Tag Archives: Byske

17 and 18 May – the Gulf of Bothnia

The last couple of days have got me quite a way down the coast of Sweden, alongside the Gulf of Bothnia. I made the mistake of looking at an overall view of my planned tour, and realised how far I have to go, so figured I’d put a few big mile days in now to speed things along, and to allow me a few recreation days when I get down to France and Spain. I’m still planning on visiting Stockholm so I’ll probably have a day off then anyway.

The 17 May turned out to be be my longest leg of the tour so far, covering 165 kilometres, which is about 102 miles, in 8 hours and 20 minutes of actual riding. Here’s a link to my route and ride stats:

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/777328369

I wasn’t sure where I was going to stop for the night when I set off from Byske. There are allegedly two campsites around a place called Bygdea, according to my map, but I didn’t know if they’d be open or not, which left wild camping or cycling all the way to Umea. Quite a few of the campsites round here don’t open properly until June; not much call for it until it gets a bit warmer.

Preparing to leave Byske; Lobster on laptop route planning

Preparing to leave Byske; Lobster on laptop route planning

Pedalling off from the campsite I stopped in by the beach, looking out over the waters of the Baltic/Gulf of Bothnia.

Looking out over the Gulf of Bothnia, very peaceful

Looking out over the Gulf of Bothnia, very peaceful

Gulf of Bothnia 2 - ready to ride

Gulf of Bothnia 2 – ready to ride

It was all very peaceful, but I felt like I was being watched, and not by a Russian submarine; sure enough the stalkers from home were at it and had spotted me on the webcam. I gave them a wave then set off; it’s fun seeing where they might spot me next!

Byske - under surveillance

Byske – under surveillance

I couldn’t find the back road the girl at reception had mentioned, or at least couldn’t be sure I wasn’t about to embark on a massive diversion, so I rejoined the E04 after a brief tour of Byske town.

River crossing out of Byske

River crossing out of Byske

I stayed on it for most of the day, therefore not a lot of interest to report unless you like big lorries with two trailers, dust, and slightly hair-raising narrow sections with crash barriers closing you in.

Brief pause on E04, very picturesque lay-by

Brief pause on E04, very picturesque lay-by

I had a bit of a break from the E04 around Skelleftea, for about 20km, taking quieter roads that run alongside it, and didn’t take me too far off course. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be many roads that run parallel to the main route, they all branch off North or South.

Break from the E04 near Skelleftea

Break from the E04 near Skelleftea

Someone at the Byske campsite, I think one of the rather inebriated dog show attendees, told me you pronounce Skelleftea like ‘She left you’; they found this hilarious. I took a couple of cut throughs, hoping for the best, to join up the small roads.

One of my adventurous cut throughs

One of my adventurous cut throughs

The E04 wasn’t in fact too bad compared with previous days. A lot of it turned out to be single carriageway, with a good hard shoulder at least 1m wide, and with a slight tailwind and not very many hills the kilometres flew by.

E04 redeeming itself slightly - fields appearing

E04 redeeming itself slightly – fields appearing

I set a new record for the fastest 40km on Smaug; 1hr 48 mins, not bad for a fully loaded touring bike.

Swedish speed camera - bit different looking to the ones in the UK

Swedish speed camera – bit different looking to the ones in the UK

The scenery did start to change, with the appearance of meadows, and even a few fields being ploughed by tractors. There was still many a pine tree in evidence, and at times it felt like pedalling through Thetford Forest at home, albeit on the wrong side of the road, and with more hills.

Snack break - many bananas being consumed today

Snack break – many bananas being consumed today

I also saw a lot more birdlife again, including a few really big birds; do they have Emu’s in Sweden? I really think they don’t, unless they’ve escaped from somewhere. I could have sworn I saw an Emu, but maybe it was a big stalk, or a pigeon in disguise. There were the usual geese, migrating somewhere, as well as swans, and quite a few what I can only assume were Curlews from the look of it. All good stuff for twitchers, however my bird identification skills have somewhat lapsed since being a member of the Young Ornithologists Club as a kid; did see a few cool hawks I’ll have to look up.

Daily double thumbs up - one for the Emus

Daily double thumbs up – one for the Emus

Another different thing about Sweden; the cars. For one thing some of the tyres sound odd. Some cars still have their snow tyres on, which make a very distinctive noise compared with normal tyres, the small studs rattling down the road. And then there’s all the classic cars around. It must be a popular hobby in Sweden, restoring old American classics; I’ve seen several old Chevrolets and a wonderful Pontiac. Moving into the modern era I’ve also been passed by a few muscle cars; Corvettes, a Farrari, and lots of cars making satisfying growling noises, if you’re into that sort of thing.

