Terii’s Cycling Babble

Let The Posting Begin!
June 25, 2012, 4:14 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Vacation! They’re wonderful, but as I said when getting back from Storblåsjön two cycling seasons ago, it’s so good to be home.

As before I’ll do a post a day for each ride during our trip.

What did I tell you? Perfect!

Given we had no packing done on the 20th, I’m surprised at myself in retrospect how I spent the day. Clearly, I posted to my blog first thing on waking. Then I decided to take Loke for a run. Even as hectic as the rest of the evening and morning of the 21st were, I can’t regret the decision. It was too glorious outside to let it slide without spending at least little while outside. Perfect temp with just the perfect amount of wind to balance the heat of the sun without making the ride a struggle. Perfectly clear skies. And yes, I’m overusing the word ‘perfect’ on purpose. It was one of those glorious, flawless days that are rare no matter where you are in the world. Definitely no regrets at taking the ride. Only thing that would have made it better would have been more time to enjoy it. Alas.

Returning from the outing with a happy husky, I considered what needed to be done in preparation for the weekend. First order of business was tending to the trike’s brakes. I’d been using only the left one for a few months except for emergencies. The right brake cable had been sticking, so it made for a great parking brake but freeing it required unclipping, leaning forward to reach the brake lever and pulling it forward. It seems like it’s always the right cable collecting gunk and sticking the most.

As I stopped outside the apartment, I looked at my trike. It was filthy. Gunk and grime from years of riding. It seemed rather silly to do maintenance work on something so dirty. Impulsively, I decided to take it to the new ‘do it yourself’ car wash not too far away.

I was thrilled when they started building it a couple years ago. A coin (or token in this case) operated, high pressure wand, car-wash. The sort I hadn’t seen since leaving the States over 8 years ago. Given I have no access to a hose, I’d been pining for one since I got the trike. Just a huge hassle to clean it without being able to properly rinse it and can’t take it through an automated wash. So, before working on the brakes, I was going to wash my trike! And I was going to ride to the wash!

My husband offered to drive me when I announced I was riding to clean the trike. I answered that riding was better since it would allow the trike to dry instead of dripping all over the car’s interior. He agreed.

Getting to the car wash was a bit convoluted as the most direct way involves extremely high trafficked roads with no shoulder. To avoid them required riding toward Granby Mall, under one of the busy roads to take a cycle path along said busy thoroughfare from the opposite direction. Why they didn’t add a cycle path to the other side, I’ll never know.

Amazing the Difference 5 Minutes With The Proper Tools Can Make

With 4 tokens in my pocket, I stripped off the seat and luggage rack to begin blasting. I grinned as the grime disappeared in a blast of high pressured soap and water. The grease on the chain rings proved unexpectedly tenacious, but I managed to get some of it away. The rest would be taken care of on another day when I had a de-greaser and stiff brush. Two tokens and 5 minutes later, the trike practically sparkled. I felt nearly as giddy as the day I removed it from the box for assembly.

Then it was the ride back for a round trip of a little more than 7 miles. Between the outing with the dog and then to and from the wash, I’d clocked more than 14 miles for the day!

Doing the brakes was a headache and much less fun than washing had been, but once it was done, I was confident I could stop on some of the potentially steep hills I’d face in the semi-mountainous terrain I planned to ride! Always a good thing.

The next morning (June 21st) was chaos. Even when expected, chaos comes as a shock. Jens had to work in the morning, though thankfully he could do so from home. In between his phone conferences, he flew into a frenzy of packing as I ran back and forth between apartment and car to fit everything in Tetris style. In hindsight, I’m surprised my ankle held up so well with all the lugging I did. A sign it’s healed, I suppose. About time!

My husband had wanted us to leave around 1 pm, but it was closer to 2 pm when we finally wedged Loke in his travel nook of the loaded car and went on our way. As always, there’s the feeling you’ve forgotten something important. I went through the checklist in my head for the truly critical things. Trike, seat (yes, I have forgotten it once for a day ride), shoes, harness, helmet, GPS, maps and water containers. Everything checked.

The drive was fairly average, at least until we got to the far side of Västerås as we’ve done that stretch so many times. If one thing can be said about it, it is colorful at this time of year. Mostly because of the lupins in bloom. I’ll post plenty of pictures of those in the later posts.

Örebro Slott

Arriving at Örebro gave us a bit of a surprise as we headed into the city in search of an ATM for cash to pay for the cabin. The city center was stunning. Beautiful parkland with a river and old stone bridges flowing past a castle all surrounded by old buildings with charming shops and street cafes on cobble roads.

Cash fetched, we went in search of some place to eat. It had to have an outside area where we could sit with Loke since the day was much too hot to even consider leaving him in the car. Most of the street cafes were too busy, so we went with the old fast food standby.

As we drove to the nearest McDonalds, I thought on the impact Örebro had on me. My initial thought had been something along the lines of how much nicer it was than Uppsala. That felt strange. Was it really? Uppsala has the beautiful river and old buildings. Uppsala Cathedral is breath-taking, if a bit crowded with old buildings huddling around it like shy children clutching their mother’s leg. Örebro castle was much smaller than Uppsala Castle high on it’s parkland hill covered with old trees. Have I become jaded to the beauty and history of Uppsala? If so, I really need to stop that. At least when I’m cycling in the area, I always look for the castle and cathedral spires. I suppose that shows I still hold some appreciation for it.

Our dinner of burgers turned out to have its own charm as we ate. Sparrows, many of them fledged chicks harassing their parents, hopped around the outside tables. To amuse myself, I began throwing them little bits of bun until that began to draw the attention of the larger kaja. I like the kaja which are members of the crow family, but they can be more of a nuisance than tiny sparrows. After that, I dropped the bread when the kaja were absent and close. Loke was too focused on us eating to pay attention to the birds hopping around less than 3 feet away. They came within inches of my feet. At last, I bent to hold out a bit of bread and wouldn’t you know it? One of the little males was bold enough to come take it from my fingers. He seemed to be the only one, but it made me smile all the same.

The rest of the drive was uneventful.

Base ‘Camp’

We reached the cabin shortly before 8 pm. Our hosts stopped mowing the lawn to come talk to us for a time. It turned out they’re Dutch. I stayed quiet at first, spoke a little Swedish and then said something in English when Swedish failed me. The woman smiled and commented how good my English was. I laughed, “I’m American”. She gave a good-natured eye roll at herself for not having guessed the obvious. Most of the talk focused on Loke as they had a pair of huskies as well. The man in particular was very taken with the white furball who was more interested in sniffing around than getting petted. After extending an invitation for the Midsummer festivities onthe morrow, they went back to their tasks as we settled in.

The cabin was simple, lacking a TV, but comfortable enough for our needs. A place to fix food in the evenings and sleep. I did just that in anticipation of the ride I had planned.

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