Aerial photo of a shark swimming down a bike path toward two people cycling bikes side by side. It is obviously not a real picture.

Hey Denmark, stop throwing sharks on your bike paths

We have reached peak bike path shark.

Composite image (please tell me that’s obvious): Gerald Schombs (shark) and Denise Jans Huy (bike path), both Unsplash

Iain Treloar
by Iain Treloar 17.05.2024 Photography by
Unsplash and TV Midtvest
More from Iain +

Hey, you remember how last week there was a shark found on a bike path in Denmark? Oh, what, you missed that one? Not to worry – here are the key points, but to briefly recap: 

You see, there was a fishy precedent: some sort of porpoise had been found in a forest a year earlier. This led a conspiracy-prone local media personality to offer a reward for information (in the form of a three-course meal, but with the important stipulation that it would only be mineral water for drinks). After a few days of dogged policework, a man came forward to admit that he’d thrown the shark on the path as a “joke”. It could have ended there, but this is a local news service, so we also had updates from a local pensioner wanting to crowdfund the culprit’s fine, and the media personality, who still felt there was something suss going on. All of this covered in excruciating/hilarious detail by the insatiable newshounds of TV Midtvest.

Up to speed? Good. Because it’s happened again.

Screenshot: Danish news site, headline reads 'Get all the details: new shark found on the way". There is a picture of a shark on the road, looking very wet and sharky (but dead).

Once again we have TV Midtvest on the case, and they’re maybe even more excited about this second shark than the last one (or the porpoise before that). That means that the announcement of another shark on a bike path unleashed two and a half hours of live, rolling coverage on the website, with such exciting updates as:

Screenshot: local news report reading 'The shark has presumably been removed' and 'a picture from the scene shows a wet area on the asphalt'. There is, as you'd imagine, a picture of a wet area on the asphalt.

And this bit of Capital-J Journalism (ie. he spent 50 minutes twiddling his thumbs, then looked in the bin, and tada! There it was):

And of course, video footage of a municipal worker arriving in a funny little van to take it away:

Screenshot of news report showing a council worker arriving in a funny little van to collect the bag of shark.

 Does it stop there? Ha, if only. 

Next up: the reporters tracked down two Very Danish Men who were camping in a tent on the roadside, when at 3 AM they heard a ruckus nearby. Some youths in a car had pulled up, and, through the Two Sleepy Danes’ bleary haze, they heard them say, “Shouldn’t we throw this on the bench?”

What is the ‘this’ in this nocturnal muttering? Could it be the bike path shark?! Probably! Sounds like it’s the kind of thing it could be!!

Two Danish men answer questions in an interview, their partially disassembled tent behind them. A microphone is in front on one of their faces.

The news cycle rolls on. Local media personality Anders Lund Madsen is contacted for his thoughts. He says … well, he says a lot of things, but he starts with “OMG this is escalating even faster than I thought.” He also says that he takes  “at least partial responsibility, as my bounty with a three-course meal with water menu at Restaurant Sandgaarden in Søndervig has certainly lured bounty hunters out of the shadows” and produced “copycat incidents.” Finally, he confirms that, in his esteemed opinion, “sharks belong in the sea, not on cycle paths,” and “if you come into possession or are the owner of a large or medium-sized marine mammal or fish, put it back in the water. Or eat it. Unless it is protected.”

Screenshot: Anders Lund Madsen looking contemplative.

Soon to follow was an introspective piece about various “copycat” phenomena to have rattled the gentle folk of Central and Western Jutland: the time in 2012 that unknown perpetrators stole a lot of hydrangeas from peoples’ gardens, or the time that people were undoing wheel nuts on peoples’ cars (that one actually is dangerous as opposed to merely silly; do not try that at home). And, of course, the aquatic beasts that are getting flung around the region, willy-nilly. 

Now, all of this was a few days ago, and a calm has seemingly descended in the region since. The local reporters have gone back to their normal beats  – like this guy, who spent the day hanging out on a roadside near Jonas Vingegaard’s new diet-Bond Villain manor, waiting to see if the Tour de France champion rode past. Spoiler: he eventually did. Other spoiler: he gave a very un-enthused wave and did not stop for a chat.

Which is all fair enough – he was probably wondering what the hell is going on in the region he’s just moved back to. (Some alternatives to idly ponder: why did the sharks start appearing on Vingegaard’s local bikepaths after his discharge from hospital? Is the pool in his new Bond Villain manor filled with saltwater, perchance? Why is this all happening now, and could it be an elaborate rehabilitation regime for his return from injury, using exercises familiar to a known former fish-flinger?)

I digress. All is right again in Jutland. Life is simple, and the people are happy, and there are certainly going to be no more sharks found on bike paths. 

Another news screenshot: headline reads 'New shark found on pavement'. There is a picture of ANOTHER BLOODY SHARK.

Oh no.

What did you think of this story?