After discovering there really aren’t any campsites around Bygdea, I put my head down and pedalled for Umea. It was getting late but my legs felt fresh, and I was in the zone, so I decided to head for the First Camp campsite. The E04 stayed relatively kind and the kilometres continued to fly by.

Final 40km on E04 to Umea

Final 40km on E04 to Umea

I pedalled to the outskirts of the city, Sweden’s 12th largest and a big University centre, and found the campsite just off the ring-road, very convenient.

Tired but I'd made it!

Tired but I’d made it!

Reception was closed, it being Sunday and gone 18.00, but I pitched up anyway and would sort it in the morning. The one drawback of this is you can’t get into the toilet blocks for a shower, or the kitchen, as you need a key card. With a all the dust and grime from the road a shower would have been welcome, however I settled for a wash from an outside tap instead; needs must.

It wasn’t long before I decided to get some kip, after demolishing bread, cheese, salami, a ready to eat expedition pack of curry, and of course chocolate; it’s quite hard to keep eating enough calories to replace what you burn off, but also quite enjoyable. I fell asleep pretty swiftly, after a very satisfying day’s riding.

—>18 May 2015

I wasn’t aching in the morning, which I was somewhat surprised yet pleased about. I say wasn’t aching however my posterior was, and still is a bit; lots of hours in the saddle tends to have that effect – padded shorts help, as does chamois cream to prevent chafing. I think I’ll need to change my saddle at some point as this one isn’t quite right. The bike in general is performing very well to date, with nothing needing fixing. It’s just a matter of keeping the tyres pumped up, and things lubed.

Like yesterday I wasn’t quite sure where I’d be stopping today, however there were allegedly several campsites en-route, and if all failed I’d find a quiet spot amongst the pines, away from any ants nests; some of them are huge, must get a pic.

It was raining when I packed up; not a good start, having to pack away a wet tent, however with many kilometres yet to pedal I thought I’d better get underway. There was a big hare hopping around as I stuffed things into panniers; nice to see, and not the first I’ve seen in Scandinavia. It reminded me of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, but I decided not to follow it, not today anyway. I haven’t seen any rabbits at all so maybe they haven’t gotten this far North.

At least I was dry, but I needed to get pedalling to stave off the cold. The expedition beard is coming along but doesn’t provide much insulation as yet, must concentrate harder on growing it.

Another day on the road, expedition beard progressing

Another day on the road, expedition beard progressing

I’m not sure I’ll keep the beard very long. It’s nice not having to shave when it’s cold, but I’m not a massive fan. I’ll keep it going until I leave Sweden, then have a beard review session and see what the consensus is between Lobster and I on keeping it, or going with a more streamlined affair as I pedal through Denmark.

On the way out I stopped at reception to pay, and had to buy a Swedish Camping Key (SCR) card too. This meant a night of camping with no facilities cost me 310SEK altogether. I should have just wild camped, although the card will hopefully be useful elsewhere in Sweden, as you need to have them for a lot of campsites; not sure why.

Pedalling out I passed a backpacker who’d been staying at the campsite too, marching resolutely into the city in the drizzle; we exchanged glances indicating mutual dislike of the rain and chill. I rode through the University area, which was awash with people on bicycles, attracting curious looks from pedestrians and cyclists alike, no doubt due to all my luggage and hopefully not my pirate look.

Umea, the biggest city in Norrland, has roots going back many centuries. It was probably first a Sami settlement, but they didn’t tend to have permanent bases, being nomadic. In the 14th century it was settled by Germanic people, but the Vikings were there before then. For a while it was just a place to trade with the Sami, and the last inhabitance before the wilds lot the North, but was made into a city in 1622. You can look up the rest on Wikipedia; it has an interesting history.

IMG_1815

There’s all that history, and then there’s the fact it has a Mcdonalds, the first I’ve seen in Sweden. Whilst this is in some ways, slightly disappointing, in other ways, such as on a damp and chilly morning, it’s an important feature. I opted for a second breakfast to wait for the rain to ease off; it was meant to according to the forecast. The sausage and egg muffin and hot chocolate was a welcome calorie boost, and the free wifi a bonus.

