Terii’s Cycling Babble

Started Out ‘Brrrrr’ And Ended ‘Ahhhh’
April 24, 2011, 4:55 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

Friday was the first day of the long Easter Weekend.  Good Friday and on through to Monday.  My husband planned to help a friend get a boat to water since our vehicle has a trailer hitch and his friend didn’t.  Boat moving would be  followed by fishing from said boat.  Jens suggested I plot a ride in the area there where he could drop off and pick me up on his way back and forth.  It was a great idea.  I debated for a short while about taking the trailer, but decided against it.

Gray & Windy Morning

I had some doubts when we were packing up to leave.  We’d had rain over night.  While not raining when we pulled out of the parking lot around 9 am, the clouds, heavy and leaden, still hung low overhead.  Various temp readings insisted it was 46 F, but it felt much colder with a stiff wind that bit right through clothing.

Rånäs Manor's Stable

I chose to start the ride at a little chapel not far from the Mörby castle ruins.  On the last stretch to it, we passed a rather impressive white barn which turned out to be the stables for a castle, though I’d call it a manor house.  I made careful note of the ‘slott’ as we passed it as well as a pretty stone mill and the old buildings which would have housed the people who provided the services for the grounds and manor.  I was baffled.  My Tourist & Cycle Guide maps had nothing marked for the area except for the chapel.  It’s usually pretty good about marking castles and churches.  How could it have gotten a tiny little chapel forgetting the manor house?  I knew I was going to be adding distance to my ride, pedalling toward Mörby for about a mile to get the stable, manor, mill and whatever else caught my eye.

Rånäs Stone Mill

As I hurriedly pulled on all my extra layers before getting the trike ready in the cold, it struck me a bit funny.  The last time I cycle in the area, I’d about frozen my… toes off.  That ride had been in June.  At least in April, that kind of cold is more expected.  Even so, it still was amusing that the mild morning’s we’d been having vanished the very time I was in the Mörby Slott/Fasterna Kyrka area.

My husband was feeling a bit antsy as we pulled everything out of the car.  I told him to have fun and sent him on his way with seat, pod bags, flag and various other things scattered around me on the gravel parking.  Loke sat where I’d tethered him to a light pole, woofing at me as I loaded the trike up like a packhorse.  It took me a while.  I’d never realized how much I rush when Jens is hovering, waiting for me to clip shoes to pedals before leaving.  Then, with camera in hand, I strolled toward the restroom in a building outside the chapelyard.  Only then did I turn my attention to photographing the chapel and environs.

Rånäs Chapel

Rånäs Chapel is a small wooden structure.  The same red painted paneled walls as Singö Church had though it’s smaller and without the tower.  It’s surrounded by old trees and a dirt road curves around behind it to a cluster of farm buildings and a house.  As I strolled the churchyard in search of runestones, a woman came walking down the road with a chow-chow.  Upon seeing Loke, she immediate turned back.  I’m guessing her chow wasn’t very dog-friendly, but then, they rarely are.

Fasterna Kyrka Over Lake

I still wasn’t done.  Only a small paved road and short stretch of field separated the chapel from a lake and across the wind-rough, leaden waters, Fasterna Kyrka stood out atop its hill on the far shore.  I wanted that picture.  So, of course, the careful juggling of camera lenses took more time as did trying to hold the bigger lens steady in hard wind while fully extended.  I finally had to walk to a tree at the edge of the parking lot and brace myself against the trunk to accomplish it.  Worth it, I think.  Pity I couldn’t see the ruins of Mörby from there.

Camera packed, I finally moved out.  I’d sent Jens off around 10:15 and as I moved out to go find the barns, manor and mill of Rånäs, it was 11:05.  I drew a deep breath and told myself I was NOT going to sulk about lost miles.  I was doing what I wanted which was enjoying my surroundings and getting pictures.

Rånäs Manor

The area around Rånäs Manor was surprisingly busy.  People walking every where, waiting for buses.  The manor itself was once used as a mental health ward, but now is a used as a hotel as well as a spa and conferences.  Loke and I cruised back toward the white stable at over 16 mph as I stopped every few hundred meters for pictures.  Each time he’d give this deep, huffing sigh and stare at me with his ears tilted back a bit.

