Day 20: Angsta to Stromsund

Sunday was a bit of a day of reckoning for Julien. It was the first day on the trip that he felt he might not make it.

After leaving the campsite at Angsta Julien cycled for 25km to a small town where he stocked up on fruit, veg and water for the road ahead.

He then continued on and tried to find somewhere in the country to stop for a bite to eat.

However Julien had been warned that the roads out of Ostersund were very complex and it took him a long time to find a decent route out of the city.

The main route Julien wanted to take had many signs saying no bikes allowed, so he took an alternative road that was longer but had some really spectacular views.

Eventually Julien hit a small town, which he described as being a real hole!

He tried to buy something to eat there but the food was so bad he had to throw it away!

As Julien continued north the amount of insects began to increase especially as he cycled up some large hills.

As he cycled up one hill Julien was surrounded by around 50 flies and wasps and he had to cycle as fast as he could to try and shake them off.

Unfortunately he pushed a little too hard and aggravated the leg muscle that he injured a couple of days ago.

This made it really painful for him to cycle on especially up and down more hills.

His leg was giving him so much trouble that the last 15km took Julien 2 hours!

Eventually though he made it to the campsite in Stromsund where he stayed for the night.

At the campsite Julien phoned his girlfriend who is a physiotherapist and she gave him some good advice on how to deal with the injury.

Julien also met a really friendly lady called Linnea (sorry if the spelling is wrong!) who was really interested in his journey and who was very sympathetic about his injuries.

Looking ahead Julien expects the landscape to be a little flatter over the next couple of days.

However he is aiming to take it slow on Monday and see how bad his leg is. If the pain continues he may have to take a day or two off.

Let’s hope that he is ok to continue on.

Here is the Google Map of day twenty and a Google Map of the Journey so Far.

You can sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page. Please also visit the Child’s i Foundation. Thank you!

Day 19: Sveg to Angsta

Today has been another tiring one for Julien.

He set out early this morning, unsure whether to stay at a campsite 60 miles away or go further to the next one at 100 miles.

He made good times and stopped at the first campsite at around 4.

Some of the people there told Julien that the route ahead was quite flat and as he though he had enough in him to cycle further, he decided to push on and cover another 40 miles.

Unfortunately it tuned out that there were many more hills along the way. This caused Julien some pain in his leg but overall he thinks that his injuries are not bad enough for him to slow down.

After 12 hours of cycling Julien made it to Angsta where is he staying for the night.

He has been cycling huge distances in Sweden, averaging about 95 miles a day since he started cycling across the country.

However Julien expects the next couple of days to be slightly shorter at around 70 miles a day. He hopes to make it to the Baltic in about 4 days and to Finland in about a week.

Here is the Google Map for today. Please also visit the Child’s i Foundation and sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page. Thanks very much!

Day 18: Mora to Sveg

Today was Julien’s most tiring so far.

He left Mora this morning a little later than he planned as he had to wait for his clothes to dry from the day before.

Whilst he waited Julien got to talking with a guy called Christian who was staying in a tent next to him.

Christian told Julien that he had just been to Nordkapp on a motorcycle and that he found it pretty tough going.

He warned Julien that further north service stations are about 100km apart so it is important to take lots of fluid onboard.

After chatting for a bit Julien set off at around 10 and made it towards Orsa.

After passing through Orsa Julien again faced some really massive hills and bad roads. He cycled up one hill for an entire hour!

He climbed up the hill at about 4mph and had to drink about 4 litres of water to keep hydrated.

After many false summits Julien made it to the top, but more hills stretched out ahead of him.

Cycling across the hills took its toll as Julien pulled a muscle in his right leg. As a result he has been applying deep heat and popping painkillers for most of the day.

Julien stopped in to get something to eat and drink at a small village, as he was seriously hungry and dehydrated by the middle of the day.

There was some good news though. Julien met a German guy in the village who was very friendly and who was on his own journey from Germany to Poland and through the Baltic states.

They had a good chat and Julien was able to pick up some advice on his route ahead.

He was advised to head towards Ostersund and told that once he reached the town the landscape would be beautiful – but more importantly flat!

