The First 1000km
Saturday June 12th
After 36 hours of sleeping and eating on the freight ferry Tor Ficaria we arrive in Gothenburg in time for a torrential downpour. The city is quiet by Glasgow standards for a Saturday night, but there are cyclists everywhere. A friendly couple on the ferry – Clarence and Raija – have invited us to stay in their wooden cabin 700 km north of Stockholm.
Monday June 14th
Location: Trollhattan. Total distance cycled 213 km. Our first taste of rural Sweden – grassy meadows filled with buttercups, multi-coloured lupins, mixed woodland and a field with some elk in the distance. Very pleasant!
Wednesday June 16th
Location: north of Åmål. Total distance cycled 404 km. A long ride up and down gentle hills, and the occasional rutted track not suited to our loaded bikes. We have just exercised the Swedish ‘right of way’ or ‘Allemansrätten’, camping wild off a forest path. We’re looking forward to Karlstad, the ’sunshine capital’ of Sweden.
Thursday June 17th
Location: Karlstad. Total distance cycled 471 km. After a half-day off, a comfortable bed, and a breakfast fit for His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, we are all set. Today we’ll pass near Molkom, setting of the wonderful film “Three Miles North of Molkom”.
Friday June 18th
Location: Grangärde. Total distance cycled 694 km. Nearly 130 km today, some of it at over 50 kph. Hills, and the sunny spell has come to an end. Our campsite is near a lake.
Wind in the trees, a boat rocking gently in the waves, and occasional honking of geese flying overhead – a spot of rain is no big deal. A bolt sheared off Olly’s bike today and currently his pannier rack is held on with string.
Saturday June 19th
It’s past midnight and there’s still light enough to read by. Not that there’s much reading going on, simply eating and sleeping to cope with 8-10 hours travelling each day. That’s not all cycling, but still hard work.
Sunday June 20th
Location: Bollnäs. Total distance cycled 900 km. Hard day today with lots of up and down, clouds of midges, some poor roads, and another sheared bolt for Olly.
A very kindly Swedish man made an effective repair (he wasn’t impressed by the string). His wife made coffee and offered slices of her delicious homemade bread.
Later we watched two fox cubs soaking up the sun by the roadside.
Sunday June 21st – Midsummer
Olly has just worked his fire magic. This is wild camping on the shores of Lake Storsjön, about 15 km SW of Hudiksvall on the east coast of Sweden. It’s 11pm, the sun is below the horizon but it’s light enough to read. The fire is good for warmth – I’ve got my wooly hat on.