North Cape Cycling Adventure – Day 30 to 36

This week in a nutshell: empty hostels, short cycling days, great roads and nice weather. It was another fairly good week in Sweden. I cycled six out of seven days and moved 502km north.

North Cape Cycling Adventure Day 30-36

Day 30 (April 30): Sundsvall – Ramvik, Sweden

90.04km.

21.10h. This was a good day. There was some tough climbing and a hail storm, but the last twenty kilometres were so fantastic, a really fun unpaved road through the wilderness. I didn’t see anyone else for an hour and a half. There were some epic descents at the end as well. Flying downhill is such a joy after climbing. My legs are sore tonight.

Road in the woods in Sweden.
This gravel road was a great deal of fun.

I’ve got the entire first floor of this hostel to myself tonight. Usually you would have to pay a lot of money for all the space and facilities I’ve got here now. Went to get pizza for dinner again. I had lunch under a big pine tree on the roadside when sheltering for a short rain shower.

Pizza and TV in hostel, Sweden.
Enjoying an evening in an empty hostel.

Watching Champions League football (soccer), eating soup and drinking coffee right now. I cleaned and serviced the bike properly tonight. It really needed some cleaning after those muddy roads and rain.

My chain fell off this afternoon, but that was so easily fixed. First time I’ve had to fix anything!

Day 31 (May 1): Ramvik – Överhörnas, Sweden

111.59km.

18.35h. I’m one month on the road! Can’t believe it’s been that long. Had a really great day to celebrate that! The views were truly phenomenal at times, the weather was as perfect as it can get and the scenery was amazing. Today made the previous tougher days so incredibly worth it. Seriously. At one point I came flying downhill out of the woods and saw the most beautiful valley opening up in front of me, a little lake in the middle and rolling fields dotted with those pretty red wooden houses. I could see for miles and it was spectacular.

Road and forests in Sweden.
Fantastic scenery.

After practically every turn there was another great view.

I decided to have a break next to a nice little frozen lake this afternoon and I just sat there for about twenty minutes, just enjoying the moment. Right there I had one of those moments of genuine happiness, of realizing how lucky and happy I actually am. I got goose bumps and my eyes even welled up for a second. Anyone who has experienced that feeling definitely knows what I’m talking about. Could actually have been one of the happiest moments of my life so far.

Cycling in Sweden, frozen lake.
Happy times!
Fantastic frozen lake, Sweden.
This view was incredible (again, impossible to show in a picture).

It was a joy to be on a bicycle today. The climbing was challenging at times, but the long and winding descents were glorious.

I was the only guest last night and it looks like that’s the case again tonight. I’m cooking rice right now. I forgot today was a public holiday and all stores are closed. I bought bread and cookies at a gas station this morning. Got some canned sardines too, but they were so disgusting it should be illegal to sell them. Threw them away immediately. Ate two packs of cookies this afternoon…

My knees and legs hurt, probably from all the climbing. I’m definitely in need of a rest. Two more days until my day off in Umeå! I’ve got some pretty bad saddle sores as well.

21.55h. I found fries and frozen vegetables in the freezer. There’s no one else here, so that makes for an awesome second dinner! Just relaxing on the couch now, eating, drinking tea, watching TV and doing some writing.

Day 32 (May 2): Överhörnas – Nordmaling, Sweden

91.53km.

Octagonal church in Sweden.
Beautiful octagonal church.

18.43h. Another good day with lots of climbing and a few rain showers. I always found shelter just in time though!

Lake view, Sweden.
Shelter from the rain, with a view.

The roads were terribly bad sometimes, unpaved with lots of rocks and stones. And one particular hill was so steep I even had to push my bike up. That wasn’t easy either, it’s quite a heavy one!

Gravel road in forest, Sweden.
Unpaved road: some fun parts, some scary parts…

It was cold this afternoon. Took a nice, long and hot shower after I finished pitching my tent. Just ordered a traditional Swedish meal. Couldn’t read the menu, so just asked for something typically Swedish.

There’s more and more snow in the woods every day. The trees are getting smaller too as I’m making my way north. Lots of birches. Soon there won’t be any trees at all anymore.

Had some spectacular views again. That’s the bright sight of climbing: there’s almost always a rewarding view.

Saw two deer and an eagle.

Logging in Sweden.
Thousands of logs on the roadside, and massive log trucks on the roads.

Day 33 (May 3): Nordmaling – Umeå, Sweden

68.68km.

17.32h. Very fast day due to a fantastic tailwind. I didn’t pay for my spot on the camp ground last night. The reception was closed when I arrived yesterday afternoon and still closed when I left this morning. I’m not going to call them or wait around to give them my money. Too bad for them I guess.

It was a day like the previous ones. Nothing special to say about it really. Same old trees, villages, valleys and fields.

