About nine months ago Linnea from the Swedish Public radio show Ute med P1 contacted me about tiny escapes and fat bikes. Ute med P1 is a radio show about people who leaves the comfort of civilization for the adventures of the great out doors. Linnea wanted to ride with me and i took her to one of my favorite spots, Sandön.
It was late summer and we were in search of low tides and talked about getting away even when the time for adventures are limited. We had great weather and went trail and beach riding. Linnea was quite tough, we did almost 30 kilometers.
Life´s a beach
We had such a great time we decided to do a winter ride too, at the exactly same place. And a few weeks ago we went back to the shores of Sandön only this time on the ice.
Double selfie at the canal six months apart.
Once again we went to Ourorobors and rented a Small size Icecreamtruck for Linnea. It´s really cool to get the contrasts of riding the same place with a six month gap.
We headed out on the south side along the shores. This time we didn´t have the time to go all around the island but a good spin, coffee and sandwiches on the ice is really all you need.
Coffee on the ice
It was great fun and such an honor to be a guest on the show.
The show is available online but it´s of course in Swedish. Check HERE for the whole show.
I´m stoked and very proud to be featured in the Magazine Original Luleå Story. This tells the story of all the amazing people and things happening in our wonderful town.
Luleå is located just a few kilometers south of the arctic circle and you might think this is some remote place far from the big cities and a bit behind. But it sure as hell is not. When going through all the stories i´m so proud of living in a place where nature, culture, science, sports and the people is top notch.
Check it out online and feel free to visit us any time.
Oh, did i mention we got awesome fat bike trails. Summer and winter.
The big thing in Luleå during winter is riding the ice with fat bikes. It´s where my trails are and what i enjoy the most myself. So off course we were heading out at sea. The best ride is the 28 kilometer snowmobile trail out to Brändöskär, the old fishing outpost at the edge of the archipelago. Here is where you can find the pack ice and have nothing but sea and Finland on the other side. I did this ride last year with Kevin and since then i´ve been out there with the bike a couple of times, it is one awesome ride straight out on the sea.
triple fat lean
We packed our stuff and bikes, since we were staying in a cabin, mainly food and gear so pretty light bikepacking, that is good cos the weather decided to vote against us. Damp weather and fog makes the trails soft and the lighter the bike the better.
The ride goes via Hindersön, a big island with some year around citizens and a great restaurant and hostel. This time of year they´re just open for the public during weekends. So we had lunch at their outdoor benches. The Irishmen always do peak shots when they conquered a summit. But since the sea is pretty flat we did island shots instead. Works just as fine.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
After a quick stop and some food in our bellys we head out to the outer rims of the archipelago. The fog is getting thicker and the sight is very limited. But since were following a trail there is no way we´re getting lost. As we pedal along the trails are getting softer by the minute but we´re still making good speed. It is so lovely out here and it´s really a shame the fog is messing the views up. But it is also pretty cool to be surrounded by nothing, every thing is all white and you feel pretty small.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Soon we´re arriving at Brändöskär, it is always a strange feeling to come here by bike. The last time i visited i came by ferry with Jess and the kids. The cabin we stay in is the same as me and Kevin had last year. They are simple but very clean and comes fully equipped with gas stove and all the kitchen accessories.
We ditched our gear and went down to the outside to check for pack ice, but it was kind of thin ice so we just went out a few hundred meters. Still pretty cool surroundings out here…
We headed back to the cabin and got some wood from the wood shed and an hour later the cabin was all warm and cozy. I decided to fry the very northern specialty fried Palt with bacon and lingonberrys for dinner. It´s always a gamble to get local stuff to foreigners, but it was very appreciated.
After eating and emptying our hip flasks getting to sleep was the least of our problems. When we got up the next morning weather looked pretty okay. But there was a heavy wind from the southwest and after a while the fog started to roll in again. But even worse, the thermometer showed +6 and that makes for wet trails and rough pedaling. Fortunately the wind direction was to our favor and we had tailwind all the way back to Jopikgården at Hindersön. Gotta love riding with the lucky Irish, tailwinds and when we got to the restaurant they were open. Not to the public but for a private conference, and because they´re awesome the made us burgers and coffee for lunch. Thanks a lot for that guys. ❤
Once again we headed out, the last 12 kilometers was hard head wind and a super wet ice road. It was pretty hard work but going on a plowed road made it lot easier.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A few days earlier i was contacted by Randi Gitz. Randi is a Television journalist and she overheard i was going out with a couple of Irish lads on the sea. She wanted to meet up with us on the ice to make an interview. Check out this LINK for the interview.
