Terii’s Cycling Babble

Simmer Until Well Done
June 28, 2009, 5:55 am
Filed under: Day Rides
Flower Covered Hill

Flower Covered Hill

The title of this post pretty much sums up how about 3 or 4 hours of the day felt.

I had initially decided that yesterday’s trip (June 27, 09) was going to be the thwarted trip from Stavby Kyrka.  The one where I’d left my cycle shoes at home.  As I considered it more, it seemed like such a paltry trip.  Barely over 30 miles and I knew I was better than that.  So, I picked another town a little further up and checked that I could stick along country roads on the way and settled on Alunda as my starting point.  Even though my husband woke up early (all on his own no less), we got a bit of a late start.

As ever, I was going to start the trip at a church.  They’re convenient places to start as I’ve said.  Easy to find.  Public and generally with a nice quiet parking lot or grassy sward to set the trike up.  Much more pleasant than say, the parking lot of a grocery store or the like.

Alunda Kyrka

Alunda Kyrka

Alunda Kyrka’s original parts were built sometime in the 1200’s.   In the 1400’s other parts were added and in 1465, the church was decorated by Johannas Iwan from Wendel.  In 1542 and 1715, the church suffered fires.  From 1780 to 1787, work was done on the church for renovations and to repair the fire damage.  The result was the church much as it looks today in a neoclassical style with the tall arched windows.  The church burned yet again in 1859.

I do believe that is one of the more extensive histories I’ve managed to find on my ‘collection’ of churches so far.

With the trike set up, I still ended up torturing my husband a bit.  Making him wait as I ran around to get the pictures of the two runestones I’d spotted on the way into the church parking lot.  To be fair, I did tell him that he could go and I’d walked Loke there and back since the runestones sat in the middle of a large patch of grass so I couldn’t take the trike.  He decided to stay and keep an eye on it.

Uppland's Runestone #1127

Uppland’s Runestone #1127

Just outside the church wall in the middle of a large grassy area shaded by large old trees, I’d discovered two runestones.  The grass carpeting the little hummock supporting the stones wasn’t clipped.

The information plates with these pair of stones offered me a bit of confusion.  One appeared to be specific to this stone in the photo with the translation of the runes reading,  “Fasto and Joyer allowed to be raised this stone after their brother Trond.”   The other plate had the same translation, but seemed to be referring to the left hand stone which was the more faded and weathered of the pair.  The stones were engraved in the 1000’s AD and was in some part of the church for a while.  In the 1700’s one or both were moved to serve as a threshold stone in the western church door until the 1800’s when it/they were moved to the current location.  This being the more interesting looking of the two stones, I’ll leave the other photo out.

A building I liked

A building I liked

Across the parking lot from the church, was another building that is part of the church property.  Its purpose?  No clue.  I simply liked the style of it and so, clicked away.  Obviously it was either built or renovated in 1806.

I finally let my husband go, got settled in the trike and pedalled off.  When I’d plotted the route from Alunda, I had to do a certain amount of guess work about exactly where the church was and to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure when I moved out.  According to my map book, the way I needed to go was right across from the church and another road led more into the village of Alunda proper.  So, I took the only road that obviously wasn’t into Alunda proper and would keep me away from the very busy 288.

06-27 Scenic 1

Loved the Contrasts

It was wonderfully cool as we moved out.  Unfortunately for Loke, the first quarter mile or so was up a fair steep hill.  That put a crunch in his usually wild race over that first mile or two.   I have to give him credit for trying though.  He strained hard against his harness and gasping as he strained for more speed than my typical ‘hill-crawl’.

After that first annoying climb, we settled into a good pace as the road snaked onward in a stretch that was either gentle down slopes or flat stretches between houses, fields and woods.  Loke got to stretch his legs in a tongue flopping run common to his breed when they’re doing what they were bred for and love so much.  The skies were clear and there was that golden orange tinge that I love so much to the morning light.  And of course, there was the additional bonus that all of it was new ground we were covering.  New fields, streams, horses, and buildings.

Along The Road

Along The Road

I’ll be honest and say that at first I was only paying attention to the land around me.   The cool feeling of the air, the play of light through the trees when we rode past wooded spots, or interesting buildings we passed.   Perhaps on some subconscious level, I noticed something wrong and finally it shouldered its way between all the enjoyment of the morning I was having.  My planned route had me on a road going due west for the first few miles and yet, the sun was to my right hand.  I actually blurted out loud, “I’m going north!”

