Meatballs, loaded bikes and brotherhood.
A month ago CCCs own Steven Olesen dressed his bike with bags for the first time and headed towards Sweden to test what this bike packing and touring thing is all about. On his trip Steven was accompanied by two good friends of CCC, Tobias and house photographer Emil, to have his back and capture CCCs virgin “voyager” into the unknown fields of this thing called “bike-packing” - Here’s Steven’s report on what will be a series of tales, connected to CCCs Dirt Adventures section under the name “Dirt Roads of Sweden” - Enjoy.
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Last weekend we took the bikes for a Micro adventure in Sweden with Emil and Tobias, which are good friends of CCC. We drove a few hours from CPH to our destination in Halmstad. We sat up the bikes and found our way to the first dirt roads just outside the city.
We were off around 5pm, a little late but still with plenty of time to do the planned 60 km on day 1.
The bikes weighed in at approximately double the weight carrying the bags (incl beers and food for the camp site later), which makes the pace on the rolling gravel hills a little slower than usual. But not that much, actually.
We were carrying a 9L saddlebag, a 5L frame bag, and a 9L handlebar bag. All of them rainproof and easy to mount and pack.
When we hit the camp site, we were pleasantly surprised. A very nice place with shelter, fireplace and even a small area to put up Emil's tent. And as a bonus it was right next to a beautiful Lake. It was dinner time and with the time being around 8.30pm we were hungry. We scattered the area for wood and found some deserted wooden houses on the lakeside and had to check it out. There had been a fire in one of them. Everything was left behind. It was placed in a fantastic spot but clearly left unattended for years.
Back at the shelter with wood, we started the fire and grilled the sausages we had brought along. Besides sausages the menu consisted of tortilla pancakes that were rolled up with sausage, cheddar cheese and mashed potatoes (made from powder) and a handful of beers. Yes, we had a great dinner and enjoyed the surroundings:-) After a few hours of stories and talk about gear and stuff, we ran out of beers and Underberg (Thx Tobias). We climbed into our sleeping bags and with the expectations about getting up at sunrise, we where all suprised by not waking up before 8 am - absolutely rested with our sleep only being interrupted by some heavy rain showers during the night. It was perfect conditions for at night outside laying in the dry inside the shelter
We cruised ahead between fields, pushed the pedals, talked, stopped, enjoyed the landscape and talked some more, while we at a steady pace moved forward. After 40 km we rolled into the small town of Torup where we quickly found Brännöbagarn. A Swedish bakery, that had that Swedish countryside charm you would have expected. We had the feeling of walking into an American dinner in the Mid West, but instead of hamburgers with cheese, we had kötpajj for lunch and kanelbullar for dessert. We spent almost an hour just enjoying the good food and company of friends.
We had to move on and said our goodbyes to the local swedes. During the next 80k's we primarily rode on well prepped gravel roads and a few times we hit some small sections of single tracks. A few times we crossed some big rocks with a few steps of "carry the bike" - At one time the route took us through some very close and impassable vegetation, but of course had to give it a try. And of course we had to turn around and ride a kilometer on the tarmac we tried to avoid. That small detour properly set us back 10 min, but nevertheless it was all worth it when we turned off the tarmac road. We saw what looked like a big horse 50 meters up the gravel road. It was not a horse, it was a young moose the size of a horse, a big one. It stared at us for 10 seconds, and then wandered back into the forest. Seeing a moose when bike packing in Sweden is not an everyday event, and we were pretty thrilled about the whole thing. High on that experience we rode on and on the last part of route the nature and landscape just kept being so different from what we normally see in Denmark. A few really sharp and punchy climbs in the last 30k's started to empty the tanks and even though the spirit was still high, there was a little less chatter at this point.
After 110 km the landscape opened up, and we passed the small airstrip outside Halmstad and now the car (and food) was close by. A two hour drive back to Copenhagen and so we ended up only spending one and half day on a great micro adventure
Distance: 175 km
Surface: 80% Gravel Roads
Elevation: Approx 2000 altitude meters
Tires: Slick tires will do
Bags: See text
Gear - Most important:
Sleeping bag(we used a summer sleeping bag)
Fair quality sleeping pad
Long underwear(for sleeping)
A cup and a spoon
small warm jacket
Coffee and a mug
Mini stove kit - so you can enjoy that coffee in the morning
Thanks to Tobias Christensen from Bike & Co Elsinore, for always supporting our small projects and nursing Steven on his first bike packing adventure, and Emil Møller for documenting this great adventure with some fantastic moments we will never forget.
if you are thinking about testing out bike-packing in the near future, be sure to keep an eye on our feed for the new “How To Bike Pack” initiative, where you as a rookie can dip your toes in a category which is flourishing these years, and for a damn good reason.
Reach out and let us help you getting started, and CCC have all the gear you need for you to embarking your first bike packing mini adventure.
Also, sign up for our one-day experience “Dirt Roads Sweden” where we take on the legendary route “Dirty Halland”, socialise on all kind of levels and snack it a bit halfway - it will be a perfect way to experience the fantastic terrain of Sweden, not fare from our homeland Denmark.