Terii’s Cycling Babble


Weirdness, Panic and New Toy
June 8, 2014, 6:02 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Goodness, but the miles are piling up fast.

Loke and I went out again on the 6. After just 1 day of rest from our ‘epic’ 28.8 mile Borås to Ulricehamn ride, Loke was already back to normal energy and bounce. Not that he’d been sluggish on Thursday, just acted a bit less twitchy. No lurching hopefully to his feet every time Jens and I so much as blinked. He waited until Friday morning to resume that behavior.

So, out we went.

After doing the research on the various things for the last blog post for the Borås-Ulricehamn ride, I was intrigued by the whole 1593 Uppsala Synod thing. I’d used Google maps to try and pin-point the location of the building where it took place, but all showed was a grassy sward. So, I decided I’d go look. The older buildings often have names. It would be easy enough to look at the 4 or so buildings in the area to see which one had the name ‘Academia Carolina’ or Swedish equivalent.

Loke was quite happy to see his harness once I picked it up. He walked right over and raised his head to have it slipped on. He wanted to run like the wind once I loosed the parking brake.

I didn’t head directly to the Cathedral area, but took a slightly indirect route to add a tiny bit of distance. I wanted more than 3 miles for the ride, but less than 10.

It was quite warm and very humid. Not much sun though as the sky was mostly covered with clumpy clouds. Not the sort to threaten rain, though that might have been welcome for Loke’s sake.

For the first mile, he wanted to run, but I kept him back and finally, he settled. Even at 7 mph or less, he got quite warm so I made a point to stop frequently in shade to offer water. Annoyingly, I forgot to fasten it closed properly after the first water stop. It drained out of the bladder and soaked down everything in my right pod bag. Nothing that could be damaged or ruined by a little wet luckily. Those were in my left bag.

It took me about 10 minutes to dry off everything as best I could which included turning the bag inside out and shaking it off. The pod bags are pretty water resistant. Not quite wet proof, but enough to hold a good hard rain out… or let water puddle in the bottom since there’s no seam there for it to leak through.

The loss of most of the water was a problem. Loke needed it. I decided I’d have to buy him some if I couldn’t find a place to refill. I almost stopped a newly opened grocery between here and the field loop section. I still had another drink or two for him so passed on, reluctant to leave the trike there for some reason.

I stuck to shady areas where I could and twisted my way through the streets of the older parts of Uppsala. It meant rattling over cobbles which is never pleasant. Soon we were in the Cathedral area. I couldn’t find the building. It annoyed Loke to be creeping along at barely walking speed (2.5 mph) while I peered at building walls for name signs. I found the Oxenstiernska Huset (House), but not the one I sought.

It looked as if it was gone, but the initial research I did never mentioned the Academia Carolina’s demolition. I persisted for about half an hour before giving Loke the last of the water.

No problem. I had a plan to keep the fuzzy hydrated. We rolled down the hill away from the Cathedral toward the river where I went to one of the ice cream kiosks. It was soooo tempting to get a double or even triple cone as I shuffled my way through the line. About 8 people were ahead of me. I resisted and walked away with only a bottle of cold water.

We rested in the shade by the river near the awnings and seating provided at the ice cream kiosk. Then something weird happened. I heard this odd call. Looking up from the water, I saw a jackdaw perched on the iron fence about 8 feet away. It was staring directly at me with its silvery gray eyes. Dozens of other people munching on ice cream with crunchy cones and yet its attention was riveted on me. Then it sort of bowed forward, half spread its wings and made the same peculiar vocalization that had gotten my attention in the first place.

After 3 or 4 times of that, it fluttered off. Shaking my head, I relaxed again as Loke suddenly got all lovey, pestering me for attention. Perhaps he was trying to say he was rested enough. I got up to re-hitch him to the trike and put the cable away. I heard that call again from overhead. On a tree branch about 3 feet above me sat a pair of jackdaws displaying the same behavior as the first one. It started to feel a bit creepy, like I was at the beginning of some bizarre ‘Birds’ knock-off. As I pedalled off, they actually followed me for about 30-40 feet.

