Biking to the North Cape in Nordkapp, Norway – Bicycle Touring Professional

by jpc_touring-bicycle

In the course of the summer time of 2017, I flew from Los Angeles, California (in the USA) to Umeå, Sweden (in northern Europe) and started biking to the North Cape in Nordkapp, Norway. Alongside the way in which, I handed by way of three completely different Nordic international locations (Sweden, Finland and Norway), camped in my tent every night time of the tour, and pedaled my new Co-Movement Cycles Siskiyou touring bicycle near 2,000 complete kilometers (averaging roughly 85 kilometers every day).

Click on right here to view and obtain my biking route throughout Sweden, Finland and Norway.

My biking journey in northern Europe started with an extended flight from Los Angeles, California to Stockholm, Sweden… after which a a lot shorter flight from Stockholm to the town of Umeå.

View of Stockholm Sweden from airplane wing

Umeå, Sweden, as you may know (in case you’re a long-time follower of Bicycle Touring Professional), has been a focus on two of my earlier European bike excursions. In 2015 I completed a 14-month-long bicycle tour throughout Europe and Asia in Umeå, Sweden. Then, in 2016, I returned to Umeå after finishing a a lot shorter 3-month-long bike tour in Portugal, Spain, France, Andorra, Norway and Sweden.

This yr, I returned to Umeå for 2 causes. 1) I prefer it in Umeå (It’s one among my favourite locations in all of Europe). And a couple of) once I flew again to the USA in 2016 after having accomplished my summertime bike tour in Europe, I used to be in a position to e-book a comparatively cheap round-trip ticket again to Umeå at that very same time (In different phrases, a one-way ticket again to Los Angeles was virtually the identical value as a round-trip ticket to Los Angeles and again to Umeå). So, I booked the round-trip ticket and located myself again in Umeå practically one yr after having been there the earlier summer time.

This yr, I returned to northern Europe with a model new bicycle: a Co-Movement Cycles Siskiyou touring bicycle with a Pinion gearbox and the Gates carbon drive system. It’s a really particular bicycle and I used to be tremendous excited to strive it out!

My new bike arrived in California packed inside my Co-Movement Co-Pilot journey case – straight from the Co-Movement manufacturing unit in Eugene, Oregon only a few days earlier than my bike tour in Europe was about to start. Fairly than unpack the bike at residence, then be compelled to re-pack the whole bicycle only a few days later in preparation for its flight to Sweden, I merely left my new bicycle packed away inside its journey case and hoped that every part could be there and in good working order as soon as I arrived in Umeå, Sweden.

Co-Motion travel case at airport

The picture above exhibits how I flew my new touring bicycle and the remainder of my gear, clothes, toiletries, and so forth to Europe. My Siskiyou touring bicycle is packed away inside the big suitcase you see on the left facet of the picture; my pc, digicam, helmet, pockets and passport flew with me on the airplane inside that small black backpack; and the remainder of my belongings flew as checked baggage inside that grey duffle bag you see hiding within the background on the right-hand facet of the picture.

Fortunately, every part arrived in Umeå and gave the impression to be in good situation. My pal Mats (whom I had met in Umeå the earlier summer time) was on the airport once I arrived. We loaded my belongings into his automotive after which he drove me again to his residence close to the town middle.

A very powerful factor I wanted to do throughout my first few days in Sweden was to 1) get well from jet-lag and a pair of) assemble my bicycle and get it prepared for it’s month-long biking journey to the North Cape in northern Norway.

Co-Motion cycles travel case with rear wheel inside

Co-Movement had packaged the bicycle up inside their Co-Movement Co-Pilot journey case, so my solely job was to take away the bike from its case and put all of it again collectively. This, nevertheless, is less complicated stated than finished – particularly with a model new bicycle.

Assembling my new touring bicycle took a number of hours. After all, the method was made even longer as a result of the truth that I used to be taking pictures and capturing movies of the whole course of. After a number of hours of cautious and regular work, nevertheless, the bike was practically full!

Gates carbon belt on Bicycle Touring Pro bike

One of many greatest variations between this new Co-Movement Cycles Siskiyou touring bicycle and my older Co-Movement Cycles Pangea touring bicycle is the addition of the Pinion gearbox and the Gates carbon drive system (which you’ll see within the picture above). Now, as a substitute of the standard steel chain and derailleur system, my new Siskiyou bicycle is pushed by a belt and an inside gearbox that’s constructed into the underside bracket of my bicycle’s body.

Co-Motion Cycles Siskiyou

With the bicycle fulyl assembled, I ended to take a couple of pictures of the bike, the gearbox, the belt, and me standing subsequent to my new bike.

Darren Alff stands proudly next to his new Co-Motion Siskiyou

Afterward, I continued the bike construct by mounting the fenders, entrance and rear racks, and my Blackburn bike pc.

It took me close by a complete day to get the bike collectively, shoot all these pictures, and produce the video I would want to later present the method of the bike coming collectively. Fortunately, Mats has a pleasant large storage for me to work in, and that made the meeting course of a complete lot simpler.

I had deliberate to depart Mats’ residence and start biking north after just one.5 days in Umeå, Sweden, however I used to be affected by some severe jet-lag and was fearful about hitting the highway so quickly as a result of I used to be so extremely fatigued. Fortunately, Mats and his spouse Eva invited me to remain for yet one more night time and allowed me to take part of their household’s Mom’s Day dinner. On the dinner, I used to be introduce to Pontus (Mats’ son), Linda (Eva’s daughter) and Frederick (Linda’s boyfriend).

Mats, Eva, Pontus, Linda, Frederick Bodstrom in Umea, Sweden

Then, after three nights in Mats’ and Eva’s residence, I packed up my bicycle and stated goodbye. Leaving city, I rode previous the town’s iconic practice station, cycled by way of the tunnel, after which exited on the highway that may take me for the primary hundred kilometers or so towards the Nordkapp in northern Norway.

Tulips at Umea Sweden trainstation

The highway main out of Umeå started by passing by way of what I might classify as farmland. There have been little purple and yellow homes scattered amongst fields and forests. However the additional out of city I cycled, the extra the highway started to rework into the infinite forest panorama Sweden (and Finland too) are most recognized for.

If you wish to know what it’s prefer to experience a bicycle throughout Sweden, simply think about the highway under stretching for tons of and tons of of kilometers – with an occasional lake, river or pond alongside the way in which. The vastness of the Swedish forests is completely beautiful… and whereas some may discover this unending inexperienced and brown forest to be boring after some time, I discovered it to be each lovely and enjoyable.

Forest road that is typical in Sweden

Throughout my bike tour to the North Cape in Nordkapp, Norway, I spent most of my days biking on completely paved roads just like the one you see above. There was not often a giant shoulder to cycle in, however that didn’t matter a lot, as a result of there have been so few automobiles on the highway.

Within the night, nevertheless, when it was time to start out in search of a spot to camp for the night time, I’d look for a mud highway to show off on after which I’d cycle down that highway for some time – in search of a spot within the forest the place I would be capable to camp.

Dirt road bikepacking in Sweden

One of many many nice issues about bicycle touring in Sweden, Finland and Norway is that each one three international locations have what known as “Alle Mans Rätt” or the “Freedom to Roam.” This regulation mainly states that you just, as a traveler, have free entry to the wilderness, so long as you tread calmly and don’t do injury to the pure atmosphere.

With this in thoughts, I used to be in a position to camp within the forest every night time of my bike tour, with out having to pay even a single cent… and with out having to fret that I used to be on personal land or doing one thing that would doubtlessly be unlawful. Due to the Alle Mans Rätt, tenting in Sweden, Finland and Norway is an absolute pleasure!

darren alff, big agnes copper spur ul 1 tent, co-motion cycles siskiyou touring bicycle, ortlieb bicycle panniers

In the course of the first day of my bike tour I solely cycled a brief distance over 60 kilometers. I used to be nonetheless very a lot recovering from jet-lag and by the point 6:00 PM rolled round, I used to be past fatigued. I pushed my bike a brief distance off the highway and located a flat, remoted spot above a passing river the place I may pitch my tent.

As soon as the tent was up, I crawled inside, eliminated my sneakers, took within the view of the river under for only a second or two, then laid my head down on my sleeping pad/bag and immediately fell asleep.

Darren Alff wears blue sunglasses and sleeps on sleeping bag inside tent during 2017 bike tour across Sweden, Norway and Finland

I awoke round midnight and was shocked to see that the solar was nonetheless out. I crawled out of the tent and relieved myself by a close-by tree, then crawled again into my sleeping bag and rested for a number of extra hours.

