Terii’s Cycling Babble

Chipping Away At The Miles…
October 15, 2015, 5:16 am
Filed under: Day Rides

The rides continue. October was just 13 days old, but I’d squeezed in 7 days of riding which is pretty good for me. It’s good to see that I’ve built up enough that I can throw in a few consecutive days here and there.

October 5th Late Evening

October 5th Late Evening

October 3rd, 4th, and 5th I went out in spite of feeling pretty sick. Mostly it was was for Jens’ and Loke’s sakes. The hubby was sick too, but Loke still needed more than the sluggish mini-walks around the block we were capable of. It’s easier for sick me to roll along like a sick snail than it is for the hubby to stumble zombie like. The rides are still faster and longer than either of us walking when we felt that bad. It was only River Loops in the 5 mile range.

The weather was fairly variable. The first two days of the month where I was too sick to ride, were beautiful. Clear, or mostly clear skies with brisk temperatures. The three consecutive days I rode, they took turns between gray and clear. At the starts of the rides, temps were in the mid-40’s usually and were in the 50’s when I finished. Riding even under heavy skies wasn’t too bad really. Any rain that came with the clouds seemed to drop only during the nights so I never got wet.

Took a rest/sick day on the 6th where Jens was feeling well enough to deal with Loke’s needs.

I felt quite a bit better by the 7th where I bullied myself out the door for a longer River Loop. A whopping 7.35 miles. Go me. It was one of those gray ‘meh’ days, but I stayed dry so still a win!

Loke was still being a bit of a PITA. Some of the rides, he dragged along, slug-like, but then he’d come home where he’d bounce around and harass us, though mostly Jens. Jens teased me that he didn’t think I was really riding for Loke to behave that way.

Out again on the 8th of October which was one of the pretty days, though at one point, a clump of clouds looked all mean and scowling, as if it meant to drench us. It never did thankfully.

Bored with the usual 5-7 mile plod around the River Loop, I added the grave mound stretch to the outing.

Cordoned off and there were shoves!

Cordoned off and there were shoves!

It was as I came up the climb from the rail tracks and passed the museum and the first very small mound that the threatening cloud was looming. There was something going on at the little mound as well it seemed. So, I stopped.

That first mound after the tracks is one of the smallest. It is also the one most ‘abused’. It’s probably been open to the wear and tear of human traffic climbing up for decades and it shows with some portions of the slope well grooved by feet, bike tires, and sleds. The top also looks a bit truncated, but that might be from botched digs by early Victorian or earlier age ‘archaeologists’ looking for plunder. Errr, I mean artifacts.

Still, I was curious about why it was roped off and the presence of shovels. I got up and walked around it, but there was no one to ask unfortunately. After a few moments, I rolled on.

Coming along, I think

Coming along, I think

Further down the path toward where it rejoins the River Loop, we passed through the region where work is ongoing to return the ground back to it’s original make up of clay beneath the top soil. The area still looks a mess, but seems a little more flattened out and perhaps the piles of clay are a bit smaller. Progress, I suppose.

Once done with that stretch of the mounds and fields, it was back to the River Loop and we were back at the storage area with 9.35 miles. Not too shabby for just coming out of a bad cold and days of feeling unwell.

Except of course, it seemed to set me back and I wound up feeling completely under the weather. By then, Jens was feeling fine, so it was possible for me to just pamper myself into recovery over Friday.

By Friday evening, I was feeling much better and started looking at attempting a much longer ride on the weekend. Saturday ended up kind of jinxed though. I found a web site for a sort of gallery showing of a series of images called ‘The Madness of Sweden’ inspired by the recent Mad Max movie. It showed an artist’s rendering of a several ruined places in Sweden, a desert world with familiar landmarks in ruins. The exhibit was free and one day only. I whimsically decided I wanted to go see it. I even looked to see if I could have incorporated it into the next stretch of the Mälardalsleden, but it was too far from where I last stopped to the exhibit location.

So, train it was. Then Jens decided it would be good for us to get out as a family. He kindly drove and Loke came along.

Along the way, we stopped at one of the larger cycle shops in Stockholm to see about getting new shoe covers for those times when the wind blows from the sides of  my direction of travel. The fairing appears to work great for wind coming from the front, but if I’m not moving fast enough create enough forward air flow to buffer the sides, then my feet can still get a bit chilled.

I found one pair that looked as if they’d go over my chunky shoes as Jens walked around with Loke outside the shop. I also took a moment to try on a pair of shoes that looked much like my current pair. Alas, they were a bit too snug. The nice guy who helped me recommended I try a man’s shoe. It almost worked. I would have tried the same shoe in a smaller size, but didn’t want to leave Jens waiting too long. Still felt nice to walk out with what seemed to be a good set of shoe covers.

Then it was onward to downtown Stockholm to put the car in an  underground lot and walk to the park.

