Terii’s Cycling Babble

Lotsa Churches & Castles!
May 15, 2010, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

Today was a good day!

It was raining when I first awoke at around 5 am.  But by 6:30 am the sun was out and it was quite warm all night, so temp was already good for riding.  I hurriedly printed out a set of maps I’d already plotted and around 7:15 am, I was giving my husband a few nudges and offering coffee.

Things didn’t start out too well though.  First, I managed to irritate Jens by getting grease on my brand new (and fairly pricey) cycle shirt while helping him get the trike in the car.  Then we had driven half an hour when I discovered I’d left my helmet.  There was quite a bit of grumbling about that as we drove home and then BACK out.

Odensala Kyrka

We got to Odensala around 8:45 am.  Loke was excited as Jens and I wrestled the trike out of the car and I worked to get it put together.

Along the road just below the parking lot of the church was what appeared to be a bike race water station.  They were all quite curious about the trike and Loke as I got settled and said bye to Jens.

The ground was fairly flat at first, so Loke got in a good sprint right off.  Less than half a mile and he even found a bit of incentive to run faster.  As we passed a field, I spotted a hare loping along in the bottom of the ditch.  Loke saw  him.  The hare saw us and the chase was on!  The bunny type critter rushed along for almost 100 yards in the ditch before deciding to sharply cut off to the right.  Loke tried to follow, but tht didn’t work too well since I had the leash to his head collar.

It felt so good to be out again and for a bit of the way I was on the Sverigeleden.  The sun was shining though there was a thin haze giving the sky a pale cast.  What fields hadn’t been recently plowed were covered with carpets of bright green.  The trees are having a slower start, but are beginning to show their new garments of pale yellow-green.

Shaggy Red Bull

Before the second mile, I got my second delighted giggle of the day.  Scottish cattle and cross-breeds!  I think of all the cattle breeds, this one is my favorite.

All of them stopped and stared after Loke and I as we went by.  They didn’t seem as intensely curious as other types of cows I’ve cycled past.  These were quite content to simply watch.  No stampede along beside the fence with trike.  Pity.  That would have been quite a site to see.

I was still quite thrilled to see them and was humming happily as I went on.  Just a few hundred yards further on, I spotted a snake!  Half of it any way.  Just the half end of it slipping into the grass along the road.

Husby-Arlinghundra Kyrka

It wasn’t much futher when the next church was visible across the distance.  It was again one of those moments where I go ‘Oooh, so that’s how I get to this church!”  I’ve been seeing it from the E-4 for years as we’ve zipped passed on our way to and from Stockholm or anything south of Uppsala.

As I went on, groups of cyclists wearing numbers.  It didn’t seem to be exclusively a ‘hardcore cyclist’ type of race.  One of the riders who passed me was a man who appeared to be a rather spry 70 years on a touring bike with a number on his chest and back.

Flowers and Towers

As I was rounding the curve on the last stretch to the church, it was a bit of an exciting moment as a pack of those hardcore cycle types were bunched up in a tight pack.  The leader of the twenty or so of them gave me a startled look as he rounded the blind curve and started waving his  arm and warning the others to becareful trying to pass on the outside.  It was further complicated by a car stuck behind me.

In spite of the confusion, all the bikers had smiles, thumbs up, waves and ‘Hej’s for me.  No irritated looks or curses at all.

The temperature was already the warmest it had been all year when I pulled into the parking lot the church.  I actually felt like I should have left the sheepskin at home.  In cooler weather, I cover my mesh seat with a sheep skin to keep the chill from my back.

Husby-Arlinghundra Church Rune Stone

Because of that fleece, it felt good to get up and walk around, letting my back cool and dry as I went into the church yard.  I wanted a closer view of a rune stone I’d seen imbedded in the church wall.

Unlike most stones set into walls, this one was actually complete.  There was a little sign with it, but to my annoyance any information that had been on it was gone.  It was just a black plate stuck on a metal pole.  The information I found on the church made no mention of the stone.  So, a mystery to bug me from time to time. Hehe.