Co-Motion Cycles Siskiyou touring bicycle in review

Within the morning I packed up my bicycle, pushed my heavy automobile again out to the highway, and started biking north. I knew that if I used to be going to succeed in the North Cape in time, I used to be going to wish to cycle way more than 60 kilometers per day. In actual fact, I’d have to cycle nearer to 100 kilometers per day if I deliberate to cycle to the Nordkapp after which again to Umeå, Sweden within the period of time I had allotted for this specific bike tour.

Classic bicycle tour in Sweden

So, in the course of the second day of my bike tour to the North Cape in northern Norway, I just about simply put my head down and pedaled – stopping solely sometimes to take pictures/video and regulate my bicycle’s saddle (which took me a number of days to get into an accurate and cozy place).

On the finish of the day, I discovered an exquisite little forest campsite close to a a cluster of huge boulders positioned only a brief distance from a small lake. By this level in my travels, I used to be beginning to really feel loads higher (I wasn’t as jet-lagged as I had been beforehand) and I began to settle in to my new actuality. The forest was going to be my residence for the subsequent month… and if daily was a pleasant as today had been, the remainder of my bike tour could be an absolute delight.

Adventure cyclist pitching tent in Swedish forest

Regardless that I used to be nonetheless under the Arctic Circle at this level in my tour, the solar by no means actually stopped shinning at night time. So getting used to the lengthy nights took just a little doing. I’d fall asleep and it could nonetheless be gentle out; I’d get up in the midst of the night time and it could nonetheless be gentle out; and once I’d get up within the morning, it could nonetheless be gentle. I began sleeping with my bike pc inside my tent, so I may rapidly and simply attain up and inform them time – with out having to activate my smartphone.

After an extended night time’s relaxation, I packed up my bike, and started biking on what could be the third day of my bike tour to the Nordkapp and again.

I didn’t do lots of planning for this specific bike tour. I knew the final route I needed to take, however I additionally knew that I used to be open to different concepts and ideas. In actual fact, reaching the North Cape (or the Nordkapp – identical factor) was actually only a vacation spot for me to succeed in. Whether or not I truly reached the North Cape or not, I didn’t actually care. My essential purpose was to only be out in nature, discover, take pictures, shoot movies, and have enjoyable!

So, when Mats (again in Umeå, Sweden) prompt I take one highway as a substitute of one other highway I had initially deliberate on biking, I made a decision to comply with his recommendation. Little did I do know on the time, however this highway that Mats prompt to me was the identical highway that I had cycled final yr throughout the previous few days of my Bodo, Norway to Umeå, Sweden bike tour. So, the highway that transported me from Bodo to Umeå final summer time turned the highway that may transport me within the different course for the primary three days of this Nordkapp bike tour.

Picnic table rest area on river in Sweden

Biking on this acquainted highway meant that there have been a number of factors alongside the route that I knew and acknowledged. This picnic desk (pictured above) is simply one of many many locations I ended and shot video throughout my 2016 bike tour in Sweden.

And the home pictured under, was one thing I cycled previous throughout final summer time’s bike experience, however at the moment, the TRUMP signal and the model of Donald Trump sporting his well-known “Make America Nice Once more” had had not but been erected in these householders’ yard. (Observe how they modified the signal to learn, “Make Rökå Nice Once more!”)

Solely once I reached the town of Malå, Sweden did my bike tour to the Nordkapp start to look model new. All the things previous to that was merely a repeat of what I had skilled throughout my bike tour final summer time.

After all, once I reached Malå, Sweden, the climate had turned from vivid and sunny (but nonetheless very chilly) to darkish and snowing! This, you may notice, was the worst attainable second for the climate to take a flip for the more serious. Simply as I used to be about to take off into the unknown, the wind was blowing, the snow was falling and I used to be freezing chilly. On high of all that, I used to be nonetheless greater than 800 kilometers from the North Cape! If the climate was so unhealthy this far south, I feared the climate up above the Arctic Circle could be numerous measures worse.

touring bicycle cockpit view

It took me a number of days on the highway to actually get into the swing of issues. I used to be biking in opposition to a small headwind just about the whole option to the Nordkapp, in order that slowed me down a bit as properly. However as soon as I discovered shelter behind a hillside or a gathering of timber, I’d be capable to shift into a better gear and actually collect some velocity.

Bicycle Touring Pro on road in Sweden

Days when the solar was out made my time on the highway even higher. However regardless of it being sunny, it was nonetheless very, very chilly. I wore shorts on nearly daily of the bike tour, however a lot of the different cyclists I encountered on the highway have been sporting lengthy pants.

blonde woman solo bike tour in Norway

This pleasant girl from Sweden (I feel her identify was Monica) was the primary long-distance bike owner I encountered on my option to the Nordkapp. She was touring alone and this was the primary time she had ever finished a motorbike tour earlier than. She was biking from the Nordkapp again to her residence in southern Sweden. She stated she was having fun with the expertise, however that it was chilly, and that she had encountered some very chilly days at first of her tour.

Now properly and good into the middle of Sweden, reindeer started to pop up in every single place. More often than not the reindeer would seem in a small group, however typically there could be only a single reindeer wandering round by itself and feeding within the grass.

After a chilly and windy day of biking north of Malå, Sweden, I cycled down a dust highway only a few kilometers outdoors of metropolis of Arvidsjaur.

I then pushed my bicycle again from the highway a bit and started organising camp in a flat, moss-covered forest.

Bikepacker setting up camp at the end of long cycling day

Simply as I obtained settled in, the snow started to fall. As I sat inside my tent and ready my dinner on the MSR PocketRocket camp range I used to be carrying with me, I spotted simply how glad I used to be to be on the market on the highway. For many individuals, snow falling on them may really feel like a time to panic. However in that prompt, I felt at residence and was glad to see the snow.

Bicycle Touring Pro cooks dinner in the forests of Sweden in his tent with Co-Motion Siskiyou touring bicycle leaning against tree in background

A good quantity of snow fell to the bottom whereas I used to be cooking my dinner, however it wasn’t sufficient for me to actually get frightened about.

After I woke the next morning, nevertheless, every part outdoors my tent was coated in white powder. It had snowed for a number of hours and the whole panorama (my tent and bicycle included) have been now coated in at the very least two inches of snow.

snow covered swedish forest

The picture under exhibits me popping my head out of my tent within the early morning hours, simply moments after discovering that it had been snowing whereas I slept.

Darren Alff peeks his head outside his tent to discover that it has snowed overnight while on his 2017 bike tour across northern Europe

I stayed inside my tent till practically midday the next day, and by that point, the snow that had fallen the night time earlier than had practically all however melted.

Not desirous to go anyplace actually, however realizing I wanted to press ahead, I crawled outdoors of my tent, packed up my bicycle, and hit the highway!

Bicycle Touring Pro red bike in Swedish green forest

It was solely a brief 10 kilometers or so into the town middle of Arvidsjaur, Sweden, however by the point I obtained there the wind was blowing and I used to be freezing chilly. I noticed a small Frasses quick meals restaurant and jumped inside to get heat.

Frasses Swedish American food restaurant interior

Whereas I used to be there, I ordered a veggie burger and french fries. It was the worst veggie burger I’ve ever eaten! The ketchup was watered down and it was a horrible, horrible meal. I don’t usually eat this sort of meals throughout my common life, however consuming this one veggie burger in Arvidsjaur made me take into account by no means consuming quick meals ever once more.

Frasses french fries and veggie burger

After consuming and charging my digicam/smartphone batteries on the town, I cycled only a brief distance north of city and nearly instantly jumped into a close-by patch of woods.

typical Swedish road

I solely cycled about 30 kilometers on this specific day, however I had at the very least made some ahead progress. I obtained my digicam batteries charged (which is essential to me) and I had stored heat for a lot of the day. So, though I hadn’t moved very a lot, I had moved in the correct course.

Forest outhouse with bikepacker cyclist down remote dirt road

I ended up discovering a pleasant, quiet filth highway, down which I cycled for about one kilometer. On the left-hand facet of the highway was a small hill that dipped right down to a tiny snow-covered pond. About 50 meters from the sting of the pond was a secluded flat spot, and that’s the place I pitched my tent for the night time.

I used to be in a position to fish some water from the pond, which I then used to prepare dinner up some pasta for my dinner that night time.

The next morning, I awoke, packed up my bicycle, and hit the highway. My purpose was to cowl some severe floor… and I ended up biking a decent 75 kilometers on this specific day.

