Terii’s Cycling Babble

Things I Missed & New Perspectives
July 7, 2012, 7:02 am
Filed under: Day Rides

I’ve ridden a few times since my last post. It’s been quiet on here since the quick, short rides lacked anything worth mentioning. The joys of hamster-wheeling. Only trainer pedaling can be more tedious, but it’s still good for the fuzzy one and I to move.

Lagga Kyrka

Lagga Kyrka

Uppland Runestone #481 - Lagga Kyrka

Uppland Runestone #481 – Lagga Kyrka

With both husky and I feeling pretty sluggish about going out for more local loops, Jens suggested I plot something a bit further from home. Something I’ve not ridden this year at least. I took him up on the offer and decided to track down a few items of interest. The runestones at Danmark Church were the first that came to mind. The possibility of riding all the way home instead of needing a pickup were quiet high as well. Rather than starting from Danmark though, I decided to add a few more miles by riding out from a little church southeast of Danmark called Lagga.

There’s information for the church now if you click the thumbnail. When I first began blogging, I didn’t have the ‘fine art’ of researching the churches and supplying information for them settled yet. In spite of it’s humdrum exterior, Wikipedia photos of the interior show it to be quite lovely and very medieval. I often feel I’m missing out when I can’t go in for photos. Ah well. Back to the ride.

Random Scenery

Random Scenery

In no time, we arrived in the tiny village of Lagga. I set about to unloading the trike while Jens walked around with Loke. The fuzzy one was quite excited, running about like a mad dog as he marked everything in sight. As I started the GPS and triple checked for my cell phone, Jens asked me where was the camera bag. I did the face-palm thing as the image of it sitting on a dining chair popped into my head. I grumbled about my iPhone camera would have to do when Jens offered me his little point-n-click which he always keeps in the pocket of a jacket. Happily, I accepted. It’s a much better camera than my old point-n-click which gave me skies of green, yellow or white, never blue. It takes photos nearly as nice as the Canon’s auto-settings quite honestly.

In short order, Loke and I were on our way.

Just a building I liked.

Two things struck me as we started out. One, it was muggy and warm. Two, it was quite windy. Not as strong as my September tour last year when I was riding in the leftovers of a hurricane, but significant. Fortunately, Loke and I seemed to be going with it most of the way rather than against. At worst, we had it on a front quarter which still made us work a bit. With the sun mostly out, I made absolutely certain to stop frequently to water Loke and drench his ears. His socks went on as soon as he had finished his 1 mile dash. No reason to wear his feet out.

In spite of the heat and the annoying socks, Loke ran strong. He really kicked the speed up when our car passed. I let him burn some of that wild burst of energy before stopping to offer water and wet his ears.

In no time at all, we were zipping past the Mora Stones along the Sverigeleden and then turning to go past one of the Linne landmarks in the area. Still no pictures of that place though I stopped in the parking lot to check Loke’s socks. The very same ones I’d been using since the long weekend. I saw right away this ride was their retirement ride. I’d added another layer of tape as Loke had worn through the previous ones, but now the fabric had frayed and parted around his toenails. I prefer not to tape over that since I don’t want anything sticking to Loke’s toenails, fur or skin. They’d hold up till we got home, but that would be the end. Still, over 60 miles is a new record by many, many miles.

Danmark Kyrka

Danmark Kyrka 2009

Riding up a hill past some old buildings and we arrived at Danmark Church.

I still enjoy seeing this old church. It’s always baffled me why it’s named ‘Danmark’ which in today’s Swedish is clearly Denmark. Why on earth would they have named a church after a country they constantly warred with? As ever with lingual history, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Clicking the thumbnail brings up a brief history of the church and no less than 3 theories about the name. I’m kinda agreeing with the place-name scholars who are looking at the Old Norse language. Surely there are dozens of other name theories I didn’t find, but I rather like the Old Norse one.

My research into the church also found mention of ‘dozens of runestones in the area’. Hmm. That could mean I should continue searching the area? Well, any excuse that might give me a boost to ride is a good one!

Parking next to a small building outside the churchyard, Loke and I walked up the slope and through the gates in search of the elusive stones.

Uppland Runestone 945 – Danmark Kyrka

Actually, the first one wasn’t very hard to find at all. It stood just a few meters from the church’s tower entrance.

Upplands Runestone #945 collected, I continued around the church, admiring the brick architecture while searching for more runestones embedded in the walls. Loke threw himself down in the short clipped grass a few times, wiggling on his back with a huge tongue flopping husky grin.

It was during one of those thrashing sessions, I spotted another runestone. The top of it any way. 3 foot tall weeds stood between me and it. I followed the edge of the cut grass, hoping a path had been cut to the stone. No such luck. I stood there for a minute or three, staring at it and the sign next to it. I couldn’t bring myself to go to it. The thought of ticks creeping on the weed stalks made my skin crawl.

I suppose I could look at it as an excuse for a winter ride!

You know, given my strong aversion to just the thought of ticks it’s a wonder I can even consider camping. Maybe I should just get vaccinated against tick-borne pathogens and get over it. Certainly would make my cycle life a bit easier. Now, if only phobias responded to logic! *smirk*

I found no other stones but those two and went back to pedaling.

