Terii’s Cycling Babble


Plotting and Packing
May 31, 2014, 4:27 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

I’ve been doing quite a lot of one and not so much of the other. I need to get my rump in gear. I’m going to stick to the flow of time, so I’ll get to the title in a moment.

On the 20th, I decided to go for a ride with the fuzzy. Instead of just another River Loop, we were going to run a little errand to drop something off with my mother-in-law. That meant a loop through the heart of Uppsala if I wanted more distance than the River Loop. We’ve done it once before which came out around 10 miles, but instead it would be nice to avoid some of the more heavily trafficked streets we had covered.

I did a little looking at Google Maps with bike paths highlighted and found a way. Once Jens was awake and assured me his mom is an early riser, I called. She was already working at her little garden plot located not too far from their apartment. Perhaps I could meet her there? Once I had the directions and set the location firmly in my mind by looking at Google Maps again, I got ready.

As we rolled out, in a completely different direction than he expected, Loke’s excitement levels went through the roof. Faster and faster he wanted to go as we rolled along Gamla Uppsala Road. As if that wasn’t enough, before we came to the next intersection on the other side of the rail tracks, we cut sharply right, briefly doubling back as we rolled onto a cycle path running right along the rail tracks.

Not the most scenic of paths, but only 1 train blasted by and it was well away from the noise, pressure and exhaust of cars. Loke was running strong and refused to drink the first two times I offered water. We’d started before 9 am to avoid the worst of the day’s heat, but it was warming fast. We rolled over a busy road and then cut over in a northerly direction to roll through the cool green of a tiny park. From there, it was a quite stretch through a residential area made up of small, single family homes.

With only a scattering of clouds, the day warmed fast. I tried to stick to shady areas. When we emerged out of the cluster of houses onto a large grassy sward flanked by two streets, I swerved off the roads and onto the packed dirt path that ran beside a long row of trees. A surface kinder than asphalt for Loke’s feet and a bit of shade to protect him from the heat. He finally took a drink of water.

As we rolled along, I was treated to the unexpected site of Swedes swinging bats at flying balls. About 4 or 5 groups of boys and girls in their mid to late teens, always accompanied by an older person, between ages 40 – 50, with a clip board yelling out directions. Softball and/or baseball tryouts? Oddly, one group seemed to be using aluminum bats or wooden cricket paddles interchangeably. Two of the groups used baseballs and the others softballs. At times, someone would try to pitch, but mostly, the batter would toss the ball up and try to smack it on the way down. If they’re trying to form teams for some kind of league, they’ve got a lot of work to do. Still, it was neat to see them trying something completely new to them.

As we went along that stretch of green with what might be the early beginnings of an Uppsala baseball/softball league, Loke grew increasingly excited. He knows that area very well as it’s one of the main ways we always use to go to ‘Grandma n Grandpa’s place’. He is absolutely crazed about Jens family, his parents in particular. 90% of it is due to the fact that he’s learned to strongly associate them with food. He pulled hard, trying to draw us into loping speed, but I stubbornly pulled us back.

Instead of taking the turn Loke expected and desperately hoped for, we went straight. His disappointment was palpable. We came to a stop at a busy intersection where I stopped to look at the map of the area on my phone to be sure I had the right way. ‘Yep,’ I thought to myself. ‘Straight across here and then I can give these to…. ‘ The thought trailed off as I twisted my head to look at the left side of the running bar fastened to the back of the trike’s seat. Completely empty of any bag. I’d forgotten to bring the items. Sighing, I called Kiki (MIL’s nickname) to tell her I’d forgotten them. She invited me to come see her any way, but given that the day was heating up so quickly, I begged off for Loke’s sake.

We turned toward Granby from there before cutting north where an underpass let us cross the busy road where the cycle path led us through a parklike stretch between apartment blocks. I was going to make another stab at finding runestones. I’d taken a careful look at the street view of the area on Google Maps to know where the turn was. The small streets weren’t on my Garmin so knowing the turn was at the little white 4H building between the fences helped a lot.

Burial mound with both U #970 & 969

Burial mound with both U #970 & 969

Upplands Runestone #969

Upplands Runestone #969

We found the first runestone easily. Uppsala Runestone #969 sits on the side of a low mound that is actually part of an old burial ground. I’ve since found out that we missed U #970 just a few feet away on the same mound! Not a bad thing, just means we get to do the ride again, not just because of what I need to give to Kiki, but for the other stone as well. U 968 is also in the area, perhaps 100 yards or so away. I couldn’t find it, but I’m willing to take another stab at it.

