Monday, 15 June 2009

SS1600km attempt ride report

On our recent touring holiday to Norway the Better Half let me have a day to do what I wanted. That opportunity, combined with my juvenile sense of humour at a town called Bastad in Sweden which just happened to be about 800km away from where we were staying, sparked the idea to try and pick up a SS1600km ride.

I plotted a simple out and back route via Oslo and Goteborg. The big downside was the grindingly slow speed limits in Norway and after a week of touring I knew getting anywhere fast in Norway was unlikely. The plus side was the 21 hours of daylight and the other three hours were twilight.

I knew it was going to be a long day but I decided on a dawn start which meant 3.30am. It was a clear but chilly morning but the weather gods were with me. I had previously found a 24 hour petrol station about 5km away and after it produced the receipt and I got my papers squared away then it was time to set off. Straight out the petrol station was a 25km tunnel! The Norwegian civil engineering is just amazing.

I took the E16 to Oslo and I hadn't realised that after the tunnel the road went up to 1000m past the ski hills on the snow line. The temperature dropped to 1 degree and fog was busily coming off the high lakes and drifting over the road. An hour in the ride I came across the first vehicle going my way. The truck spotted me and pulled over to let me pass. I didn't see another vehicle on my side of the road for another two hours - bliss!

Many of the petrol stations in Norway have at least one pump that works 24 hours on a credit card. I had no problems with using UK credit cards. Some stations even leave their toilets open through the night to use - can't see that catching on here!

I knew I was going to hit Oslo during the morning rush hours but bikes can use the bus lanes and so I pretty much sailed through. Turning south down the coast and across the Norway-Sweden border the road was a mass of roadworks and numerous local diversions. Slow, slow going. I knuckled down and put in a full to empty tank leg of 240 miles to get to Bastad once the road cleared even though I had to go through Goteborg.

At the turn round in Bastad the distances on my odo and GPS were far too close to midpoint for comfort so on the way back north I put in a small diversion to add another 50km to the distance. Made sure I got a petrol receipt and the end of it though! Caught the evening rush hour in Goteborg and no bus lanes meant slow going.

At 10pm I stopped for my last planned fuel and knew I had 3 hours back to the start/finish point. The light was fading but I managed to get across the high part of the E16 in reasonable twilight. I got back to the start petrol station at 1am. Just as I filled out my papers and tucked them away in the tank bag it started pi**ing down. I just had to laugh the 5km back to our cabin.

Pretty tired but pleased the next day. Better half thinks I'm mad but's that's not news!! Papers off for scrutiny today so fingers crossed that this tucks the two "entry level" rides away and time to start planning some others.

Oh, and the RBLR1000 this weekend!!

PS. If you have thought about taking the bike to Norway and haven't - do it! Fantastic place.

David Pevalin IBA #40019 FarRider #333