Farm Building, Wind Downed Branch, Loke Ears

When I finally reached the stables, the horses in the paddocks were very fearful.  I felt a bit bad, but at least they only ran to the far side and stood there staring rather than looking as if they might try going through the railings.  I hurriedly made the shot and then turned to leave to avoid stressing them too much.

The area around the manor was quite pretty.  Small streams, ponds and tiny lakes surrounded it, all shaded by trees most of which were quite old.  A very tranquil sort of place.  I took my time exploring around the manor and mill, getting photos of both from various angles before I considered myself done and pedaled my way back to the proper path.

Blue Sky Over Lake Near Ekebyholm

I know I already mentioned it was cold, but forgetting the sheepskin I use to cover my seat in chilly temps didn’t help one bit.  At least I’d brought all my layers so I didn’t feel too bad.  I would have been happier if I’d remembered my mittens though.  Even so, it felt good to be out.  The countryside was pretty as we rolled through it and Loke had a lot more zip in his legs than he’d had for the two trailer outings (yes, I made another one but didn’t post).  It felt like there were a LOT of hills.

One of the worst was coming into a little village called Ekebyholm.  It felt like I was crawling UP through the place for ages.  With a narrow road lined by oaks, I was glad of the cycle path which had begun as I entered the village.  I’ll admit it was pretty though I didn’t get any any pictures.  I didn’t really feel like stopping on an 8% slope, struggling to keep from rolling back while digging the camera out.  Just seemed a bit… precarious is the word I’m looking for.

Ekebyholm Slott

As high as the climb had been, the decent matched it and had sharp curves as well.  Loke was quite happy to run with his tongue lolling grin as we tore along, the large white outline of Ekebyholm Slott appearing beyond the trees and the lake beyond.  I didn’t bother with walking around.  I stopped long enough to snap the castle, drink water, water Loke and move on.  It just didn’t inspire me much.  A white box flanked by two other white boxes and except for the pretty lake view, it lacked the pretty ground Rånäs had.

Geese! What Sort? Dunno!

The road away from the castle was long, straight and almost flat.  The lake shore curved away from the road and fields covered the intervening space.  I began hearing the honking of geese or swans, though I couldn’t see anything at first.  Finally, I spotted a cluster of moving shapes in the field.  Yep, geese.  Much to my surprise they weren’t Canadian Geese or even barnacle.  I’m not sure what kind of goose.  Given the coloring it could have been any of at least 3.  Graylag, Bean, or Greater White-Fronted.  I’m not enough of a goose expert to be able to tell the difference between those three at a glance from almost 100 yards away.  Actually, I probably couldn’t tell the difference between them even from 10 feet away. Hehe.

Either way, it was cool to see a different kind of goose!  That makes 4 types of wild geese I’ve seen.  Canadian, Barnacle, this brown kind and once, a lone Egyptian goose which admittedly was probably an escapee from somewhere.  I can’t imagine an Egyptian goose winding up in northern Indiana otherwise.

The geese were a bit jumpy and only one flock of the four or so I passed along that mile stretch stayed still long enough for me to catch with the camera.  It didn’t come out very well, but I’d have no pictures if I’d tried to swap lenses.

At Least I Had Pretty Scenery For Repairs

Somewhere between Ekebyholm and a problem with one of my brakes, the clouds began to break up and the cold began to ease.  A few miles past the castle, while climbing a hill, I’d used my right brake.  Abruptly, my progress was even slower and harder.  I fiddled with my brake handles to discover one flapped loose meaning the cable must have been stuck in the sheathing.  I pulled over as far as I could and managed to push the brake lever back out a bit.  I limped along for almost a mile more before finally finding a spot I could get off the road.  Under mostly sunny skies, I fought with the brake cable.  Lacking oil, I had to settle for forcing the tube to move along the wire until it freed enough to let me use the brake without locking tight.  It took me about 20 minutes and I was more than warm enough to shed my 200 g wool thermal top by that point.

