“Hello, do you speak English?”
That’s how the conversation started when I walked into a small motorcycle shop in Copenhagen named “Motorious.” There is a backstory as to how I ended up there, so here goes:
I grew up in the motocross culture. My father raced, restored, and sold dirtbikes to fellow riders all over the globe. Many of my weekends as a child were spent at the track with my family, having fun and watching dad race.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I would later reflect on these moments as some of the best memories of my childhood. My father taught me how to ride as well, and I loved it.
Before I left for Scandinavia, my father asked me to keep my eyes peeled for any signs of moto-culture within Europe, and to ~maybe~ bring him back a t-shirt. As he asked me this, a smile spread across his face and he lit up: it was obvious that his adreline junkie spirit was still within him. Although we grow older, it is possible to still stay young at heart: I doubt if my father will ever stop loving moto.
With a smile, I assured my dad that I would keep his wish in mind. I was skeptical though, I wasn’t sure how prominent motocross would be within modern Copenhagen, and doubted if I would see a store selling t-shirts.
Low and behold, driving to our hotel from Copenhagen’s airport, my friend Carly points out to me; “look Ashley! There’s a motocross store!” I was astounded that despite my skepticism, on my very first day in Copenhagen I had seen a moto store just a 15 minute walk from our hotel.
With my time in Copenhagen coming to a close, I walked over to the Motorious today, kroner in hand, hoping that I would be leaving with something to make my dad’s wish come true.
As I walked into the store, the clerk came out from the back: he was pretty short, but had a really impressive beard. He rather looked puzzled: a young woman probably isn’t their most common demographic.
The store was small, but packed full of vintage motorcycle memoribelia, clothing, parts, and riding gear. There was a big fluffy black dog lying on the floor, wagging his tail and hapily greeting me as I walked in: I bent down and gave him a good scratch.
I asked the clerk if he spoke English, to which he replied with a smile “Yes.” I explained to him why I was in Copenhagen, and why I had ended up in his small store. Telling him about my family’s history with motocross, we had a long conversation about my father and what life was like for us in Wisconsin. I had asked him if he ever met riders from Wisconsin, to which he replied “we have had many riders visit us, but never from so far away. If they are from America, they usually come from places like California.” He continued to explain to me “Copenhagen is a big city, but we hardly ever meet Amercians in our store. It is always exciting when one comes.”
After our long conversation, the clerk insisted that I take a t-shirt, free of charge, and give it to my father. I was blown away by his act of kindness and thanked him relentlessly. “Please, I couldn’t be happier to do this” he said. A stranger to me just moments before, I left the store with a huge smile spread across my face and a feeling of warmness in my heart. (I also left with a t-shirt for myself!)
As a Communication major, each and every day I am astounded by the power of simple conversation, and how it can bring people from different countries and cultures together.
As I left the store, I heard the clerk yell out, “tell your dad hello from Copenhagen!”
I will make sure to let him know. Thank you Motorious.
Until Next time,