Terii’s Cycling Babble


Oops! I Broke…. Myself.
September 28, 2009, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

Yep, I think I over did it.  Just on a measly 14 mile loop too.

I woke up one morning last week and my left knee was just killing me.  It had been fine the day before.  I hadn’t ridden my trike the day before.  There was absolutely no reason for it to be so incredibly painful.  So, I spent days coddling myself, taking anti-inflammatory meds, keeping heating pad on it since it seems to hurt less when it’s hot.

And it’s been driving me crazy not being able to trike.  Sometimes, it honestly seems that I have an addiction to cycling.  I get cranky, feel like I’m going to climb the walls, don’t sleep well, don’t feel right.  Well, my knee felt a bit better this morning and it was a gloriously clear day out.  I’ve been itching to get out into the country side to see if the leaves have been changing more outside Uppsala.  Just after lunch, I scrambled around and got everything outside determined to do at least an extended river loop.

A Bit of Color

A Bit of Color

Loke was half wild just while I was trying to get dressed and get the trike out.  He was thrilled to death to be out and moving again.  As addicted as I feel to cycling, Loke is more so.  He turns into a bit of a butt when he doesn’t get his fix.

It was a bit on the cool side with a bit of a breeze, but I didn’t really feel the need for any extra layers.  It’s rather odd, but I can be perfectly comfortable running around in shorts and light weight shirts while Swedish natives and wearing double layers, a coat, hat and gloves… and I’M the southern girl!

My knee didn’t feel too bad as I got out and moving.  It didn’t feel exactly right, but at least there was no pain.  It was a beautiful day.  It felt good to be out and Loke was happy.  I spontaneously decided to do my 14 mile Ulva/Gamla Uppsala loop.

There is no question that autumn is officially here.  There’s that little nip in the air.  You pass by orchards and there’s that sharp scent of fermenting apples that have fallen among the leaves and grass under the trees.  Birds are gone or gathering up in huge flocks to make the trip for milder climes.  The leaves are either changing or falling like mad.  I think this is going to be another disappointing autumn color wise.  It’s more like some leaves go sort of yellowish before straight to brown as they fall while others don’t bother to change at all.  They just drop right off the tree while still green.  *sigh*

Hint of Color!

Hint of Color!

I guess though, it does make you appreciate the little splashes of color you do find.  The breeze coming across the fields felt nice and Loke loped along with that silly, tongue flopping Husky grin with the occasional ‘Whee! This is fun!’ glance at me.

Best Patch of Color Yet!

Best Patch of Color Yet!

After about 7 miles, my knee started to fuss at me.  Silly me, I didn’t think to bring any pain meds either.  There was really no use in turning back since it was the half way point with about the same (or worse) hill difficulties if I turned back.  So, I just rode on.

One nice thing about the Ulva/Gamla Uppsala loop is that there’s a fair stretch of about three miles that is on a very subtle downhill slope.  I can rip along at 17 mph under my own power for the distance, hitting 21 fairly easily on the more obvious down slopes.  Granted, that’s when I ride it without Loke, but he still picks up speed to about 9 or 10 mph for the stretch.  I think it’s because he wants to go see the pony who whinnies at him and then runs along the fence line with us.

Uppsala From A Distance

Uppsala From A Distance

Ulva Mill is about a mile and a half past that farm with the pony.  It was actually a clear enough day and free of haze that as I came up to the mill, passing the strawberry fields near it, I realized it was a good chance to take a shot of Uppsala’s castle and church from a distance.

After about mile 10, I was really feeling it in my knee, but it still felt good to get out and move.  Get my fix as it were and also a nice idea that maybe Jens and I can have a bit of peace from Loke since he has also gotten his cycle fix.  He’s flat on the floor right now and every now and again, he gives this deep groaning sigh.  Hopefully he won’t be back up to high energy in two hours.  That just would be my luck.

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Sverigeleden Part… I Forget!
September 14, 2009, 7:56 am
Filed under: Day Rides

 

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com
 

 

 

Actually, I think this is stage three of my trip on the Sverigeleden.  With my recent trike problems completely wrecking my confidence in my machine, I’d been sticking pretty close to home.  Simply using the trike to get home from various appointments (rides through Uppsala) or quick 3 to 5 mile river loop jaunts.