The rain eventually started to ease up, so I bid Umea goodbye and rode out of the city over the river, getting slightly turned about by the numerous and maze like cycle paths; they loop around  under the roads and it’s easy to lose your sense of direction. Cycling must be a  very popular method of transportation in Swedish cities, as there were again bikes everywhere. I eventually found the E04, joy, and passed the same backpacker trying to hitch a lift. He would’t fit on my bike, with all my panniers, but I wished him good luck anyway.

I probably pedalled 15 to 20km more than I needed to today, due to taking roads running parallel to the E04, rather than staying on it for ages. I say 15 to 20km more, it doesn’t really matter, and the smaller roads are far more pleasant and interesting to ride on, however I don’t want to extend my route too much as I do have a bit of a schedule I need to maintain. After a couple of hours I took a break in the woods.

Break time in the woods

Break time in the woods

Wood pic 2

Wood pic 2

And of course, there’s always time for a thumbs up moment.

Double thumbs up with Lobster headware

Double thumbs up with Lobster head-ware

I crossed several bridges over fast flowing and turbulent looking rivers, which would no doubt be fun to raft or kayak down; I think I’d just capsize.

River crossing near Haknas

River crossing near Haknas

River crossing - turbulent waters

River crossing – turbulent waters

At one point I decided to risk it and took a cycle track down a clay path through the forest, hoping it linked up with a road on the other side; this is after all supposed to be adventure. I’ve got a video of this I’ll try and upload, however here’s a picture in the meantime.

Clay road through woods, post Haknas

Clay road through woods, post Haknas

The road surface was pretty claggy and slow, but traffic free and made for pleasant riding, aside from the odd sneaky pothole. After a while I began to think I’d taken a wrong turning, but thankfully was able to join a fully functioning road near Nordmaling. I continued to loop around the E04 on smaller roads, but eventually had to rejoin it after Logdea, as I ran out of options.

Back on the E04, again

Back on the E04, again

It was okay riding, but again the narrow single lane bits where you’re enclosed by crash barriers can be unpleasant when you’re passed by the really big lorries, especially wide loads transporting houses! Some of these lorries come very close and there’s nowhere to go, so you just have to hold on and hope for the best; there’s probably more room than I think but it’s still not very nice cycling. As mentioned before the lorries also kick up a load of dust, so I was regularly having to wash my mouth out, and felt rather grimy by the end of the ride.

I stopped prior to Ornskaldsvik, after covering 110km in 6hrs and 4 mins, at a slightly slower pace than yesterday. Here’s a link to my route and stats:

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/778246976

The Mosjon campsite sits on the edge of Mosjon lake, and looks to be a big fishing venue; lots of places in Sweden are big fishing venues. It’s a lovely spot, if a little close to the main road so you can hear the traffic.

End of today's ride at Mosjon campsite

End of today’s ride at Mosjon campsite

I was fortunate that the campsite owner turned up shortly after I arrived, as reception was closed. She needed to give a cabin key to the only other person here; I’m the only camper, which isn’t an unusual occurrence so far. Lots of campsites aren’t fully open yet, and won’t be until June.

Mosjon campsite 2

Mosjon campsite 2

A hot shower to wash away the day’s grime and dust was most welcome, as is the warm kitchen for typing this up in, and to cook up a noodle feast. I’m trying to dry a few clothes I’ve washed through, but it’s not working too well; can I microwave them?!

Mosjon Lake

Mosjon Lake

I’m in the High Coast area of Sweden now, a World Heritage Site, so I’m hoping for lots more beautiful scenery, coupled unfortunately with a few more hills to contend with.

Mosjon lake - pontoon looking back at campsite

Mosjon lake – pontoon looking back at campsite

I did my best not to fall in the lake.

Pontoon a little rickety

Pontoon a little rickety

The High Coast is so named because it’s slowly rising at about 8mm a year, after being massively compressed by the last Ice Age. Lots of cool wildlife to look out for tomorrow, including Beavers.

Campsite has pedalos, that would be a cool self propelled mode of transportation for an adventure

Campsite has pedalos, that would be a cool self propelled mode of transportation for an adventure

That’s all for today, tomorrow I head towards Sundsvall, probably stopping in Harnosand.

One thing, on cycle tours you have a lot of time to think, and sometimes sad thoughts can return. Yesterday I spent quite a lot of time thinking about Lu, my ex-wife and best friend, who passed away from cancer in 2012. Sometimes you just want to meet them for a coffee and tell them what you’ve been up to, and even though that’s not possible physically, I rode along telling Lu about my latest adventure anyway. I started off sad, then got inspired and motivated and pedalled on, one of the reasons I hit 100 miles yesterday.