I headed for the pedestrian street, hoping to find a fruit stall in spite of the fact it was Sweden’s National Day (equivalent of 4th of July). There was one more episode of the disturbing jackdaw episode as I crossed the river. One of them landed on a planter in the middle of the bridge and watched me approach, doing that bowing, spread winged, odd vocalization. Not sure if it was 4 different birds or just 1 who had a friend for the tree-branch display. Maybe my unusual appearance singled me out to the birds out of the hundreds of people wandering around.

Clearly, that was the weirdness of the day.

I found a fruit stall quickly. A nice guy was working there and complimented Loke as I picked out a pair of cherry baskets. After paying, I thought I’d put my wallet away where I usually do and went to roll out.

It might have been as I was putting it away that poor Loke had a sudden freak out. I think it was a combination of the sight and odd movement of a mylar balloon combined with the sharp ‘WHAP, WHAP’ of a startled pigeon. But he suddenly crouched down with ears flat and tail tucked with rolling eyes, not wanting to move.

Took a moment to get him moving again and then he was so desperate to avoid the air (not helium) filled balloons, he almost jumped into my lap.

Once he calmed down and we were going normally again, I headed for the American Food store, expecting it to be closed. Much to my surprise, they were open. I went in with Loke to pick up a few little things to support the store. Charle’s wife was working the register. It occurs to me that I really should learn her name. I went to pay… and no wallet anywhere in my handlebar bag. I panicked, dragging Loke out with me to dig through my pod bags. Still no luck.

Charles called out a greeting then, walking toward the shop from his cafe with daughter Amanda. He gave me a hug, asking how I was. I told him, ‘A bit panicked at the moment,” then explained why. He offered to have Amanda watch Loke if I needed to backtrack. I took the offer. Loke looked a bit uneasy at being left with people he didn’t really know, but it was easier to do a very slow roll for ground scanning and lots of starting and stopping to ask street vendors if someone had turned in a wallet.

No happiness. I’d been hoping someone might have found it and turned in to an honest vendor just for the driver’s license if nothing else. I would hate to need taking the tests again!

Bless him. Charles then offered to let me take the items I’d picked and pay later. Even offered to foot me a bit of cash if I needed it for something on the way home. Clearing space at his checkout counter, he told me to take a few deep breaths while I took everything out of my handlebar bag to be absolutely sure. As I did that, he left the shop. Just as I was putting everything back in the bag, he returned with a huge grin. ‘How much do you love me?’

My answer was, ‘You found it? Please tell me you found it!’

He held it up. It had been in my pod bags. Charles had guessed that by the time I was looking there, I was in a heightened state of agitation and had missed it while desperately digging around. So, he went back to look there again for me.

I about hugged the stuffing out of him for that. I told him he’d saved the day. It had been a really good one right up to losing the wallet. He turned it back around into a good day. Then he went to get Loke and Amanda.

Loke was pretty indifferent to my return. Either he decided he really like Amanda or he was secure that I wasn’t going to abandon him. Maybe a bit of both? I packed the purchases up and had a bit of a chat with them.

Turns out his cafe a couple doors down is closed! Another man used to own the cafe and ‘sold’ the business to Charles, but not the location. That Charles had to rent from him. Well, the lease was up, the guy didn’t want to renew, but he wanted much more for the place than Charles wanted to pay. Apparently though, some association has agreed to step in, buy the place and rent that back to Charles. He said he’s taking the opportunity to catch his breathe with just one business to run for the moment. They’ll be renovating the cafe some too.

Then I stuck my foot in it. I asked Amanda how her guinea pigs were. Charles winced and as Amanda silently focused on petting Loke, I could tell it wasn’t good. I apologized for bringing up something painful and offered condolences. Once I said bye and went out to rehitch Loke, Charles followed me out to explain about the guinea pigs. One had died just 2 days previous. I won’t go into the details.