I felt pretty secure about the trike on Thursday and even debated on going for my Sverigeleden ride on Friday, which would have been a perfect day weather wise.  I decided instead to wait until Saturday since we didn’t have anything planned and my husband would be home in the event that Loke tired out after an hour or something went wrong.

Hagby Church

Hagby Church

I wasn’t planning too long a ride as Loke and I are building back up our stamina after the long hiatus.  So, I only took a few nuts and plenty of water.  It was around 11 am when my husband dropped me off at Hagby Kyrka.  Minutes after we pulled into the parking lot to let me unload and assemble the trike, it got quite busy.  But Loke and I started out smoothly enough, finding a break in the stream of cars coming in to park.  Loke did his usual ‘wild mile’, obviously quite happy to be out of the grind of the river loop.  It intensified when after about 100 meters or so, when Jens passed us and Loke really went nuts.  He was charging along flat out, ears back and stretching his stride as long as it would go as he tried to catch the car.

Autumn Hay Field

Autumn Hay Field

It was actually fairly clear as we started out and though it was around 11 am, it was still pleasantly cool.  Loke set a good pace for the first hour.  One of his best for the year, I think in all honesty.  He had that tongue lolling, happy husky grin as he loped and jogged along.

For me, this section of the route was nothing new.  It’s not exactly old ground in terms of my riding it since I’d only been over it twice before.  But the pleasant weather and the subtle shift of the seasons gave it a new glow and I was happy to be out and moving, doing my favourite activity.  The day was definitely one of those that has that distinctly autumn feel which I love.  Autumn and spring are my two favourite seasons I think.  Now that I live somewhere that actually HAS seasons.

After a few miles, I came to the 55 Highway that heads out from Uppsala to Enköping.  It was a bit of wait to get a break in traffic for Loke and to cross safely.  This section of the road I was very familar with as my husband and I often go to Wiks slot to walk with Loke along the very nice foot path that goes through its grounds.  Just down a bit of a slope and across a tiny bridge crossing something that resembles a ditch.

Uppland's Runestone #859

Uppland’s Runestone #859

I pulled off the road as much as I could for my first runestone of the day.  Even though we had only covered around 5 miles, Loke was thrilled with the sight of the tall weeds on the side of the road and down into the shallow (and thankfully dry) ditch.  He immediately flung himself down for a good wallow, legs flailing everywhich way as he thrashed happily around.  Maybe I should get hold of a video camera so I can share one of Loke’s happy thrashing frenzies.  Then I could share the giggles as he looks completely silly and undignified when he does it.

This runestone was carved in the early part of the 1000’s AD and stood on the head road that came out of Uppsala.  The ones who commissioned this stone also built a bridge in memory of the one the stone was carved for.   The runemaster who carved this one was even brass enough to mention himself in the actual runes rather than signing it off to the side somewhere.  At least, that’s the impression I have.  I can’t remember any other stones I’ve found where “So-n-So carved the runes” is mentioned in the actual rune translation of the little signs.  If you click the thumbnail, I typed out the translations.

The sun was still shining at this point, though the thin haze of clouds that had been lingering on the edge of the horizon was closing in.  In spite of the cool nip in the air that I was feeling, Loke seemed to be heating up rather quickly.  He still kept a good pace, though it looked like his tongue was bouncing down around his feet somewhere.

My Favourite Runestone! Upplands #855

My Favourite Runestone! Upplands #855

Just a short distance on we came to the runestone that is my favourite of all the ones I’ve discovered to date.  It’s one of the few stones I’ve found that actually shows a very specific scene.  Most of the time, the central carvings are knotwork with crosses (like the first stone in this post).  Occasionally, you’ll see some stylized represention of some kind of animal fitted into the knotwork that reminds me a bit of how the Celts combined knots with animals.

As you can see this stone has suffered some abuse.  It was broken at some time in the past and has been glued back together with cement.  We drove by this stone for years, but I’d never stopped to look at it as we wizzed by on our way to Wiks Castle.  It was only the first time that I cycled to Wiks that I stopped to collect it with my camera and it instantly became my favourite runestone, standing over 8 feet tall with its wonderful carving.  No mention of who carved it though like many runestones it dates from around 1000 AD.  Translations and other interesting info if you click the picture.

Autumn Fields In The Sun

Autumn Fields In The Sun

This section of the Sverigeleden was fairly open, surrounded mostly by hay and wheat fields.  Definitely the season of harvesting, it seemed like more tractors were passing me than cars.  Pedaling along, there were a lot of harvesters in the fields as well, sending up big plumes of dust across the open spaces.