I enjoyed the countryside riding while I could.  Unfortunately, this route I had planned was going to take me through Marsta, one of the suburbs of Stockholm.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m not entirely thrilled with urban riding.

My foray into Marsta was no exception and it started off with an irritation as soon as I crossed some invisible line between country and town.  The road turned into a cycle path, which is really no huge problem.  Until the path crossed a rail track any way.  It had it’s own little booms, but the annoying part were the fixed booms set to slow cyclists down so they actually stop and LOOK before crossing.

For someone with a standard bike, it’s no problem.  They get off and navigate through the boom, stroll across the track and through the booms on the other side.  For me, with a recumbent trike and a husky, it was a LOT more complicated.  Walking my trike means kinda shuffling along in a stooped position and had to yank it back and forth to get it through.  Loke, of course, wanted to sniff around and not really pay attention to the ground under foot.  There were four inch spaces to either side of each track with a drop 10 inches at least.  Easily something that could have hurt him.

A Semblance of Nature

My troubles weren’t exactly over when I finally managed to get through that.  The cycle path was smooth and easy, with a pretty grass median between it and the road.  The ditch had been designed into a rocky little brook with trees and little scatters of bright tulips and dandilions.

I paused in a shady spot to give Loke some water and check his feet before glancing at my maps.  Unfortunately, they don’t really show cycle paths.  Satelite images sometimes can help me pick them out, but they hadn’t been terribly helpful for the section of very busy road and round-about I was going to have to navigate across.

The Beauty of Spring

I went on down and sure enough, the cycle path ended at a shopping center right against the road I needed to cross, but with no way over except to play Frogger where two high traffic roads intersected.

Frustrated and feeling quite hot and Loke agreeing with me as he panted heavily, I decided to try doubling back to the nearest cross-walk and see if I could find some way on the other side.  It turned out to be a good choice.  A cycle path led me to another street.  It passed under another very busy one, turned into another where I had a cycle path leading to cross-walk and off I went, leaving Marsta behind.

It was a long hot stretch.  There was a cycle path and freshly paved, so it seemed to collect and throw back the sun’s heat with interest.  Absolutely no shade, which was really brutal on Loke.  I stopped and wet down his ears and legs as best I could, knowing I would have to stop and let Loke have a long break when I found decent shade.

Stables At Steninge

The road led first to a beautiful set of stables that had been converted into a sort of tiny mall with a cafe and high end crafts like glass-blowing.

It would have felt wonderful to stop in the cafe and buy ice cream for Loke and I, but as you can see there was no shade for me to tether Loke in.  I wasn’t about to abandon him even for a few minutes in the full glare of day light.  As nice as an ice cream might have been, I was far more worried about finding a grassy, shady spot to let Loke flop down for a rest until his pants slowed.

Steninge Slott

I went across from the stables and headed down the elegantly maintained gravel path that led up to the door of Steninge Slott.

As pretty as the day was, it was a bit of a challenge to find a chance to get this picture without people cluttering it.  I hurried down the path, stopped to get the picture and then made a bee-line for the thickest tree-cast shade I could find.

Quite a few people stopped to chat with me as Loke and I relaxed.  One was an older man who was quite interested in the trike.

Got 'im!

There were also a young family.  A woman with her SO and thier incredibly cute 1 year old son.  The little boy was utterly enchanted by Loke and after I told the parents that Loke was quite friendly and also too tired to jump, they were willing to let the tyke toddle closer.  He stopped about five feet away and held out his chubby hands.  Every time Loke moved, he’d give a squealing giggle and hide against his dad’s legs.  Finally, the father picked him up and brought him over where he stared wide-eyed as Loke licked his fingers.  It was cute.

After that, I walked around a bit and let Loke go wallow on the grass.  I think he does it because it helps dissipate heat trapped under his fur.  I also brushed him a bit.  Loke’s shedding had slowed down from the first few weeks of its start, but the heat seemed to kick it into overdrive all over again.