I was a bit peeved with the exhibit. I’d though it was outside, but no, it was in one of the little interior areas around the park so one of us had to stay out with the dog. Jens insisted it was no problem. He’d walk Loke around the park and take a turn inside to look if I thought it was worth it.

It was so not worth it. There were 5 or 6 prints on the wall. Exactly the number that were shown on the web site actually. Not a single new image in the tiny space. I was in and out in less than 3 minutes. Jens was fine with it though. I’d gotten shoe covers, tried on some new shoes and we’d at least had a bit of an outing together.

Sunday, October 11th, I woke up, still uncertain of what I wanted to do. Part of me really wanted to tackle the next portion of the Mälarsdalsleden before the days get much shorter and snows arrive. IF snows arrive. I’d also plotted out a random 32 mile loop which would offer a bit of unfamiliar countryside combined with a few places I’ve only ridden a couple times.

By the time I actually got moving, I settled on the idea of doing the Nåntuna/River Path again. It was simply too late to head out on the 30+ mile loop. Ideally, that should be tackled about an hour before sunrise so I’d be done with the ‘ho-hum’ stretch in the murky pre-dawn and have the sun just appearing for the newer terrain. The Nåntuna Loop was decent distance, but still doable with the amount of daylight remaining.

Life sized shetland pony statue

Life sized shetland pony statue

Loke seemed fairly perky as we set out though it was ground we’ve covered 40 or more times this year. Most parts of it at least. I have found a few new ways through parts of the city which feel a bit more pleasant than some of the ways, I was navigating before. The most recent portion is taking a little foot/cycle bridge over a busy section of road to follow more park along the tracks. That stretch of park, broken by a busy road crossed by the bridge, has a few random bits of sculpture. Some of it is modern in nature. Twisted loops of chrome pipes and such. There’s also a bronze statue of a ram though. This time I spotted another one of a pony, like a life-sized shetland. Quite cute really.

The rest of the roll out of town was fairly anti-climatic. We sped by the various little parks. Loke kept a pretty good pace really, even wanted to pull into a lope at times. The miles rolled by and soon we were closing in on Nåntuna.

While I pedaled along, a man caught up with us and started asking about the trike. We had a chat about it for a few minutes before he cruised ahead. It was along that stretch of cycle way that I took a moment to call Jens and let him know Loke was holding up okay. During the call, a little dormouse scurried across the pavement into the tall grass. Too cute!!

Yay! Cycle Road! And part of the Sverigeleden!

Yay! Cycle Road! And part of the Sverigeleden!

I opted for a slightly different route through one area, but a fair stretch of it was fairly ‘meh’. Uphill mostly, through a residential area, but soon the streets gave way to a devoted cycle path between fields and park.

It was also part of the Sverigeleden. I’d actually been looking for this bit of path, remembering it from a previous outing years ago.

Oh, and as you can see in the photo, I was also testing my new shoe covers. They’re awesome! My feet were toasty warm! Too toasty actually. Needed to be about 10 degrees colder I think. I shouldn’t complain. Between them and the fairing, it could mean I can cycle through all but the most bitter arctic blasts! One can hope at least.

Memory told me the cycle road emerged/ended near pastures and stables. Before we reached the road, however, a pair of horses and their riders appeared with a woman beside them on a bike. They were about 75 yards away when they rounded the curve into view. Immediately, I pulled over as far to the side as I could, took my helm off and stood up. It seems to freak horses out less if they see a person standing with a weird bike and dog than this bizarre bike/woman/dog thing with a misshapen head.

It worked. The thoroughbred balked a bit, sidled, and then walked nervously past, but those tend to be high strung. The sturdy black horse, looked like a Welsh Cob mix, didn’t seem phased by us at all. Soon, they were out of sight.

Horses watching from afar

Horses watching from afar

We emerged onto the ‘pretty’ road where I expected. Across the fields separated into pasture blocks, curious horses looked up and watched as I turned right to begin the journey back to Uppsala.

Love this road

Love this road

I have to admit, I really love that 2 mile stretch. Loke seems to like it too. He looks around a lot, nose working overtime to catch the scents of animals in pasture, woods, and river.

As I write this, it occurred to me, I’ve only ever ridden here during the autumn. All my memories of it are of autumn golds, hurrying to beat the coming twilight. One of the last ones before this ‘rediscovery’ was stopping at the now torn up nature reserve parking by the little bridge as twilight came, my hands cold and a magpie scolding us from the trees above.

Buzzing over the river

Buzzing over the river

Perhaps I should take a break from the area so as to not become sick of it and experience it in winter and spring? The drawback of winter is that I doubt I could make it onto the river path without a hard struggle of pushing the trike up slippery ice in cycle shoes to get over that evil hill. Might be worth it so see the river, woods and marshes in ice and snow. For one time at least.