So Close, Yet So Far

So Close, Yet So Far

Between my favourite runestone and Balingsta Kyrka, there are a number of stones set up that have no information.  Or, one that has information, but since it sits in someone’s yard behind a low hedge, I couldn’t get a decent picture of the information to tell me which stone it is or what it says.  It has the usual knotwork and cross with a few crude animal figures thrown in.

Just past this stone was Balingsta Kyrka.  Well, if this doesn’t prove how much I work on my blog on the fly, I just aggravated myself looking up the information for Balingsta Kyrka.  About 100 meters (give or take 20) from the turn off to the church, there’s a little car track lined by stately rows of old trees.  At the head of the track, there’s a weathered wooden sign that reads “Tegel Kyrkan” which translates to “The Brick Church.”  I’ve always been curious about it, but the track just looked so much like someone’s long driveway and the impression was reinforced by what looks like a flag pole in the distance.  Unwilling to end up in someone’s yard, I’ve never been brave enough to take the turn to go see what lays at the end.  According to what I just found, there are the ruins of one of the Balingsta churches there.

The New Balingsta Kyrka??

The New Balingsta Kyrka??

There are apparently two churches.  One is down the car track with little more remaining than a faint outline of its foundations.  The other one is the this one in the photo.  The Swedish Wikipidea mentions that construction was begun during the Romanesque period and the oldest parts date back to the 1100’s.  It also mentions abandoning to build a new one, decisions to restore the old medieval one… Needless to say, I’m completely baffled.  Is the current full church the old one restored with the brick church the ‘new one’ that was abandoned in favour of restoring this one!?  Granted, I’m sure that my difficulty with Swedish translation (syntax) does not help to clear up my bafflement.  One bit of information that I did work out is that the tower of the current church (be it the old or the new), is done in the style of a lantern with a hood.

Broken and Missing Runestone

Broken and Missing Runestone

A mile or so just past Balingsta Kyrka (both of them), I turned off the Sverigeleden for a few miles.  The road to Wiks is quite narrow.  In general, it’s barely wide enough that two cars can pass each other only if they each nudge a tire off the edge of the pavement.  It’s lined with a mix of young and old trees as they seem to replant new ones when the old ones die.  There are at least two runestones along the shady, uneven road though I could have sworn there were three.  They are rather pitiful things as far as runestones go.  They have no signs to tell their stories and time has not treated them kindly, leaving them broken in pieces.  Even if they have been repaired, there are still chunks missing, filled in with cement to hold the remenants together.

Wiks Slott & Trike

Wiks Slott & Trike

At the end of this road with its trees and runestones, flanked by fields and pastures, lays Wiks Castle and its environs.  The castle in its original form was built in the 1400’s and was intended for defense.  At some point in the 1600’s, it was fully renovated in French style.

Scenic Lake At Wiks

Scenic Lake At Wiks

The castle sits on a large crag of rock at what seems to be the highest point in the area along the shores of a lake.  There’s a folkskol on the grounds as well.  My favourite part is the wooded foot path that winds around in a large loop, following along the lake for a bit before cutting through old green trees and pastures.

I debated trying to ride the path on my trike, but there are a few steeper sections of loose sand and gravel that I wasn’t sure my trike could climb since I have road slicks on the wheels.  I settled for going down part of the path to the boat ramp.  There’s a bit of lawn around it, well shaded by old trees.  It was a good place to park the trike and let Loke play in the water at the ramp.  I settled down and nibbled some of my nuts as I watched someone try to get an RC sea plane model to fly.  He finally managed it, though for only 10 or 15 yards before it bounced back down and stalled.  He then had to take a little row boat out to reclaim it.

Wiks Other Broken Stone

Wiks Other Broken Stone

Once Loke was done with the lake, had quit panting and came back up to stand near the trike and wag his tail, we moved on.  With no way to make a loop, it was another trip back down the narrow, tree-lined road, past the broken old stones.

There was also a bit of a harrowing moment as a huge semi-truck decided to come up the road in the opposite direction I was going.  I pulled off as much as I could, sitting at an uncomfortable angle, half in the ditch with Loke standing in the bottom of said ditch.  Even so, the tires crept past me less than a foot away from my front wheel.  Ah, the joy of those narrow country roads.  I think I would have prefered a bus over that semi.

