May - June 2016
  • Day28

    Day 26 - Epilogue: Flying Home

    June 6, 2016 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    With Simon missing his phone, and any means of contact with Jilly who is flying in to Copenhagen to join him on holiday today, we both hopped in a taxi to the Airport. I was on my way to a homeward flight, and he was having a recce while taking the last opportunity to plan a meeting with Jilly using my phone.

    I was really impressed to see the amount of bikes travelling alongside our rush hour traffic - maybe as many bikes as cars, if not more. For most of the journey, they were travelling faster than we were, but we made it to the airport in good time for the two of us to do what we needed.

    I got my bike checked in, wandered the airport lounge and boarded the flight; then fought through border control at Heathrow and bumped my way onto a Heathrow express train with my bike.

    The next stop was Paddington, where I unpacked and re-built my bike in the station, to the point where I could wheel it. I also re-arranged my ticket so that I could travel home with Catherine. She has had her first day in her new job as a Building Surveyor, going through an Induction in London, and I am re-joining civilisation until the next trip.
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  • Day28

    Day 25 - Epilogue: Cyclists in the City

    June 6, 2016 in Denmark ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    There's not much to note for our single, whole day in Copenhagen. We spent the morning enjoying the comforts of our Air BnB apartment. This included lying in as best as we could (which was made difficult because of the heat and lack of curtains), eating a proper breakfast and sorting out our belongings that were liberated from our panniers.

    Heading into the city at midday, we were on the hunt for packing materials for the journey home. Simon needed a suitcase and I was looking for a bike box and gaffer tape. This proved to be a lot trickier than expected, as we had arrived in Copenhagen on 'Constitution Day' weekend and all of the shops were shut. Simon decided to on a different solution for his baggage and I managed to scavenge a small bike box and some clingfilm from the supermarket to wrap it with.

    After getting back to the apartment we wrestled with my bike, mummifying it with clingfilm and plastic sheeting kept from the previous train journey through Stockholm before strapping it into the box. After that we headed back out and straight to the same Indian Street restaurant that we enjoyed the night before, and finished the night with a final drink.
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  • Day27

    Day 24 - And finally...Copenhagen!

    June 5, 2016 in Denmark ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We didn't stick around in our cramped campsite, and instead went into the town of Helsingor to grab a Danish breakfast (Apple Strudel in my case, which is the closest thing I could find to a savoury option).

    Following breakfast, we were cycling onto our final path, which runs along the coast and all the way into Copenhagen. It was a nice, relaxed final ride with some great views of the sea, dotted with sailing boats, bathers and SUPs.

    Aside from a stop for lunch, the ride was fairly consistent and soon we were wheeling onto the cycle lanes of Copenhagen city; joining the crowds of local cyclists in one of the world's most bike-friendly cities.

    So that's it! We made it to Copenhagen, through 4 countries and across hundreds of miles.

    Nothing left now but to enjoy the city from our luxurious Air BnB flat, and figure out how to get my bike home with me.
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  • Day26

    Day 23 - Swedens' final hurdle

    June 4, 2016 in Denmark ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Leaving Bastad, we had one more mountain to conquer before a flat, final run to the Danish border. It turned out to be one of the highest and longest climbs of the whole trip, which made for a fitting final challenge for Sweden.

    In fact, the Swedish half of the ride proved to be a kind of 'greatest hits' for the country. We had the mountain, followed by cycle paths along fields and farms, road cycling and forests. We even came close to an 'E' highway on a few occasions, but mercifully avoided it.

    Our final stop in Sweden was Helsinborg - the biggest city we had yet seen, but made enjoyable by the extremely well-developed inner-city cycle paths. After that, we were cueing to cycle into the lower hold of a ferry, chased by freight lorries.

    We read that it was possible to get a nice meal on the ferry, at duty-free prices, but the food turned out to be comparable to an Ikea fast-food hot dog. We ate one, all the same, then rolled off the ferry and round the coast to our campsite. As the campsite was full (and full of sniffy, elderly local campers) we opted to head into the lively town of Helsingor. There we found a Cafe for dinner and some celebratory drinks ahead of our final ride to Copenhagen.
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  • Day25

    Day 22 - Coasting on...

    June 3, 2016 in Sweden ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    After a quick calculation the night before, we realised that the lightning storm had set us back a bit more than we thought. So today needed to be a big push, with a planned distance of 90km, to keep us on track to reach Denmark by Friday night or Saturday morning.

    Aside from the distance, we also had the 25 degree heat to contend with. But we did a good job of getting out of our camp quickly, being generally well organised with tent-packing and breakfast.

    The day before was also a long ride in the sun, so I was struggling to find the energy this morning for the first time in the trip. I was.more driven by will power than anything else for the first hours - struggling to keep pace against a headwinds even on the flat route.

    By 2pm we were rolling into Halmstad for lunch, having covered 55km already. It was a later lunch than planned, as we were following the winding coastal path, and also got lost finding our way into Halmstad (the biggest city that we have cycled into so far)

    After a long stop at a Subway, we pushed on with the last 35km and managed to do it in one ride - no doubt helped by the food and cooling weather. We were still following the coastal route, but we were led a bit in-land and back across farmland before arriving in the town of Basted and finding our (much better) campsite.
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  • Day23

    Day 21 - Tracing the Atlantic

    June 1, 2016 in Sweden ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

    With some Kilometres to make up, we set off and got straight onto the 'Route 1' cycle path. It was a longer route than the direct option, but much more scenic (especially as the direct route was a main road).

    Pretty soon we were on a path running parallel to the west coast, in sight of the Atlantic for the first time since leaving Alta. The route was picturesque - winding through farmland, past windmills and across exposed coastland. With so much pleasant distraction, the first 40km went by fairly quickly.

