Bikepacking with Jules, early easter edition.

SebastianDahl-27-_DSF3003-Bicycling with Jules from CPH to GTB.jpg

450km on two wheels

from Copenhagen to Bohuslän

The end of winter is approaching and Jules and I are talking about what to do for Easter break. More precisely, where to go cycling. It's been a tough, long winter so we have to go south. We only have a few days and traveling to a far away country by plane is not an option. I suggest we take a bus from Copenhagen to Oslo and bike back, but Jules is skeptical; there's still way too much snow, it's still too cold in Scandinavia and we might not be able to make it on time.

Turns out, how was was mostly right.

The bridge between Sweden and Denmark

 Can't say we slept much on the crowded bus.

Can't say we slept much on the crowded bus.

In Copenhagen, the only thing we do is to get coffee. A shame, but we've been here many times before and "the road is not going to be cycled on its own". To make it back to Oslo on time we have to bike at least 140km every single day.

We're following several bike-paths on our way north, here going north from Copenhagen along the Strandvejen, a street famous for its architecture.

Beautiful thatched roofs on many houses.

I had told Jules itwas going to be a warm easter but he wasn't mad.

The last bit of Denmark before crossing the Kattegatt sea by ferry. Strong winds from north-east.

After 120km on the saddle and hours spent pushing on the pedals agains the wind we are not very enthusiastic about sleeping outside. It's cold and it's getting late so we decide to go to the city center of the nearest town to get some food and some warmth and we start asking people to host us for the night.

It takes us about 4 tries before a nice couple from Lund offers us to stay in their basement. We get food, a nice warm shower and a good night's sleep.

Day 2, sun is shining!

Day two. About 100km on the saddle. We stop before sunrise and find a nice place to camp by the sea, just behind a farm to be protected from the cold wind. Breakfast with eggs and coffee. We're starting to realize (Jules told me he knew all along, the bastard) that we won't make it to Oslo. We don't want to rush it, we'll just bike as far north as we want, make detours and breaks when we want to and will take a train back to Oslo on the last day. 

 

The coast is beautiful and the sun is shining. We're maintaining an average speed of 20km/hour but my knees are starting to hurt. Tonight no camping, no improcouching, we've found a nice and cheap hotel in Mölndal where we'll spend the night and have some beers.

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Gravel roads north of Göteborg.

On a small ferry towards Marstrandsön island. As soon as we stop we have to put on our down jackets to keep warm.

The second to last day was marked by two "disasters".

First, we realise four spokes are broken on Jules' back wheel; in order to continue not-by-foot we need to have the wheel either repaired or replaced.  It's Easter-sunday,  but luckily we find an open shop and get a new wheel. (and free burgers)

Last, at the end of the day, 6km before arriving at Marstrand my knee gets completely blocked. I can't pedal. The pain is almost unbearable and after a 30 minutes break we finish at 6km/hour.

 FOUR! BROKEN! SPOKES!

FOUR! BROKEN! SPOKES!

Our home for the last night on top of the island.

On the last day, the wind is finally with us. We average close to 30km/hour until my knee says stop again. We make it to Göteborg from where we take a train back to Oslo. 

Looking forward to next bike trip, I'll make sure to:

  • remember Easter in Scandinavia is cold
  • bring some cream for my knees
  • be careful with my ageing body.

So long!

 Picture of me writing my diary on the train by Jules.

Picture of me writing my diary on the train by Jules.

Bikepacking with Jules, June 2015

I recently spent 5 days bicycle-touring with my best-friend Jules. We rode from Oslo, Norway to some islands south of Strømstad, Sweden. Our bikes were quite heavily packed but we managed to reach Strømstad (115km away from Oslo) on the first day. The weather was great, we rode small country roads through fields and forests against a never-ending wind. The tendinitis in my knees, which I thought I had managed to get rid of, appeared after 60 kilometers but and I could do nothing but hope for them to stop hurting.


We reached the swedish border on day 2 and from there we took it very easy; we filled the little space we had left with wine and beer and set up our camp on isolated beaches. This is on the first one; a beautiful little island accessible only by a hanging brigde.

On the next day we continued south to an island called Oddö. Getting there was both fun and demanding; the path to the less crowded north tip of the island was a mix of gravel, stones and roots, with many hills. We arrived covered in sweat, just before sunrise and decided to stay two nights. This part of Sweden, with its woods and beautiful rock beaches, is really beautiful. I am grateful my parents brought me there many times as a kid.

Towards the end of our trip, the weather and my knees got worse. We went back north through the beautiful region Hvaler, towards the norwegian city Fredrikstad. We spent a night in the rain and the next morning we decided to take the train back because of the weather; the wind was still blowing against us and the idea of getting even wetter wasn't very appealing. Also, my knees really hurt and I was afraid I couldn't walk on Saturday, and that's something I can't afford because I'm photographing a wedding.

All in all it was a beautiful trip and a nice way to spend some time with Jules before my next big trip this summer; I'll be gone for more than a year, hitchhiking from Turkey to Japan and exploring Japan.

 

S24O

Jules and I went camping again last night. 4th trip this fall.

Our sleeping bags are rated -4°C and -9°C so we have no excuses not to continue this nice little habit we’ve taken. But I have to say last night was cold, probably because of the high humidity. So more wool and isolating material next time.

When we woke up this morning my bag was missing. We had left it in the entrance of the tent but some sort of animal (what can it be!?) had taken it. We found a lead after a few minutes that lead us to the backpack, only 20 meteres away. The breakfast, a single rosinbolle leftover from last night’s feast, was the only thing missing. Lucky for us, animals don’t drink coffee.

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We have no idea where we are. Lost in the woods.

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S24O

Jules and I have taken for a habit to go on “s24o” trips lately.
What is that, you might wonder. Well “a S24O (pronounced “Es-Two-Four-Oh”) was coined by Grant Peterson of Rivendell. It is a sub-24 hour overnight bike camping trip.”. (from here)

…and it’s genius! Because we are away from home less than 24 hours we really don’t need to plan much and therefore we’re much more likely to go for a trip. This trip was the second one we’ve done this year and once again, when we rode home, we felt we’d been away for much longer.

It really isn’t about riding fast or riding far, it’s just about going for a small trip outside of town and that, more often :)

   Do you want to decorate your walls with cycling themed pictures? BUY SOME PRINTS  HERE !    By doing so, you will help the people at Deghri messengers in Beirut attend the European Cycle Messenger Championship in Stockholm this summer.    I don’t make any money doing this, all the money goes to printing and to them.   
  The above picture was taken on another bicycle trip in the Netherlands in 2011.

Do you want to decorate your walls with cycling themed pictures? BUY SOME PRINTS HERE!

By doing so, you will help the people at Deghri messengers in Beirut attend the European Cycle Messenger Championship in Stockholm this summer.
  I don’t make any money doing this, all the money goes to printing and to them.

The above picture was taken on another bicycle trip in the Netherlands in 2011.