Once again, thank you to the new Oldies Club donors for their incredible generosity. Getting these donation notifications has really cheered me up while I navigate the still difficult weather!
Jamie Baverstock, Anne Bell, Lorraine Atherton, Ailsa Parry (WOW!!) and Di Allen
The hard statistics thus far
Since departing Wabamun by bicycle:
- 41 days in the saddle
- 2712 kms pedalled for an average of 66.15 kms per day
- over 20,000 vertical meters climbed
- maximum downhill speed – 72.4 kph (yeehaw!!!)
- slowest uphill speed – 4 kph (blah)
- longest day – 112kms
- shortest day – 22kms
- 32 nights of camping in the wild
- 9 nights on commercial campsites
- approximately 5kg of body fat (mine, not Murph’s) evaporated
- £800/$1306 cad – so far – raised for the Oldies Club!!!
Items lost, destroyed or otherwise since beginning of trip:
- Kong squeaky beaver mascot
- fleece blanket
- warm beanie hat
- miniature tennis ball
- 2 x bike mirrors
- bike helmet
- Murphy’s precious Equafleece jumper
- several usb cords
- Macbook Air – yes, it did completely die after all. I am typing this on a freakishly expensive Norwegian laptop. I’ll call it a ‘souvenir’ since it has all the funny Norwegian letters on the keyboard. No excuse to spell Bodø Bodo anymore!
- silk sleeping bag liner
- 1 x glove
- 1 x sock
At least my tent didn’t end up over the cliff and to a watery death.
In the 950-ish kms since we left Bodø
The freight train is ready to pull out of the station
Do you really want to know about the weather? Not really? I’ll tell you anyway; it was better than predicted but less than lovely.
We pulled out of Bodø under bright sunshine, 14c (which is positively tropical in these parts), full of hope and thrilling to the trilling of the open road. The following day was pretty good too, but the ten after that were gray, cold and quite gloomy. Hardly any rain though until today – all less than inspiring for photo ops, so the camera hardly came out. It also made it less likely I’d stop to smell the wild flowers for any length of time. If I kept moving, I’d stay warmer. Temps have consistently been between 6-12c during the day and much colder in the wind and damp air. Nights have been tolerable not going much below the same. The flipping midges have been GROTESQUE!!! Their itty-bitty, blood-sucking carcasses pile up in my tent every night as I lose my mind and commit mass murder. Murph, however, seems spared – I must grow more fur. Until then, my most prized glam accessory:
Still, I’ll take midges over Canadian mosquitoes any day. All of these un-scenic things considered, I thought I’d focus more on the people side for this post.
As I got further from the gravitational pull of the Lofoten Islands, the cyclists I encountered entirely thinned out. This was nice in a way – I felt more special. When I did come across another me, we would generally stop to chat and swap road-war stories, much like it was when I was further north. We were the burly hard-core types on BIG rides – a more exclusive type, bien sûr !!
Momentous day – we cross the Arctic Circle
…and we’re officially back in the land of the summer moon. Sort of. The sun kind of goes down for a few minutes over the horizon. I still have to wear a sleep mask and a pillow all night to be able to drift off.
Murph introduces me to more of the nicest people!
Gerhard, a very kind German motorhomer and avid fisherman, insisted we take a couple of his freshly-caught fish with us. It was a bit of a challenge frying them up on our little Trangia alcohol stove, but Murph loved them!!
Hilary Clinton is hiding in Helgeland
On a tiny road, in the middle of nowhere with no one around for miles …made my hackles rise.
What now then?
I have a wedding to get to in Burgundy, France on July 27th. I’d really like to attend my dear Cousin Boris’ nuptials, but I have no idea if it’s feasible. I’m more than a week behind the loose schedule I’d set, and it’s a tangled spaghetti of problems and expense to get there. I don’t think a non-dog-toting bicycle tourer can empathise with the difficulty and stress of planes or trains with the gear, the bike and an elderly dog. Not quite as easy as just hopping on any old flight. Murph must be in the cabin with me which most Scandinavian airlines make impossible (that’s why I flew to Finland – Finnair was cool and Murph+bag dimensions worked for us), the bike has to be disassembled, then I have to find a box to cram it into, then there’s a very large bag full of gear, the transfers, car hire to get to the remote part of Burgundy and of course, it all costs a bomb. Finally, I have to get back to where I left off! AAAAAARGH! Oh Boris! Can’t you wait until the end of August to get married – that’s when I’ll roll into Montot under my own steam.
I believe I will just carry on as planned for now, but it’s all very preoccupying. Yes, St Olav’s Way it is . From here, I start away from the west coast with Lillehammer, Oslo and Gothenberg, Sweden in my sights. That’ll be over 800km of steep climbs up real mountains, sometimes on long stretches of dirt tracks – all the while, battling the ever-capricious weather. I’ll be roughly following the Eurovelo 3/Norway National 7 bike route.
A little info about St Olav’s Way, which I’ll be doing in reverse, here:
I hope to get a couple of supplementary posts in when I can, but for now, signing off from Trondheim!!