7 May 2008

"A Cycling Girl Becomes Our Dream Today"

Preparing to Merge into Bike Traffic
Our co-blogger Marie is currently in Malaysia working on a Danish reality show for a couple of months but she'll be blogging as best she can while there. Marie's granddad was known for his songwriting and we thought it appropriate to translate one of his cycling songs about springtime. His name was Sigfred Pedersen and he wrote the following song in 1936.

We have several posts about the iconic stature of the Cycling Girl [cykelpigen] in Danish history and this song is a fine example of the poetry surrounding the topic. I translated it directly, so it doesn't rhyme in English. Nevertheless, the song remains true to this day and still fits Copenhagen's bike culture to a tee.

Cyclist Song by Sigfred Pedersen, 1936

Denmark's young girls are all cycling now / Through springime's gentle, floral kingdom / To the beat of nickel bike bells / They head in flocks towards fairy tale adventures / With the sun in their eye, squinting over the handlebars / All the cold of winter is suddenly forgotten.

Yes, soon old houses can ignite in flame / Us old boys feel our blood rush [...]
We must give up! It's useless to lie: / That which flutters and which flies, entices us / A cycling girl becomes our dream today.

Fly out in flocks, you lovely cyclists / That which smiles and which tempts, entices us [...] / Fly out in flocks, fly out with your partner, / The youth must have freedom every day / But remember that bike lights must be turned on at 9!

All winter you long for the sun / Now springtime embraces the dresses / As the bike bell chimes from the polished handlebars / Every girl's heart is a promise given / One to be embraced completely by life / Springtime's fairytale begins today

The small cyclistas become cyclones / Millions of them on their small machines / Make traffic dangerous for every sad cyclist / But I have an indestructable frame and I can swing / If your tyre is flat we can trade tubes / As long as it will be you and I at the end of the day.

My own girl cycles through the spring / small auriculas flutter from the forks / A knee slides in and out of the hem of her dress / It all smells sweetly of love and nickel and springtime / from the newly varnished cycle / that carries the city's blonde girl on her way.

Ray of Light

[NB:] The reference to 'auriculas flutter from the forks' is seen to this day. Women decorate their baskets and frames with flowers, more often plastic than real, but it is an old tradition in Denmark from the early days of cycling:
personal style

12 comments:

xavier novell said...

from catalonia " barcelona " a copenhagen SALUT !!!
is a brutal blog !!!
moltes salutacions BIKER'S.

Ezra Hilyer said...

very nice post, and is there a place I could find a copy of this song?
-Ezra
http://www.straypoetry.com

Moderator 06510 said...

Great post! We are jealous!

FunkyLuv said...

i love this blog ;)

Zakkaliciousness said...

thanks everyone.
i can't find an audio version of this song unfortunately. maybe marie has one when she gets home.

it's much lovelier in Danish what with the rhyming and what not.

Raquel said...

The song is marvellous!
The first girl dresses one of the trends of this spring, the shirtwaists. Independently, she is very sexy. Though I see difficultly to drive with this shoes

Azie and Azleen said...

Great to know cycling is now a trend in holland (sort-of). If you were to do it in Malaysia, definitely you'll get melt right away (damn hot). Anyway, cool stuff you have here..

Velomama said...

Hi all,
I'm happy you like grandpop's old lyrics!

@ xavier novell: Visca bicis!

@ ezra hilyer: I'll see if I can find and upload an audio version once I get home at the end of June.

@ moderator 06510: We are flattered! But consider sublimating your jealousy into something constructive such as turning your fellow citizens into cycle chic commuters!?

@ raquel: It can be a hazzle to bike in flipflops - but then again hundreds or even thousands of Danes do it every summer. I for myself did it every day for 6 months when I lived in Cuba...

@ azie and azleen: Many hot countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia have millions and millions of bikes.
Here in Malaysia, scooters and cars have taken over completely but in the small island where we're shooting, bikes are vital to the Scandinavian production crew. Look out for a Malaysian cycle chic post soon!

YA76OO said...

Thank you, I like

Andy B from Jersey said...

Wow!! Even in an English translation the song is beautiful and lyrical!

Reminds me why I'm still single at 36. A woman in a car is never pretty. Where I'm from in the US, there are no (very, very few) beautiful women on bicycles. When there are, it's a spandex fest and its hard to tell the girls from the boys.

Every time I visit family in Germany, I fall in love with the women gliding gracefully by on their bicycles. This feeling of innocent infatuation that comes over me almost NEVER happens at home with any women I meet or see on the street.

Once on a train in Milan, I helped a beautiful young lady get her bicycle on board the train she was taking to Barcelona. She smiled a beautiful smile with genuine sincerity and affection. I was instantly in love! Unfortunately for me I was headed to Genoa. Oh how I wanted to throw my itinerary out the window and follow her to Spain.

In all the years of taking the train here in the US between Philadelphia and New York nothing like this has ever come close to happening.

Zakkaliciousness said...

a lovely story, andy b. thanks for that!

..... said...

I love all the pictures!!I wish America looked like that!