The short rest at the lake shore seemed to revive Loke and he ripped me along at around 15 mph for the first mile back down the Wiks road.  Though I did feel as rested as he obviously did, I still pedaled so that he wasn’t dragging me along.  We zipped along the two or so miles back to where we had turned off the Sverigeleden to continue on our way.

Unknown Boulder Runestone

Unknown Boulder Runestone

There were was a sign for the next turn on the Sverigeleden, though I didn’t need since I’d covered this ground twice before.  I stopped  next to the turn though to walk a bit down the road I didn’t need to get a picture of another runestone.

This stone was fairly unusual in that it was what I’ve come to call a ‘boulder’ runestone.  Generally, the runes are carved on stones that have been chiseled into thin slabs (a foot or less thick).  I’ve seen about three that are done more like this one.  It’s on a large boulder about the size of an old VW Bug.  One face has been chiseled flat to carve the rune one.  One runestone of this sort that I found when my father was visiting was carved on the side of a huge slab of stone that vanished back under the landscape with no way to know how big it was, though the carving itself was only some 4 foot by 3 feet in size.  Sort of lost the picture of that one.

Västeråkers Kyrka

Västeråkers Kyrka

I made the turn and continued.  Loke was still running quite well.  I think the fact his legs were still wet from wading around in the lake helped keep his temperature down a bit as well as the sun vanishing behind a thicker curtain of cloud that had moved in as we left Wiks.  About a mile down the turn, I discovered Västeråkers Kyrka.

It’s your traditional looking country church dating from the 1300’s.  I think I found more information on this church than most of the others that I’ve taken pictures of.  There are documents that talk of an earlier church in the area (early 1300’s).   There’s a stone slab in this one that actually lists when this church was built (1331) and who had it built (Mrs. Ramborg of Wiks).  It is apparently the only medieval church that has such information within itself.  More info if you click on the picture.

Also while doing my research I discovered that there’s a particular family burial plot here (von Essen) and that one of the men buried here actaully played a significant role in Swedish history in the latter part of the 1700’s and early 1800’s.  Given that he was born further south, and the significant nature of his accomplishments as a Swedish officer and Statesman, I’m surprised he was buried in such a remote and obscure location.

Upplands Runestone #846

Upplands Runestone #846

Upplands Runestone #847

Upplands Runestone #847

Flanking either side of the gate into Västeråker’s churchyard are two rather large runestones.  They aren’t quite as large as the hunt scene stone, but bigger than most of the ones I’ve found.   One was used as a threshold in the outer door of the vapenshuset and the other was used between the vapenhuset and church door.  One of the stones is apparently special because of the nature of its decoration and the fact it may have never been intended as a standing stone.  Tranlations and such if you click the pictures.

The weather had gone from mostly clear to a sort of dull gray that looked like it was building up for rain.  Off in the distance along some sections of the road, I could see a faint shimmer of water from the lake.  I think even the same lake that Wiks overlooks.  Loke was starting to slow down a bit more.  Not entirely surprising since it was his longest run since our thwarted tour attempt.  Off in the distance I could see the little village of Dalby as a tiny collection of a a few buildings as well as the church and the peak of the church’s belltower above the trees.

Stay! Good Boy! Dalby Bell Tower

Stay! Good Boy! Dalby Bell Tower

Dalby Kyrka

Dalby Kyrka

Loke was tired enough that I thought it was worth the risk to get a picture of him with the trike.  He did just fine.  Just sort of stood there and stared after me a bit anxiously as I moved a few yards off to get as much of the bell tower in as I could while keeping the cars parked there out of it.  As with Hagby kyrka, it seemed to be a time for some sort of services.  Quite a few people even smiled and waved at me as I fiddled around.  I heard comments about what a beautiful dog Loke was as well.

I found out while doing my research for this church that there’s another church called Dalby as well, but it lays further south.  This one was built in the 1300’s and also has the tomb for the lord of the Hammarskog manor house, Knut Posse.  There’s also a rune stone imbedded in the outer wall up near the roof eave between the windows.  I also like this church because it’s roof is different from the majority of churches.  Instead of terracotta tiles or wooden shingles, it looks like it might be slate with lighter slabs laying out a herringbone pattern.

Hammarskog Across the Way

Hammarskog Across the Way

The road took a sharp left curve here, making its way off the penninsula the church sits on.  Across a wet reed filled strip and a little further on, a boggy grassy stretch, I could see Hammarskog slott.  I think at some point in the past the marshy bog between Dalby and Hammarskog was water from the lake, but time has silted it up and turned it into wetland.

