It looks like my old dream of an extended bike tour is coming true, a perfect opportunity consisting of available funds and being job free has appeared.
The first phase, the warmup, will enable me to test the concept of bike touring in the relative comfort and safety of Scandinavia. The rest of the dream, phase two, will most likely involve ferries and biking on another continent
Leaving from Stockholm for Vardö in Norway, going back through north and eastern Finland. This will be a trip through the northernmost parts of Sweden, Finland and Norway. I have been to these places by car before so I know what I am in for.
I have decided to plan as little as possible, one of the few things I will plan/consider is the relative narrow weather window during which it is feasible to ride a bike where I am going. Vardö in the north of Norway has an average temperature of 9C in July, so probably no need to bring shorts. This spring (2013) is looking to be the coldest in many, many years, making it hard to bike north to early. I am aiming for first week of June, it will probably still be very cold then, but I am hoping for the best and will bring plenty of warm clothes.
Expected to take roughly 3 months.
Stockholm,SE → Luleå,SE 1100 km Black
Luleå,SE → Vardö,NO 1000 km Red
Vardö,NO → Helsinki,FI 1700 km Green
Total Approx 4000 km.
Going along the coast up to Luleå will be the warmup, getting used to life on the road and hoping that the summer starts. I will combine campings, hostels and wild camping. This will be relative easy going, they have built some new railroads and motorways along the coast in Sweden, I expect that there will be some criss crossing and cursing while discovering all of these new things still not on any map.
Just after Luleå (S) I will turn more north and head for the border/river crossing somewhere near Pajala(S)/Kolari(FI) and aim for Inari(FI). I am hoping that this will bring me through some real wilderness like Lemmenjoki National Park.
From Inari(FI) to Vardö(NO) there are not many roads to choose from. So I expect that I will have to share the roads with all sorts of party poopers, still there is a very good chance that this will be a great nature experience as well.
Why Vardö(NO)? Well its sort of the north-eastern corner of Europe, I am also considering going to Grense Jakobselv just on the Russian border. I have been there once and I am not thrilled by the “near the border crap” they have there. But in the spirit of not planning I will decide later. I expect that I will get the question “Why not the North Cape ?”, it’s just a tourist trap, as exciting as strawberry umbrella drinks on the Canary Islands. I haven’t been much to Finland but the Finnish outback towards Russia is supposed to be fantastic (if you like trees and such), really looking forward to camping among the 10000 lakes and their inhabitants.
So when I approach Helsinki it should be late August or early September, I will then have the option of going back to Stockholm and find a new job, or if I liked having the days off and just go where the wind blew, go on with phase 2 of my dream tour. So what is phase 2, I will give you some hints, more than one ferry involved, might need sunscreen instead of down coat next winter.