It had hit Amanda quite hard. I can relate. I remember losing a parakeet at her age. Floyd, a green and yellow bird. He’d even learned how to talk! The only one of many parakeets we’d had over the years who did. He was such a little weirdo and greatly loved. Well, by everyone except for the dog. He used to torment Lodi. He got sick and it took him very quickly.

From the shop, it was a quick jaunt home. We rolled to the final stop with 7.75 miles. Loke still had plenty of energy for the rest of the evening to be a bit of a pest.

I settled in to solve the mystery of Academia Carolina. It took a little digging, but it turns out that the building was demolished in 1778 to make way for a new library.

The religious meeting that took place there in between February 25th to March 20th in 1593 was pivotal to Swedish history. The years leading up to it had been tumultuous for Sweden as it was torn in several directions. There was its struggle for independence from Denmark combined with the conflict of religion with Lutheran and Catholic.

Mostly, the country leaned toward Lutheran followings, but no official religion had been established. In 1592, things came to a head when King Johan III of Sweden died. His son and heir had not only been elected as king of Poland, but also had sworn to follow the Roman Catholic dictates. Because of this, he had lost his claim to the Swedish throne, unless he followed the Evangelical belief prevalent in the country

In anticipation of Sigismund’s arrival in Sweden, Johan’s brother Duke Karl took the lead. He wanted to convene a synod (religious meeting) to achieve religious unity for Sweden, but was prevented from doing so by the Council. According to a letter from Sigismund, Duke Karl had no right to summon either Council or Parliament.

But calls for the meeting grew wildly, largely reconciling Duke Karl and the Council. They decided to act outside the law, jointly maintain the National Board and defend each one in the right religion: Gods pure Word as interpreted in the Augsburg confession.

A council convened in Uppsala in the Academia Carolina building (by a different name at the time, I believe). It was for the clergy (306 priests) to clearly and firmly express its rejection of the Roman Church’s doctrine and practices. By March 5th, the synod decided to declare the Holy Scripture as the sole guideline for religion. The three creeds – Apostles, Nicene and the Athanasian – were officially recognized and the Lutheran Augsburg Confession (1530) adopted in original form.

After the unanimous acceptance of the unaltered Augsburg Confession, Nicolaus Olai Bothniensis, who was presiding, exclaimed ‘Now Sweden is one man and we all have one Lord and God.’

Another important decision was that only the Lutheran doctrine was to be allowed. Calvinism, Catholicism and Zwinglianism were all officially banned. The Catholic-inclined liturgy of King Johan III was also rejected.

To know that such a pivotal decision in the history of an entire country took place in one building I might have been so close to where it once stood is awe inspiring. Only being able to stand before it or even inside the very room where the meeting was held could have topped it. Rather like standing in room where the founding fathers put pen to the Constitution of the United States.

If anyone is wondering why on earth I put this long historical babble on my cycle blog, well… the blog became about Sweden and Loke as much as cycling. Those three things are closely woven. I wanted to remember this historical fact since it was discovered because of my riding from place to place. It’s only fitting.

Any-hoo! Onward!

Yesterday, sometime afternoon, Jens gave me a pitiful look and pleaded with me to take Loke out with the trike again to spare him the need to walk with the fuzzy for an hour or more. I agreed. Admittedly, I grumbled about it some. Mostly wishing that he’d given me a heads up on the decision much earlier. Though cooler and less humid than the 6th, it was still quite warm and no clouds. If I had known earlier, Loke would have been out and trotting with the trike by 6 am, not 1 pm.

To continue the break up of the River Loop, I decided to take a round-about way to Gamla Uppsala and reconnect with the River Loop from the direction of the grave mounds. It’s nice to roll by the mounds, woods and fields on the gravel path there from time to time.

