Terii’s Cycling Babble

Animals on a Perfect Morning
June 25, 2009, 12:55 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

I love mornings.  I think because it’s of the greater feeling of peace and the quality of the light that lends to more vivid colours and deeper and more interesting shadows.

I made an attempt to ride yesterday, but it was thwarted.  I had a 30+ mile route plotted.  Then my husband and I decided to bite the bullet and see if the trike would fit in the new company car.  A Volvo SUV sort that is a bit smaller than our last one.  Surprisingly, it fit very well.  In some odd sense, I think it even fit better in this smaller car than in the old one.  The trip was also going to give me a chance to try out some of the new ‘toys’ I picked up.  Monday was a jaunt to Stockholm to look into tents and a few other things I view rather critical to touring.  We didn’t find a tent, but we did get some decent collapsable water containers.  One of them is a simple 2 liter flexible bottle and the other is a 3 liter Platypus bladder with a drinking tube.  Also having learned my lesson from my LAST trip with all the rain and my map book, we picked up a water proof map case.

So, we headed out around 8 am to Stavby Kyrka.  Unloaded all the stuff, got it together and told my husband I’d see him at home.  As he drove off, I took some time to settle the water bottles and take a picture of the church.  Only then did I sit down on the trike, put my feet on the pedals and… stared at my sneakers on my racing pedals that require shoes with a cleat to clip into them.  *sigh*.  I called my husband to come get me before he was even 5 miles down the road.  I have pictures of the church, but it seems silly to post them when I didn’t properly do the route.

Of course, this morning I had something of a time limit for cycling, but I was still determined to go out for a while at least.  I woke up at 5 am and started getting things settle, woke the hubby with a cup of coffee and by 6 am we were out the door to a little place called Tibble about 19 miles away.  It was an absolutely perfect morning.  Cool, and thanks to Sweden’s latitude, even at 6 am (or 5 am for that matter), the sun is up nicely.  Loke was definitely eager.

As we drove up the major road (which I was going to avoid), we got several treats.  The first was passing by an open field of green wheat.  As I looked across it, I spotted the head of two of the deer that are so common in Sweden.  The deer are kind of small and the wheat was high enough that all one could see were their heads.   A few mintues later, in another field along the road were a pair of bull moose.  They were heading for the road, but most of Sweden’s larger roads have a fence specifically to stop moose getting to the roads.  They were trotting along and turned paralell with the road for a couple hundred feet before turning back across the field and making for the trees.  Loke was plastered against the window and whining as he watched them.

Årby Slott

Årby Slott

In the area around Tibble, there was a ‘castle’.  In this case it was a manor house along the same vein as Hammarskog (See Local Places Page).  Not terribly impressive as castles go.  I haven’t been able to find out much about it, only that it seems to have been built around the 1650’s.  It was posted as private, so we stopped along the public road to unload the trike for me to assemble.  As I did so, Loke discovered a cat hiding in the hedge that crowned the low stone wall we were parked next too.  You could hear the poor kitty growling as Loke stared at it, his tail slowly moving side to side.

Rasbokils Church

Rasbokils Church

I let my husband go and I took off (having the proper shoes this time).  Just a mile down the road from the castle was the Årby kyrka.  I haven’t been able to find any background on when this church was built.  I have to admit though, I rather like the churches on this side of Uppsala.  The white painted decoration inset in the pale yellow stucco looking facade.  I did a quick sweep and oddly found no runestones.

It felt like an almost perfect morning.  Loke was thrilled to be running over new ground.  So was I for that matter.  Clear skies and that early morning light I love so much.  I would have been snapping scenic photos like crazy if I hadn’t forgotten the memory card for my camera and been restricted to just 6 photos.  The first turn I took less than a quarter mile from the church turned out to be a dirt road.  It was so hard packed that it was just as good for rolling over as any paved surface.  I loved the way the fields and woods looked as I moved past them and how the sun played on the well groomed hides of the horses we saw.

