...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Our multi-sport bike tour! (on wk 41)

The weather was good all of last week so we decided to go to on a longer bike tour last Sunday. From a tourist information site, we found out that in the forest and lakes north of Norrköping, there were pre-built windshelters where people can stay and light campfires. Our plan was to bike around that forest area look for those windshelters for a future winter excursion. In the end, we didn't find any one of those windshelters, but we did have an exciting "multi-sport" bike tour, which included a biking in towns, on mountains, and around lakes, trekking inside two forests and climbing steep hills on foot! (Too bad I forgot the camera!)

We first biked the first 10 kilometers on an asphalt bike roads up to a small town called Åby, and climbed up the mountain on some dirt roads, partly on the bike (when possible) and some on foot leading our bikes beside us. We soon entered a forest (this in particular also happened to be a water filtration table, and was a protected zone)--it was so slippery in there that it was impossible to bike, and the whole forest floor was covered in purtruding roots of all sizes and moss-covered rocks (BTW I didn't know there were even so many kinds of moss!). We followed a hiking path, over rocks and over bogs (this forest was particularly watery and damp had many small water paths). Sometimes the back bike wheel would also snag on a root and pull me in an opposite direction, and a couple of times where the path was blocked by a fallen tree, we would either go around the log or lift our bikes over it (which wasn't easy!). It wasn't easy going down a rock with a bike in arms either--I had to watch my footing and watch that the bike didn't pull me down too.

After that sweaty episode, we were out that forest, onto some dirt roads again, to find ourselves in a second forest which looked entirely different from the first one. It was really strange but interesting that forests so near each other could look so different. The first forest looked like a rainforest (in standard Crayola green); this second one was drier, but darker and denser (in Crayola forest green) and it was so thick you almost couldn't see the sky. We biked through this one with relative ease, and the path eventually took us to this really beautiful still lake where we had our 11am snack (BTW around here we saw two snakes sunning themselves, but they slithered away when they saw us--or "smelled"us, as snakes do with their tongues!). Biking for another hour or two around the lake and some more dirt roads, we got to a second, bigger lake, and we ate our lunch there on a pier. (Yes, we brought a lot of food in our spanking new bike baskets: pasta salad, ham sandwiches, nuts and raisins, chocolate, sachets of Milo chocolate drink, and 2 apples). The scenery was beautiful, the air felt fresh and the nature around us was so relaxing to look at. Perhaps that whole "out in nature" feeling contributed to the eating experience--the food was really tasty after a whole morning of biking!

Oh yeah, and the excitement isn't over yet... the trip home was crazy! We went up, up, up the mountain on a dirt path, and it was so steep in some inclines that it we were panting hard just pushing the bikes up, which we had to do several times. We would reach some meters of level ground before (tahdah!) seeing the next incline ahead of us (oh no!), and the next incline (augh!), and the next ($%^!)... At the top, we just had to look down from a precipice, and we were surprised how high up we were. Of course what goes up goes down, though... and you can imagine the steep equivalent of the uphill climb: adrenaline-rushing dangerous downhills that made me somewhat paranoid! I survived though, heheh. And at the end of the really long winding downhill, we found ourselves back at the town where we began. The first asphalt road felt so sweet to bike on, like a cake after fasting. The rest of the way home on smooth city roads was just so uneventful in comparison that it was hard to imagine that we were hiking in the forest just hours befpre. I can say that the whole trip was both challenging and fun though--a great adventure--and I really felt a sense of achievement at the end. Besides that, you can bet that we slept well that night.

Since I have no pictures, click below for a map Norrköping (we live in the center). The lake where we had our lunch (above Åby) is marked by a blue dot.

We are planning regular bike tours (or at least outdoor activities) for the next weeks, so stay tuned :-)


Anonymous cheryl said...

you're so active!!!! while i'm here in the office collecting fat around my stomach area. horror!

haven't replied to ur comment on my lj yet (as you've probably noticed). i'm still thinking whether to agree or not to the jane austen-reference ;)

an update on kendo: i'm still thinking about it because now i'm also considering pilates!

8:49 AM


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