The Big C were a great help to Lu whilst she was getting treatment. They provide support to patients, equipment to hospitals, and fund research. If you’re enjoying my blog please consider making a donation via the link below:

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/james

Thanks to those who’ve already been able to make a donation.

15 & 16 May 2015 – leaving the Arctic Circle and down to the Baltic

I’m typing this up in a communal campsite kitchen/lounge type area surrounded by Swedes who are in the process of getting gradually merrier as the evening progresses. They’re attending  the dog show that’s going on at the campsite where I’m staying tonight, down on the Baltic coast in Byske; a lovely spot. The beer and wine are definitely flowing, who knows where this evening will end!

Anyway, back to yesterday and the Grand Arctic Hotel, where upon waking in my rather comfy bed, I dashed downstairs to partake of a particularly large breakfast; I love breakfast buffets when cycle touring, sadly they’re a rarity as I’m usually camping. Eggs, bacon, sausages, ham, cheese, bit of salad, bread and jam duly consumed, I felt ready to tackle another day’s riding, this time down to the Baltic coast, and out of the Arctic Circle.

Grand Arctic Hotel

Grand Arctic Hotel

Speaking to Jon over breakfast, one of the cycle tourers I met the evening before, I learnt he has a house near Orleans, or it might have been Biarritz, I’d better check that; sure I wrote it down somewhere. He invited me to drop in if I pass that way on my tour, which could be a very handy stopover…pretty sure it was Biarritz.

As I packed up I noticed with some envy that Jon and Tim were travelling light, not needing all the gear I have as they’re staying in hotels or hostels along the way. Tim has also sent a couple of his panniers on ahead, which isn’t a bad plan if there’s kit you’re not going to need until later. They were heading East into Finland, then up not Norway, so a slightly different route to me. I guess I can be more flexible as I have my tent, so don’t need to rely on finding accommodation; both methods have their merits and flaws.

Good luck to both Jon and Tim on their ride up to Nordkapp; hope the headwind eases up.

I pedalled out of Overkalix taking the road down to Svartbyn, passing a field full of old tractors, a bit of a strange sight. Feeling energetic after my Famous Five level of breakfast, I determined to try to stay above 20km/h, hoping that the wind continued to favour me.

Tractor Graveyard

Tractor Graveyard

Svartbyn, but no Svarts in sight, so thankfully no massacres; only people who have played Baldur’s Gate will get that reference.

Svartbyn - but no Svarts to be seen, unless they were hiding, or already massacred

Svartbyn – but no Svarts to be seen, unless they were hiding, or already massacred

Cloudy day but sun attempting to make an appearance

Cloudy day but sun attempting to make an appearance

I crossed the wide and fast flowing River Kalixalven, before rejoining the E10. The river is pretty much at its highest at the moment, with all the melting snow and ice; not one to try to swim across – took the bridge option.

The River Kalixalven - fast flowing and looking very chilly

The River Kalixalven – fast flowing and looking very chilly

The E10 slowly took me down towards the coast, a gently undulating route through pine forests, alongside the river.

Views of the River from the E10

Views of the River from the E10

All the logging activity could lead to only one conclusion; I started singing ‘I’m a lumberjack…etc’. Thus ensued a whole repertoire of Monty Python songs, not a bad way to make the kilometres fly by.

Lots of logging going on; I wonder if they use the river to transport the logs at all

Lots of logging going on; I wonder if they use the river to transport the logs at all

It was lovely cycling through the pine scented valley, with the sun coming out and no rain; wonderful to have a dry day after yesterday’s damp and chilly ride.

Lobster providing Dime bar  energy top up

Lobster providing Dime bar energy top up

I was however rapidly running out of E10, and was slightly nervous about the E04 after what Jon and Tim had told me; not really any options to avoid it though.

Final pitt stop on E10

Final pitt stop on E10

At Tore I joined the E04, a much busier road. There’s a crash barrier in the centre meaning vehicles aren’t able to give you so much room, coupled with barriers often on your right hand side, which means you don’t have an escape route. They’re those nasty cable barriers too, which would slice you up if you hit them at speed, say from a motorbike.

I caught my first glimpses of the Baltic as I pedalled along, but couldn’t see any sign of the Russian submarines I’d been reading about in the news; apparently there have been suspected sonar contacts in Swedish waters. Swedish peace activists have responded by lowering a ‘Gay Sailor’ into the Baltic, a neon sign which transmits an anti homophobic morse code; pretty novel approach to defence, and might just work versus the notoriously homophobic Russians. You can read the article from the Guardian on it here:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/13/swedish-peace-group-trolls-russian-submarines-with-gay-defence-system

To be honest I wouldn’t have spotted a submarine if there’d been one with its periscope up and firing flares, because I was concentrating on the road and on not getting buffeted into the crash barriers.