Skelleftalven sign in Sweden

As I cycled, I laughed to myself as I attempted to pronounce the names of those stunningly lengthy Swedish cities, rivers and locations. The signal above exhibits one such identify. Simply attempt to say that to your self proper now! (The phrase on the highest is the identify of a river (I feel) written in Swedish. The phrase beneath it’s the identify of the identical river written within the Sami language – the language of the indigenous individuals of Scandinavia).

In some unspecified time in the future on this specific day, I ended to take a photograph of me on my bicycle. After I stopped, I set my digicam on the tripod I used to be carrying with me, set the 10-second timer, after which sprinted again towards my bicycle to be able to get into place for the picture. However as quickly as I started to run again in direction of my bicycle, I tripped over one of many legs on my tripod and fell to the bottom, slamming my proper shin immediately into a big uncovered rock.

I feared at first that I may need damaged a bone – it harm that unhealthy! However once I regarded on the sight of the wound, I couldn’t see a factor! I used to be sporting my rain pants on the time, so the pants had prevented my pores and skin from being punctured in the course of the fall. However I may inform that I had finished some severe injury to my leg, and as I continued to cycle that day, the ache solely obtained worse.

Wild camping bike tour in Sweden with Darren Alff from

After a great strong day of biking, I made camp once more within the forest. Day after day, this turned my sample: I might get up, pack up my issues, cycle for 3-7 hours, after which make camp within the forest. I’d eat, learn or take heed to podcasts on my smartphone, after which fall asleep. Solely to repeat the sample the next day.

Darren Alff's eye peeking out of his sleeping bag

The toughest a part of my bike tour to the Nordkapp was merely getting out of my sleeping bag within the morning. It was chilly on each single night time of the tour (apart from perhaps two or three nights), in order that made getting up and going that rather more troublesome. More often than not, I’d get up, see that the solar was shining, attain for my bike pc to test the time, after which moan as I spotted it was time to stand up, pack up, and get going.

Within the tiny city of Kabdallis, Sweden I ended at a gasoline station to purchase some meals and water, and whereas I used to be there I used to be stunned to see two gents touring with bicycles. The 2 males have been named Teo and Sepp and so they have been brothers conducting a long-distance bike tour from their residence in Switzerland to the Nordkapp in northern Norway.

Teo and Sepp Stalder - Switzerland brothers on a bike tour together in northern Europe

I cycled with Teo and Sepp for a lot of the day, and regardless of the 2 males being about twice my age, they have been troublesome for me to maintain up with. They knowledgeable me that they’d woken up at 4:00 AM on this specific morning and have been pumping out greater than 100 kilometers every day. They actually made me really feel like a wimp!

Teo and Sepp Stalder cycling in Sweden

After a full day on the bikes, Teo and Sepp and I reached the signal marking the truth that we have been now crossing into the Arctic Circle. We stopped to take a photograph, gave each-other just a little high-five, after which continued only a brief distance up the highway into the town of JokkMokk.

Three men stand at the Polar Circle in Jokkmokk, Sweden

As soon as in Jokkmokk, Teo and Sepp and I made our method into the town middle (which is straightforward to do in a city as small as Jokkmokk) and located just a little restaurant serving up all kinds of dishes. I ordered as pizza, Teo ordered a pizza, and Sepp ate some pasta. Along with the meals all of us ordered, we have been additionally given entry to a small salad bar full of all types of excellent greens. Better of all, Teo and Sepp have been sort sufficient to purchase me lunch! So, I had a scrumptious and filling lunch/dinner and I didn’t must pay a single cent. Thanks Teo and Sepp!

Jokkmokk Sweden pizza and salad lunch

After lunch, I stated goodbye to Teo and Sepp. I used to be limping fairly unhealthy at this level – as a result of harm I had sustained lower than two days prior. My shin and full decrease proper leg had swollen up fairly considerably by this level and I may hardly stroll, not to mention experience my bike.

I instructed Teo and Sepp about my fall and so they agreed, after my leg, that I had injured myself fairly good. They deliberate to cycle one other 100+ kilometers the subsequent day, and I wasn’t certain if I might be capable to attain the Nordkapp in any respect because of the harm I had sustained. So, I stated goodbye to the boys at this level and instructed them I deliberate to take a relaxation day in Jokkmokk the next day. I might discover a good, quiet place within the woods to camp… and I might keep there for 2 nights: consuming, resting and nursing my leg.

Jokkmokk Sweden wild forest campsite

About 5 kilometers north of city, I pitched my tent within the forest subsequent to a quiet pond and a number of other small patches of snow. Tiny boulders dotted the panorama and I felt at residence in my new sanctuary in central Sweden.

Forest stones greet bicycle tourist pitching tent

The next day, I cycled into the middle of Jokkmokk and bought some muscle aid cream on the native grocery store. I unfold the cream throughout my shin/leg a number of instances that day, and iced the shin with snow and ice I discovered on the bottom close to my campsite.

Darren Alff points to his injured shin

Within the picture above you may simply barely see the spot the place the muscle or bone in my shin appears to be nearly coming out of my pores and skin. It doesn’t look very painful within the picture, however let me inform you… it harm like loopy! The ache was so unhealthy I may barely put my socks or sneakers on. Strolling was painful and driving my bike was no enjoyable both.

Bicycle touring and wild camping outside JokkMokk, Sweden forest

After a full day of relaxation in Jokkmokk, Sweden, I made a decision to press on. Due to my shin ache, I thought-about staying in Jokkmokk for one more day, however I knew that if I used to be going to succeed in the Nordkapp in time, I wanted to press on. So, as I had finished on each earlier day of the tour, I packed up my bicycle and hit the highway!

On this specific day, I targeted on nothing else however protecting some severe floor. I put my head down, tried my greatest to disregard no matter ache I occurred to be feeling, and didn’t cease even as soon as to take a photograph. On the finish of the day, I had coated over 124 kilometers!

Now roughly 30 kilometers north of Gällivare, Sweden, I rolled off the primary freeway, cycled down a dust highway, and rapidly discovered myself in a snow-covered swampland.

Pushing my touring bicycle through snow in Sweden

What began out as a dust highway, rapidly turned a water-logged, snow-covered snowmobile path. A part of me needed to show round, return to the primary highway, and seek for one other campsite. However part of me thought, “It’s going to be so wonderful to camp right here within the snow!” So, I simply stored going to the highway – looking for the right place to pitch my tent for the night.

Darren Alff reaches for water bottle on his bicycle with tent in background

Finally, I settled on an elevated hillside only a brief distance from the highway. Getting my loaded bike by way of the snowbank wasn’t straightforward (I needed to unload the panniers and carry them throughout the snow first, then return for my bicycle and carry it by way of the snow). My sneakers obtained moist and my ft obtained chilly, however I managed to discover a good little space between some timber and some patches of snow, the place I then erected my tent and climbed inside for the night.

Darren Alff kneeling next to his Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1 tent and Co-Motion Cycles Siskiyou touring bicycle in Sweden

For the previous a number of years, I’ve been touring around the globe with no camp range, however on this specific bike tour (as a result of I wasn’t carrying my laptop computer pc or my drone), I made a decision that I had sufficient room inside my panniers to pack a range and a prepare dinner pot. To be utterly trustworthy, I’m certain glad I did!

Reaching camp every night time and realizing that I had a heat meal ready for me was a really particular deal with. Most nights I might make pasta or vegetable burritos (two issues I each get pleasure from and are straightforward to make on a camp range). I burned by way of two medium-sized PRIMUS gasoline canisters on the tour, every of which price me about $7.00 or $8.00 USD.

MSR Primus campstove used on bicycle tour

The following morning, I packed up my panniers, carried them by way of the snow to the filth highway under my campsite, then trudged again by way of the snow to get my bike. My ft have been completely soaked by this level, however I used to be lucky that the climate on this specific day was truly sort of heat. Don’t get me mistaken! It was nonetheless very chilly… however , fortunately, the chilly wasn’t affecting my moist toes for no matter motive.

Winter bike tour

At the present time was a particular one, as a result of on this specific day (if every part went to plan) I might attain the border of Sweden and Finland. It’s wonderful simply how a lot floor you may cowl on a bicycle! Initially of an extended journey, it feels as if you aren’t making any ahead progress, however then, earlier than you realize it, you’ll be able to look again and say, “Wow! Look how far I’ve come.”

Bicycle touring past a frozen lake

77 kilometers on this specific day transported me to the border city of Karesuando, Sweden. My digicam batteries have been all however drained by this level in my bike tour, so my purpose as soon as reaching the town middle was to discover a place to cost my batteries.