It was nice and shady at the tiny burial mound, so I let Loke sniff around and rest a moment as I took photos. I was less than 6 feet away from the stone I ‘missed’ when I was taking a picture of the placard. It was sitting at the base of the tree beside the little sign. Part of the reason I didn’t notice it was because I didn’t actually read the placard until I downloaded the photos from the camera. Another was the runestone website I use to track down stones off the beaten path only mentioned U #970 at this point. Not so much as a hint of U #969. Ironically, U #970 is the one I missed.

Pasture Mounds

Pasture Mounds

We pushed on in search of Runestone U #968 which is supposed to be about 100 yards or so away. It took us past the 4H offices up to an area fenced off for pastures and pond surrounded by yet more fences. Loke looked a bit too intense at the site of geese and chickens so he stayed with the trike while I wandered for a glimpse of the stone. No luck. I would have gone into the pond area during my search, but two very large and very aggressive geese had me rethink that.

We left the 4-H area, heading toward Vaksala Church where apparently I’d missed a stone imbedded in the southern church wall, when Loke went weird. He just started moving very oddly, almost like his hind end was turning into noodles. Front of my furry cycle buddy, perfectly fine, but the back was like it belonged to a very drunk husky. I stopped and Loke sighed and threw his weight into the harness, clearly in no pain and with plenty of energy. We moved out again, very slowly and yet his hind legs and hips wobbled.

Jens unfortunately was at work, so no quick rescue. We slowed to barely my walking speed. It completely drove Loke nuts. He might have been moving funny, but it didn’t impact his enthusiasm. After about half a mile, whatever the wobble was, disappeared. He did the last mile and a half, trying to pull us faster than his allowed 8.5 mph, moving like a young husky.

I’ve been watching him like a hawk since, but whatever it was hasn’t reared its head again. It still worries me, but I have a feeling that if I took him to the vet, they’d find nothing, chalking it up to over-protective doggie momma. Kinda like one time Loke had some sort of spasm where his hind legs stiffened and kicked out, tipping him over backwards. For like 3 minutes, he just quivered, hardly able to stay upright while I flew around in search of my shoes and keys to rush him to the vet. Then it was gone as if it had never happened. I took him to the vet the next morning anyway, but they found nothing wrong. I absolutely HATE things like that.

We finished up with something like 8.75 miles.

A couple days after that run, the weather took an abrupt about-face. We went from temps in the 80’s with high humidity down to the 50’s… with high humidity.

It was 4 days without any hint of limp, hop or wobble before I risked taking Loke out again. On the 24th, we did the River Loop. Don’t remember much about the day except it was gray and chill enough that I wore thin wool under my cycle top. I should have added something to my legs to, but hindsight and all that.

On that day, Jens told me that he had a business trip on June 4th in Sweden to a town call Borås. He would go by train, though he was willing to take the car with me, trike and the dog. We’d leave leave on the evening of the 3rd, he’d have an all day meeting on the 4th so I’d have plenty of time to pedal around. Someplace fresh.

Enthusiastically, I threw myself into various maps of the area to plot a route though it didn’t have to be a loop. We would be leaving directly after Jens’ meeting finished up. Easy enough for me to just head northish and Jens swing by to grab me as he headed out of town.

That eager anticipation turned to frustration. The area around Borås directly is fairly barren. I was going to be doing a lot of doubling back to find even just 1 or 2 runestones and maybe a single church. My time was limited, double back were not something I wanted to make the day tedious.

Then there are the churches in the area. They’re boring. White plastered long houses with a square tower. Only minor variations in windows and the tower tops to separate them. I swear, it looks as if I could just take photos of one or two churches from different angles and pass them off as 5 or 6. Only anyone very familiar with them and the area would know the difference, but no one else. They’re all so…. vanilla box. Perhaps I should be less hung up on their appearance and more focused on the age and history as most of them for a 30 mile radius date from the 1100’s.

I was actually frustrated enough to debate calling it off when I plopped down the little man for Street View on Google Maps to check the size of a street. It looked acceptable, though the environs were boring, tightly packed residential. I spun the image and blinked. Slowly turning it back, I saw it and felt a surge of eagerness. I quashed it at first, refusing to hope until I was absolutely certain. But the site of a lovely paved, very straight cycle path stretching off into the trees on one side of the road and running through the village on the other was a glorious site.

It wasn’t highlighted on the bike option of Google Maps, but where ever it crossed roads that the street view car had been, I took a look and there it was. Could just make out the path on satellite view which let me follow it along. The fact it sometimes took off through the countryside, generally ran straight except for very gentle curves convinced me it was an old rail bed just like the Klarälvsbana (Clear River Track) that runs north from Karlstad for 60+ miles.