After a while I got bored with the E04, and decided to try an alternative route, one that would add-on a few kilometres but would hopefully be more interesting, and lead to slightly less frayed nerves. I turned off at Ranea, following instead back roads to Lulea, a far more pleasant option.

Taking the back roads to Lulea

Taking the back roads to Lulea

I passed through several small villages as the road wound through the Swedish countryside, up and down small hills and through more pine forest, passing more logging activity.

Swedish village - route more interesting than E04!

Swedish village – route more interesting than E04!

This far South there’s hardly any snow left, something I suddenly realised as I pedalled onwards; no more frozen lakes either. The lack of snow didn’t stop one person from practicing his cross-country skiing; he was out on his road skis (like roller blades), speeding the other way as I rode along one of the cycle paths that run through most towns.

The convoluted route probably added on at least 10km, taking me into Lulea. Feeling pretty tired I was keen to get to the campsite, so didn’t stop to look around.

A small bit of Lulea

A small bit of Lulea

I did pause to take in my first proper view of the Baltic, or at least an inlet thereof.

Pausing in Lulea to take in the Baltic

Pausing in Lulea to take in the Baltic

Waving to a few other cyclists; MAMILS had made an appearance now I was in a city, I rode across several bridges and out of Lulea, to the First Camp campsite, my stop for the night.

Camping at First Camp in Lulea

Camping at First Camp in Lulea

I camped down near the kids play area, as suggested by the lady on reception as it was close to the kitchen. This initially turned to be a slightly flawed plan, with gangs of children roaming the area, but they soon quietened down; Lobster scared them off apparently. Bit annoying that I had to pay for Wifi access, unusual these days, and might as well just use my phone and roaming, which costs me £3 a day on the Vodafone Eurotraveller deal, when I use it.

Today’s distance covered was 126km; 6hrs and 40 mins of riding time. Here’s a link to my route:

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/775296622

Before a fast becoming traditional dinner of noodles, I mended the holes in the bottom of my tent, made by the ‘Vitangi Varmint’.

Holes pre-mending, Lobster for scale

Holes pre-mending, Lobster for scale

Holes post mending; bits of CTC plastic bike carrier bag and gaffer tap

Holes post mending; bits of CTC plastic bike carrier bag and gaffer tap

And had a quick look around.

Beach scene at First Camp

Beach scene at First Camp

One of the bridges I pedalled over earlier

One of the bridges I pedalled over earlier

Safe in the knowledge I was once again sleeping in a varmint free zone, aside from a Lobster, I got an early ish night. Must remember to adjust my brakes soon; cables have probably stretched slightly, coupled with blocks wearing down.

I did have a midnight snack; found a leftover from the Cycle Tour Fest in my panniers; yum.

Cycle Tour Fest snack

Cycle Tour Fest snack

—> 16 May 2015

Today was a mixed day, but on balance mostly a good one. It’s getting even rowdier in the lounge area where I’m typing this up, so might have to retreat to my tent soon. Scandinavians can be quite reserved, and always polite, but they get pretty loud after a few beers; similar to us Brits I guess! There’s some definite swaying going on, and there’s been at least one drinking song – think they’ll be a few sore heads at the dog show tomorrow morning. All good fun.

i was glad to pack up and leave First Camp in Lulea, after not a a very comfy night due to pine cones under my tent; must remember to ensure they’re all moved before setting the tent up in future! At least pine cones don’t gnaw through bits of your tent.

Grumpy after broken night's sleep

Grumpy after broken night’s sleep

Lulea - packed and ready to pedal

Lulea – packed and ready to pedal

I adjusted my brakes slightly, but will need to do it again soon, then got on my bike and pedalled off. I was back on the E04 unfortunately, but not a lot of choice, or so I thought. After I’d been riding for a bit I noticed a small track running parallel to the main road. It was tarmac’d, and had no traffic on it; looked ideal, and got to be better than being buffeted by lorries and worrying about crash barriers and vicious rumble strips. I turned onto it at the next available opportunity, taking a bit of a risk on it not being a dead-end as it wasn’t marked in my map, and my Garmin just helpfully said ‘Riding on unpaved road’.