After talking to the German Julien bought a litre of coke from a local store, which he quickly drained before continuing on to Sveg where he is camping for the night.

Before turning in for the night Julien grabbed some food, had a shower and tried to deal with some of the many insect bits he has sustained in Sweden!

Here is the Google Map for today. Please visit the Child’s i Foundation and sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page.

Day 17: Lesjofors to Mora

Today has been pretty starightforward for Julien.

Last night he stayed in a campsite right by a road, which he ended up following all day today.

Julien was feeling quite tired today as he continued to recover from the 101 miles he cycled the day before. However he still managed to clock up 84 miles!

Because the campsite he was staying in last night had no washing machine, Julien had to reuse his clothes from the day before. Not very comfortable!

After about 50 miles Julien made it to Vansbro. The road there was quite tough with rough roads and big hills.

Julien was also facing a headwind all day. He reached around 4-5mph up hill and about 10mph on the way down.

He stopped in for lunch at a bit of a one horse town and has noticed that towns and villages are becoming significantly smaller as he heads futher north.

Julien is also having to adjust to the fact that he is now facing almost 24 hour daylight. By 7 in the morning it is very hot in his tent!

After lunch Julien continued towards Mora and made it just outside of the town to a picturesque campsite by a beach.

Julien is aiming to cover at least 90 miles a day from here on in as he aims to reach the Finnish border by next weekend.

Here is the Google Map for today. Please also visit the Child’s i Foundation and Julien’s Just Giving page. Thanks!

Day 16: Gullspang to Lesjofors

Julien set out today knowing he would have to cover a lot of miles. He is aiming to reach Mala in the next couple of days, a town around 300 miles away from where he started the day in Gullspang.

He started out by cycling around 50km to Kristinehamn. From here on it looked like a straightforward route to get to Storsjön and Filipstad.

However Julien soon discovered that the main road ahead of him had been closed off and so he had to cycle along a motorway with cars hurtling by him!

He left the motorway as soon as possible. After about 7 miles he pulled off onto a dirt track that ended up being the entrance to someone’s driveway!

After a while he made it back onto a small dirt road and saw a sign for Lamas, a town he recognised from his map. However the route to Lamas was down another dirt road so instead Julien decided to stick to the road he was on.

This turned out to be a bit of a bad decision. Julien got lost for quite a while and ended up cycling in a big loop. After a while the tarmac ran out and Julien was again back on a rough road. However by this point he had covered so many miles that he didn’t want to turn back.

So he persevered and eventually saw some signposts that confirmed he was heading in the right direction. But the quality of the road became even worse and Julien considered getting off his bike and walking!

However he cycled on and after passing a random airbase he found a better road. Unfortunately though he came across the mother of all hills and had to struggle along in bottom gear.

After ploughing on he made to Filipstad. Here he spoke to some friendly people who were very interested in where he had been cycling. Talking about his trip reminded Julien of why he undertook the journey in the first place.

The locals pointed Julien towards Lesjofors about another 40km away. He pushed on but when he made it to the town he could not find a campsite anywhere.

After wandering aimlessly for another few miles Julien eventually found a very basic campsite right by a main road where he has set down for the night.

So overall Julien covered a huge 101 miles today and although it was a bit of a struggle he says this is all part of the adventure!

Here is the Google Map of the day and please visit the Child’s i Foundation and Julien’s Just Giving site. Thanks!

Day 15: Falkoping to Gullspang

Julien reports that he had a great day yesterday!

He started out a little earlier than usual to recover from the 110 miles he cycled the previous day. Julien started the day by cycling to Skovda to have some breakfast. He then took an alternative route to the main A road to Mariestad.

This took a little more time but Julien says it was worth it for the picturesque views. Apparently he saw many red barns and farmyards!

He finally got to Mariestad at around 4 and had a slap up meal in a Russian run Italian restaurant.

Julien then continued on the main road and arrived in Gullspang after about 35km. He pitched his tent by lake Vanern and enjoyed taking in a stunning sunset.

Here is the Google Map for today. Please also visit the Child’s i Foundation and sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page. Thanks very much!