There were a couple things breaking the symmetry of the grounds.  A clock tower and another building that might have been the chapel, but I couldn’t find a path down to it that didn’t involve devilishly loose gravel which would have risked my deraillieur.

Gold Sphinxes Guarding An Entrance

There was also a stone entrance through a tiered ridge of earth, capped with golden sphinxes.

Beyond was a little memorial garden.  I didn’t really read about who it was dedicated to.  Only that he was wrongly stoned to death by a mob before being aquitted of the charges against him.  Whoever it was, was only temporarily interred here.  Once he was cleared, he was buried permanently else where.  There is also a tiny sort of chapel memorial to one side, with an angel scribing on  a scroll in latin (or was it Swedish?) carved in stone.  I guess it shows how little attention I really paid to it, that I can’t even say which language it was written in. Hehe.

View Across The Lake

I pedalled around a bit more, getting pictures of a few more buildings, scenery with trees and flowers and of course, the gorgeous lake view at the back of the manor.

Loke was only lightly panting when we took our leave.  Unfortunately, the way out of Steninge was the same we had came in on.  At least it wasn’t all the way back to Marsta.  There was a turn about half way.  Even so, it was a long hot trip back down that fresh, black paving under the heat of the sun.

I had a bit of hesitation after the first 200 yards down the turn.  There was a sign forbidding cars and scooters.  Still, with my usual sense of logic and not being a motorized vehicle, I pressed on.  It was reassuring that I saw a couple of other bikes as well as people walking around or simply sprawled out in the sun on blankets.

Interesting Path.

Doubt returned when I came to the first turn off that road.  Unpaved and with a boom across it.  Hmmm.  And the map web site had chose this automatically?

Loke was all for it.  He loves roads like this more than any other.  I think it’s because of the woods more than anything.  Or maybe it’s cool earth under foot instead of weeds or pavement.  Either way, he was pulling at his harness.

I was game.  The map had showed roads and I was willing to trust it was all the way through.  The first boom was a bit of a challenge.  Too low for me to ride or roll the trike under though there was room to sort of go around.  I had to get off it any way to get it over some rocks and roots.

It was nice under the thick shade.  The earth must have been nice under Loke’s paws since it was still damp from the rains.  The surface wasn’t too bad.  Quite a few rocks, but decently packed rather than muddy so we didn’t get bogged down too much.

Just A Pretty Spot

It was still a bit slower than on pavement and a bit more work to get along.  There were a few more turns and booms.  I passed by what looked like a summer camp for kids as I pressed deeper.

Finally I reached what seemed to be a deserted stretch.  The road got a bit worse, but was still managable.  The hills were murder.  I also started seeing lots of moose poo.  In one way, that was kinda neat.  On the other hand, it was a bit worrying.  Early spring means moose calves.  Moose calves can mean very angry mothers especially with a predator type animal attached to my very strange looking machine.

I called my husband about then as I was creeping up a hill.  As we were talking, I saw a moose!  It was a huge brown shape as it trotted off through the trees.  It was soooo cool.  Especially since it was going away from me.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a picture of it.

Norrsunda Kyrka

As pretty as the woods were, I was glad to reach paved ground again.  It was a quick zip across a fairly busy street to the next church.  It was a bit more elaborate than the usual country church, which was a surprise.

I loved the stone of the tower as well as the statuary on the brick section of the church.  The rune stones were just fragments and I couldn’t find any information about them.

Loke and I rested there for a bit.  I let his panting slow, wet down his ears and gave him all the water he could drink.

Then we were off again.

It was a bit harrowing to get across that busy street again, but we managed it.  As we rounded a curve, I spotted a cafe!  Yes!  Shade to leave Loke in while I zipped inside to get ice cream.  I rolled up and… closed!  They closed for the long weekend. With a sigh, I pulled us on.