Within 15 minutes of starting the ride, the clouds thickened. It went from mostly sunny to mostly cloudy. A blessing for Loke. At least this time I had plenty of water so I could dampen his ears which always seems to help.

The Pit

The Pit

Approaching the turn for the parking lots at the site, it was a bit of a shock. Where the cycle path and portion of the road used to be is now a huge pit. Over 50 yards long and I’m guessing 30 or so feet deep.

Two or three years ago, there was a little playground at the far end of the now pit where preschoolers played at the daycare. That was removed for the archeological dig. Now, playground, dig and even part of the building with the daycare are gone, all wiped away clean down to the bedrock which looks like they were prepping for blasting. I believe it’s meant to be an underpass.

It was crazy in that area what with a busy road diverted into an area designed for only a fraction of the traffic load. It’s kinda like a bucket of ball bearings being poured through a funnel.

Profound relief flooded through me when I made it through the madness onto the cycle/pedestrian path.

I went past the mounds, gritting my teeth as I always do now. For the first years I was here in Sweden, there was a wooden rail fence between the path and the mounds. The fence was more of a mental barrier to people really. I mean anyone could slip through or over the rails if they really wanted to climb the mounds. Sometimes I would see someone up there.

A few years ago, a large section of the fence was removed and the stampede of destruction began. Hundreds of people tromping to the top daily. The mounds are used for kids on mountain bikes and sledding when (if) there’s winter snows. It’s amazing how quickly paths have eroded into them. Paths that will only get deeper as people wear into them and rain and winter thaws wash away dirt.

I have no clue why they took the fence away. Maybe they simply decided there’s no archeolgical value to the mounds any more. Now it’s just hurrying along their erosion and ruining the beauty. Instead of lush grass speckled with wild flowers. It’s lush grass speckled with wild flowers, cut about with bands of dirt and people crawling around on the slopes like ants on a kicked nest. *sigh*

The rest of the way is as it’s always been for the most part. The sand they laid down a couple years ago has worked down through the hard packed gravel and dirt so it’s better rolling now. With the pleasant if mostly cloudy weather, it was pretty busy, but we were in no hurry. Near the end of the path where over the past 4 years or so, they’ve built a dog yard and an outdoor workout station, they’ve added a sort of exercise/playground to one side. Little log structures to climb, jump and balance-walk on. They left trees up around and through it to offer shade, which they failed to do for the adult workout machines.

From there, we just hurried on to the paths that run by the football (American) field to the swim hall and then home. 7.1 miles or so.

And you guessed it. Loke still energy enough to be a pest all that evening!

Oh! The new toy! I almost forgot to mention it!

With the whole tooth thing and the fact I took it pretty calmly for someone who used to be absolutely terrified of dentists, Jens told me to figure out some big-ish ticket item I wanted for when it was done. Well, it’s been done for a couple months, but I was having trouble settling on something. I kept waffling about maybe getting a couple hundred dollars worth of 3D models to play with or….

A Wisp turbine from a group called ‘Windpax’. I discovered them from Yahoo News of all things. They had a Kickstarter project going on. There are two sizes of the vertical little windmills. The Wisp, which can charge 6 iPhone at once from the turbine or 3 charges on an iPhone from the fully charged battery stick. It weighs a bit less than 4 lbs. There’s another one called the Breeze which produces enough power to charge 3 iPads from it’s turbine, but it weighs about 9 lbs. 4 additional lbs, I think I can manage. 9? I don’t even want to try.

Well, on the evening of 6th, I bit the bullet. Now I’ll be able to keep my Garmin, phone and more charged if I stay out for more than an overnight tour. The battery stick can also double as a flash light and there’s a USB led light I can use for say, prepping breakfast at 3 am if I’m under the shade of trees. And no worries if it’s a calm day! My moving trike generates its own wind!

I guess this means I’ll have to do a proper tour next year! The Wisp won’t be delivered until around September, which is pretty much the closing of the touring window.

Kinda excited by it really.

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