I ordered some french fries from the city’s solely gasoline station and charged one among my digicam batteries whereas I used to be there consuming my fries. Then, I made my method round city looking for out an influence outlet the place I may cost the remainder of my electronics.

Church in Karesuando Sweden

I discovered a single energy outlet on the bottom of this spectacular church, however then discovered one other (extra accessible) energy outlet down by the river on the south facet of the town. I plugged in my two digicam battery chargers after which cycled right down to the river’s edge to soak up the surroundings and permit a while to go. Every digicam battery takes roughly 2 hours to cost!

Bicycle touring pro on the edge of the Kaarejoki river in Sweden

Whereas I used to be sitting on the sting of the river, I observed some birds flying within the distance. At first, I didn’t assume a lot of them, however after practically an hour of sitting there on the water’s edge, one of many birds flew in my course and handed instantly over my head. It was a small white, speckled owl… and it had flown so near me that, if I had been paying extra consideration, I may have reached up and grabbed it straight out of the air. It was sooo cool. I’ve seen owls within the wild earlier than, however I’ve by no means had one get so near me. I waited for one more hour on the sting of the river, hoping the owl would swoop previous me as soon as extra, however that sadly by no means occurred.

camper pitching tent in sunny forest in finland

By the point two of my digicam batteries had been charged, it was approaching what would usually be dusk. However up right here above the Arctic Circle, it by no means actually will get darkish in the course of the summer time months. Nonetheless, I needed to cycle a methods out of city and make camp earlier than it obtained too late. So, that’s precisely what I did.

Cookign beans and rice on camp stove

Staying on the Swedish facet of the river (so I might have at the very least yet one more night time of Web entry on the SIM card I bought again in Umeå) I cycled a couple of kilometers outdoors of city, pushed my bike into the timber on the right-hand facet of the highway, and rapidly arrange camp. That night time I cooked beans and rice and made some horrible camp range burritos.

Karesuando Sweden church on river

The next morning I cycled again into city and spent a pair hours recharging the remainder of my batteries on the public library. Then, as soon as the library closed at 12:00 PM, I cycled throughout the bridge that may take me from Sweden to Finland.

Crossing the border from Sweden to Finland in Karesuando

This was not my first time in Finland, however it was my first time on this specific a part of Lapland, Finland.

Lapland is Finland’s northernmost area – a sparsely populated space bordering Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea. It’s recognized for its huge subarctic wilderness, ski resorts and pure phenomena together with the midnight solar and the Northern Lights. I had heard from many individuals in Finland that Lapland was properly value seeing, so I used to be trying ahead to my bike experience by way of this specific a part of the nation.

Bicycle tourist at rest stop in Finland

In the beginning, Lapland regarded a complete lot like every other a part of Sweden or Finland I had cycled by way of earlier than. There have been timber and lakes and rivers. However the additional north I started to go, the extra the panorama modified. What was as soon as tall, inexperienced forests rapidly started to morph into a brief, sparse and barren brown panorama.

After filling up my water bottles and stocking up meals in Enontekiö, Finland, I cycled north for about 14 kilometers after which pushed my bike only a brief distance off the highway.

Darren Alff smiles with his fully-loaded Co-Motion Siskiyou touring bicycle in background

Right here, again within the timber, I made camp on a small ledge overlooking a large discipline – the sort of spot the place you may count on to see a moose or some reindeer (on the very least) wander previous.

free bicycle touring campsite in norway

The climate on this specific day was so good that I had been in a position to experience for a lot of the day with out sporting a jacket of any sort (the primary time I had been in a position to experience in simply my jersey on this specific Nordkapp bike tour). Within the night, the climate was nonetheless very good – a lot so, the truth is, that I thought-about sleeping in my tent with out the rain-fly on it. Finally, nevertheless, I did resolve to place the rain-fly on my tent. I do know, primarily based on expertise, that the climate can change very quickly on this a part of the world.

Best camping in Europe

The temperatures did drop just a little bit round midnight, and I used to be glad to be inside my heat sleeping bag in the course of the midsummer night time.

Peeking out of sleeping bag during bike tour

Within the morning, I checked my map and my odometer and realized that I had cycled simply shy of 1,000 complete kilometers since leaving Umeå, Sweden. My bike pc stated I had cycled 874.9 kilometers, however my map (which I consider to be extra correct), stated I had cycled 980 kilometers. smartphone offline mapping application and Blackburn Atom 4.0 bicycle odometer

The rationale I used to be lacking greater than 100 kilometers on my bike pc is as a result of on this specific model of pc (the Blackburn Atom 4.0), you need to press one of many pc’s two buttons every time you begin biking. When you don’t press a kind of two buttons, the pc gained’t activate and also you’ll find yourself biking a substantial distance with out the pc recording any of the progress you make. So, over the course of the primary 1+ week of my bike tour, I had misplaced greater than 100 kilometers as a result of I had merely forgotten to show the pc on each time I began biking.

The day earlier than this one, I had crossed the border from Sweden into Finland. And on this specific day (June 9, 2017) I crossed the border from Finland into Norway.

Lapland Finland mountain landscape

Getting into the town of Kautokeino, Norway, the panorama had actually begun to alter. Gone have been the darkish inexperienced forests I had grown so used to. Now, I used to be surrounded by brief brown shrubs and murky low-lying water. The place was a brown Arctic swamp!

I refueled on meals and water on the Rema 1000 grocery store in Kautokeino, then pushed my bike up the hill on the north facet of the town. A brief distance out of city, I made camp in a scary brown patch of moist shrubbery and felt as if I used to be being watched as I pitched my tent on the distant hillside.

For the primary time on my total Nordkapp bike tour, I felt unwell. I don’t know if it was the place itself or just my physique reacting to the atmosphere, however after organising my tent, I crawled inside and laid right down to relaxation. My coronary heart was beating quick, I felt dizzy, and I used to be scared to be so alone and so removed from residence and everybody I do know. A couple of minutes later, nevertheless, I used to be completely positive.

Bicycle Touring Pro Darren Alff walks his loaded touring bicycle across a water-logged road in lapland finland

You’ll word that within the picture above I used to be sporting my long-sleeved Fox racing jersey. I had three heat days in a row the place I may put on this jersey with no jacket and what made this much more stunning was that I used to be additional north than I had ever been at every other level in my life!

On the next day, nevertheless, the climate rapidly cooled. I used to be compelled to put on my jacket once more… and I might not take that jacket off till I reached the top of my bike tour greater than two weeks later.

On June tenth I cycled over 100 kilometers. The day started in that brown Arctic swamp I disliked a lot. Then I started biking by way of a resort-like village positioned alongside the sting of an extended frozen river. And on the finish of the day, I sprinted downhill and returned to a forested paradise simply south of the town of Alta, Norway.

Pitching a tent on a bike tour

Not but able to enter the “large metropolis” of Alta, I made a decision to spend yet one more night time tenting within the forest. As I had finished on earlier nights, I exited the primary highway, cycled down a dust path for a number of kilometers, then pushed my bike by way of heavy moss to a flat spot positioned on the high of a small creek/river. After pitching my tent, I walked to the river to refill my water bottles, then returned to my campsite and made dinner.

Retired German bicycle traveler

The following morning, simply minutes after exiting my forest campsite, I bumped into this German gentleman touring on his bicycle. After I approached him with my digicam and began talking in English, he stated to me, “Sprechen zie Deutsch?” and I replied, “Ja. Ich spreche bisschen Deutsch. Aber mein Deutsch ist sehr schrecklich.”

I’ve obtained that one sentence nailed down so properly that German audio system, like this man, appear to assume I’m truly actually good at German. So he went on for a number of minutes after that speaking to me in German – of which, I solely understood a couple of phrases right here and there.

alta, norway skyline view with snowy mountains

As soon as in Alta, I made my option to the closest grocery store, solely to find that the shop was closed! It was a Sunday and a nationwide vacation on high of that, so virtually all the supermarkets on the town have been closed.

The free public WiFi pouring out of the Coop grocery store, nevertheless, had not been turned off for the vacation, so I used to be in a position to sit outdoors the shop and entry the Web on my smartphone.

Whereas I used to be doing that, I noticed one other bicycle vacationer coming towards me on his bicycle. He was sporting a vivid, neon yellow jersey and as he obtained nearer he stated, “I do know you! I watch all of your movies on YouTube.”

