, it’ll take you a LONG time.

JUF.dk, which I’ve been dedicated to for almost one and a half years now, is my fourth company. The first three have been shut down and I lost money on all of them.

Were they bad ideas? Maybe. Did I execute well on them? Obviously not.

But they taught me both what was working and what was not, which I can use now with JUF.dk.

I wouldn’t be here, had I not failed with the first three (and maybe I’ll fail with this one too, but I know I’ll create something new and better time after time).

Let me give you another example.

A friend of mine, Jesper Hvejsel, created his business, Made4men.dk, in 2007. Seven years ago. In this post, he explains how the first five years basically didn’t work – they did not make money, new competition killed the market and they had issues releasing new products. But they kept going and eventually turned around (and personally, I think he and Karsten at the company are some of the coolest guys in all of Jutland).

Another good friend in Aarhus, Andreas Linde, has been working on Vitam.dk for around the same time as I have on JUF.dk. This is his third try at making a real business. The first two didn’t fail per se, but they didn’t become what Andreas wanted either. But it looks like Vitam.dk – after just one and a half years – will become exactly what they wanted and a lot more too, actually.

This works in larger scale as well. My friends from Bikester has started up shops all over Europe in order to find out which works – and which they need to work a bit more on. They’re in 14 countries now and slowly quickly figuring out what works and how to fix what is not.

Keep trying  – it’ll work!

I think stubbornness is what sets great entrepreneurs apart.

Even when things don’t look like they’re going to work, the great entrepreneurs keep on going. They keep on doing what they do best.

But you have to keep trying something new, if what you’ve been doing this far doesn’t work.

I saw this definition of insanity a while ago:

insanity definition

And I can relate.

If it doesn’t work, and you keep doing your daily grind day after day, it still won’t work. It won’t change.

But if you change what’s holding you back, it will change and you will be rewarded.

Let’s celebrate failure in the Danish culture – because with failure, you at least tried. And, as legendary ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky said, you’ll miss 100 % of the shots you never take.

Winter weight gain? Maybe …

A lot of people gain weight in the autumn and winter season. I have always been quite determined that would never happen to me. This year, my approach has changed.

Yes, you heard correctly. This autumn and winter, I would like to gain weight. That is – I would like to gain muscles, not fat. Strong is the new skinny, they say. And I have to try it!

As it’s cold and wet this time of year, I know that my morning runs will be more frustrating than de-stressing. So I decided to use my energy on another branch of sport. I talked to my best friend, and she’s on the challenge as well. I really think that’s nice, because I know that it will be hard sometimes. In this way, we can support each other.

So yesterday we went to the local fitness center and signed up for membership. Afterwards, we had our first workout with this personal trainer. He was so nice to teach us all of the exercises, and he gave us a workout schedule, so that we know what to do when we are at the gym.

He also gave us some advice regarding diet and dietary supplements. He told us that it would be a good idea to eat more proteins than we did before. So I’m going to eat a lot of chicken and tuna in my salads. He also told us that it would be a good idea to supplement our diet with creatine, something called gainers & recovery, which will help out muscles to grow big and strong.

I’m really looking forward to exercising! According to the fitness coach, we have to workout at least three times a week. So that’s what we’ll do. New Year’s dress – get ready! ‘Cause I’m going to be so fit!

Diving in Denmark – is that even possible?

1 year ago I was living in Bali. I decided to take take the Padi Open Water course, which at that time was a great decision. Do you have a diving certificate as well? Have you been diving in Bali? If not, you should go.

Well, I want to share some thoughts about diving in Denmark.

As a Dane, one tends to have the impression that Denmark is a boring country in which you cannot dive or do any exciting sports. That is not true.

Before exploring the water in the Denmark , make sure you know the difference between diving in cold water and warm water. There are many differences. I really advice you to read this article about diving in cold – they have some great points. For instance – did you consider the fact that diving in cold will make you less mobile since you must wear more clothes/thicker neopren.

In my research I also found this document (even in English) about some of the great things about diving in Denmark. They mention all the most popular spots to do dives, even Wreck Dives, if that is of your interest.

The disadvantage about diving in Denmark is the fact that the prices are rather expensive. Haggle :-)

I am going next week. Super excited! Will you join?

Moving to Aarhus

Finding an apartment, and moving to Aarhus

In the year 2008, I decided that I was moving to Aarhus for further studies. I had just finished my baccalaureate and one year of sabbatical, which I had spent working.

Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark, with a population of 260.000 residents, and the preferred place for studies in Jutland. A great deal of young men and woman, move here from all over the western part of Denmark every year, mostly for further studies and new job opportunities.

There are only a few other cities in Jutland that has the same quantity of educational choices as the city of Aarhus, and its well placed in the middle of Jutland, so it makes the perfect choice for the most students to go here.

 

Prepare to pay a large rent

The price of renting an apartment in Aarhus is close to the same as it is in the capitol Copenhagen. So don’t choose Aarhus as a cheaper alternative for Copenhagen.

If you choose to rent an apartment in the outer areas of Aarhus, you should be able to find a room or small student apartment for a price between 2.000 to 3.000 Danish kroner (268 – 402 Euros).

But if you want to live in Aarhus City, you should expect to pay from 3.000 Danish kroner (402 Euros) and up.

I moved from a small village in Western Jutland where the rent was around half of Aarhus, so the prices came as a shock to me. But this is one of the disadvantages of moving to a larger city, where it’s a struggle just to get a medium prices apartment.

Last of all, you have to watch out for scammers when renting a room or apartment in Denmark. Sadly there are people who are taking advantages of the large amount of people seeking an apartment every year. So just a few advices:

  • Never pay up front.
  • Meet in person and visit the apartment.
  • Read the contract carefully.
  • Use your network – Some might know someone who has the perfect apartment for you.

 

Websites that will help you find a room or an apartment in Aarhus:

  • Kollegie8000.dk – The most reliable service for finding a student’s apartment.

 
If there are none available, you can get placed in queue for one. Administrated by the municipality of Aarhus, so this is by far the most reliable.

  • Boligportal.dk – The largest company-owned site, and with a monthly fee.

 
This site is private persons and companies renting out rooms and apartments.

  • 3 other sites that does pretty much the same as Boligportal, but for free:
    Studenterguiden.dk, Lejerbo.dk and Ungdomsboliger.dk

 
Finding a student job to support your finances

If you are looking to find a student job in Denmark, it can be difficult if you don’t speak or understand Danish, but there are places where foreign language and skills can be an asset.

A lot of the companies, who are seeking workforce from international students, put up job postings at schools and educations. So keep your eyes open, and maybe ask some of your friends to be observant for job openings.

If you got a particular skill, it is probably needed somewhere!