Though it was only around 15 miles since we left Hagby, Loke was slowing down quite a bit and I was starting to feel the familiar ache in my legs.  As I crept up a hill overlooking the marsh between Hammarskog and Dalby, I decided that I would end the trip at the manor house.  Originally, I had planned to leave the Sverigeleden at Hammarskog to take the backway around the evil border collie for three miles or so before rejoining the Sverigeleden for another two miles to turn off again and head to a little park for my husband to pick us up.  Loke and I were a bit too worn to crank out another 8 to 10 miles.

Hammarskog's Manor House

Hammarskog’s Manor House

It was only about 20 minutes before Jens came to pick us up.  Tired as he was, Loke couldn’t really settle down to rest at Hammarskog.  Too many people coming and going, many of them with dogs as the grounds are a pleasant place to walk.  The back way even leads to a nice section of forest as well as that area with the pond and little nature reserve where I took the picture with Loke and the trike that frames the title of my blog.  Swedish people are very outdoor oriented, so it is quite a busy place.  (Yes, the picture was taken at an earlier time than this ride.  The lighting was just too poor for a good picture on Saturday, Sept 12)

As wound up as he was by all the activity going on around him, once we had the car loaded and Loke jumped in, he was flat out on the seat and sound asleep before we even had our seatbelts fastened.  He was a pooped puppy.    I count that as a good day.



The Feel of Autumn
September 10, 2009, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

I don’t know about other people, but to me, the seasons have a definite feel to them.  Something that goes beyond temperature or time of the year into something less tangible.

The first day of the year that felt like autumn was actually shortly after I noticed the yellowing of some of the leaves in the trees in the neighborhood.  It was cool, but we have days as cool or cooler even in the middle of summer here in Sweden.  There was just something about the feel of it that had nothing to do with the fact it was 62 F, or 15% humidity.  It was definitely a fall day.

Today was another of those days, making it the second of the year.  There isn’t siginficantly more yellow in the trees.  It’s a bit cooler today than yesterday, but not the day before which did not feel like autumn.  It is also otherwise one of those perfect days you want to stay out in all day.  Clear skies and cool, but not cold.  One of those days just made to get out and move.

I went ahead and wrestled the trike out the door.  Loke was thrilled to see it go out, knowing that he was coming with.

We went for just a very short run.  5.5 miles actually.  Just our River Loop with Extention route.  Loke’s obviously still trying to recover some stamina… or he’s very bored.  I’m more inclined to think the latter to be honest.  It was beyond words to be out in the full sun with no clouds and not feel like I was going to faint or be sick.  Pleasant.  That is what it should always feel like in the sun here in Sweden.

Other than that, there’s really not much to say about the ride.  It was very short, just 40 minutes with potty and water breaks for Loke.  No pictures because it feels rather silly to take photos AGAIN of some place that I’ve ridden over more times than I can count.  The only thing that has changed really are the grain fields that have been freshly plowed to wait for the winter snows.  I keep hoping for the leaves to change nicely this year.  Last year was a bit of a disappointment in that matter.  But, we’ll see.

One reason I kept the ride so short was a tenative plan to ride another section of the Sverigeleden tomorrow… with a detour.  Maybe I’ll have Jens drop me off in Hagby and I’ll stick to the Sverigeleden for a while, before taking off in another direction for a 4 miles or so to rejoin with it further on.  There’s a very specific reason for that.  Along one section of Sverigeleden, I discovered a farm with a barn fairly close to the road.  At that farm, the owner lets his dogs run loose and one of them is a very scary border collie.

Don’t laugh.  First, I am at head level with most dogs and car bumpers, so if a dog attacks Loke, my face can easily be in the firing range.  This wasn’t a bright, friendly, clean dog.  This one was snarling, head down, his coat filthy and matted.  Unkempt comes to mind.  I’m not easily frightened of dogs, or any animals for that matter, but this one got my heart racing and throat dry.  I’ve had a dog the size of a pony come snapping at Loke and it didn’t disturb me nearly as much as that border collie.  It stopped about 10 feet away, showing all its teeth and just rumbling in its chest without any kind of barking.  Eyes kind of wild and hackles up.