    Our stop at Varberg was no less impressive, as the town is beautiful - with a striking coastline and some great green spaces, all linked by pedestrian cycle paths that were impressive even by Swedish standards.

    We left Varberg via coastal path that passed alongside golden beaches dotted with sunbathers before breaking off into countryside once again. Today has been a day when we have seen a definite shift in the number of cyclists. Leading up to Varberg, and in the city itself, we saw my cycle tourers (and more Ortlieb pannier bags) than we have all through the holiday, and there were plenty of local cyclists as well. One even rode alongside me, engaging in casual conversation before cutting off on his own path 8km outside of town.

    Now we are at our campsite and, like many before them, we had some difficulty arranging camp (because of the low season limitations) and have found the facilities severely lacking (no kettle, dish detergent or dish cleaning cloths). But we can struggle on with our own camping crockery, and it doesn't do.much to dampen another great day.
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  • Day23

    Day 20 - Lunch in sun, Dinner in storms

    June 1, 2016 in Sweden ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    So we awoke in our bug-infested, abandoned campsite and didn't waster any time getting our tents packed so we could move to the lakeside for breakfast. I did indulge my inner wild-man by using the bug-swarmed outdoor shower (little more than a worn shower curtain and a dirty shower mat, in a wooden shelter) before we left. I don't know if I was cleaner, but I felt cleaner.

    After breakfast and a quick wash of dishes in the Lake (only Porridge oats and water, so no dirtying the pristine waters) we set off. Before hitting some blissfully flat trails, we had to cross a valley, which meant two steep peaks and drops back to back. With the sun beating down, the swear was running and we were both being pursued by clouds of flies, as we conquered both peaks at the best pace that we could manage.

    After that, we stopped for lunch and cold drinks, plus a quick sink-wash, before bumping into a fellow (but former) Welsh man, who hailed from Bangor. We had a chat before setting off on what should have been an easy flat 40km. Unfortunately, after about 10km we caught sight of lightning on the horizon, along our route. After some indecision, we decided the best thing would be to hide out in the local pub (the first we have seen) and possibly wait out the storm.

    That proved to be a very smart idea, as the storm quickly approached and crossed over us. Torrential rain swept in and lightning followed, striking frequently and even hitting the ground across the street from the pub at one point - causing a power outage and cutting off out phone signals.

    So, with that weather front continuing to Loom, we opted to book into a hostel flown the street. We lost the chance to cover more distance, but gained a safe shelter and the chance to wash our clothes.
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  • Day22

    Day 19 - Argh! So much sun!

    May 31, 2016 in Sweden ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    After an evening camping in Boras, being bothered by the local crazy cat lady (a feature of all Swedish urban camping sites) we started riding out of the city as the sun rose in a cloudless sky.

    As a 25 degree day, we were in unknown territory. I was particularly struggling with thermal underlayers as my lightest clothing option. So it was a sweaty day of cycling through towns and along country roads, seeking shade and cool drinks where possible.

    We stopped on route in a town cafe, where I was able to get an ice coffee and we both had a proper lunch at a shaded outdoor table. After making heavy use of their complimentary soft drinks and chatting to the chefs, who all had working experience in the UK, we set off for a final push to our destination of Satila - a destination and a campsite reccomended to us by the last camp.

    Unfortunately, when we arrived it became quickly apparent that the Satila camp was a dive - unsupervised and ill-maintained with low quality facilities infested with bugs. So we were effectively wild camping, and only making use of the flat ground for the night.

    On the positive side, we were beside a large and beautiful lake, so I got to have a quick dip and we spent the evening on the pontoon cleaning our bikes, reading and generally enjoying the location.
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  • Day20

    Day 18 - Here comes the sun...

    May 29, 2016 in Sweden ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    So we woke up in another cosy cabin, wrapped in our sleeping bags as we were on the budget end and so no bedding was supplied (still, better than a tent in the rain). Unfortunately I seem to have developed a cold, probably from cycling through heavy rain in soaked clothes two days earlier. But it's nothing that a couple of painkillers and a coffee couldn't beat.

    Still, it was a slow start as the mind was willing but the body was lacking a bit. We were heading back on ourselves a bit, as we realised that we had gone of the 'Sun Route' by about 15km. So we left Vegby and passed some familiar features before arriving in Ulriceham once again, where we stopped for lunch (it was a slow start in all ways).

    After that, we were heading for Boras and, once again, it was along pristine cycle path. This time we got to enjoy forest views rather than rural farmland and we were flanked by a mass of pine trees and fir trees for most of the trip.

    We weren't alone on the path though. It seems as we are getting further South we are becoming lass of an oddity, as we are now just 2 of many cyclists on the go. We have also seen plenty of cross country skiers on the path, pushing themselves along wearing modified in-line skates for Summer training. Not something you see in the UK!
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  • Day20

    Day 17 - An actual, factual Cycle Path!

    May 29, 2016 in Sweden ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    After a very quick 2km descent from our ski lodge-based camp, we quickly hit a cycle path with signs suggesting they would run for the length of our day's ride. To our surprise and joy, that turned out to be true, and we spent the whole day on blissful, flat tarmac miles from any road.

    The day passed very pleasantly as we passed through farmlands, wild fields of dandelions and sights of hawks sailing above our heads. With a couple of stops in small towns for coffee breaks and lunch, it was an ideal cycling day - not spoilt in the slightest by the last five minutes of bug swarms and heavy rains as we closed in on our campsite.

    Hopefully, as we get closer to Copenhagen, days like this will become the norm.
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