Today was our fourth day on the road and the coldest this far. It was -2 when we got out from our wonderful host Erik’s apartment. Our chains were dry from yesterday’s rain and we started the day by giving them a good treat of lubricant.
We soon got tailwind and it was a smooth ride until 3 km before the first village (Veinge). I discovered that my front derailleur struck the big chainring. This problem occured the first time last Thursday which was 3 days prior to departure when I had absolutely no time to deal with it and handed the bike over to Marcus at our local bike shop (Sportson). He had no replacement derailleur of the right size available in the shop and did his best to fix the problem by simply bending the derailleur back a little. It worked well until today.
The simple solution to this problem was to disconnect the chain, move the derailleur away, re-connect the chain and then only use the middle chainring. Since there was new and fresh oil on the chain it was a rather dirty and super cold job. Why couldn’t this have happened in the morning when the chain was still dry?
It got colder and colder the longer into the day we got and when we left Veinge village we turned on our electrically heated inner soles. It is incorrect to say that it kept our feet warm, they were still cold, but at a level that we could tolerate. The only problem is that a set of batteries last only for some 1.5-2 hours and we used three sets each yesterday. Our biggest budget post so far is batteries. We might get ourselves a charger and a few sets of re-chargeble batteries.
When we rode out of Halmstad we rode to the southeast, but in Veinge where I fixed my derailleur we finally turned east towards Bangkok….. At the same moment the tailwind we had enjoyed so far turned to a biting ice cold side wind.
I have commuted with car on this road so many times so I know all the bends and hills, but when driving the bends seem to be closer to each other and the hills are far less steep than when cycling. I knew it would be an uphill struggle, but I didn’t know it was this much uphill.
After a while we were cold and hungry and I knew that there was a little gas station in Knäred. I had never stopped there before but now we found out that this was not an ordinary gas station. It was indeed a gas station but it was also a bakery, handicraft centre, garage and importer of exclusive Ethiopian coffee. We had some sandwiches, hotdogs and lovely coffee while talking to the owner for almost an hour. I have passed that place hundreds of times but only when we cycled past it did we really discover this little pearl. This is one of the reasons for traveling slowly by bicycle.
Salt is spread on bigger roads to get rid of ice. This makes the road slightly wet and dirt mixed with oil, sand and all other sorts of things on the road makes up a black messy liquid that sprays from the back wheel right into the face of the person who rides behind. We were both dotted with stains on our jackets and in our faces. We will attach some extensions to our mudguards to reduce this problem.
Later in the day we left the big main road and went onto a local road through the forest. No salt was spread on this road and it was dry, icy and very slippery. Our speed was significantly reduced and we had to concentrate not to fall.
After riding on that road for an hour it was time to become famous. A colleague of Wej had informed the local radio station in Göteborg about our cycling trip and they wanted to make an telephone interview. We had to find a spot with decent GSM signal, wait for them to call and talk 3-4 minutes before we could go on.
The goal of today’s ride was Älmhult where I used to work for IKEA. We will stay here for a couple of days to meet friends and former collegues, fix things with our equipment and get some rest.
This was all for this time. Now we won’t cycle anything until Sunday 24/2. A nasty cold spell seems to be coming our way and who knows, we might need to spend some extra time here.
See the map of today’s trip in the daily maps section.