Spring Flowers

The brake problem gave Loke a good long rest and he had plenty of energy to run.  The place I’d stopped to do my repair was near the top of a hill at the bottom of which sat the junction with the 280.  In an effort to avoid the larger 280, I’d plotted down a road almost directly across from the one I would be coming off of.  Google led me wrong again… sorta.  I guess there was SOMETHING just over the busy road that maybe had been used by wheels.  It looked more like a short tractor trail where white wrapped rolls of hay had been stored.  It wasn’t even dirt, but flattened grass.  I toyed with the idea of attempting it.  At least it wasn’t mud scattered with arm thick branches like the last ‘not really a road there’ incident last year.  The slope down to the hay bale storage area which might or might not have had a path continuing beyond was quite steep and being uncertain if my slick rear tire could get enough of a grip to get me back up, I chose to ride the 280.  After all, it was less than a mile.

A harrowing mile it was.  Rather like the 272 only hillier.  Again, I reminded myself I’d be stuck on roads like this while touring so… get used to it.  Naturally, more easy to say than to do, but I managed.  Even found time to enjoy some of the beauty of spring flowers and a blue sky rapidly losing all trace of clouds.

Rimbo Kyrka With Bell Tower Gate

I was only too glad when I came closer to Rimbo and a cycle path began.  I even had the convenience of a crosswalk over the 280 followed by another stretch of cycle path leading to Rimbo Kyrka.

Rimbo Kyrka was surprising.  Quite beautiful really and very, VERY busy.  People enjoyed the sun on the park-like grounds outside the church, some walked through the churchyard grounds.  And so friendly!  As I made my way up the last bit of hill and started looking for somewhere to lock the trike I was greeted with smiles, waves and cheery ‘Hej!’s.

Here, I had to leave Loke with the trike while I explored the grounds.  Even if there hadn’t been several signs forbidding dogs in the churchyard, I wouldn’t have taken Loke in with so many people.  I can understand why they wouldn’t want dogs in the churchyard given so many animal owners don’t have sense enough to keep them from using it as a latrine.  I don’t take Loke in with me when he’s not had a chance to go potty before I arrive and it’s an easy matter to keep him from marking gravestones and trees in the churchyard.  I found a place back from the picnic tables and people sprawling in the grass to tether Loke to a small tree.  He had nice thick shade from a spruce tree and left water with him.  He sat staring after me for a few seconds and then laid down without drinking.

Uppland's Runestone #515

The churchyard was one of the most manicured I’ve ever seen.  In one memorial garden near the first runestone I found.  The grass was fine and close clipped, verdant green even so early in the year.  I don’t think I saw a single weed around the base of any tree or gravestone.  Even right up against Uppland’s Runestone #515, the grass was short.

I was walking toward the church itself, beautifully faced with large slabs of mortared stone and arched windows, when a man hailed me.  Gray haired, but fit, he asked if I’d been the one cycling up the hill.  I answered if he meant the one with the white dog, then yes.  He was very chatty, asking about Loke, where had I cycled from, how far was I going, what kind of bike was that?  He also had comments about the weather and dogs in general.  20 minutes later we parted ways.

Uppland's Runestone #514

Near the front of the church, I found another stone, Uppland’s Runestone #514.  There weren’t any others I found, but in doing my research on Rimbo Kyrka, there is mention of Uppland’s Runestone #513 which is walled into the eastern wall of the choir.  I’ll have to pick it up the next time I’m cycling in the Rimbo area, provided the runes aren’t inward facing.  It’s annoying that I even LOOKED in the walls for stones.  Grrr.  Anyway….

I returned to Loke who still laid patiently in the shade for my return.  As we pedaled onward, I went in a wake of yet more smiles and even a few more conversations, though much shorter ones.  I followed the wrong road for about a mile before turning around and getting back on track.

Getting through Rimbo was easy enough with a nice cycle path.  That’s not to say Rimbo was particularly inspiring, but the only way to the next road was through the town.  I also had to pass through one of the seediest places in Sweden I’ve ever been to.  The central bus station.

