On Monday 27th May 2013, Doncaster residents Peter and Frank set off to catch a ferry from Hull to embark on a Scandinavian cycling adventure. After making their way up to Northern Finland by car, Peter set off from North Cape (Nordkapp) to cycle the 2,400 miles back down through Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France. Frank supported Peter along the way, scouting for suitable campsites, finding provisions to keep them both going en route and making a note of his daily mileage in the car at each stop. Here are just a few extracts from Frank’s log of their epic journey.
Sunday 2nd June
Mileage at Honningsvåg site 73635
Up early to begin real job – properly! Pete set off at 8:00am. Nice sunshine. I cleared up and went for a walk then set off through four tunnels before catching Pete at 11am. Set off again and through another tunnel before finally meeting Pete and having lunch. Pete set off and I hung back until about 1pm and then the heavens opened. Met up with Pete at Staid when we decided to carry on to Alta. Still raining. Carried on to outskirts of Alta, a place called Solvany Camping, and booked on to site. Pete arrived at 7:40pm. We pitched tent and went to kitchen/dining room where we made a cup of tea. Then made dinner – beans and sausages. A chap came on a motorbike. He is a Met. Policeman taking a one and a half year sabbatical to tour round the world and he is being sponsored and intends to write a book. What a life!
Friday 7th June
Mileage at Tommerset 74260
Mileage at Rogdan 74365
The weather changed overnight. Dull and damp followed by rain in the evening. Pete set off at 8:30 and I followed not long after. The route was the trickiest yet, many bends and tunnels. The other thing was that there were no shops and I had to get lunch fodder to keep Pete going. However I eventually came to a hotel/spa and went in for coffee. I asked the receptionist where the nearest shop was – she said 40 miles away in Fauske – well beyond dinner time. I explained my problem and she promptly saw the chef and they sold me a loaf, cheese, butter and 2 Danish pastries – excellent! I continued to a lunch spot but Pete didn’t materialise. Eventually I back tracked and came across him in a tunnel (there were numerous tunnels 14/16). I shouted at him to let him know it was me. Apparently he had been diverted. They would not let him use this particular tunnel but after riding for 10 miles he found that the road was blocked and so had to return, adding 20 miles to his journey.
Friday 14th June
Mileage at Stoa 75144
Mileage at Arjang 75308
Rained during the night but got a good night’s sleep. Pete didn’t. He set off at 8:30. Fair and sunny as we set off. We arranged first stop at Rovend. I decided to go through a big town called Kongsvinge before lunch. Did this and found a splendid spot by a lake. Pete came and we had lunch. The border into Sweden is looming. Met at Magra, last town in Norway, and bought food with the money we had left and went through the border together. We arranged to meet for night stop at Arviker. I got there and found a site and waited at a suitable place to meet Pete. Pitched camp and went for showers etc. Unfortunately Pete got locked in his and the site handy man had to be found to release him. He was incarcerated for about an hour so dinner was late, about 9:30 ish!
Saturday 14th June
Mileage at Arjang 75308
Mileage at Stenrosets 75432
Beautiful morning, sunshiney though cold wind, clear blue sky. Pete left at 8:30. Met Pete en route as planned – 172 to Bengstsfors – then proceeded to Backenfors for another rendezvous. Rendezvous are becoming more and more important now. The site we were going to was in Trollhättan to the south of Vanisborg. Well after about 9 miles it all became motorway. I followed Pete’s footsteps to pick him up if necessary. I first left a message on his phone. By some miracle as I was re-entering the city centre I passed him. It turned out that he had met a keen cyclist who took him on a cycle route to the place. Try to find a route to Gothenburg as E45 will not have bikes. We think we have a solution. Started raining with thunder and lightning at 9:00pm. Mileage 1470 to date.
Friday 21st June
Mileage at Wollingst 76065
Mileage at Camping Gabither 76152
Got up in Gasthaus and had a fine breakfast. Set off and dropped Pete off where I picked him up last night just entering Baverstedt. Headed for Hagen in pouring rain. The fields are sodden. It rained all day. The pattern is set for me to do 10 miles ish and then wait for Pete. Road signs vary and cycle routes too. We try to stick to ‘yellow’ roads much better. Went from Baversedt to Hagen then to Sandstedt where we went on a tiny ferry. All seemed to be working well but we had problems in Leer. Pete thought he could ride through it. I set off and waited. After what seemed ages got a text from Pete saying he could not make it and had gone to a McDonalds near the spot where we said goodbye last and there he was. It was still chucking it down and as it was 5:30 we decided to pitch camp for the night. Today’s mileage 67. Total 1987 (nearly).
Wednesday 26th June
Mileage at Ostende 76740
Up to a lovely sunny morning. Left site at 7:50 – both of us. Our first meeting place was Middlekirke Ban. I parked on N54 next to the sea and cycle path. Pete duly arrived. Next stop was De Penne near French border. Called at a very nice brot (bread) shop and bought some cobs and a tarte aux pommes. Pete had a sarnie to keep him going. Pete did 75 miles today. Total 2400. Mileage at Calais docks 76820. Waited 2 hours or so for Pete. He, like me, had gone adrift. Text to say where he was on road to Oye Plage where we had one of our sarnies and a coffee in a café. Next we went tortoise and hare to centre of Calais to the docks. Bought tickets for the crossing. Boarded ship. Phoned home. Texted all. FINAL MILEAGE AT HOME 77068!
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