A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor - Unknown
A (very) old lady and I put both our transportation in the bicycle compartment of the train. I estimated her age at at least 90. She wears a zip off trouser, sports shoes and a windbreaker. Her English is superb. "We need to be careful we don't switch them as we get off...". She has a point. I'll be careful.
I took the train on friday from Östersund to Sundsvall. One of the few rail segments in Sweden that accommodates bicycles on the train. At no charge as well. From Sundsvall to Selånger was seven kilometres by bicycle where the car stood. Actually I wanted to cycle back as I normally do, but I was pressed for time and my daily stretches were shorter than expected and the car was only supposed to stand there in Selånger for a week, so I had to be back in time.
The part I cycled is not only very pretty, but also quite adventurous. Parts through the grass, uneven frorest tracks, narrow gravel paths, pasrts over the highway... All very good to do. Especially since these parts are short. The rest goes over easy cyclable roads. this route different from the other two routes I worked on before (Oslo-Trondheim and Oslo-Selånger). The route I'm cycling now, a pilgrims route for hikers, is completely adjusted for cyclists, and even signposted for cyclists. Just have a look on the site of St. Olavsleden.
But because of the adventurous nature of the route Iit took more time than expected. Sometimes I search for alternatives and then I find out why they chose these difficult parts: there was no alternative. But then again, you're a cycling pilgrim, right? If you're in a hurry, there are plenty of ways to spend your holiday.
Coming back on the previous newsletter: I got feedback from various directions over mail, and Facebook, that lupine also grows in Denmark. Sorry. How could I forget my beloved Denmark. So... also Denmark is full of weeds.
And Tommy... The Cyclist who cycled the St. Olavsleden every year since 2014, or parts of it. I wrote I wanted to meet him and yesterday the day finally came. We discussed the route extensively with the maps on the table. We also went through the hard parts of the route. There are parts the are not only adventurous but also very challanging to say the least. So there is a steep stairway and a rail road you need to go over. You do that by lifting your bicycle over the tracks. On the other hand, you can avoid it via a detour. Same for the stairway...
I'm still in my in my element here. I enjoy the encounters on the way. For instance, In the middle of no where and totally unexpected, I met Marica Hamberg, one of the employees of the St. Olavsleden. I had contact with her since 2020 about the bicycle route and now I encounter her on the way by sheer coincidence. I already wanted to meet her, but she was on vacation in the time I was in the neighbourhood. Doesn't this sound familiar? The same happend with Tone Stræte, one of the employees of the Norwegian St. Olavsleden. Also somewhere random. I send a message to Tone saying: "it happened again..." to which she reacted with "What?? Again?!". Well, such special encounters do happen when you're pilgrimaging.
I had a lunch in Östersund with Putte Eby, the project manager of St. Olavsleden. He already offered to leave my car at his place and to stay for a night, but it just so happened that his wife got ill. "I found another accommodation for you: the ice hockey hall in the village". Well, that's one place to sleep in I hadn't had yet and I seemed great to me. At the entrance there was a sign warning for falling snow and icicles. I'll be careful. And now I'm typing this newsletter in this place. In the eatery, with a view on the huge ice hockey court, through windows where one had an impressive number of cracks in it. But the chance of getting a puck through the windows while I'm sleeping here is extremely small. In the summer the hall is used for different purposes and this weekend there was nothing planned. I have a sleeping hall all to my self and I can even use the gym with the equipment I recently got familiar with. Today I have a non-cycling day as in an administration day. Work for one's own company never stops.
And that wheeled walker? Well, after we got off the train and the old lady took another good look at my bicycle, fully packed, we concluded we still had each our own vehicle. No way we swapped our vehicles. And by the way, she was 92...