I pulled over and dug out my map book in its snug little waterproof case.  I found one road going north leading away from Alunda.  It had to be the road I was on, but I wasn’t entirely certain since the one named place I’d cycled through since leaving Alunda wasn’t on the map.   I tried to remember any other roads leading away from the church that didn’t go right into Alunda or back on the 288 and had no memory visual of any.  I put the map away and decided to cycle a bit further to double check if I was on that northern road.

Hay Field In Morning

Hay Field In Morning

Finally, I came to a bridge and another little named place.  Both of which did show on the map.  At least the map showed the road crossing a stream at Väsby.  So, the question became, “Cycle back uphill to Alunda and try to find the correct road with no mapped details of the area, or…?”.  My map did show there was a road that went due west at Väsby just a few yards over the bridge which could lead me to another road that would go directly south to a point on my planned route.  Perfect!

After half a mile, there I found no turn off.  There was a rather large hill in front of me and not much else in the way of western turns between where I was and another 5 miles.  I really didn’t want to cycle back to Alunda and go in loops to find a road I couldn’t clearly place its beginning on a map.  Naturally that led to an aggravated determination of “FIX THE PRINTER!!”  Still, even if my husband called that moment and told me the printer was working, it wasn’t going to do me much good.  Looking at the map again and seeing the road I wanted just off the bridge, the only thing that popped into my mind was a small farmhouse and barn with a driveway between shaded by trees.  I turned around and with my usual feeling of ‘I shouldn’t be here’ when I stray off public land, I went down the ‘driveway’.

Just beyond the farmhouse and barn, it opened up and obviously became a gravel road.  There were fields everywhere as I cycled along and a few more farmhouses.  Tractors were chugging along as farmers were working with the hay.  The ground was well packed with the consistent traffic of cars and tractors so going wasn’t too bad.  Also, I was going due west.  I wasn’t entirely confident that it was the road on the map though.  It seemed so small and unpaved.  A tiny thing to be shown on my 1:250,000 scale map that has been known to not show paved roads significantly larger than the gravel path I was bumping down.

After a mile or so, the fields gave way to tangled second growth wood.  The bugs swooped in.  I was quite happy I’d packed my bug repellent.  Loke was still enjoying the morning.   Moving at a lazy jog, he was panting softly as his ears flicked around and he scanned the countryside for critters.  Once we’d moved into the wooded area, going got quite a bit harder on me though it was all the same to Loke.  It was clear that there was little to no traffic on even a semi-regular basis on that section of the road.  The gravel was loose and I slowed way down for more effort.  I started to wonder if the road was going to simply stop at an old logging point or the like.  My stubborn streak was engaged though.  I decided ‘Dead end or road I’m looking for, I’ll find out the hard way’.  Mostly, I just didn’t want to cycle back to Alunda.

A Beautiful Day

A Beautiful Day

After vibrating my teeth loose for almost another two miles, I came across a field and spotted a house in the distance.  A quarter mile further on, the gravel surface packed down and going was magically easier.  The change gave me a sense of relief, not just for the pity it took on my legs, but also it told me that the people in the house had another way out of the area.  Obviously, they weren’t driving over the road I’d rattled down.  10 minutes later, I turned onto a paved surface headed south. Success!

Back on pavement, I dug out the booties and stuck them on Loke.  He’d run around 2 miles on paved out of Alunda and then almost 4 miles on the gravel road.  It was time.  It didn’t seem to phase him much.  He clipped along rapidly as I pedalled down the paved road and even pulled me into loping speed for a half mile or so.  A bit down the road and I found the turn from the way out of Alunda.  I was back on track.

All Eyes Upon Us

All Eyes Upon Us

The day was heating up fast, but it hadn’t become unpleasant yet.  A bit down the road and it was another of those ‘Cow Incidents’.  Loke as ever was fascinated by these huge animals that were laying in the sun and contentedly chewing their cuds against the fenceline so close to the road.  As we came up, we had their attention.  You can’t see it, but there were about another 10 cows to the left of the frame.

I stopped so Loke could get a good look and a bit of sniff of their airborne scent.  Their attention was tightly focused on us.  It was almost eerie, like some of the scenes from Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’.  After a couple minutes, I pedaled on.  The cows moved with us.  I couldn’t help it.  I started laughing.  Loke was a bit worried as they lumbered along the fenceline behind us.  I actually wished for a video camera at the moment.  It was just too funny.  A woman on a recumbent trike with a husky tethered to it being followed by 20 or so cows.