Pretty tired and pretty wet we got back to the car. Once again very lucky to get the hard wind and super wet conditions at the very end of the ride. Would have been very hard and cold if we got this wet at the beginning of the trip.
Got up this morning and the thermometer says -16 Celsius. Few things gets me going like cold weather and blue skies. It must be something in the blood with us Northlings. We were just made for this. Frost biting your cheeks and gets stuck the beard, i just want to stay outside. But it´s just another Tuesday and i take my regular ride to work and stop by the south harbor. I stop by here almost every day before work, to suck in the great outdoors to last a day indoors. My shop i just a couple of hundred meters away. I love the sea, summer and winter. Its´s the contrasts between seasons that never stop to amaze me.
Ice is growing fast
December is a dark month. The days are still getting shorter until winter solstice 21 of December. The few hours of daylight is very special. Sun rise around 10 a´clock and sets a few hours later. If the skies are clear the light this time of year is really special. Like a sunset that goes on for a few hours.
Fat bike in it´s right environment
Smoke on the water and fire in the skye
This years first frost beard
Very soon the ice will be thick enough to ride. They already started the ice-road plowing and i cant wait to get to Sandön and hit the shores on the outside.
This might be my last post before the big update. Stay tuned for Bike Life in Swedish Lapland 2.0
Winter is coming to Luleå. We´re in for six months of snow and ice. But there is still a few days of autumn left. We´re finally getting temperatures below freezing during the nights to remind us whats coming. The days are getting shorter but nothing beats the clear crispy autumn air.
Frosty boat ropes
I had a day off and everything just lined up for a perfect day of riding. Low tides, dead calm, bright sun. Since it was a Wednesday finding a trail buddy is quite hard. My dear friend Fredrik were supposed to join me but he stayed in due to a cold.
On days like this it´s all about riding shore lines or if possible get out on an island. When water levels are this low Sandön is truly the place to be. This has become one of my favorite places up here and i go here as often as i can. It´s just a canal that separates Sandön from main land, Anders dingy helps me to get across.
Sandön is huge and to day i was going to try to get around the whole island. Since my last ride here with Fatbikeadventures.se i kind of know my way around.
This place offers big variations on the riding but when water levels are low and the sea is calm it´s the beaches on the outside and the dried seabed that makes me tick.
Lovely autumn light along the forest trails
The shallow water is part frozen
Love this place, Skagsudden
When i left home in the morning the thermometer said -4 Celsius and i had to scrape the frost of the windshield of my car. We only had a few frost nights so far. Today the temp would not go much higher, still the sun warms the air during the day. But in the shade the frost kept its grip. I cracked through a thin ice layer in some of the bays even on the south side.
Frost in the sand
Cracking the ice
This view, 5 kilometers of shore ahead.
Days like these are rare. This year we had very few times when the water level´s been under average. Since the whole southeast side of Sandön is shores and very shallow water it becomes an amazing moon like landscape on days like this. It´s possible to ride hundreds of meters out on the seabed. I had my lunch on a flat stone that usually is complete under water.
Since we don´t have real tides here the water level can stay like this for weeks. The sea level is controlled by air pressure, wind and during spring melting water from the mountains.
Moon like landscape
My trusty steed. 2013 Mukluk
A ship passing through the canal on its way to Viktoria Harbor. Luleå has a long tradition of shipping due to the steelworks and ore trains from the mines in the mountains.
Big ship heading in
After going all the way around the outer skirts of Sandön i end up at the seaside resort Klubbviken. An amazing place, full of life during summer. Cabins for rent, restaurant, shores, summer guests, playground, locals and tourists playing in the sand, Klubbviken got it all you can even rent a fatty and go for a spin. But now it´s all closed for the season. I love to visit places like this off-season. It is something beautiful with a place full of life that´s fallen asleep till next season.
Rent a fat bike or a paddle boat
The restaurant is resting.
Memories from summer fun
No kids playing today
Cabins for rent
Last time Anders showed me some of the best single track i have ever ridden on local trails. Somewhere in the woods there is a ridge with a crazy trail going all the way down to the sea. I did not find it this time. But hey, that´s an excuse to return. The lost trail will be found, there is still time, winter is coming but not quite yet.
Here is the route. Total of 37.2 kilometers. (Yes i´m on Strava, it´s just a phase)
Our archipelagos biggest island Sandön is one of my favorite places to ride. Mostly because of the amazing shore line on the south side. During low tide it has never ending dunes. Sandön (Sandy Island) sure make it´s name proud. It´s located where the river of Luleå meets the bay of Bothnia.