Thankfully, for once, Loke didn’t get into his hyper, lunge-at-the-end-of-the-tether-to-meet-him, thing.  He just kind of stood there and stared at the dog with his head cocked as if trying to figure out what its problem was.  After a heart-stopping minute or so, the dog finally turned and slunk off.  Needless to say, I found another way home.  I’ve avoided going past there since.

I will do so again even though the Sverigeleden goes right past the scary border collie place.  I don’t think people on bikes and without dogs have anything to worry about, in all honesty.  I think the dog was more in insane protect his territory from Loke mindset.  Maybe if Loke doesn’t make it that far, I’ll stick to the Sverigeleden.  If Loke is still with me when I get to the appropriate turn offs, I’ll detour.

Okay, enough random babble.  Hopefully I’ll have a proper ride to blog with pictures tomorrow.



Through Uppsala
September 7, 2009, 10:42 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Well, today was another appointment and again I had my husband drop me off with the trike at the place.  There are two reasons I get him to drop me off instead of riding to the appointment.  First is that, it means I don’t have to leave the house around 6 am to make sure I make it on time if I take a wrong turn while trying to avoid the bigger roads.  Second is that I don’t have to show up all sweaty and smelly.

More Swedish Wildlife

More Swedish Wildlife

I was a bit edgy that I was going to end up cycling home in the rain, but thankfully in the hour and twenty minutes I was in the building, the clouds broke up and the skies cleared a bit.  I set up the trike and settled in to it, determined that THIS time, I would find the river path and stick to the river as much as I could.  I took about a quarter mile along a quiet road until I spotted a gravel cycle/foot path that took off in the direction of the river.  Fingers crossed, I took it and headed down along a weedy field toward a wooded area.

Oops! Off The Open Path

Oops! Off The Open Path

It was actually the perfect temperature this morning.  A bit on the cool side if you’re just walking, but for pedaling along which tends to warm me up quite a bit, it was just right.  I had a “Hmm, I don’t know about this” moment when the yard and a half wide gravel path suddenly became a loosely packed earth trail complete with roots and washed out sections with stones.  It was still roughly going in the right direction and not TOO bad that I feared for my rear derailleur so I went along.

I actually like those wooded path sections like that.  As long as the roots, stones and mud don’t get too threatening, I can happily pedal along them all day.  Unfortunately, things got a bit tighter with brush scraping both of my front wheels and a lot more stones.  I ended up riding the brakes and creeping down a fairly steep and stone strewn slope with a sudden curve at the bottom of it.  I made it around the turn and there was another steeper slope with the path narrowing again and another blind turn.  Fortunately, there was a bit of flat area that I could safely stop the trike and get off without shooting down the slope and crashing through the trees.  I walked around to the back of the trike to grab hold of the rear wheel and drag it back up that hill.

It has to be said.  My current cycle shoes BITE for times like that.  They do not walk well and even worse over rough rocky, root-y, muddy terrain while dragging 45 pounds of recumbent trike and various other things up a fairly steep hill.  But here in Sweden (land of the narrow feet), I have problems finding every day shoes and these were the only cycle shoes I could find that don’t kill me.

I still managed to make it back up and found enough space to drag the trike around to face back the way I came and headed back to the gravel path.  In spite of that little hiccup, I still enjoyed the side trip.  I love the cool, green muted light under the trees and scent of the leaf loam from seasons past.

Found The River Path!

Found The River Path!

After taking one more wrong turn, I found a way down a long steep gravel slope and happily, I came out along the river path.  I discovered the river path on one of my very first longer trips with the trike.  I can’t even remember why I cycled across Uppsala to the far side that first time, but as I turned around, I took a turn off the cycle path that ran right up against a major road and found the river path.  I would say it runs along the river for some 5 miles or so.  Smooth gravel, trees, fields and shining water.  There are a few industrial sections across the river, but for the most part, it’s a pleasant way to cycle from the southern part of Uppsala to the northern.

It was actually quite busy along the path.  A lot of people walking, cycling and jogging.  I counted myself lucky that I found a quiet moment to get the picture here without a gang of teens on their way to school cluttering it up.

Pretty River View

Pretty River View

I always enjoy pedaling along the river.  Even when the undergrowth or reeds are too tall for me to look over and actually see the river, I still like the fact that it’s there and savour those rare glimpses of it that the reeds and trees might allow.

As it goes along through the more developed parts of Uppsala, the river is very contained.  Along most sections, the bank is walled with timbers or even stone as you get more toward downtown Uppsala.  In the center, it flows rather quickly through a stone sided canal, wending it’s way down three or four spillways with their fish ladders.