Stone Bridge Under Cycle Path

I was a edgy as I made it onto the 280 again.  But it couldn’t be that bad since it was part of the Kustleden which is an established cycle route, right?  The first couple of miles had a cycle path and was pleasant.  I was passed by quite few other people walking and cycling where the smiles and greetings kept coming.  Once the path ended, it became a bit more exciting.  Most of the time, I was given plenty of room, but when two cars were meeting next to me and the one coming from behind chose not to wait, it was close.  One passed me so close I’m not even sure I had a hand’s breadth between the car and my rear view mirror.  That got a surprised squeak out of me.  Thankfully the others who passed close gave me at least a foot of space. *smirk*

It was about 3 miles of holding my breath every time a car came up behind me and not many places with space to offer Loke water.  I think we both were glad when the turn off the 280 came.  From there, it was a short coast to Rö Kyrka.

Rö Kyrka

Rö Kyrka was done in the same style as Rimbo, with the bell tower gateway into the churchyard and walls faced with mortared stone.  On the gate was another ‘Dogs Forbidden’ sign, so I had to tether Loke in the shade.  He didn’t seem particularly bothered, laying down as I walked off.

I liked the style of these churches with their belfries serving as gatehouses and lovely stone walls.  The grounds here not as finely manicured as Rimbo, but the ‘weeds’ were wild flowers blooming everywhere.  Runestones were absent as I made my round and returned to Loke and trike.

Random Scenery

With Rö Kyrka barely a mile behind me, my cell phone jangled with an incoming message.  Jens had alerted me that he’d be done fishing in half an hour.  Not even 3 pm, so quite a bit earlier than the 5 pm he had quoted earlier.  I took a quick look at my maps and calculated between his 30 minutes to finish and time to drive to my general area, I could reach the next church and maybe the one after since less than 2 miles lay between them.  The way was not too busy.  At least not compared to the 280.  I had time to admire the scenery and in places it was lovely.  Sitting high up on a ridgeline with fields falling away to the blue shimmer of water below.  Or just clusters of trees where flowers speckled the ground in the sunny spaces piercing the shade.  I didn’t feel tired, Loke was still running well and it seemed his foot pads had turned to iron almost overnight.  It was over 15 miles and he still didn’t need the socks I’d hurriedly sewed for the ride.  Made me a bit wistful to end the day.

Jens finally called for coordinates which I gave.  He said he’d call for updated ones once he reached the general area.  Feeling a bit more pressured to reach the next church, I scurried on.

Skederids Kyrka

A Torturous Climb

Skederids Kyrka sat at the head of a tiny lane.  Even if I’d met a small car on the road it would have been tricky to manage a passing without getting off the trike and pulling it into the grass.  There was also a high, steep hill for the last stretch.  Like the two churches before it was stone with a tower/belfry gate and again, no dogs allowed.  Poor Loke.  Just wasn’t his day, was it?

I found no runestones, but this church made up for it.  Passing through base of the tower, I noticed a set of very narrow, very steep stairs curving.  Curiosity got the best of me and I climbed the four stone stairs to find an almost ladder steep flight of wooden stairs to the small room above the gate.  There, another steep climb into the belfry itself which was completely open.  With bad knees, extremely steep, and each step about half again as high as modern ones it was slow.  Finally I managed to get into a good position to get the picture.  A close up of church bells.

Church Bells

Yes, I’ve caught images of the bells from the frame towers and maybe a few times on the larger enclosed towers when the top shutters are open, but if I could have found the space to stand up, I could have touched these.  It’s amazing what can make me grin in silly fashion.  Crawling up torturous stairs through dust and cobwebs while wondering if there are bats or nesting birds to take a picture of bells and I’m as giddy as a school girl.  Good thing I never claimed to be normal.

Then I had to face the climb down which was more of a challenge.

I still felt strong (even after the stairs).  Loke had energy to spare.  Across the fields I could see the next church.  There wasn’t enough time to make reach it so I resigned myself to 18 miles.

Jens soon called for coordinates to the church.  Shorter than anticipated, but a good day.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Loved the picture with Loke’s ears :0)

Comment by dexey

More ears coming! Soggy ears! It was so warm today, I kept his ears and front legs wet. You know it’s hot when a husky doesn’t object to getting his ear fur wetted down. 😛

Comment by terii

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