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Kuolleiden purjehduskenkien seura

Aug 4th 2022

Overland from London to Finland: Day 5

16:19

Clunk, went the door to the ferryman's cottage, rousing me from my nearly 4,5 hours of sleep. I spent a few minutes blinking myself awake, until my alarm going off meant it was time to start packing up. Some 24 minutes later I was ready to go, just in time for the first ferry of the day, as planned, just as the sun was making its way up in the sky. Promising start for the day.

Across the water, I promptly removed the base layer I'd donned. It was looking like another hot day.

My first stop was in Nyköping, about 2 hours away. Possibly my longest ride for breakfast, but I didn't feel like yesterday's pizza when I woke up.

The route was gorgeous, but kept up the rolling profile I'd grown used to (read: weary of) the day before. I was pretty happy about only having 160 km for the last day; my late night effort hadn't been in vain.

Nyköping looked pretty in the morning light, but I especially liked the look of a large coffee paired with a massive bagel. I had time for a relaxed sit-down breakfast and was able to treasure it.

Most of the day was uneventful riding in beautiful weather through spectacular scenery. My only mistake was having a chat with another cyclist at the day's only other ferry crossing, instead of stocking up at the adjacent café. The café on the other side of the crossing turned out to be closed and I was left empty-handed. Not an immediate problem, but as I'd learned [ed. observed, clearly not learned] yesterday, shops can be far between.

When I then later started to get hungry and yet another name on the map turned out to be barely more than a farm house at a junction, I decided it was time for a diversion.

Having made my way to a shop and fed myself, I treated myself to an additional 15 minute power nap in the shade. The adjacent train station with a connection to Stockholm was definitely tempting me to hop on board. But my destination was only about 40 km away, so I kicked myself on the proverbial behind and got back on the bike.

Carrying on, I soon arrived at an impasse. There had been plenty of gravel roads along the route but this one was in a league of its own, on top of which it was blocked by a barrier with a no cycling sign attached.

A quick study of the map, a short spin on the bike, and I soon found myself at the next barrier with the same sign. That train was looking more tempting by the second, but still I persisted.

One more rerouting, a missed junction, and a u-turn later I found myself on a fire road. By now I'd already decided that any further barriers and I'd be on that train, toute suite. But there weren't any, thankfully, and the fire road soon ended and I was once again rolling along on smooth tarmac.

I (or Komoot) had routed myself along one more path which required pushing the bike. It would probably have been rideable, but only by someone who's vocabulary includes words like "gnarly" and "rad". Definitely not on a touring setup. But it was to be my final obstruction.

In the end, I arrived at the terminal at around 18.45, just about half an hour before check-in was due to open. My goal had been to be there before 19.00, so achievement unlocked, I suppose. Without my unfortunate poor routing choices, I'd probably have arrived some 45 minutes earlier.

I plonked myself down on the terrace of the restaurant at Fotografiska and quaffed a well-earned beer.

The total distance was just under 505 km over 43 hours, of which 23,5 hours were spent on the move. Only some 7-ish hours were spent sleeping, so lots of time was spent just sitting still – of which a fair bit worrying about loose spokes. Much room for improvement in efficiency, one could say.

Next up is the return, which should be less stressful, but I'm sure I'll be able to create some drama...

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