The way to the next castle was mostly on a cycle path.  HOT.  Broiling in the sun.  I had to take it easy with Loke.  I played a sort of dodge with a couple of teen boys cycling with two girls around eight or nine years old.  They weren’t my concern really.  It was their unleashed dog.  Fortunately, the animal seemed indifferent to Loke and simply stuck by one of the boys.

The girls were nice.  They rode ahead of the boys and chattered with me, asking questions about Loke and my bike.

Rosersberg Slott

Rosersberg Slott was not as impressive as Steninge to my eye.  It was bigger I think, but that was about all that could be said of it.  In spite of that, it seems to have had a rather rich history.

Now, in the building off to the right of this view of the building, they’ve rented it out for what seems to be offices.  One way to pay for upkeep.

Loke and I didn’t stick around here long.  We hurried back past the boys, girls and dog to take the next turn.  Imagine my dismay when it turned out to be yet MORE unpaved road.  By this point, I was starting to get worn down so bouncing over rocks and dealing with gravel while trying to go up hills.

A Horse Across The Lake

Still, I went on.  It headed toward another lake.  The road got small.  Little more than a path which when it came to a beach, ended up cluttered with the bikes of a bunch of boys swimming.  They moved them and I went on.  The path was only about 4 feet wide, but all my maps had showed it as a road.  I had to laugh at that.

Then it was under a boom and along more unpaved.  It widened back out into a road that went through a national reserve which was kind of nice as I pushed on to the next castle.  There were other people on bikes who went by, others hiking along.  Even a pair of women who waved me down to ask how far it was to Rosersberg Castle.  I was able to tell them by pulling out my maps.

Runsa Slott

That one turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.  It looked as if it might be quite pretty, but it was marked as private, so this was the only shot I could get of it.  Apparently, I missed a turn somewhere else and didn’t get to see a the ruins of a fortification from 1000’s and a 55 meter ‘stone ship’ (stones laid out in the shape of the hull of a long ship) from the 500’s.  Kinda peeved about that, but oh well.

As I headed down the road toward my next turn, I had a few nice meetings with people.  The first was a group of about 10 guys on bikes.  The borderline hardcore types.  They were all cheerfully friendly, asking how far had we gone?  What kind of dog was that?  Wasn’t the weather just perfect?  When we came to a hill and I slowed to a crawl, they all waved and shot ahead, hammering up the slope.

The next one was a man mowing his lawn.  I stopped across the street from his yard in a patch of shade because Loke really needed water.  He turned the mower off and crossed the street to talk.  It was a nice chat, in Swedish even!  After Loke caught his breath and cooled down we said bye and I went on my way.

I finally came on my turn to head to yet another castle, but only groaned when I saw it.  A steep hill and unpaved road.  I couldn’t do it.  I was too tired to attack a hill AND gravel.  I looked at my maps and decided to avoid that and drive straight toward Edsby

It was a bit of irritation at one point.  A couple of boys started to pass me on a narrow road.  One on a bike and the other on roller blades.  They swerved around me and then didn’t pull back over.  The next thing I knew, a car horn blasted just a few feet away from ear.  Loke almost leapt out of his skin.  Fortunately, that was all of the incident.

Edsby Church

After that it was less than 20 minutes to the end of the ride at another church.

Edsby Kyrka was pretty and sat on the shores of the lake.  Sadly, I can’t find any infor about it.  I found a shady spot to wait for Jens to come get me.  Loke seemed happy for the break and flopped down after gulping lots and lots fo water.  I felt kinda bad that I couldn’t get him down to the lake shore to play in the water.

It had been a really good day.  Thanks to all the gravel roads and what felt like an insane number of hills, it took almost 6 hours to go 23+ miles.  Granted, I spent quite a bit of time sitting here and there for Loke’s sake, but still.

It was still quite nice to get home.  Mostly to get my cycle shoes off since I’d slammed my toe into the coffee table the night before.  Loke’s been completely flat since.  I feel like I worked my muscles without killing myself and best of all!?  New ground!!

I think I can manage to cycle my loops around here a few times before I start feeling clausterphoic again. Hehe.

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