In a world increasingly preoccupied with throwaway materialistic things; where people are constantly busy earning money to pay for those things, or so their children can have those things;
This is the story of my dreams of travelling the world by bicycle. Because it's there. And because I dont want to die without experiencing the truly important things in life .

A sense of wonder and a sense of adventure.

Sunday, 20 September 2015


I've been cycling in Denmark now for 4 days.
The Ferry from Norway. 3hrs

The first day I cycled north to the northern tip of the country to see the seas meet and to also check out the WW 2 bunkers etc.

There are three things that at this stage in my trip I can say that I like about Denmark.
Firstly it is a very flat country. No effort is required to cycle along Denmark roads. That is unless there is a wind blowing. The wind does blow quite a bit but it certainly hasn't slowed me down. And having grown up in Wellington , NZ I'm pretty used to cycling into a gale or two.

The second thing I like about Denmark is that it is so far predominantly fine. I have had the odd shower but the sun has been out for longer than the rain has been falling. Something I failed to encounter on the east coast of Norway. My tan that I acquired in Finland is starting to reappear. I haven't though managed to get my training top off so my arms will maybe now have to wait for the New Zealand spring.
The final thing that I am enjoying here are the friendly people. But that they have in common so far with the Fins and the Norwegians.
In other respects to me Denmark does not feel like a Scandinavian country. The buildings are all made of brick giving it a more English feel.  And so far the countryside I am cycling through I would have to say is unremarkable.  If you are reading this from NZ then I could best describe it as a cross between  Foxton area and the Manawatu.  Beachside communities with wind, and pasture / grazing land.
Two other points that I have noted are that .. no its not any cheaper for a kiwi here as although things cost less per krone the exchange rate with the NZ dollars is not s good so it works out at about the same. The other point is that the cycle ways although everywhere, are just as much as a pain in the arse as cycle ways throughout the world. After following the cycle ways on my first day up to the tip and back , I thought I'd give the national cycle way no.1 a go down the west coast. Well.. I lasted on it for maybe 30kms before giving up in disbelief as I had me going round and about along forest and sand tracks and out to what seemed every deserted beach settlement.  I ditched it and started self navigating on the rural roads and within minutes had myself not only going in the correct direction but actually passing civilisation where I could get a bite to eat or a coffee and see the odd person to talk too.
The Scenery may not be Dramatic in Denmark but the Pastries are Yummy. 

Although there are more urban cyclists here, once you leave the towns you see no more cyclists than you would in NZ.  Maybe even less.
Maybe my views will change as I get closer to Copenhagen.  Time will tell. I am not freedom camping in Denmark. And this is due solely to the fact that I have slowed right down in kilometers covered a day.  I'm  limiting myself to about 130kms per day as I'm way ahead of schedule and don't want to kick around in Stockholm for two weeks. So doodling along at that rate means that although I don't get on my bike until 10am I still arrive at about 4 pm.  If I was to freedom camp I'd be having dinner at a town at 3pm and then sitting in a hedge row somewhere for hours until the sun went down. Freedom camping really only works for me when you have dinner at about 5 to 6 pm and then cycle for a few more hours , put up the tent and get to sleep. I think you really need to be doing 200 to 300kms a day for that. So it's camping grounds and hot showers for now. I'll reassess the situation when I get into Sweden.

Although I'm having to pay for camping grounds I'm not buying so much food as I'm not cycling that hard. It's all swings and roundabouts.
My next blog will probably be from Copenhagen as I will stop a day or two there to look around and do the laundry again.
Well I'm looking forward to another day of wind turbines and farmland tomorrow when I will be in Southern Denmark approaching the German border. Then it's a hard left turn for the Mercian and myself and northeast towards Copenhagen.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Three Acts of Kindness.

During my last two or three days in Norway the weather has been an absolute shocker. Apparently it's normal for parts of Scandinavia to get a lot of grey and rainy days in autumn. So I shouldn't be surprised by the weather. But where I come from the situation is reversed with calm stable weather generally in autumn and wet changeable weather in the spring. So it does take some adjusting to.
Anyway today I was chatting to the campground owners about using the drier to dry everything after last night's downpour and whether I should bother washing clothes as tomorrow the forecast is not much better and during the discussion I told them of course that I was from NZ and had cycled to the Northcape and was on my way back. They seemed interested and during the discussion we talked of Ed Hillary and how similar NZ is to Norway.

