Terii’s Cycling Babble

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.

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