Spring winter is upon us and conditions have never been better for hitting the frozen Bay of Bothnia. I had the Wednesday off and the forecast said calm weather and clear skies. I usually go alone when i have weekdays off but this week i´ve had my good fat bike friend Kevin from England staying at our place. He just returned from an 90 km bikepacking ride high up in the mountains and had a few days kicking back in Luleå.
Kevin has been here so many times i´ve lost count. But two years ago we did the long version of this ride that include an overnighter at one of the cabins on the island. Check the post from that trip here.
Our goal was Brändöskär, a lovely little island in the outskirts of our archipelago with fishing cabins and an old chapel built in 1774. It is a 30 kilometer ride if you go from the main land but since we only had time for a day ride we took the car the first 15 km to Hindersön witch is connected with an ice road during winter, yes we ride cars on the sea up here…
We packed our bikes and headed out, Kevin was pretty stoked to drive my car on the ice.
We parked at the Restaurant/hostel Jopik Gården and went out at sea. Hindersön is about half way and from here to Brändöskär is just snowmobile trails. We´ve had a snow record this winter so this was my first take on this ride this winter. The warm days and cold night made the trails rock hard and the conditions were really good.
Getting out at open sea with the fat bike is really amazing, the calm and quietness is overwhelming. Grinding across the sea about 13 kilometers took us to the end of the archipelago where the pack ice been washed up earlier in the season. From here it´s only sea until Finland. We sat camp in the ice masses, cooked some sausages and had our coffee. The skies gave us a beautiful halo around the sun, it was just one of those days you remember.
The little fishing village on Brändöskör is now mostly private summer cabins but there are a few that is possible to rent through the Tourist Center in Luleå. When we go the whole 30 km ride we stay in one of these. This is a very lively place in the summer with all it´s residents and guest marina. You can also go here by ferry. But now it´s quiet and very peaceful. We went up the the old chapel that still is in use for some services and weddings. Such an beautiful old place…
The chapel was open and we got a chance to look inside. I´m not much of a church going man but this place brings a spiritual calm no matter what your beliefs are.
We decided to take another route back to get some variation on our ride and went across the island, this is where the big snowmobile trail goes and it was very well packed. Not the epic views like when you go around but still nice to go in between islands and bays.
I´m super glad we had this ride and that Kevin got to see the archipelago in good weather, last time we were riding in fog. Riding the sea is unique and when the sun is warm and the trails are packed it´s like nothing else.
We got back to Jopik Gården again as they were closing for the season but since they are awesome we got some coffee and biscuits before packing the car again and going back to main land. The ride in total was about 28 kilometers, that´s pretty much the same distance one way without cheating the first part by car.
This is the route from Hindersön to Brändöskär.
It was great to ride with Kevin again and i hope to get out at least one more time before the ice goes away. Then summer is free to arrive, it´s been a long winter.