Day 14: Varberg to Falkoping

Today was Julien’s biggest day yet as he covered an insane 110 miles!

At the start of the day Julien was not intending to go quite as far as this but he discovered that the distance between campsites in Sweden is very large!

Julien started out this morning by cycling on a dual carriageway alongside cars and trucks – not a nice start to the day.

He stopped at Kinna and asked one of the locals if it was ok for him to be cycling along what was essentially a motorway.

He was told that cyclists often use the road and sure enough later on he saw a little old lady cycling along the same route!

When he made to Boras Julien stopped in for lunch at a Swedish Chinese restaurant that  wasn’t too great!

Julien realised that the nearest campsite to Boras was only another 10 miles away. As he felt he had more energy in him he decided to push further on past Herrljunga and head towards the next campsite another 50 miles away.

Unsurprisingly he got very worn out along the way but was committed to going the full distance to get to the campsite, have a shower and have somewhere decent to stay for the night.

When he made it to Falkoping Julien was so tired he had to get off his bike and walk it along for the next few miles.

A friendly local saw that Julien was struggling a bit and gave him directions to the campsite and money for a shower – I guess Julien did not smell too great at this point!

Julien is hoping for a smaller day tomorrow but is still aiming to cover around 70 miles.

Here is Google Map number fourteen and as always please take the time to visit the Child’s i Foundation and Julien’s Just Giving page. Thanks!

Day 13: Grenna to Varberg

Julien didn’t have a very eventful day today as the ferry ride from Denmark to Sweden took around four hours he only ended cycling about 10 miles.

He set out from Grenna early this morning, arriving at the ferry port at 8.20. However he then discovered that the first ferry didn’t depart until 2.30.

So he made his way back to Grenna and had a big lunch before heading back to the port and taking the ferry ride across to Sweden.

Sitting out on the ferry Julien managed to get very burnt but at least he was able to rest up a bit having cycled around 1000 miles over the last twelve days!

After disembarking Julien cycled to the nearest campsite in Varberg. He chatted to some friendly locals who gave him some advice on his route through Sweden.

Thankfully the landscape should be a bit flatter for Julien now he has reached Sweden.

Although there are some hills coming up they are nowhere near the size of those he had to cycle over in Denmark.

Julien hopes to make it to Boras tomorrow or perhaps slightly further if the cycle paths are of a good standard.

Here is the day’s Google Map. Please also visit the Child’s i Foundation and sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page. Thank you!

One week and counting…

Time is ticking away as the ensuing departure date is now less than a week away.  Even though I have been preparing for this trip for ages, I am stick racked with anticipation.  Concerns of the overall requirements of the ride interlaced with daily issues such as shopping, whilst not having my kit stolen or finding somewhere to camp.  All in all, there are many issues to contend with.

In the grander scheme of things, I hope that this ride is a success.  By this, not only do I mean achieving the loft target of cycling 2800 miles to a vary sparsely populated are of the world but I also mean raise finds for the charity I have dedicated this ride to, Child’s I Foundation.  So far, I have raised just under £350 on my Just Giving page, which is a good start.  I hope that as I continue, people read about the various adventures I am likely to have en route as my blog will be maintained by Tom from Child’s I, in my absence.  I would love to hit my target amount of £2,500, so please keep reading this blog and make a donation if possible.  All of the money is destined to help kids in Uganda.  I am paying for all of my own expenses on this trip!

I have been testing all of my kit prior to my departure and so far, so good.  I have to make sure I can maintain my MSR stove as I know occasionally they can gunk up.  The biggest challenge will be to decide how much stuff to take along with me.  In the first couple of weeks, the temperature will hopefully remain in the warm twenties.  However, the further I travel up the spin of Sweden, the cool the weather will become.  Indeed, the figures I have seen for night time temperatures for Nordkapp and the north coast of Norway, even in mid summer, are around 4 degrees Celsius.  The weather is also likely to me inclement but that should only add to the drama of the journey.

It would be great to hear from any one if they have experience of travelling in this part of the world as so little has been written about it.  That said, hopefully my blog will be a useful place for other people considering this journey as a portal of information in due course.