Here is what Lulea.nu says about the island “Sandön, by far the Luleå Archipelago´s biggest island, has an area of no less than 25,7 km2 and a large number of permanent residents. Close to the city of Luleå, the island starts on the outer edge of Tjuvholmssundet and stretches all the way to Klubbviken Havsbad, where the inner archipelago ends. As its name suggests, Sandön consists of sand, gravel and other alluvial deposits from the Lule River. There are several rubble fields of varying sizes on the island. The largest is near Lappmyrberget. This 1400-metre long, 300-metre wide field, known as Stenåkern, “the stone meadow”, is a nature reserve.”
I´ve been riding here quite a few times now and i think i know the island pretty well. But i really don´t. I´ve been lurking around the shores looking for new trails, and i found a few. But the guys at Fatbike adventures grew up here and last Sunday they arranged a guided tour around the whole island. After a few drop outs seven riders set of across the trails of Sandön. Right now the water levels are pretty high in the whole bay of Bothnia so beach riding was a bit restricted. However that made for discovering new trails. There is a gravel road that go straight across the island. This is our main route but pretty soon we leave the gravel for some trails.
The gravel road across the island
The rock fields of Sandön
Riding a fat bike around Sandön offers many different types of landscape. From fast single track among the pines to amazing shores. In the middle of the island there is a huge rock field. You can still see the trace of the ocean as you pedal across it. The old seabed still in the shape of big waves. There are some moss plains that looks like something out of a fairy tale. When crossing between the pines all of a sudden an open moss area just appears.
Fat tires loves this place
The moss gardens of Sandön
Going on new trails (for me) all the way out to the outside of the island was fantastic. I love the feeling of going through the woods and all of a sudden the sea opens up in front of you. In a way i can appreciate riding beaches in the foggy September. It´s something sadly beautiful with beaches and summer resorts that´s closed for the season. It´s in a way abandoned, left to rest until next years guests arrive.
Ridning on resting beaches
Hundreds of meters of shallow water
Fat bike Fun
Water levels are quite high but the outside of Sandön is always a good place for some sweet beaches with hundreds of meters of shallow water to play around in.
Now time for lunch. We have been riding about 20 kilometers and our stomachs reminded us that if we´re gonna make the last 13 km food needs to go in. Since the restaurant at Klubbviken is closed for the season we went to Anders summer cabin for some sweet burgers and a cold one.
Bikes taking five…
Re-loaded with burgers, beer and coffee we set off on our way back. I usually just go along the gravel road when going back. But this time Anders of Fatbike Adventures took us along the best trails i´ve ever ridden back home. All new territory for me on this huge island. Along the other canal to main land, Svartösundet there is a ridge. It´s a couple of kilometers long and a lovely trail goes all the way along it and down to the sea where the shore takes us back to were we started. I need to get back here soon again so i don´t forget where to get on.
The ridge trail
Along the shores to get back
North-East shore line
The ridge trail
Thank you Roger and Anders from Fatbike Adventures for showing us some on the best trails Luleå has to offer. Going riding on Sandön is always an adventure and i´m feeling blessed to live in a place where we got places like this. Fatbike Adventures have a fleet of bikes for rent and do guided rides on Sandön. This ride was a little test event of things to come. I smell a Fat Bike Summit taking form. Check them out on FB or on their Web
In times like these, and by that i mean Eurobike, Frostbike, Interbike-times. Everybody is showing off thier new stuff for 2017. Well, as i were saying, in times like these it’s easy to forget why we ride.
Don’t get me wrong, i love getting the news on all new gear and bikes. But sometimes it’s just to much. A gazillion wheel sizes, hub sizes, frames, inovating oval dubbel butted self gearing e-bikes plus carbon drive extravaganza is coming out of my ears. Do we get so caught up in tech and new stuff that we forget what it´s all about?
Last sunday we went riding. Just at the local spot with some nice trails, a couple of jumps and a fireplace by the slope. We packed some burgers, threw the kids bikes in the car and off we went. After we set up camp and got a fire going we just played around on the trails. No hydro backpacks, strava or garmin. Just pure fun on two wheels.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
And there it is! The answer to why we do this. It´s actually really simple. Because it´s so damn fun. Because we can do it together regardless of age or skills. Having the latest bike with the most optimal geometry and the latest smart suspension optimized for exactly this kind of trail wouldn’t have made this day any more awesome. What could have made this day more awesome is more people. More friends, more kids bouncing around, eating burgers and climbing trees, more bikes, more fun.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I really like bikes. I like new stuff and i like the inovations that makes the bicycle even more awesome. But, i like riding more. Very few times, when i think back on an epic ride, it´s not the bike i sat on that makes the memory. It´s the friends i shared it with. It´s the place my bike took me to. Perhaps we need to relax and just go ride.