I went of then to start the washing and drying process and while fluffing my now dry sleeping bag the owners wife came in and said that the weather was going to be once again heavy rain tonight and that I could have their best room for nothing , as their guest !
What a great way to finish off Norway ! So now I'm writing this from an upstairs apartment overlooking the coast. Scandinavian people are very friendly and I think appreciate the outdoors and people who get out and make the most of it.

Just after I had received the key to my home for the night a German couple who I had talked to came over and gave me a bottle of beer. And wished me a good trip around Denmark. They were campervaning around Norway.
My third act of kindness came when I headed off to the local ten pin bowling alley for a big pizza ( because that's the only size they do) and they said they didn't have any boxes to take it away. So i said just throw it in a plastic bag and I'll get it too the campground some how.

They did that but on leaving the owners girlfriend said that she was off shortly and would take it with her in the car. Awesome !! I just had to follow along behind on my bike.
So here I am happy as a sand boy , as my mother used to say. And tomorrow I head down the coast to catch the ferry to the top of Denmark.
Thanks Norway for a trip to remember.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Norway Will Not Let Me Go Without A Drenching.

Since my last blog I have travelled south through the mountains and fjords on the west coast in lovely weather. 

Luckily for me I have seen some of the scenic spots on the west under sunny sky's.  The climbing around Geiranger was spectacular and the passes that followed. However it hasn't been without its problems. Trying t(o get to the Atlantic Coast road I had to negotiate some pretty bad tunnels in fact one of them was closed while I was in it and another was full of roadworks. Very sketchy. I met a Swiss cycle tourist who actually cycled into one that said that cyclists were forbidden and they closed the wIhole tunnel and the police picked him up , told him off and escorted him in their car out. I think my tunnel was closed for some other reason but I did not feel particularly reassured and the tunnel with heaps of roadworks inside and traffic was just plain horrible.

So anyway after making a slightly wrong turn I decided to continue eastwards over one last mountain range towards Oslo. Well, what can I say. I rode straight into shocking weather going over it with sleet and thick pea soup fog combined with strong headwinds. I came down the other side into driving rain ! The mountain just would not descend quickly enough and at an alpine town I had to buy another pair of gloves.

Norwegian mountains are formed by long gone glaciers so they are very rounded and don't drop away quickly. Whereas you can ride over a New Zealand mountain and down the other side quickly you tend to stay up in the cold zone a lot longer in Norway.
Anyway with the mountains done I thought I'd avoid Oslo as it is just another big city that traps cyclists and is hard to negotiate.  I tried with all my might steer the Mercian south of the city but I just couldn't manage it and with the odd error me due to roadworks etc I ended up on a collision course with the city that the locals told me would be inevitable.  Once you get in a certain valley in Norway then you just have to travel down it to its conclusion.  And in my case that was Oslo. 
After a long day in the saddle I had to get through Oslo as it is just too expensive to stop there in accommodation. 
I cycled out south as best as I could all the while being hindered by motorways excessive traffic and a puncture just when I didn't need it.
I managed to find a freedom camp in the back of a church ground, well more a cathedral by the sound of the bells and size of it. Feeling pretty smug I went too bed to be awakened during the night by torrential rain. 

Although this old rail trail may be nice for the locals, once again it proved a pain in the arse  for me. Once on it it lead me way off course and then just stopped without any explanation as to how to once again find the route.

Once again with wettish sleeping bag etc I broke camp and have had such a struggle getting away from Oslo ' s pull that I have only managed to get about 150km down the coast.  Nothing is straight in Norway. Travelling by bike is trying at the best of times when you can cycle  around corners for 100kms and travel only 20km as the bird flys but south of Oslo you also have to stick to the twisty coast because the bloody motorists have all the straight roads solely for their use.
I've booked into a campground tonight and tomorrow so that I can once again wash and dry stuff but I'm dreading what weather will be thrown at the little tent. The forecast is not good for the next 4 days so I may not see another fine day before catching the ferry to Denmark.
Norway is fighting me tell the end, but I will get down the coast and complete the mission in this country.
Hopefully my next blog will be from Denmark,??

Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Norwegian Sun is Shining.