Stavby Kyrka

Stavby Kyrka

The heat was cranking up fast as I came close to Stavby.  I didn’t go to the church though as it would have been a bit out of my way.  Seems unfair to completely leave it out of my blogs.  It’s not its fault that I forgot my cycle shoes that day.  The oldest parts of Stavby kyrka (as with most of the country churches) are the långhuset (longhouse which is the main body of the church) and the ‘sakristen’ which is the chamber off the main worship area where the priest would dress and ready himself for preaching.  These parts were built sometime between 1250 and 1350.  The vapenhus was added sometime during the end of the middle ages.

It finally started getting unpleasant heat wise for Loke as I took the right angle loop around Stavby.  At one point, Loke was panting so heavily and we had been cycling in the full glare of the sun for 5 miles as there were nothing but fields around that  I was starting to worry.  Without a clear landmark to give my husband for the GPS, it would have taken forever for him to find us.  Giving Loke water and 5 minute breathers didn’t seem to be doing much for him without shade.  I used some of the water to wet down Loke’s head and legs, making sure that I soaked his ears to help dissipate the most heat.  Stuck for it, I pressed on.

Hot Doggie

Hot Doggie

Finally, near a little sport field, I found some shade.  There was a nice tree near a bit of pasture.  There was a grassy sort of drive leading up to some kind of storage building so I could easily get the trike well off the road.  I tethered Loke with a longer cable and took off this headcollar so he could move about more easily and lay down comfortably.  I soaked him down again and made sure he had as much water as he wanted.  We relaxed there for almost half an hour as I waited for his panting to ease and I ate some of my cherries.  I also looked at my map and decided I’d have my husband come pick Loke up at Rasbokil Church just a couple miles further.  Rasbokil church I mistakenly called Årby Church in my last entry.  The church with the scaffolding over it.

Loke was actually the one who decided when it was time for us to go on.  He got up and started pacing.  The short distance to Rasbokil kyrka wasn’t as bad as the stretch before our long break.  There were patches of wood along sections of it that threw some shadows across the road here and there.  Still, it felt good to get to Rasbokil and let Loke wallow in the grass as I called Jens to come get him.  The church, since we been so close to it before, I knew he could easily find.  For myself, I was determined to get home under my own power.  Even as hot as he was, Loke watched me forlornly through the rear window of the car as Jens drove off.

The rest of the trip was simply me covering the same ground I’d covered on my last trip.  Heading down a well packed dirt road to cross the 288 next to Rasbo kyrka.  I took a bit of a break there myself.  About 100 yards down the 288 there was a small pizza and kebab place.  I was feeling more than a little warm, so I stopped in and bought an ice cream sandwich to enjoy in the shade of an table umbrella.

Another Side of Rasbo Kyrka

Another Side of Rasbo Kyrka

Across from the little restaurant (to use the term loosely) was a crosswalk leading to a short cycle path that took me past another side of Rasbo kyrka.  It gave a nice view of more detailed geometric patterns than I’d seen on the other side from my first trip.

After another hour or so, things actually started to become unpleasant.  The scenery was still nice, but even with me gulping water from my drinking tube, the heat was starting to get to me.  It wasn’t so bad when I was going along in the shade, or zipping along at 11 to 13 mph on the flats or flying at 18 to 23 mph down the hills.  It was crawling up those hills at 3 mph in the full glare of the sun that was brutal and there seemed to be so many hills to climb.  If I came upon a shady patch in the middle of climb, I had to stop.  It was all the sun.  Just sitting in it with almost no wind was almost like opening the oven and sitting in front of it.  There was also this huge sense of aggravation with the feeling.  After all, I used to cycle in the full heat of August in southern Mississippi.  Swedish summers are nothing compared to that and yet, there I was suffering and feeling sick from it.

I toyed with the idea of having Jens come get me a few times.  Stubbornness would win out.  I wouldn’t want to sit in the sun on the side of a hill waiting for him.  After a minute or two in the shade or getting the breeze from faster movement, it didn’t seem so bad.  With that sort of off and on method, I chewed slowly through the miles home.

Swedish Hare

Swedish Hare

As I came into a shady bike path area (blessed shade!), I had my last neat moment of the trip.  I’d stopped as soon as I hit the shade and gulped yet more water from my Platypus bladder and spotted something moving in the growth a bit to the right of the path.  It was a hare.  I think it sensed me watching, because it abruptly froze.  Even more amazing (and convenient), it stayed there, perfectly still as I dug my camera out of the bag, powered it up and CLICK.

The last mile and a half weren’t so bad.  A fair chunk of it was along the extremely shady cycle path and the rest, I was moving quick enough (and no hills) to keep me from feeling like I was being broiled.  It felt so good to stagger into the apartment and collapse though.  My legs felt like jelly and I was wiped.  But I did it.  My longest trip of the year at roughly 40 miles.


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