30 Jun 2010

That’s the way I do it!

In purpose to crown the end of my study I have organized the bicycle tour throughout Norway. My goal was to see Kjeragbolten, which a big rock that has fallen into a crack in the mountain and there it has been wedged into the crack. Kjeragbolten is located near Stavanger, but I was in Oslo, so I wanted to make my tour more exciting and that’s why I decided to arrange a bicycle tour. I invited my friend Lukasz who is as adventurous as I am and together we climbed Rysy (2 499 m above sea level, the highest Polish peak) last year. Wikipedia says that bicycle touring is a form of cycling where rider travel long distances and he prioritizes pleasure and endurance over utility or speed. That’s what I expected from my tour – pleasure and endurance. 

However, we had a limit of time and resource such as food and money, so my tour became a real project to deal with and I was promoted to project manager. We have chosen the cheapest form of bicycle touring – self-supporting touring i.e. apart from two bicycles carrying everything we need including:

-       two bike bags 35l.
-       bicycle tools in case of emergency such as hex keys, pump, cone wrench, peanut butter wrench, spare tubes etc.
-       clothing such as cycling shirts, helmet, shorts, jacket, sunglasses etc.
-       lightweight tent and sleeping bags
-       food such as Kaviar, brunost, crispy bread, pate, pølse, chocolate, energetic bars and vitamins  etc.
-       accessories such as map, camera, credit cards, insurance policy, lighter etc.

Bicycle touring has almost 150 years history and it’s started in 1869 when John Mayall with Charles Spencer and Rowley Turner rode on their velocipedes from Trafalgar Square, London to Brighton in 15 hours for 85,30 km. Since that tour many daredevils was setting off from places around the world enhancing the potential distance of the bicycle tour. John Foster Fraser, Edward Lunn and F.H. Lowe were the first who set off round the world on safety bicycles in July 1896. They rode 30 958,95 km through 17 countries in two years and two months. An interesting is story of Jaques Sirat who felt very proud riding round the world for five years – until the met an Australian who had been on the road for 27 years. Nowadays bicycle touring can be of any distance and time. One famous German Heinz Stücke who left his job as a die-maker in North Rhine-Westphalia in 1962 when he was 22. He has never been home since. By 2006 he had cycled more than 539 000 km and visited 192 countries. He pays his way by selling photographs to magazines.

My and my friend’s bicycle tour started in my Studenthouse’s cellar Oslo on 19 June 2010 at around 7 am. First we had prepare our bicycles for a long journey i.e. install two bike bags and fulfill them with all the heavy staff necessary to survive. We set off around 11 am and since that we continuously cycling for next 10 days with several stops for nature and landscapes contemplating. Each day was different not only because of places we saw and slopes we dealt with but also because of food we ate, kilometers we made and weather conditions we experienced. Places are displayed on the map, the most beautiful in my opinion was fjord near Larvik. 
The coast on this fjord was covered by huge rocks and the water transparently clean and terribly cold. We were experiencing for our bivouacs such places usually close to water (fjords, lakes, rivers and sea) due to beautiful views and hygienic reasons. Twice we rent a place on the camping, because of heavy rain that wet us to the skin and deprived us from hot meal and tea. We were diversifying everyday food, but breakfasts usually were similar – crispy bread with Kaviar, brunost or paté. We always were waiting for dinner under pressure and we always ate it in the evening after setting up a bivouac. We took a disposable grill or light a bonfire and cooked a salmon, chicken or other meat. 
The weather conditions are difficult in Norway. During nights it was cold and during the sunny day it was rather hot, but the worst was heavy rain that we met in the mountains. More obstacles with had to cope with include bloodthirsty midges, fatigue, muscle & ass pain, sunburn on the hands, knees and ears, thirst & hunger and high exposure of the roads.

I’m not going to describe my tour in details, just have a glimpse at the movie I made.

To sum up, we rode 750 km and enjoyed Kjeragbolten. The average speed was 22 km/h, hence the maximum was around 72 km/h and the average distance per day we made was 83 km. This bicycle tour as my previous  experiences just  strengthened my desire for more spectacular adventures. 

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