Cabins in fields, Sweden.
The Swedish fields are dotted with wooden cabins.

I’m staying at a really nice hostel here in Umeå. Free breakfast, free Internet, free coffee and free laundry facilities. It’s big too, lots of places to hang out.

Finally doing laundry now. Last time I washed my clothes properly was in Stockholm nine days ago.

I will be staying here two nights. My legs really need a day off. Going out for dinner and some beers later tonight, a little treat to myself for making it this far! Over 2,500km now!

Day 34 (May 4): Umeå, Sweden

0km.

21.35h. So I went out last night and I slept until noon. Pretty expensive night, but it actually was the first time I went out. Got to blow off some steam sometimes, right!

Lazy afternoon, I didn’t do anything except walk into town and buy groceries. The Internet connection at the hostel kept failing, so I went to the train station where they had free wi-fi. That pretty much sums up my entire day. And of course I ate a lot. I’m always hungry.

Umeå will be the European Capital of Culture in 2014, but I’m here to relax and get some needed rest.

Also the first day I didn’t take any pictures.

Day 35 (May 5): Umeå – Åkullsjön, Sweden

60.70km.

21.36h. Super-awesome day! Perfect weather (again) and no real climbs. It was going to be a short day and I had some fun with my camera on the way.

Swedish woods and road.
Playing around with the camera.
Swedish roads, cycling.
Playing around with the camera (2).

That lasted until the moment I wanted to take a picture of my bike on the road. I was always tricky to balance my heavy bicycle on that little kickstand and this time it just broke. So my bike fell on the ground. Luckily no damage, that would have been the stupidest thing…

Cycling through Sweden.
There goes the bike! You can actually see the front wheel rolling away.
There is the kickstand! Didn't really use it that much anyway.
There is the kickstand! Didn’t really use it that much anyway.

I love my bike! I’m really pleased with it.

Staying with a Swedish family tonight and just had dinner with them. The most welcoming people I’ve ever met. It was incredible and a fantastic experience for me. I had birch sap to drink with dinner! Amazing place to stay as well. They’ve got a hostel a short distance from their house and, once again, I’m the only guest. It’s huge!

One of the most awesome rooms I've ever been in. Look at that eagle chair!
One of the most awesome rooms I’ve ever been in. Look at that eagle chair!

I have noticed an interesting habit the Swedes have: they drink milk with their dinner.

Day 36 (May 6): Åkullsjön – Skellefteå, Sweden

79.80km.

18.57h. Possibly the best day so far, in terms of cycling. 18°C, the warmest it has been this year for me, and a great tailwind. An almost impossible 22.9km/h average today! The weather has been really nice the previous days. Hopefully it stays that way.

Such friendly people where I was staying, the lady even baked a cake for me last night. She showed it to me at breakfast this morning. It had a sugary bicycle on top! It was delicious. Again, what an amazing experience.

Colorful Swedish houses.
Colorful Swedish houses.

While the scenery and nature still is gorgeous, it’s always the same now. I’ve been seeing trees and fields for four weeks now and I’m kind of looking forward to a change of environment. And that will be Finland.

This afternoon I spent about half an hour laying on the forest floor and staring at the trees and the sky. The moss is so soft, it’s way softer than the mat I’m sleeping on in my tent. I almost fell asleep…

Pine trees and blue sky, Sweden.
Pine trees and a blue sky. Sleepy!

I could have cycled on further today – the conditions were absolutely perfect – but I found a really nice place to camp tonight.


4 thoughts on “North Cape Cycling Adventure – Day 30 to 36

  • Ok badass eagle chair…love the shot with the barns…tons of great road shots…and absolutely dude, you have got to be starving after biking all day. That’s an intense workout….I’d be interested to know how much you are burning per day in terms of calories. Have you calculated that yet? I’d bet it’s 4-5k a day in burn….just a rough estimate.

    • I’m not really starving. I’m always a little hungry, so I snack around the clock! To answer your question, I honestly have no idea. I think your estimate is pretty accurate, I was thinking something between 4,500 and 5,000 calories per day. But I do eat a lot. I eat at least four full meals per day, I usually cook a bunch of pasta or rice after I arrive somewhere and then I eat again around 9pm before I go to bed. Plus a lot of fruit, nuts, cookies,… during the day. Some crap like Snickers and Mars too, just to keep my energy levels up.

  • Love that picture of the church! Also amazed that you are blogging from the road. I think I’d be so exhausted that I’d have no motivation to blog.

    • It’s actually surprisingly easy to blog. I’m on the road 8-9 hours per day, but after that I’ve got loads of time to rest, upload pictures and write down some things. So far I’ve been able to get online almost everywhere I’ve been. I really didn’t expect that!

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