Andreas and the Bicycle Touring Pro stand together with a fisherman mural in Alta Norway

Andreas was his identify and he was from Estonia. Impressed largely by Bicycle Touring Professional and the movies I’ve been posting on YouTube, Andreas determined he was going to conduct an 8,000 kilometer bike tour throughout Europe. He was a number of weeks into his tour by this level (having cycled to the Nordkapp already from his residence nation of Estonia) and acknowledged that whereas every part on his tour was going properly, he wished he had bought completely different articles of clothes. “So most of the issues I purchased stated they have been waterproof, however because it seems, they don’t seem to be.”

As Andreas and I have been speaking, one other man pulled up on what was clearly an unloaded touring bicycle. The bike had racks on each the entrance and the again, however the panniers have been lacking. The person launched himself and acknowledged that he too had simply come from the North Cape and that he was French and staying for the night time in a campsite simply outdoors of city. He knowledgeable me of the value for the campsite (150 Norwegian Krone, I feel) and acknowledged that the value additionally included a scorching bathe.

I had been on the highway for about two weeks at this level and I had not but taken even a single bathe. The one bathing I had finished was in public restrooms or in freezing chilly ponds and streams. I didn’t wish to pay for a campsite or sleep in a campground crowded with different individuals, however I actually needed that scorching bathe… and I actually needed to recharge all my electronics. So, I stated goodbye to Andreas and wished him the most effective for the remainder of his journey. Then, I stated goodbye to the French man and instructed him I’d probably see him later that night time within the campsite.

I then cycled to the town middle, discovered the one and solely retailer promoting meals on this specific day, purchased sufficient to get me by way of the night time, after which made my method throughout city to the Alta River Campground.

Darren Alff at the Alta River Campground in Alta, Norway

I paid 150 Norwegian Krone for my campsite and was compelled to pitch my tent in a small grassy space proper close to the doorway of the campground. After pitching my tent, the very first thing on my agenda was charging my digicam batteries, so I plugged them into an outlet within the shared restroom after which proceeded to bathe for the primary time in two weeks. Ahhh!

Later that night time I rode my bicycle to a close-by river and sat alongside the sting of the river whereas cooking dinner on my camp range. Then, after consuming, I returned to the campsite, eliminated my battery charger from the outlet contained in the restroom, crawled inside my tent and tried to fall asleep.

I didn’t sleep properly on the campground although. In comparison with sleeping within the forest, the bottom was laborious and it was noisy. There have been automobiles and bikes coming out and in of the campground all night time, there have been individuals speaking, and there have been individuals strolling previous my tent in any respect hours of the night time. As laborious as I attempted, I simply couldn’t get to sleep!

When morning got here round, I had slept for just a few hours (3 at most). However it was time to pack up and hit the highway. So I packed up my bike after which I hit the highway.

I needed to get some meals earlier than I left the town… and I additionally wanted to attempt to discover some gasoline for my camp range, as Alta was the final main metropolis on my map for fairly a while. So, I cycled to the town middle and went into the primary grocery store I noticed.

As soon as exiting the grocery store, I took a seat on a bench proper outdoors the constructing and started utilizing the grocery store’s free WiFi to obtain some new podcasts on my smartphone. As I used to be sitting there, I noticed one other bicycle vacationer approaching from the space. He was driving a mountain bike and pulling a trailer behind him. As he approached, an enormous grin appeared on his face and he shouted, “NO… FREAKING… WAY!!!”

Trygve Gjolberg Fredrikstad Norway bike tour 2017

The person’s identify was Trygve and he was from Fredrikstad, Norway. He knowledgeable me that he had watched all of my movies on YouTube and it was these movies that impressed him (at the very least not directly) to conduct this long-distance bike tour in celebration of his fortieth birthday. “I’ve to purchase additional knowledge for my smartphone each month as a result of I watch and re-watch all your movies on YouTube,” Trygve instructed me at one level.

Trygve Gjolberg and Darren Alff on bicycle tour in Alta Norway

We took some pictures collectively after which Trygve went contained in the grocery store for a second whereas I stayed outdoors and watched his bike. When Trygve returned, he had a coconut pastry and a cappuccino drink for the each of us. We sat and ate/drank collectively for a second whereas discussing our travels… after which we went our separate methods. I went north towards the Nordkapp and Trygve went south towards his residence.

Earlier than leaving city, I discovered a retailer known as Claus Olsen contained in the Alta shopping center and managed to attain a brand new gasoline canister for my camp range whereas I used to be there. Now with meals, water and gasoline loaded onto my bicycle, I left the town of Alta behind and started biking north.

Cyclist resting with Norway waters view

The bike experience out of Alta, Norway was a pleasant one. There was a motorbike lane at first, which adopted the water north up the coast, after which transitioned right into a quiet two-land highway.

On the base of a big hill, I noticed a bicycle vacationer zipping down the highway in entrance of me. I pulled over to videotape the person as he handed, solely to comprehend moments later that he wasn’t alone – and that he was biking with a small group of individuals.

Andris, Darren, June, Vanja and Artis standing with their loaded touring bicycles

Artis (on the far proper, above) and Andris (on the far left) are two Norwegians who have been biking collectively from the North Cape south… who simply occurred to fulfill up with June (within the pink) and Vanja (within the yellow) close to the Nordkapp in northern Norway. As a result of they have been headed the identical course, the group determined to cycle collectively for some time. We stopped and chatted for a second, took a couple of pictures collectively, after which went our separate methods.

Four bicycle tourists - men and women in norway

After leaving Artis, Andris, June and Vanja, I instantly started biking up an extended, steep hill – the biggest hill I had encountered on the whole bike tour to date. Fortunately, it wasn’t the longest or the steepest hill I’ve ever climbed… and I rapidly made my option to the highest.

However as soon as I reached the highest, I observed an occasion change within the panorama. Whereas the town of Alta, Norway had been heat and coated in inexperienced timber, this new elevated place I discovered myself in was barren and coated in snow! In all places I regarded there was snow and melted water. It was a brown and white Arctic panorama… and it was chilly.

Frozen blue pond in nordkapp snowy arctic region

A number of kilometers down the highway, I noticed a younger man with a yellow jacket and a yellow set of panniers on his bicycle pulled over on the facet of the highway and consuming what gave the impression to be a sandwich of some sort. I pulled my bike off the highway and spoke to the younger man for a bit. He was German and touring alone for a number of months. He appeared a bit drained, or lonely, or one thing (I couldn’t fairly put my finger on it), so I attempted to offer him some encouraging phrases of recommendation… after which I stated good bye, wished him the most effective, and continued on my method.

young Germany bicycle tourist wearing yellow sitting next to his touring bicycle

Not more than 200 meters down the highway, I noticed two extra bicycle vacationers! As soon as once more, I pulled over to speak with the bicyclists and found that they have been two Norwegian sisters who have been touring from the Nordkapp to Bodo, Norway through Tromso and the Lofoten Islands. The one sister (on the correct – within the black jacket) had finished this very same bike experience the summer time earlier than and had appreciated it a lot that she had recruited her sister to do it along with her once more this yr! They have been each in good spirits and appeared to be having fun with their experience collectively.

Two sisters cycling from Nordkapp to Bodo, Norway together

After assembly so many bicycle vacationers in such a short while span, I spotted that I used to be on a very talked-about bicycle touring path. Most of those cyclists had flown to the Nordkapp and have been then biking south by way of the Lofoten Islands to Bodo, Norway and have been then flying residence from there. Having finished most of that route myself (however not essentially in that precise order), I can very confidently say that it is a incredible place to go bicycle touring… and driving from the Nordkapp to Bodo through the Lofoten Islands is an excellent method of going about it.

Shortly after assembly the 2 sisters, I noticed one other girl sitting along with her bicycle on the facet of the highway. She was stopped there along with her garments and belongings all sprawled out, however she gave the impression to be in no bother – as she was calmly sitting and consuming some sort of meals.

As I cycled previous the lady, I waved, and he or she yelled one thing again at me. I couldn’t fairly hear what she stated, so I slammed on my brakes and requested, “What???”

She yelled again at me, “It’s all moist up there and there’s nowhere to camp for at the very least the subsequent 60 kilometers. You won’t wish to go any additional.”

“Hmm…” I believed to myself. It was already fairly late within the day at this level, however I had needed to go one other 20 kilometers or so. I didn’t wish to cycle 60 kilometers (that may be too far!). However I actually didn’t wish to cease proper there and name it a day. So, I simply waved to the lady and shrugged my shoulders. I used to be urgent on!

