Terii’s Cycling Babble

Mälarsdalsleden – Leg 2
September 11, 2015, 6:59 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Leg 2? Really? Was that only the 2nd time I’d ridden it? Swear it felt like the third.

After Loke’s 6.5-ish mile post-recovery jaunt, things got a bit complicated. I wanted to do another portion of the Mälardalsleden, but Jens wanted Loke to get a decent amount of exercise. More than what could be had from walkies. We decided on something of a compromise. Jens would drop me off at where I’d ended last time before heading into Stockholm to look around at stuff and maybe have lunch. Then he’d come get Loke to return home while I rode on for a bit longer.

It admittedly turned into a bit of a fiasco, with the starting point being too far from actual Stockholm for Jens’ liking. He still decided to make it work.

Yttergran's Church

Yttergran’s Church

The starting point, as I said, was where I’d ended last time. Yttergran Church. Jens was warily eyeing the busy road as I set up. When he finally commented on it, I assured him there was a cycle path almost the entire 1 mile portion of the road before turning off into a much quieter area.

Whatta day for a ride!

Whatta day for a ride!

It was a pretty day, warm without being hot, the blue sky filled with puffy clouds with no threat of rain to be seen. Loke was ecstatic to be out and away from Uppsala for a change. A good day to be out for a longer ride.

Of the first 3-4 miles, that first one was the most peaceful and interesting. The cycle path was set off the main road and screened by trees and such. Hardly saw the road at all. On the other side of the E18, Loke and I continued south-east through a mostly residential area. Thankfully, it was a cycle path that kind ran along between the backyards of houses lining two separate streets. It was mostly green, free of car traffic. Not fascinating, but not horrible either.

Random Memorial Stone

Random Memorial Stone

Loke and I both were relieved when the route cut sharply north, under the E18 and into the countryside beyond. He went with a higher tail and head while jogging along, nose working overtime to catch all the scents in the wind.

Much to my relief, Loke was moving just fine. Frustrated with my restrictions actually, but better that than re-injury. Never mind his odd, mystery injuries only seem to show up hours after any kind of activity. Gotta love dogs that are so into what they’re doing they refuse to give even a hint of discomfort until it’s over with.

A couple hours after we started, Jens called to say he was done in Uppsala. Where should he go to pick Loke up? I told him I’d call him back and find a spot I could swerve off the road to look at my maps. As I did that, a taxi pulled into the same area just in front of me. The driver got out, curious about the trike and Loke. We chatted a bit before he got back in the car. He didn’t leave, just sat there. I think it was break time or something.

I called Jens back and told him the name of a riding school just a short distance ahead of the fuzzy and I. We pushed on. I parked next to the barn beside the main road. Loke didn’t seem thrilled with the idea that his portion of the ride was over.

I don’t like to admit it, but it felt a bit nice to be on my own for a while. Able to shake loose of the constant vigilance about Loke’s pace and stride, worrying if pushing for 8 or so miles was too much too soon, etc…

I love Loke’s company, but when I feel worried about him as much as I do at times, it’s nice to have a chance to just ride without that tension.

The two miles between the riding school and the first ‘fresh’ church of the day went fast. I zipped down the gentle hills at speeds approaching 20 mph and had a few sections where I cruised along at about 10 mph. Over all though, my average speed wasn’t significantly faster thanks to the climbs.

Håbo-Tibble Church

Håbo-Tibble Church

I rolled to a stop at Håbo-Tibble Church. Doing the usual break to walk around for a runestone hunt though I’m generally pretty aware of their presence thanks to my ‘pre-ride research’.

There wasn’t much memorable between Håbo-Tibble Church and Västra Ryds Church. Sunshine, fields, trees and scatterings of houses and occasional farmsteads. I didn’t even really take any photos over the 5 miles from one to the next which tends to be an indication of how unmemorable it was.

Västra Ryds Church

Västra Ryds Church

I rolled to a stop outside of Västra Ryds Church. It’s a pretty little building. I parked and walked up to see if it was open, but no luck.

Uppland Runestone #608

Uppland Runestone #608

As I tried to find a good angle to photo the church, a man came walking by. He stopped to curiously look the trike over. Then he looked over at me, clearly wanting to ask about it. I accommodated of course. He asked about the brakes and gears. He was completely enchanted by the method I’d used to carry water that day. It was in the truck bag atop my luggage rack. He especially liked that I rode with a husky most of the time and said he would have liked to see that.