Where the trees gave way to pasture running the length beside the river, the buzz of a small engine echoed across the open landscape. With the ‘giant bumblebee’ like noise a colorful little shape rose in the distance and angled to follow the course of the water’s dark surface. I had to grin at the paraglider, wondering if he’s the same one who was out at Gamla Uppsala years ago. I’ve also seen para-skiers out there too. That looked like fun, speeding across the snow blanketed fields, pulled along by wind and a span of nylon.

I’m not sure, but it felt those 2 miles went by quite a bit quicker than last time. Possible, I suppose. One would hope that all my pedaling and Loke’s jogging would strengthen us, increasing our pace at least a little bit.

Feeling I've been here before...

Feeling I’ve been here before…

Getting across the river was a bit of a pain. Construction makes the narrow bridge even tighter and cars were backed up to either side because it had been opened to let a boat through. I merged into the traffic between a pair of cars and then hogged the bridge all to myself as I rolled across when our turn came. Yes, it’s so narrow that even other cars don’t want to share with lil’ ol’ me.

It was a relief to get out of the traffic by turning onto that familiar gravel path. Loke heartily agreed. He threw his weight into his harness to hurry us along toward the steeper slope. That’s not something he does often now. He’s content enough to just jog along at 6-7.5 mph with an occasional stretch into 10 or 12 mph.

I've made it before, I'll make it again!

I’ve made it before, I’ll make it again!

Once we reached that climb was when he decided to slack off, of course. He wanted to sniff and mark, left me to do all the work. But hey, he’s coming up on 10 and a half years now, he’s entitled.

Maybe it was a little easier, but it didn’t really feel much like it. I didn’t have the trailer, but I was carrying a liter canteen of water, the Canon camera which is probably a couple pounds, my tripod which is almost 4 lbs and the telephoto lens is about another pound. That all probably approaches the weight of my empty trailer and something I didn’t have with me last time.

When it comes to harsh hills or otherwise difficult terrain, I do miss the wild enthusiasm of Loke’s youth. I probably get more exercise nowadays, which is a good thing provided my knees don’t explode.

Once again, I crested that hill without the need to push the trike up. I paused at top for more than gasping for breath and shake the ache out of my knees.

Loke sat down with a sigh to wait as I mounted the GoPro camera. I twisted everything down as tight as I could. I tried to record one of the first rides with the fairing with it, but it wouldn’t stay upright. It caught most images either crooked or kept slouching forward to record asphalt. Though I’d wrapped the fairing bar with electrical tape to give the mount something less slippery to grip, I didn’t have much hope for it this time either. Gravel trail is a lot more bumpy than paved road.

The results surprised me. The camera stayed in place fairly well, only requiring one on the fly correction. I found a simple to use movie editor to compress the video and threw in some free music to replace the hollow rattle of vibration.

My only annoyance with it is the strange jumping and twitching. It didn’t show up while editing, that flowed smoothly. It was only after I’d converted it into an MP4 format that it appears. I tried redoing it several times, but the results always come out with the hiccups.

Loved this image

Loved this image

GoPro on, I settled in to enjoy the beautiful autumn day and the trail. Loke had a husky grin as he trotted along. Several thousand miles of a combination of trails like those through the city forest and the ones by the river would be pure heaven for me. I’ll take these little slices of paradise where I can though.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the city forest though. I go when Jens wants us to walk there, but avoid it otherwise as I’d rather not run into my stalker there. I know he lives in that area, too many secluded places and his behavior set my defensive instincts on edge.

There were a lot of people out on the trail that day. One guy was walking around with a camera set up that put mine to shame. I didn’t get a close enough look to see what camera he had, but his telephoto lens was a good 2 feet long with the end bigger than my spread hand. Not something I’d want hanging from my neck. With the addition of camouflage, I guessed he was a bird watcher.

Probably a correct guess. A bit further on, the river opens up into a tiny lake. The trees are cut back between the river and parallel road. One stretch of it was crammed with a few dozen people armed with cameras to watch and photograph a sizable flock of Canadian geese.



I was surprised to see so many. Bird watchers that is, not the geese.

The geese were there last time I rode the trail, but my iPhone wasn’t up to the task of picking out the dark birds on dark water from such a distance. It went much better with my Canon.

Though the geese had been there before, I’d not seen a single bird watcher then. Yet, here they were in force. A veritable army of them.

From there, the ride was the usual toodle through the more developed sections of the river and right through downtown. Arrived back at the storage with just over 18 miles, which was a bit baffling. Last time, the loop had been 20 miles almost on the dot, but apparently the alternative way to/through Nåntuna nicked off about 1.5 miles.

Still, 18 miles was a good chunk toward the 1000 miles for the year goal. At that time, I only needed something like 14 miles a week to reach it. After that ride, I only needed 11 miles for the next 11 weeks break it.

Though there’s another ride or more since redoing the Nåntuna/River Loop, I’ll close the post here as it’s already quite long. The rides continue and the miles mount!


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: