Cycling

Around Norway: the kit

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Around Norway

I was going to combine this with a “lessons learned” post, but I know some people are eager to know what I took with me, so without further ado here’s the list.

With three full bottles of water, the bike and luggage weighed in at a shade over 20 kg. I didn’t weigh the bike beforehand, and I have to admit I was a little shocked when I eventually did weigh it at home, after the event. I think by slimming down my kit and choosing some lighter options I could maybe shed a couple of kilos, but I’m not sure I could realistically get it down much further than that without making too many compromises.

So here’s a list of what I took and how I set the bike up. I’ve written things roughly in order of how much I used them. Things that I didn’t use are starred* and things I would not bring again are struck through.

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Cycling

Around Norway, part 2: ferries, mountains, and bus shelters

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Around Norway

Lysebotn and the rest of day 3 were my first real taste of the Norwegian mountains and the day was a taxing one. By mid-afternoon I’d come down off the high ground and into a headwind on the Rv9 toward Haukeli. My energy was leaving me and I was feeling like I wasn’t going to last much longer. Thirsty, exhausted, and craving fresh food, I pulled up to a grocery shop in Valle for a break.

This was the first slump I’d had and I felt pretty rubbish about it. You’re supposed to just keep pedalling, right? And I was stopping just because I couldn’t face it? That’s not a good look. Well, I’m sure it’ll get better, but right now I need that bottle of pear juice in the fridge.

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Cycling

Around Norway, part 1

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Around Norway

tl;dr: I rode a bike-packing event covering pretty much the whole of sub-arctic Norway. The 3,400 km route took in Norway’s most iconic scenery and demanded payment in kind. I bike-packed my way to the end in 9 days, 8 hours, 43 minutes.

Some highlights:

  • πŸ“ˆ Lots of climbing
  • β›΄ Inconvenient ferry timetables
  • 😰 A 1,000 m switchback descent, including a 1 km tunnel with a 10% hairpin inside it… that had to be climbed again afterwards
  • ⛽️ Extortionate petrol station food
  • 🚏 Camping in bus shelters
  • πŸͺ¦ Camping in graveyards
  • πŸ₯΅ Unbearable heat
  • πŸ₯Ά Unbearable cold
  • 🎭 Plentiful mood swings
  • πŸ” The most beautiful mountain scenery I’ve ever seen

This was a long ride and this is going to be a long write-up – long enough to merit several instalments. Riding so far is a complex experience and I’m not really sure how to capture the whole thing in a blog post, so we’ll see how this goes.

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Cycling

New lights (and how to fix them)

I got a new set of take-me-home lights recently: the USE Exposure Trace/TraceR set, an evolution of the brand’s previous small front/rear pairs. I’ve been riding with them for a couple of months now and love them.

My pair was working perfectly well until a few days ago, when I washed the bike while the rear light was still onboard. Already a bad idea, probably, but I’d forgotten to batten down the charging port cover and, predictably, the light succumbed to the hosepipe. Of course, once a waterproof thing has water in it, it’s rather difficult to get it out. In this case, the only way the water could come out was through the tiny micro-USB port machined into the side of the otherwise sealed body.

To my surprise, though, I eventually managed to get it working again by leaving it for a few hours in my friend’s food dehydrator (where rice, salt, and a hairdryer had all failed). So if you have water-damaged electronics, a dehydrator or dehumidifier might give them a new lease on life…

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Connected cycling

My first thought on getting back from a ride is usually to plug in my Garmin and upload my ride data to Strava — often before stretching, I’m ashamed to admit. In fact, I’m often thinking about my average speed while on the bike, to the point that I avoid the corresponding readout on my Garmin until the end of the ride. It’s good motivation for training and I doubt I’d push myself as far without a way of seeing (and sharing) the results but, knowing that Strava will expose my laziness, I feel guilty taking any rest. I’m not sure whether this is good or bad for my fitness, but it’s definitely changed how I see cycling.

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Cycling

Urban cycling: cars vs. bikes

I was hit by a car the other day while riding back into the city after an afternoon on the bike. An old lady pulled out from a side-road on the left onto the main road I was on, not thinking to check for traffic to her right. Thankfully I saw what was coming and wasn’t hurt by the collision, but for the rest of the day I was quite shaken. I’ve had a few encounters with cars in the three years I’ve been cycling, but this was my first physical contact, and I won’t forget the feeling of oh-crap-I’m-going-to-hit-that-car.

A useful and instructive warning for cyclists. Image: Warrington Cycle Campaign

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