Currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand (06/12/2013) - 31200km cycled

3 Apr 2012

Cycling Sweden – Snow, wind, forest, infection

Posted by Will

I’m now in Stockholm, capital of Sweden and at present city of snow. The temperature hovers at around 2-3 degrees celcius but a strong wind blowing from the north means it feels a lot colder. Luckily for me, two guys by the names of Andrew and Jan have agreed to have me to stay in their warm student apartment. Andrew has cycle toured extensively (Cycling the Baja Peninsula) and recently Jan completed a 10,000km bike ride from the bottom of South America to Quito, Ecuador (www.cyclingdiary.wordpress.com). Yesterday, I had a 3 hour lunch with Andrew and his friend Aaron and in the evening shared exceptional cheese and red wine over a long conversation with Jan. Enough said – they’re pretty cool guys.

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Leaving Copenhagen was a painful experience. A spot on the inside of my upper-right leg had become infected and made pedalling very sore. I’ve included some delicious pictures of said spot. Every pedal on my right side stretched the skin and after several hours my cycle shorts were damp with whitish gunge. The worst was hoisting my leg over the bike to get going. At the end of that day I took my first-aid kit out, psyched myself up, and then proceeded to attack the spot full-on: poking, squeezing and stabbing until all the nasty stuff came out. It took over an hour for the pus to subside. I wiped it all clean with anti-bacterial wipes, applied a plaster, and almost immediately everything felt a whole lot better and Stockholm a whole lot closer. A second assault in the morning saw off any feeble spot resistance. Since then, the spot has become less painful every day.

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I’m sure that paragraph has increased your appetite for more news, so I’ll continue. The wind blew steadily in my face for the next few days which sapped my energy. First, and quite obviously, it reduced my speed despite the extra effort I put into pedalling. Second, the wind coming from the north is incredibly cold. Nevertheless, I managed to follow the old highway from Helsingborg, through Ljungby, Jonkoping, Linkoping and Nykoping all the way to Stockholm. Most of the time, cycling was through seemingly endless forests with lakes appearing out of the trees every few hours. When the sun shines, the lakes look beautiful; when the sun is absent, the lakes look cold. Pale yellow houses with red window-frames and doors are typical out in rural Sweden and they look perfect against the backdrop of a lake surrounded by trees. Traffic is minimal on these roads.

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The last two days approaching Stockholm were bitterly cold. The cycle computer regularly read 0 degrees celcius and for several hours the bike and I were heavily snowed on. I’ve never biked in anything like it; all I could do was laugh. Snow and hail in the face reduced visibility to zero and my feet and fingers gradually became numb. However, my sleeping bag is holding up well although of course it is permanently sweaty. The tent is doing its job too and every morning is now coated with a layer of snow. My big blue coat is dirty but a worthy adversary for the cold. So far, the gear is holding up!

Right, I’m off to explore Stockholm by foot. I’m just going to wander randomly through the streets. Anyone have any suggestions where I should go?

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4 Comments already on “Cycling Sweden – Snow, wind, forest, infection”
  1. 8:55 pmpermalink
    03 Apr 2012

    Mumsy

    Great pics in the gallery, great variety!!

  2. 11:31 ampermalink
    04 Apr 2012

    Andrew

    Hi William
    nice spot!!!! The Vasser Museum in Stockholm is definately worth a visit – fascinating and beautifully presented. V and i were there a couple of months ago. Keep going – think of us this weekend in Cornwall.
    A

  3. 3:17 pmpermalink
    06 Apr 2012

    ali

    good stuff mate keep going

  4. 9:15 pmpermalink
    11 Apr 2012

    Andy Vickery & family

    Mum tells me that you had a long conversation on skype, she mentioned that your food did not sound very good yet full of carbohydrates. Howevet, the water facilities in McDonalds were better than expected…..!?

    The office is almost ready for occupation, over to Dad now to connect the network cabling.

    Keep up the good work, hope the legs are not feeling too horrendous & the nights are being kind.

    Take care
    Andy & family