I’ve realized through the years that you need to be cautious who you take heed to while you’re touring by bicycle. The instructions most individuals give are not any good in any respect. I’ve been touring the world on a bicycle for a really very long time, so I knew that though the lady stated there was nowhere to camp, I may very probably discover a place to pitch my tent for the night – even on this chilly, barren Arctic wasteland. So, I continued… And it’s a great factor I did, as a result of I ended up spending the night time in one of the crucial unbelievable locations ever!

The lady was proper, to a point, nevertheless. There panorama was barren and there was water in all places. Nearly each patch of land on the facet of the highway was moist and water-logged. Plus, there have been a bunch of personal houses scattered alongside the roadside, which made tenting in these areas utterly off-limits.

In some unspecified time in the future, nevertheless, I noticed a small ridge simply off to the left facet of the highway. I pushed after which carried my bike over that experience, then walked my bike by way of a number of ft of snow, earlier than discovering the right spot to pitch my tent for the night.

Bicycle Touring Pro standing with his bike and tent on a cliff overlooking a snow-covered mountain with a river running below him

I ended up tenting on the sting of a small cliff overlooking a river surrounded by snow! It was simply the most effective campsites I’ve ever had anyplace on this planet!

Traveler sitting outside tent in snowy norway landscape

After organising camp, I cooked dinner on my camp range after which sat inside my tent with the rain-fly open, simply staring out on the river and snow and mountains that surrounded me. The view from my sleeping bag was so extremely spectacular! And though I do know it appears to be like actually chilly in these pictures, it was truly fairly comfy. I sat there for a lot of the night in my shorts and solely turned into my lengthy pants as soon as it was time to go to mattress.

Bicycle Touring Pro cliff's edge campsite in snow-covered Norway

Within the morning, I didn’t wish to go away. However finally, I packed up every part I used to be carrying with me, pushed my bike again by way of the snow, carried my loaded touring bicycle right down to the highway after which started biking north.

Bicycle Touring Pro cycling in snow in Norway

As I cycled, the snow alongside the facet of the highway started to extend an increasing number of. “By the point I attain the North Cape,” I believed to myself, “I’m going to be surrounded by nothing by white powder, white clouds and a white sea.”

However that turned out to not be the case. After not more than 40 kilometers, the highway took a deep dive down towards the ocean and within the a matter of moments the snow that had surrounded me for the final couple days had out of the blue disappeared.

Barents sea view from the road in Nordkapp Norway

Within the tiny coastal city of Olderfjord, Norway I ended for a couple of minutes and regarded across the reward store, then went into the toilet and refilled my water bottles. From there, it was solely one other 130 kilometers to the Nordkapp!

The bike experience north of Olderfjord was a scenic one. The highway was comparatively flat, operating alongside the shoreline, with a skinny stretch of land between the road and the ocean. On this small stretch of land have been dozens and dozens of grazing reindeer – a lot of which might run in entrance of my bicycle for tons of of meters in an try and get away from me, earlier than finally operating throughout the highway and up a steep hill on the opposite facet, or dashing their option to the space seashore on my far proper.

Albino reindeer feeding

After an extended and really chilly day of biking (greater than 100 km) I pushed my bike up a steep filth highway and pitched my tent in a flat space only a few meters away from a speeding stream/waterfall.

Lone man stands looking into sunn over stream in nordkapp norway

By the point I pitched my tent on this specific night, it was fairly late within the day (near 9 PM) and there have been only a few automobiles out on the highway. It was freezing chilly (one of many coldest days of the whole bike tour) and I used to be exhausted, however the view from my tent was unbelievable. Within the distance I may see the islands I would want to cycle over to the next day. And simply past that was the Nordkapp!

Bicycle touring and wild camping in Nordkapp Norway

I woke the subsequent morning wishing I may get one other 6 hours of sleep, however I wanted to press on. I nonetheless had a great 50+ kilometers to go till I reached the Nordkapp and I knew that it was going to be a difficult day, with a number of completely different tunnels I would want to experience by way of… and at the very least a number of large hills.

RVs driving down the road to Nordkapp Norway

My campsite was positioned only a few kilometers from the south facet of the tunnel that may take me from mainland Norway over to Magerøya island. It solely took me a couple of minutes to succeed in the tunnel entrance on my bike… and from there it was a step downhill experience, under the ocean, and into the depths of this 7+ kilometer-long tunnel.

I don’t have any pictures from contained in the tunnel, however let me inform you… it was not enjoyable! I loved the downhill experience originally, however driving uphill and out of the tunnel with the roar of semi vehicles, RVs, bikes and cars developing behind me and passing inside inches at instances prompted me a substantial amount of nervousness. I needed to pull over on multiple event simply to relax, management my respiration and check out to not freak out. I’ve ridden by way of lots of tunnels in my time, however this tunnel (as a result of it was so steep and so lengthy) was one of many worst tunnels I’ve ever cycled although. The one factor going for it was that the visitors was pretty gentle.

A couple of minutes after exiting the tunnel on the south facet of Magerøya island, I noticed one other bicycle vacationer heading in the wrong way. He was a retired gentleman from the Black Forest space in Germany. He had simply began his bike tour on the Nordkapp that very day and was biking south again to his residence in Deutschland. When requested how lengthy he thought his bike tour is perhaps, he replied, “Roughly two months.”

Retired German man with fully loaded touring bicycle in Norway

Nordkapp Norway mountain landscape dotted with snow

The benefit of my bike experience to the North Cape, nevertheless, was that on the day that I used to be there, the climate was truly superb. Don’t get me mistaken, it was nonetheless very, very chilly. However the sky was clear and the visibility was excessive.

I had heard from a number of of the bicycle vacationers I had run into over the previous few days that after they have been on the Nordkapp it was chilly and foggy and that you just couldn’t see a factor. So, I had timed my bike tour to the Nordkapp excellent so far as the climate was involved.

There was one brief, however very step hill to climb earlier than reaching the Nordkapp. A parking attendant welcomed me on the gate and knowledgeable me that as a result of I had ridden my bicycle there, there was no payment for me to enter. I gave the younger man a high-five and requested, “Do you get lots of these from the individuals coming in right here?”

He replied, “No, not as many as you may assume.”

The North Cape globe, cliff and sea in Nordkapp Norway

It’s just a little troublesome to explain what it’s like there on the Nordkapp. While you come up the highway you first spot the large parking zone full of automobiles and buses and (greater than anything) RVs. After going by way of the parking zone, you method a big stone constructing and enter by way of the sliding doorways on the entrance. As soon as inside, a person at a small data desk factors you within the course of the reward store, points of interest, restaurant, loos, and so forth. Then, on the north facet of the constructing, only a brief stroll down from the constructing, is a big steel globe with dozens of individuals circled round it taking pictures of themselves. Being there on their lonesome, I didn’t actually attempt to get an image of myself with the globe. I used to be there! I had made it! And realizing that was all I wanted to take with me.

Darren Alff selfie at the Nordkapp in Norway

On the east facet of the Nordkapp constructing I noticed one other bicycle traveler. I cycled over to introduce myself and he then requested if I might take his picture. I snapped a couple of photos of the person utilizing his iPad, after which he requested if I needed an image too. The picture under is the picture he took of me on the Nordkapp with my bicycle.

Bicycle Touring Pro in Nordkapp Norway

The lady on the data desk contained in the constructing knowledgeable me that there was certainly a bus going again to Honningsvåg that night, however that it didn’t go away for at the very least a couple of hours. That was positive with me! I discovered a free energy outlet contained in the constructing, plugged in one among my digicam batteries, after which sat inside (retaining heat) whereas answering emails and responding to messages on my smartphone.

When it got here time for me to get on the bus, I went outdoors to the place I had stashed my bicycle and located the realm full of three different bicycles and their homeowners. Mark and Jacquie Hyett have been the primary to see me coming and collectively there was a collective “Oh, there he’s!”

Mark went on to clarify that he had acknowledged my bicycle from the pictures I’ve posted on the Bicycle Touring Professional web site and knew for a indisputable fact that it was me when he noticed the customized “” paint-job on my bicycle’s rear chainstay.

“We have been excited about doing this bike tour,” Mark went on to clarify, “and figured, certainly somebody should have finished this earlier than.” And that’s how they found! They’d merely searched the Web for different individuals bike touring in Norway… and located me. How cool is that!?!