So, I did some research for cycle tracks in the area of Borås and found one that was fairly new. Probably no more than 3 years if I had to guess. The track boasts solar lighting which they seemed very proud of. And it was extensive. Almost 50 miles reported in the web site. It runs from an area south of the western end of Borås, mostly north-east where it finally wobbled east along some tiny lakes before looping around the northern shore of a large lake to run south through Ulricehamn. From there, it continued south, threading between more lakes to a town called Tranemo. That’s the 3 towns the web-site described. Actually, the trail runs even further south to another village before it peters out into rusty, weed-choked rail tracks. Those just beg for conversion into more cycle path.

That was what I’d do. Even if it barely got me any runestones or the like, I’d ride the cycle path. No worries about freshly grated gravel lanes, high trafficked gravel roads or the bike-forbidden carriage-ways blocking paths and causing double backs. I absolutely loved riding the Klarälvsbana those years ago. One of my longer rides, hammering out just over 40 miles in 4 hours against the wind. Without Loke obviously. That trail taught me the joy of riding rail-trails particularly when there’s limited time. Really, it was perfect. So, I started plotting.

I swung back to a little frustration while doing so. I found yet another path leading north from Ulricehamn. It continued northward toward a place called Falköping. There, in dizzying profusion, are over a dozen passage graves. Quite a few of them actually sit in the town itself. The frustration came with the fact that it was too far for me to reach even if Jens dropped me off in Ulricehamn, roughly 50 miles of cycle path away. Roughly an hour from Borås. Too much for Jens to do an out-n-back.

Jens chose that moment to ask how the planning was going. I muttered about not being able to take my trike by train. Then I asked if Sweden had a bus system kinda like Greyhound where you could take ‘luggage’. Something like oh… a tarp wrapped, folded trike and a trailer full of camping gear? He asked why I would need that. I explained about the sheer amount of cycle trails and stuff to see in the area we were going, but it was so far away. If I took the car, I’d have to do loops, which I didn’t always want to do with such lovely rail-trail tracks calling. “Well, as long as you stay out for at least 3 days on tour, it wouldn’t be a problem for me to drop you off and pick you up. It’s only 4 hours away after all,” he answered.

Have I mentioned I love that man?

So, I decided I’d ride from Borås to potentially Ulricehamn. That’s 25 miles with 3 churches and a few runestones to see. We’ll take it nice and slow. No pushing Loke. If we meandered along at a 5 mph or even less, I’ll be cool with it. We’d be out and together. If we need to stop after 10 miles and chill out while waiting for Jens to finish his meeting to come get us, so be it. Which reminds me, I need to remember to pack my Kindle. I’ll have the umbrella holder mounted for portable husky shade, though one advantage to the cycle paths is more shade than most roads. Plenty of water and even a bag of dried chicken snacks for Loke and fruits and such for me.

So, having decided that much is a relief. Now I just need to pack. I was going to attempt fixing the gears (again), but decided against it. I can manage with how they are. It’s too big a risk that attempting to ‘fix’ them might make the trike unrideable with no guarantees that it could be corrected before the 3rd.

So, that’s the plotting. Now I just need to do the packing… and maybe make at least a pair of socks for Loke. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my feet which makes wandering around for packing and going out to buy velcro problematical.

On Tuesday of this week, I promised Jens that I’d take Loke for a run Friday morning. I’m going to start doing that at least 2 times a week barring limping from the fuzzball. Most days, Jens takes Loke out for a long walk in the morning, particularly since I’ve had these problems with my feet. It’s been so sweet of him, so since Loke did so beautifully on his last run, I decided I could return the favor as much as possible. In place of the early morning 1+ hour walk, I think Loke can manage going with the trike at least twice a week.

So, Friday morning that’s what happened. I’d planned a longer ride than the River Loop, but remembering I had an early dental appointment nixed it. It was heavy gray, 52 F and crazy windy. Oh, and drizzling. Must mention the drizzle. Still, with an extra layer of my light wool, I was fine. Loke ran strong and seemingly limp free. Even against the wind, I felt pretty strong myself. Didn’t even feel as if I’d gone for a ride when we got back home from the uneventful outing.

I was a little baffled though. My Garmin has always showed the route I took to be 4 – 4.08 miles. This time? 3.88 miles. I mentioned it to Jens. He suggested it might be the cloud cover. True. Then he added if it needed replaced, I’d had it for quite a few years now so if it happened more often, let him know and also what I might want to replace it with.

Have I mentioned that I love that man?

So, that’s my current update. Now, I just need to get packing!

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2 Comments so far
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It’s amazing in support of me to have a web page, which is good for my knowledge.
thanks admin

Comment by fast exercise

You’re welcome and thank you! 🙂

Comment by Terii




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