The cloud has cleared and the sun is shining. In fact for two days now there hasn't been a cloud in the sky. But boy do you know it at night. I haven't been cold actually in the tent but upon waking the temperature gauge on the bike parked outside is reading 4C.  And then both mornings I have been on the shady side of fjords so have been singing encouraging songs to myself as I cycle like a frozen Popsicle until the morning sun finally hits me. O what bliss when it does. By 10am the temperature has usually climbed to 10C , my happy temperature because there's no pain anymore. And then by 12 am it's up to 14C when I take off my legwarmers and try to maintain my tan. By 3pm today we were nudging 17C !
Today while having morning tea I saw the first cycle tourist that I thought could maybe be going my speed. And he was heading south like myself. The reason I thought that we might be able to travel together was because he had roadie type kit on and although loaded heavier than me he wasn't carrying the mountain of stuff that the less experienced people always take.

Anyway I finished my breakie thinking I'd probably catch him up the road and then headed out in pursuit. Well 10km up the road was a massive tunnel, with the option of the twisty cycle track alternative.  The tunnel was 9 kms long ! And had no DON'T CYCLE THIS TUNNEL signs on it. The alternative cycle way could have gone anywhere as far as I was concerned. Like cycle ways everywhere they sucker you in and  then just leave you high and dry. They're a bit like women I suppose. You never know how it will turn out. But you keep on trying.
Not this time for me. I had serious kms to do. So into the tunnel I went and onto the next town where I had lunch. And i never saw Mr Roadie tourer again. I think he fell for the old take the cycle way and we'll lead you into the mountains and then dump you.
I cycled on for the rest of the day and I'm now camped next to the prettiest bunch of rapids. I wasn't going to stop here but once I'd taken a few photos I thought why not. I'd had an early dinner and I can make my desired distance tomorrow easily I think because I've been slowly climbing today so tomorrow should be down for a bit. ( Famous last words ).
I even fired up the primus for a coffee and I've got enough Non Stops to get me through the night.

The problem with the dampness in the little tent continues however. I thought if I slipt my lower sleeping bag in a plastic liner that would stop it touching the tent and getting wet. But now what happens is it gets condensation wet ! On these clear cold nights I get condensation in the tent and on wet nights the bag  touches the wet walls of the tent drawing in moisture ! The answer I think is a fly. I have one at home and will modify it so that it covers the little tent and my bike standing beside the tent for the TransAm next year. That should help with condensation and rain.
It's cooling off now. Brrr.  I'll have to get up later for a comfort stop and to check out if there is a Borialis thingy.  ( Northern Lights ).
Now the Norwegian sun isn't shining again. In fact last night cycling into town for dinner after a 200km day once again the heavens opened up and I sat in the restaurant soaked eating dinner thinking, " I can't be stuffed going out after this to try to find a freedom camping spot. I knew there was a camping ground in town so once I'd finished eating I went off to find it and possibly even get another cabin. Luckily for me when I got there the reception was closed so I was forced to put the tent up. And also luckily I had a 10 krone coin for the shower.

I slept well enough and it only rained lightly through the night so I didn't get soaked in the tent. Come morning the reception was still closed so I took the chance and left saving myself 120 krone or $20 NZD.  The day sunnyed up as I rode towards Trondhiem and my feet were almost dry when , you guessed it, the heavens opened up again and I got soaked !
I'd just like my feet to be dry for a day or two ! The thing about Norway is that if it's not raining then the ground and grass are soaking from the dew or yesterday's rain. So unless you wear gum boots everywhere or drive a car to places you will get wet feet. Camping and cycling shoes do not make for dry snugly feet.

I have got to Trondhiem though and I'm taking a day off to go into town tomorrow nd look around.  Because this I feel is another milestone in my trip. I am finally on the bottom half of my map. I'll now stay on this south section until I go home. I also feel that just maybe I'm in more favourable climes. I shouldn't get snowed or iced on from now on, cross fingers.
I'm way ahead of my schedule so will probably head south into Denmark before swinging around and heading up to Stockholm.
I have to say that although the cycling and general logistics of this trip have been easy on my own I really do miss the company of others. I think for achieving personal  goals on the bike such as this trip and the Transam doing it alone is good, but for travelling in general , I think it's best if it's shared.
All washed clean from a day off the bike and ready to go again.