It’s not a very wide river, but surprisingly deep and as I’ve discovered it gets very deep, very very quickly.  For most of the warm seasons, it doesn’t flow very quickly.  At times, you can walk along it and it seems that leaves laying on its flawless surface are sitting on a perfect mirror of black glass.  Undisturbed and unmoving.

In the spring when the snows melt, the waters do move.  The bare, trailing brances of the huge old willow like trees, pulled by the current and the ducks have to work to go upstream.   During that time,  if you head toward the center of town, you can see the power of it as it’s forced between those constricting stone walls, to go rampaging beneneath the foot bridges that cross it at intervals.  There have been times when the water that was some 10 or 15 feet below the bridges in the summer looked as if it would wash over the walk ways in a white, angry torrent.

Old Trees, Old Buildings, Flower Covered Bridge

Old Trees, Old Buildings, Flower Covered Bridge

I think that amount of raw, wild power that runs through the very heart of Uppsala gives me an extra kick of fascination with the river.  It certainly lends a definite beauty to Uppsala’s heart that magnifies those glimpses of the old buildings that hold the sense of history which this place has seen.

Speaking of old buildings, here are two of my favorites.  Even the first time I walked past them over five years ago, they caught my eye and I still smile when I pass them.

 

Old Pump House - Downtown Uppsala

Old Pump House - Downtown Uppsala

I definitely enjoyed the results of my efforts to stay on the path.  Refusing to give it up even when it looked like it was going to turn into fairly busy downtown roads.  It took me past some of the nicer things that I could finally show here on my blog.

Uppsala's Castle

Uppsala's Castle

There are two major landmarks here in Uppsala and they dominate the city completely.  Both of them can be seen for miles beyond the city, out across the fields and trees of the country side that surrounds this beautiful and historical old place.  One of them is the old royal palace.  I jokingly call it the bright pink palace, but it’s fairly close to the original colour it was painted when it was first built in this form.  There’s an older section tucked away in it that is open as a museum.  Old medieval walls that is just absolutely fascinating to see.  I should go there again some time.

Uppsala Church/Cathedral

Uppsala Church/Cathedral

More impressive than the palace (IMHO), is Uppsala Dom Kyrka.  It was for a time where Sweden’s archbishop made his capital.  It is hard to get a photo of it that truly showcases it’s sheer size since there are buildings tightly clustered all around the hill it sits on.  There is a small paved square around it and on the edges there are some six to eight rune  stones.  Most of them were found under the church itself during various renovations.

The trip through downtown Uppsala wasn’t too bad.  It helped that through a major section of it where two roads run along each side of the river, one of the roads was a one-way for cars and the other half of it designated for bikes so that you don’t have to dodge people on the sidewalks.

With my various little side trips and stopping for the photos I’m sharing here, it took me around an hour to get home.  I decided to take pity on Loke and give him at least a quick river loop run.  I would have done more except that I have another appointment tomorrow, so I’ll be riding home through Uppsala again.

There was a bit of harrowing moment during the ride and it actually led to me cutting about a mile out of the ride.  I had taken the extention out along the river which adds about 2.5 miles to the river loop.  I saw a man ahead of me with a couple of dogs.  I generally slow or even stop when I see other dogs to let their owners do what they need to do so Loke and I can pass safely.  I was particularly careful this time as one of the dogs was a breed I’ve typically found aggressive.  It’s something like a german shepherd with very long fur.  The guy collected both the shaggy german shepherd looking dog and his black lab and moved off the path.

Predictably, the shepherd thing started lunging snarling as I passed and said, “Tack!” to the man.  The first dog’s lunging suddenly set off the lab who managed to yank his leash out of his owner’s hand.  The next thing I knew, the dog was running behind Loke and I as his owner screamed for him to come back.  I kept an eye on the dog and it was clear that Loke and I were out running it fairly easy, so I just yelled, “Nej!!” at it a few times, pulled Loke faster and left it behind.  Since the River Extention is generally a ‘out and back’ rather than a loop, I decided to cut it short by taking another turn to take me through an industrial area and then to another path along the 272 Highway to avoid having to pass them again.

Still, Loke seemed to enjoy even his shortened run and it was a nice ride.

I get to do it again tomorrow, but since it’s just a repeat of today’s ride, I probably will wait until I get a different route under my wheels before I post again.