Mark Hyett, Jacquie Hyett, Terri Jockerst and bicycle tourists in Nordkapp Norway

After speaking with Mark and Jacquie and their pal Terri Jockerst who was with them as properly, a younger man in a yellow jacket ran across the nook and stated, “I’m sorry. I used to be contained in the constructing and I noticed you out right here and I needed to come and say hey. I watch all of your movies on YouTube and I really like your web site. Are you able to wait right here for a minute whereas I am going get my bicycle? I wish to take a photograph with you.”

I agreed to attend and the younger man returned only a few minutes later together with his bicycle. We took a couple of pictures collectively after which he knowledgeable me that he was working on the Nordkapp lodge, however that earlier than that he had been conducting a number of brief bike excursions round Norway.

Darren alff of Bicycle Touring Pro at Nordkapp Norway

I might have appreciated to have stayed longer and talked with all my new bicycle touring mates, however at precisely that second the bus to Honningsvåg pulled up and I needed to say goodbye. I threw my bicycle into the bus’ decrease baggage compartment after which jumped on board – paying fairly a hefty payment to be transported again to Honningsvåg.

It was solely a 30 kilometer bus experience again to Honningsvåg, however I used to be glad to pay the value to take that experience. It was heat contained in the bus, and there’s nothing I like lower than biking down a highway I’ve simply cycled down a couple of moments earlier than. I had reached the Nordkapp… and now it was time to show round and start making my method again to Umeå, Sweden.

typical scene of norway coastline dotted with houses

As soon as I obtained off the bus in Olderfjord, I stuffed up my water bottles after which instantly started biking south. The climate had warmed fairly a bit at this level and I needed to cease and placed on my shorts, as I had been sporting my snow pants earlier than that.

I didn’t cycle far on this specific day (solely 35 kilometers) earlier than pushing my bike off the highway and up a steep path to a flat spot on the high of the hill. From my campsite I may see a big lake off within the distance… and as soon as once more, I used to be alone within the wilds of northern Europe. I beloved it!

Wild Camping above a lake in Norway

The following morning, I continued biking down the coast to the town of Lakselv, Norway. Whereas I used to be there, I ended on the metropolis’s small vacationer data workplace and requested if it could be okay for me to cost a few of my digicam batteries in one among their shops for some time. The person working on the workplace was extraordinarily pleasant and stated it was no downside for me to depart my digicam batteries plugged in for a number of hours. “So long as you come again earlier than 4 o’clock, it’s not an issue.”

So, I plugged in two of my digicam batteries after which cycled throughout city to a close-by pizzeria for lunch. I ordered a vegetarian pizza after which sat there in my sales space for greater than an hour after consuming – simply so I may use the restaurant’s WiFi to obtain extra new podcasts to my smartphone.

finland vegetarian pizza

Shortly earlier than 4 PM, I returned to the Lakselv vacationer data workplace to retrieve my digicam batteries and chargers. The person on the vacationer workplace requested if I might signal their visitor e-book… and so I did. When the person requested the place I used to be from and I instructed him I used to be from the USA, he stated, “Actually? You’re the primary individual from the USA we’ve ever had in right here!”

Apparently, this specific a part of Norway isn’t particularly common with worldwide vacationers. However that’s what tends to occur while you go on a long-distance bike tour: you find yourself exploring areas that the majority different vacationers merely skip over or ignore.

Leaving Lakselv, Norway, the panorama rapidly modified from seaside and inexperienced forests to that brown, barren, Arctic wasteland I had cycled by way of days earlier than on my bike experience north towards the Nordkapp.

typical road in lapland norway

I didn’t get pleasure from biking by way of this specific area. It was ugly and it was troublesome to seek out anywhere to camp – because the land was moist and watered down in nearly each simply accessible place.

Fortunate for me, I managed to discover a small hillside on which to pitch my tent for the night. My campsite was uncomfortably near a small roadside relaxation space, however I figured it wouldn’t be an issue, as this specific a part of Norway was very calmly traveled. One automotive may go each 5 minutes or so.

camper wild camping in brown lapland norway

Regardless that this specific tenting spot was not my favourite, it labored out properly. As soon as my tent was pitched, I spotted I had a fairly good view of the valley in entrance of me and the mountains within the distance. And since there have been no timber to shelter me from the solar, it meant my campsite was comparatively heat and my solar energy was free to do its factor.

Bicycle traveler Darren Alff cooks dinner on a camp stove sitting outside his tent in lapland norway

The next day I had two main objectives. 1) Cost my digicam batteries some extra within the close by city of Karasjok and a pair of) cross the border from Norway into Finland.

I knew by my map that there was a public library in Karasjok the place I may probably cost my batteries, however once I obtained to city, the library was closed. There was some sort of avenue truthful going on the time and there have been musicians standing underneath a small awning and performing to a crowd of not more than fifty individuals.

I cycled round city for some time, looking for a spot to plug in my batteries. I even requested on the native data workplace (as I had finished the day earlier than) if they’d be keen to let me cost my batteries there, however the younger man working behind the desk didn’t appear to be open to that concept. So, after failing to discover a public energy outlet, I made a decision to easily refill on meals and water and hit the highway. I had sufficient digicam batteries to get me to the subsequent city… and hopefully I’d discover a place to cost my batteries as soon as I arrived there.

A short time later I cycled throughout a big river after which crossed the border from Norway to Finland. Nearly instantly, I used to be confronted with a big hill that appeared to go on and on and on. It was a kind of hills that simply while you assume you’re about to succeed in the highest, the hill reveals that it has much more in retailer for you. And while you attain the highest of that hill, there’s much more uphill climbing past that! I believed that Finland was flat, however this hill proper on the border was removed from what I anticipated.

That night time, I ended up discovering essentially the most lovely campsite in a forested space simply off the facet of the highway. I cycled down a dust stretch for just a little bit after which pitched my tent in an open flat spot close to two small ponds.

Perfect forest campsite in Finland

That night time, earlier than going to mattress, I snapped this picture of my odometer, which confirmed that I had cycled some 1,334.4 kilometers by this level in my tour.

Blackburn bicycle odometer showing 1334 kilometers with a tent and bicycle out of focus in the background

The following morning, as I used to be making my method towards Inari, Finland, I noticed a pair on loaded touring bicycles headed in the wrong way. Their names have been Jens and Sabine Kunze and so they have been German bike vacationers who knowledgeable me that they’d traveled on their bicycles all around the globe. They even gave me a enterprise card which had photos of themselves driving bicycles driving around the globe, in addition to their e-mail deal with and web site:

Sabine and Jens Kunze of Fahrradnomaden

About 20 kilometers north of Ivalo, Finland, it began to rain. It was raining so closely that I used to be having bother seeing, so I pulled my bike over to the facet of the highway, pushed my belongings up a dust logging highway, after which discovered a campsite on the hillside overlook a large lake.

Bicycle camping on a mountain above a lake in Finland

From my hillside campsite I may see dozens of small islands within the distance.

Darren Alff smiling lake selfie in Finland

It rained all night time lengthy and my tent began leaking from each course. Water was getting in by way of the rain-fly above me and dripping onto my head as I slept. On the base of my tent, a small pool of water was forming, and once I awoke within the morning my down sleeping bag was moist on the toes.

I didn’t wish to spend the whole day biking in such intense, chilly rain, so I went again to sleep… and once I awoke once more round midday, it was nonetheless raining. The rain didn’t cease till 5:00 PM – at which level I crawled out of my tent and regarded packing up and biking a brief distance into city, on the very least. However it was already so late within the day, so moderately than go anyplace, I simply left my tent the place it was and went on a brief hike.

Man in red jacket standing on a rock and looking out over a lake in northern Finland

I climbed as much as the highest of the mountain underneath which I had laid for the final 20-something hours and I snapped a couple of pictures of myself and the surroundings.

Lake Islands near Ivalo Finland

It continued to rain on and off all night time lengthy, and once I awoke the next morning, it was nonetheless sprinkling, however the rain had largely subsided. So, I packed up my bicycle and cycled into the close by city of Ivalo.

As soon as on the town, the very first thing I did was go to the general public library and plug in my digicam batteries. As you may inform by this level, this turned an ongoing a part of my each day route. Each single day I needed to search for meals and water, discover a place to sleep every night time, and regularly seek for electrical energy and web.

Man working on his computer inside public library in Finland

I spent 6 hours on the library that day, obtained three of my digicam batteries charged, and charged my smartphone to 100% as properly. Earlier than leaving city I ate a disgusting thin-crust pizza from a neighborhood restaurant, stocked up on meals and water, after which started biking south.