I must add that I am quite pleased with my new Platypus bladder.  It doesn’t leak at all and was easy to drink from and get water to squirt into Loke’s drinking dish when it was time to let him have a breather/water break.

It was only about 3 miles from the castle to the end of the dirt road.  As we came to paved surfaces again, I decided to put the cloth boots on Loke.  Frustratingly, the skin on his paws doesn’t seem to be toughening up much.  So, I fastened them on.  It’s sort of funny when he’s wearing them.  He clumps along and it sounds almost like some small pony trotting along beside me.

Rasbo Church

Rasbo Church

Crossing the busy road that we had driven on to get to Årby Castle, I paused at Rasbo kyrka just for a quick picture.  It has the same white, very basic inset geometric patterns that Rosbokils kyrka has.  The information I found says the original structure was built in the 1300’s.  As ever, additions like the vapenhuset, tower and other renovations were built over the centuries.

Rasbo kyrka sits at the edge of a little village.  It’s mostly a suburb like collection of modern houses that I passed through with little interest.  Soon though we were pedaling along fields and forest again.  I found one wooded spot that caught my attention.  It was populated by the tall narrow conifers that are so prevailent in Sweden.  They cast the area in a dim shade as they grew up between a collection of ancient boulders cast off from the ice age as the glaciers retreated to form a craggy little hill.  The jagged edges of the stones were softened with a thick, but delicate covering of moss.  Something about those mossy shadowy places draws me.

Around the 9th mile or so, Loke suddenly started limping.  This time, it was his right foot instead of the left.  I noticed that he held his foot up as we stopped.  Checking the foot, I could find no outward signs of injury though I did find that one of his toes seemed tender.  Almost like how our toes would be if we stubbed it.  There really was no way to clearly direct my husband how to find me, so I pulled the boots off in case they are some how causing his limp and eased on, deciding to get to place Jens could find us more easily.  Fortunately, it wasn’t far to Funbo where my husband knew exactly where to find us.

Loke was soon packed off and on his way home in an airconditioned car.  Today was one of those glorious days that can be quite rare in Sweden.  Perfectly clear sky with no trace of cloud.  Quite warm, so I’m sure it was a relief for the furry one to get a ride home rather than jogging along in the heat.  Less than half a mile out of Funbo kyrka, I spotted a deer. It was bounding rapidly across the field to the right of the road.  From the edge of the field, the ground rose so that the road bed was about 6 to 8 feet above the wheat.  A thick tangle of weeds and wildflowers ran riot up the side and into that, the deer disappeared.  As I cycled on, I waited for it to either bolt across the road or double back over the field.  It did neither.  I actually got up from the trike and walked back and forth along the edge of the road where it had seemed to vanish.  No trace.  Amazing how such a bright orange-ish brown creature, larger than Loke could vanish into a waist high tangle of dark green with no sign.

My Eyes! My Eyes!

My Eyes! My Eyes!

I know I’ve mentioned the manor house painted in vivid orange and yellow in one of my previous blogs, but was unable to get a photo of it the first time I went by because my camera was in Detroit, Michigan.  The last time I went by was heading out toward Funbo and the hill is so steep, it’s quite difficult to stop at a good position to click it.  Much better to just let the trike go ripping down the hill at almost 25 MPH.  This time since I was coming back from Funbo and creeping up the hill, it was no problem at all to just stop, dig in the bag for the camera and ‘click’.  This picture doesn’t really do the house justice.  Aside from the vivid, almost blinding hues of it’s exterior, I find it quite stunning.  There is a pair of smaller houses flanking the drive (hidden by the trees) and over to the right a proper Swedish style (red) barn and farm outbuildings.  Across the street and down a slop just around the curve from the drive of the house, is another small building.  Something like a stone garden hut painted in the same orange and yellow.

Before I got home, there was yet another deer.  This one was standing boldly on the side of the road as I zipped along.  It simply stared at me until I was perhaps 10 or 15 yards away before leaping off across the road and over the wheat field on the other side.  It even stopped a few times to look back.

I got home just in time for lunch, so plenty of time before we head to Stockholm for dinner.


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