MARC ILES BOLTON WANDERERS DIARY FROM DENMARK: Two-wheel crazy Danes have got Wanderers on track for a smoother ride, but where is David Wheater?
BACK in my university days I had a part-time job at Halfords in Sheffield – and I thought nowhere on earth could possibly have more bikes.
I changed my mind a few years later when I travelled to cover a Bury game in Cambridge. They were everywhere – driving down the road felt like being in the middle of a peloton in the Tour de France.
But that experience is nothing compared to here in Copenhagen, a city where scooting along on two wheels appears infinitely more popular than driving along on four, or even walking on two feet.
Nowhere is safe for pedestrians. Traffic lights or crossings do not seem to apply to cyclists and if you do have the gumption to slow down and consider where you are going on a footpath, you’re likely to have a front wheel jabbed into your ankles sharpish.
I try to ride my bike to work as often as I can but the route from Tyldesley to the town centre is effectively vertical, so by the time I arrive in the office I am fit for nothing.
But people here ride along in serene calmness, not a care in the world.
I bring up the topic of bikes because that is how the Wanderers squad spent their Friday morning – pedalling up and down the dirt tracks around the Scandinavian countryside.
And when I say morning, I mean morning. Dougie Freedman has had his players reporting for duty at 7am to start training during this trip and judging by some of the bags under some of the players’ eyes it is not something they are especially used to.
There was a rumour going round that David Wheater took a wrong turn and ended up in Finland – but at the time of going to press, it remains unsubstantiated.
Judging by Wanderers’ showing in the first game, this training camp has been just what the doctor ordered. There has been no mollycoddling, no messing around, but a lot of team-bonding activities that are making for a good team spirit.
After starting last season with a flat tyre, maybe this is the year the Whites get back on track?