I had spent nearly the whole afternoon within the Ivalo public library, so I didn’t count on to cycle very far on this specific day, however I used to be properly rested after having spent the day past simply mendacity in my tent listening to podcasts and writing in my journal, so I cycled properly into the night. After 8:00 PM, the visitors on the highway died down a lot that I used to be in a position to cycle for greater than 20 minutes typically earlier than I noticed even one other particular person.

It was a moist and wet day of biking, however I managed to cycle over 105 kilometers. Towards the top of my day, I noticed this younger man (proven above) touring in a camouflage wilderness jacket. After I noticed him approaching me within the distance, I at first thought he is perhaps a moose or animal of some sort. However as he obtained nearer I noticed that, sure, he was a bicycle traveler. I didn’t get the younger man’s identify, however he stated he was going to remain at a pal’s home close by and that he was attempting to get there earlier than it turned too late within the night.

A whole day handed after that and I didn’t take even a single picture for greater than 24 hours. Then, I snapped these two photos from what could be my final night time in Lapland, Finland.

Darren Alff standing next to a tree and his touring bicycle and tent

I spent the night time camped out a couple of kilometers north of Rovaniemi, Finland… and the next morning I cycled into city and started in search of the bus station.

Darren Alff smiling while camping in tent in Finland

Whereas I might have appreciated to have cycled all the way in which again to Umeå, Sweden on my bicycle, my time had run out. I wanted to be again in Umeå by 2:00 PM on the twenty fifth of June so I may meet the younger girl I had rented my house from and test into the place that may be my residence for the next 40 days and nights. So, in Rovaniemi, I went to the bus station, solely to find that I had missed the final bus of the day.

There was nobody working on the bus station that night time and there wasn’t one other individual in sight. There wasn’t even a schedule of when the buses is perhaps operating the next day. On high of that, this was the Midsummer vacation in Finland and Sweden, so I wasn’t even certain if the buses could be operating the whole weekend.

I waited on the bus station for greater than an hour to see if anybody may flip up who may assist me or give me some data. That’s when a large double-decker bus pulled into the station and I ran over to the bus driver and requested her for help. The center-aged girl didn’t communicate a lot English, however she was in a position to hand me a bus schedule and say that sure, the buses have been operating tomorrow.

Caught in Rovaniemi for the night time, I cycled north out of the town and down a quiet filth highway earlier than discovering a small patch of land on which to pitch my tent. As I started organising my tent, the mosquitoes started to swarm and I spotted that this was actually the primary time on my total bike tour once I had needed to content material with mosquitoes.

I rushed to get my tent setup after which jumped inside as rapidly as I may – vowing to not exit my tent till the next morning. By the point I obtained the zipper on my tent closed, there have been dozens of mosquitoes already inside, and tons of extra swarming round outdoors. I killed the little guys who had made their method into my tent after which spent the subsequent 20 minutes splashing the partitions of my tent with citronella oil – hoping that may make the mosquitoes go away. A couple of minutes later – they have been all gone… and I spent the remainder of the night time sleeping peacefully in my tent.

View of highway in Sweden from inside bus

There have been at the very least three buses that day going from Rovaniemi to Umeå, Sweden. Not desirous to miss my alternative to get again to Umeå on time, I jumped on the earliest bus and left city only a few minutes after 8:10 AM.

It was a 7+ hour bus experience again to Umeå, however I loved each second of it. After having spent the final month of my life dwelling outdoors and within the forest, it was fantastic to be inside, heat and cozy. Plus, driving on the bus meant I obtained to see a number of small Swedish cities I had by no means seen earlier than: Kalix, Luleå, Piteå and Skellefteå.

As soon as the bus arrived again in Umeå, Sweden, I knew precisely the place I used to be. I had been on this metropolis 3 times earlier than, in spite of everything! Plus, as a result of I had gotten on the early morning bus, there was nonetheless loads of day left… and loads of time to kill earlier than I checked into my house at 2:00 PM the next day.

After loading up on sufficient meals and water to get me by way of the night time, I cycled west out of city towards an space known as Röbäck after which past it to a small forested space marked with a cave icon on my map.

Biking down a slender single-track path and ceaselessly having to carry my heavy bicycle over fallen timber and up or down steep, rocky ledges, I ultimately made my option to the Anna-Lotta kammaren (or the Anna-Lotta cave).

This space is exclusive as a result of it options a powerful rocky outcropping with a small cave (solely actually sufficiently big to shelter about 12 individuals or so). There have been a number of hearth rings across the cave entrance the place individuals had camped beforehand, so I pitched my tent close to one among these pre-existing hearth rings and made this my residence for the night. I had the whole cave and every part round it to myself!

After pitching my tent, I spent a substantial amount of time strolling round and exploring the realm. There was a lot to see and do right here, I may have simply spent one other hour or two strolling across the cave. From the highest of a rocky ledge, standing immediately over the cave, I may see farmland and forests within the distance. Regardless that it was raining and the mosquitoes have been out to play, it was a powerful place to be and a good way to finish my bike tour to the Nordkapp and again.

I slept in late the subsequent morning and didn’t pack up my tent till practically midday. Then I cycled into the Umeå metropolis middle, turned into my cleanest pair of garments on the bus station, then rode the brief distance to my new house within the Haga district of Umeå.

As soon as there, I used to be greeted by Hillevi and Arvid, the younger couple whose house I might be renting for the subsequent 40 days.

Arvid and Hillevi confirmed me round, confirmed me the place the laundry room was, confirmed me how the Web labored, requested me to water their vegetation whereas they have been gone, after which they stated goodbye.

I used to be unhappy to see them go so rapidly (and felt that we is perhaps mates if I have been to reside right here in Umeå full-time). However as soon as they have been gone, I used to be glad to have the house to myself… and to lastly be capable to take a bathe! I had been on the highway for 28 days and through that point I had solely taken one actual bathe once I was in Alta, Norway. By the point I obtained again to Umeå, I used to be greater than prepared for an extended, scorching wash!

Umea Sweden apartment living room

Listed here are some pictures of the house I rented in Umeå, Sweden. Above and under are two completely different views of the lounge. Take a look at that purple plant within the window! I find it irresistible.

The kitchen is the place I ended up spending most of my time. The desk right here turned out to be the right place to sit down and work on my pc.

Umea Sweden kitchen interior

Cozy kitchen table in Sweden apartment

When you watched my video from my bike tour throughout Norway and Sweden in 2016, you may acknowledge this bed room. That is the bed room I obtained locked in final summer time and needed to name Arvid and Hillevi to return and assist me get out. It was each a traumatizing and humorous expertise. This yr, once I arrived on the house, Arvid made certain to level out that the lock had been utterly faraway from their bed room door.

Bedroom inside apartment in Umea, Sweden

Lastly, my favourite a part of this house is the small enclosed patio that’s accessible through a door in the lounge. I might sit out right here within the mornings and work on my pc whereas taking within the view and watching the clouds slowly soar previous.

Umea apartment balcony table and chairs

General, my bike tour from Umeå, Sweden to the Nordkapp in northern Norway was the most effective bicycle touring experiences I’ve had in my 17+ years of touring by bike all around the globe. Regardless that it was chilly and moist at instances, I loved the experience as a result of I used to be in nature, the roads have been comparatively visitors free, the individuals have been extraordinarily pleasant, the meals was good, I used to be in a position to do the whole bike tour for little or no cash ($722.76 USD complete or $26 USD per day), and greater than anything, I used to be in a position to simply get away and be alone.

I’ve bike throughout 9 completely different international locations since being recognized with testicular most cancers in late 2015 and having surgical procedure to deal with my situation. The bodily restoration was a complete lot simpler than I believed it could have been, however mentally recovering from the analysis has been extraordinarily troublesome.

I feel I struggled on my earlier bike excursions (in Ecuador and Colombia particularly) as a result of I used to be frightened about my well being and my head was merely not in the correct place. However this bike tour in northern Europe gave me precisely what I wanted. It obtained me into nature; it allowed me a while to easily sit and be with myself; and it distracted me from the adverse ideas that had been operating by way of my thoughts for the earlier one-and-a-half years since I used to be recognized with most cancers.

Finally, reaching the Nordkapp in northern Norway was not as memorable or as spectacular as you may assume. The Nordkapp itself is mainly only a large rock with a steel globe on high of it, positioned above and infinite blue sea.

After all, I knew that biking to the North Cape was probably not my purpose on this bike tour. Attending to the North Cape was only a place to go… and the actual spotlight of the journey was every part that came about earlier than getting there.

The journey was the memorable half – not the Nordkapp itself!
















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Biking to the North Cape in Nordkapp, Norway – Bicycle Touring Professional  
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