Monday, 28 July 2008
I'm in Avista for lunch
Despite a lot of rumbling thunder yesterday afternoon, I am now edging into the second week of lovely cycling here with blue skies, melting tarmac on the road, and gentle breezes - no rain yet.
Yes, I should splurge on a T-shirt or two... rather than wearing the Icebreaker wool top, although this is surprisingly comfortable to ride in in the 30° heat.
In fact I've settled on a routine of rising at 0400 and riding until breakfast time (0700), then stopping for a siesta in a wood (inside the tent to keep insects at bay), emerging at 1700 for a bit more riding. This has been working very well for me, I'm clocking up 100 km days by riding in the two cool periods and of course the already quiet roads are even emptier in the early mornings and late evenings.
The slight downside is that there's nowhere to take a shower, and I could do with carrying even more water than the five liters already distributed around the bike. However the ICA stores I tend to shop in often have a fresh fish counter, and staff are generous with their ice on request.
Incidentally, I'm impressed at the variety and freshness of the produce for sale here - even more choice than I'd find in equivalent shops in the UK. The Swedes obviously take their food shopping seriously!
The scenery is just beautiful here - the suggested route may have been penned by someone with an obsession for hiding out in the woods, since it doesn't seem to pass through any places large enough for a shop, but I can work around that by diverting to a large town after breakfast each day. The scale of the map I have is 1:500 000 for this region, which makes route finding hit and miss - I spent three hours on a gravel road winding through pine and birch forests and long lakes last night after leaving Sala, before groping my way back onto the tarmac road I should have been on, which ran mostly parallel to the alternative. I am glad to have the compass and a GPS with me; I envisage some serious back-tracking at times on the smaller gravel roads. Fortunately the terrain continues to be very gentle, and traffic has not been a problem at all.