Off the beaten track - leaving the E04 behind for a bit

Off the beaten track – leaving the E04 behind for a bit

Thankfully the track continued, up and through a village, and was even signposted as a cycle path at one point, with lamposts!

Cycle track, with lamposts

Cycle track, with lamposts

Unfortunately the surface deteriorated a bit after this, suggesting it’s not really finished yet. Fine for a mountain bike, but not so much a fully laden tourer where every jolt goes up through you wrists, not to mention your posterior.

Bike track surface deteriorates

Bike track surface deteriorates

I stopped for a break on a bridge, pausing for thought for a few minutes, and enjoying the quiet. Sometimes you can travel along without a pause, forgetting what you’re here for; sometimes it good to stop and stare…

Bridge break 1

Bridge break 1

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.

I love that poem by William Henry Davis:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

I had to get back onto the E04 for a bit, then joined a well-marked cycle path that avoided the motorway, and took me into Pitea.

Back on the E04

Back on the E04

The road into Pitea took me past a Max burger joint, must have been fate; I stopped to refuel on one of their Chilli burger meals. Very nice eating that sitting out in the sunshine.

Max meal in Pitea

Max meal in Pitea

These fast food restaurants often have wi-fi too, which is handy to keep in contact with people. Took a photo to keep folks updated with how my pirate look is progressing, although I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be a parrot on the shoulder, and not a Lobster.

Pirate look in Pitea

Pirate look in Pitea

I pedalled through town, stopping to buy few bits of food at the Co-op (not sure if it’s the same one as in the UK). I needed more noodles and cheese mainly, but also found some doughnuts.

Pitea pedestrian precinct

Pitea pedestrian precinct

The town also had free public wi-fi, wish more places did.

It was a nice ride down from Pitea to Munksund. I was pointed in the right direction by a helpful older cyclist; didn’t speak a word of English, and me very little Swedish, but we got there in the end.

Riding down from Munksund

Riding down from Munksund

I was once again avoiding the E04. The small road took me along the coast in the sunshine, next to the water, through pines, past wooden cabins and houses, all very picturesque and peaceful; apart from the big chemical smelling factory I didn’t stop to take a photo of.

Then the road ran out next to a big river.

Out of road, need to get across river

Out of road, need to get across river

And I needed to get up on this bridge.

Bridge; not immediately obvious how to get up onto it

Bridge; not immediately obvious how to get up onto it

I had to back-track a bit, then cycle through a campsite to find the road up on to the bridge. I successfully made it over the river then had to rejoin the E04, trying to keep to the narrow strip of hard shoulder between the deadly crash barriers and vicious rumble strip. It wasn’t actually too bad, as there seemed to be less traffic now, however the big lorries that did pass me kicked up a lot of dust that was pretty unpleasant, covering me and Smaug in a layer of grime.

Back on the E04, again

Back on the E04, again

My stretch destination for the day was Skelleftea, however I decided to stop at the campsite in Byske; ‘Byske Havsbad’. This is probably one of the nicest campsites I’ve stayed at so far, and cheap at 120 SEK, as it’s still low season. The girl at reception gave me a few pointers on a route for tomorrow, which will avoid the E04 for at least the first 10km, after that we’ll see. I could try to push for Umea, but that would be just over 100 miles which is doable but not really necessary or that enjoyable; not much time to stand and stare. There are other campsites marked on the map on the way, so I’ll stop at one of them, or wild camp.

Thumbs up from Byske

Thumbs up from Byske

Lobster is slightly worried about the connotations that come with the word ‘Byske’, however I’ve assured him it’s spelt different, probably, he’s looking nervous. It was bad enough with the sauna the other night, which is far too close to being cooked for his liking.

A gorgeous sunny afternoon with clear skies means it’s going to be cold tonight, so it’s thermals again for me. I’ve escaped the now raucous Swedes after chatting to them for a bit as they brought out bottles of dubious looking spirits.

Here are links to my rides today; two links as Garmin turned itself off in Pitea.

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/775937942

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/776331230

Total distance= 105.5km in about 6 hours pedalling time, so another 65 miles nailed!

Thanks for following my blog, and for any comments, messages, tweets, charity donations etc. I had a moment today when thinking about all the kilometres that lie ahead of me, even to get to Stockholm, and it felt a bit daunting; only briefly but all the support is appreciated. I’ve found the best way is to chunk it up, and not think of the whole tour and getting to Istanbul, but of the chunks along the way, with small targets.

That’s all for a couple of days, fingers crossed the weather stays good.