Cathedral & Castle At Uppsala’s Heart

It was a quick zip down a long hill that took us under the E4. The plan was to stay with the Sverigeleden until a certain point where I would take a shorter way through Uppsala to home. It kinda worked out that way, though not as I’d anticipated which would have had me on a cycle paths a bit more.

Somehow, I missed a Sverigeleden sign which would have led me to a long-ish, steep-ish climb and then a turn onto a path to go along fields and busy roads. Instead, Loke and I found ourselves on a semi-busy road with no shoulder. It wasn’t too bad thanks to good timing of traffic, Loke deciding to lope along at 14 mph instead of trotting at 8 mph and, of course, the kindness of Swedish drivers.

It took less than a mile before I realized the missed turn, but decided to press on. The huge blue bulk of the Ikea grew. While not an interesting stretch of cycling, it did at least have a path. Then the road turned away from the Swedish flatpack furniture store and I came out at a place I recognized from frequent car travel and better than anticipated since noticing my error. A left turn would carry me along a cycle path beside the very heavily trafficked road and over Uppsala’s only drawbridge where a ramp would take me down to the gravel river path into the very heart of Uppsala. Perfect!

A White Cottage & Brown Cabin On The River

As we came down the ramp and whipped around the left turn onto the path, Loke wanted to go at a flat out 16+ mph gallop.  As I kept him to a more respectable 10 mph lope out of respect for the foot and cycle traffic, he shot me little side glances with ears at the ‘irritated’ angle.

It felt cooler by the river. It might have been due to the trees more than anything. Regardless of the why, I enjoyed it and it gave Loke a bit more energy as well. He even refused an offer of water, a first for the ride.

The river path through the town goes past an old pump house where I would be forced onto a road with a cycle lane. Lots of pedestrians and cars. Spontaneously, I took a left turn, following some guys on road bikes which took me through other spots I recognized. As I went, every grassy spot open to the sun I passed was covered with people. The Swedish sunworshipers were out in force!

I ended up close to the hospital grounds. With another impulsive whimsy, decided to go through and then along the road which would lead me to the castle. I hoped I’d be able to climb it from the side opposite my last attempt. I had a vague memory that a road went up to it from that side. More importantly, a paved road. Much less chance of wheel slip!

Memory served me well and I pedaled up the hill in the shade of old trees, passed the field where an International Jousting tournament had once been held.

My only photo from the Jousting Tourney – Sept. 2006

I smile when I think of that tourney discovered quite by accident during the first months of owning my Trice QNT. I’d purchased it in July. It was a glorious September day. Loke wasn’t running with me then. I didn’t even have a running bar yet since I was going to wait until he was at least a year and a half. No chance I was going to risk permanently injuring him. After passing the castle, I spotted the medieval faire collection of tents and people in costume. A family came across the road, dressed in full costume and I asked in my then, VERY poor Swedish if it was an SCA event. The man answered me in English that it was an international jousting tourney. I thanked him and immediately pedaled like mad for home to drag Jens there.

It made for a pleasant afternoon. Gave me the itch to rejoin the SCA though I still haven’t done so. See what cycling can lead to?

Southern Entrance to Uppsala Castle

Back to the near present. The road was very easy to climb and an arched portal visible at the top of the hill. I pedaled a little faster, eager to go through to the courtyard beyond which has a fountain and a nice view down to the royal/botanical gardens across the road below the old defensive works. I needn’t have rushed. Stairs blocked my way and in spite of the parking lot up there, I had no place to lock my trike.

Uppsala Castle – East/Northeast Side

At the end of the parking lot was a well-packed gravel path disappearing around the back of the castle. Having never been on that side, I went for a look. Right up against the castle is a well manicured pleasure garden. It was fenced off and screened by a hedge, but glimpses of colorful flowers could be seen between the leaves and I heard the gurgle and splash of water which must have been a small fountain.

The view up there was impressive. From the high vantage I could see the entire eastern stretch of Uppsala. Even Danmark’s steeple was visible over 4 miles away as the crow files. The photos I took were disappointing, the trees becoming an indistinct melange of green and modern buildings all but smothering the outlines of the beautiful architectural character of the older.

Uppsala Cathedral’s Spires

One thing stood above the rest. Only the south tower of the castle stands above it. The steeples of Uppsala’s cathedral.

I finished the loop around the castle. At the other entrance, I could have taken the trike to the upper courtyard, but so many people strolled in and out it would have been rude to push in with a dog and trike.

I resigned myself to simply heading home. It was a brake gripping ride down high hill to the rest of Uppsala below. The furball at my side wanted to run of course. On gravel and many people, it would have been a disaster of gigantic proportions. Soon we were warping down the gravel path next to the old cemetery. From there home was a short jump.

I felt fine as we coasted to a stop. Though Loke’s tongue hung nearly to his toes, he had plenty of energy to jump up the stairs to the apartment. I guess after two days in a row of 22´+ miles, 15 miles from Lagga to home was small change.

It felt good to find a new runestone and simply get out for a ride even if it wasn’t completely new places. Now, I have even more to search for in the area!

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