Day 1. Moskenes – Ørsnesvika. 131km

Posted: July 9, 2012 in Cycling, Norway
Tags: , ,

A cyclist is in the elements. Encapsulated in a controlled capsule, a car driver is isolated from outside. The cyclist feels each ray of sun, each breath (or gale) of wind, each slope. The cyclist hears the birds squawk, smells the salty sea and the fish drying.

My trip started with perfectly clear skies and not a breath of wind. I rolled passed Rheine and along the coast. The water was still. A picture of tranquility: boats lying quietly on the mirror water, next to quaint fisher’s huts and spectacular mountains looming in the background. The mood of the cyclist is a buoyed by such perfect conditions and some of the best scenery in the world. This is what cycling is all about.

Moskenes in the early morning

Moskenes in the early morning

Reine

Reine

The road made its way to the north of the island. The wind picked up (a head wind is default), and the clouds moved in. What was a warm sunny start was now a cold, windy affair. But don’t think that a bend in the road may turn a complete head wind into a side wind. The wind follows the valleys just like the road does. A head wind stays a head wind.

The mood of a cyclist moves with the conditions. Colder conditions, still dressed for the sun makes feet go numb. Head winds and exertion bring on the hunger 4 hours before shops open. Muesli bars and bananas bring back the energy. The cold grey skies turn a tropical looking beach into a more bleak, windswept, and still beautiful affair.

Ramberg

Ramberg

The day started with sun on the south side of the island, turned to grey on the north. Northern grey once again changed as the road returned towards the south. The blue reined again, and everything was friendly, and simply stunning.

My first major tunnel experience was followed by an open supermarket at Leknes.

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I met a nice German cyclist: Helmut, who gave a few tips. His most treasured piece of advice was wind related. If you have a head wind, try to find another cyclist and cycle together, one forming a wind shield for the other. We couldn’t do this: Helmut was cycling south. Another fact that he had that i didn’t know is that it is a standard wind pattern where wind comes from the north. I had thought that the wind direction was more random. Nice to know, but cycling from the north cape isn’t as satisfying.

I took a slight detour from the main cycling route and cycled through some nice farming country to my picnic with a view. I ate to the sound of the wind and sheep bells.

 

Sun was now reigning supreme. Around every bend was another view smiling at me. ‘You are here!’ the view was saying. ‘After all this planning!’

As my trip continued, euphoria of the views, a lowering energy level, and a wind becoming more brutal made pushing through it at 10 km/h on flat road less appealing. The last stretch before my decision was beautiful. A lovely fjord with spectacular mountains on the other side.

 

I had planned to cycle around the island of Gimsøya: apparently a highlight of the Lofoten islands. This would mean 10 extra kms of full on headwind slog to a camping ground that wasn’t answering their phone, and so, I concluded, may be closed. Instead, I concluded, the main road was with a tail wind. I couldn’t resist. Off I went at 25-30 km/h or more rather than 10-15. This is cycling. My mood lifted immediately. I immediately enjoyed the sun and the views.

At a snack I talked to a Scottish cyclist who had cycled here from Scotland via Dover and Calais, Holland, Denmark and Sweden. Amazing.

I am now in a camping at Ørsnesvika a few kms out of Svolvær. After a dinner and a talk with a nice Norwegian family I was ready for bed.

Comments
  1. […] Day 1. Moskenes – Ørsnesvika. 131km The south of the islands are bathed in sun, the north in cloud, and I alternate between the two. Every turn reveals a new panorama. […]

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