After about 15 minutes, he wished me a good ride and went on.

I lingered only long enough to collect the runestone by the churchyard wall before rolling away.

Random old house

Random old house

I continued to follow the signs for the Mälardalsleden. I rolled through pretty countryside and even took a few pictures along the way.

The first leg of the Mälardalsleden I’d done had thrown me a rather harsh stretch involving a gate, a too narrow path, an old rail bridge, 300 yards of loose baseball sized rocks, and boulders set too close together to roll through. I can’t remember the last time I’d had to manhandle my trike around so much or take so long to roll a measly 300 yards. Even Loke had trouble walking on that mess which he did on the flexi-leash so he’d have more choice about where his feet went.

Mälardalsleden... riiiiight...

Mälardalsleden… riiiiight…

I think Leg 2 was trying to lull me into a false sense of security. It almost accomplished it. Then the signs and my maps told me that the trail moved off the road and through some trees. I saw what looked to be a foot path and passed it because I didn’t want to believe that it was the actual route. I stopped, looked more closely at various maps, rolled back to the sign, but yep. It was the route.

After a closer look at my Garmin, I decided to try another way onto it about 100 yards down in hopes it was better. Not really. Good thing Loke wasn’t with me though. He’d have been bounding through weeds taller than his back for a while.

A two wheeled bike would have managed better, but even then feet and legs would have been getting whipped by weeds. For me, my rear wheel was fine, but the two front were well off the trail and I had to work quite hard to roll them through the lush growth. I shuddered every few seconds at the thought of ticks as the plants whipped and brushed over my arms and lower legs.

I actually did find a tick on me. It was perched on my upper arm, waving its little forelegs around in search of more blood rich territory. I flicked it away and spent the rest of the ride looking over every part of myself I could see and flipping my hair in hopes of dislodging those I couldn’t. Remarkably, that was the only one.

Much, MUCH better!

Much, MUCH better!

Tick-creepy and annoying as it was, it didn’t last long. On the other side of a road boom, it opened up into a lovely, wide trail of well packed gravel.

Along that nice section of trail, I came upon a frail, older man walking his dog. The plump, elderly Golden Retriever saw me and did his best to get excited. It seemed he really wanted to plod along with me for a while. That, or smother me with kisses. At least he didn’t seem aggressive. I had enough of that on the 3rd day during the Kattegattleden tour.

It was coming up on 5 pm when I rolled into an area called Kungsängen (The King’s Bed). It appears my brain must have been a bit scrambled by this time. Maybe because of my paranoia that ticks might still be creeping around on me.

I say this because it seems I rolled right by Kungsängen Church without even the least little photo. I didn’t even remember it being there. It was only the photos of the vicarage that made me realize there must have been a church. Quick look at Google World View and yep, there it is.

Cottages at Kungsängen Vicarage

Cottages at Kungsängen Vicarage

So for whatever reason, I didn’t photograph the church, but I did stop at the vicarage to look around the buildings there. Some of them were rescued from collapse at other locations. Though it is an open air museum, it was closed at the time. Photos taken, I moved on.

Just beyond the vicarage, the route took me up a somewhat steep and quite long climb. On the sidewalk opposite me, a woman strode along at a brisk pace with a pair of Nordic trekking poles. Between my slow climb and her quick stride, we kept an even pace together and had time to chat as we made our way. It turns out a friend of hers has a recumbent trike as well. We also talked about dogs and she was tickled to know I often rode with my husky running with. What other topics came up, I can’t recall. Then I was at the crest of the hill and sped on.

I don’t remember much of the ride after that and there are no more photos. I was pushing toward a manor house. That much I recall. The path did follow along the water, but must have been just tedious residential or commercial territory for it to be so unmemorable and not worth taking pictures.

About the time I decided to stop, it must have been nearly 6 pm. I’d planned to stop at the manor for Jens to pick me up. Though it’s serves as a conference venue, the signs indicated a private road. If I’d felt a bit stronger, I would have ridden down there and come back to the more public section of the street, but it would have meant slogging up a graveled hill. So, I settled with parking in an out of the way spot and waiting.

There was also a runestone in the area, but try as I could, it eluded me.

It had been a long ride, but felt fruitful. Loke apparently had loads of energy after his 8-ish miles. Better that then hurting him though.

That was my last ‘long’ ride for the moment. Something I hope to correct this weekend. I have been riding, but just local little jaunts.

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