I made it thanks to your support
At 11,49 November the 9th I arrived to the northern most point of Europe. This after having given up several times. I reached the goal thanks to many of you telling me to continue. I would have returned south several days ago if it wasn’t for that.
I’m happy to have made it even though the trip sometimes hasn’t been a pleasant one. The beauty of the nature and knowing that it was possible to get here, makes the effort worth it. Thank you!
I am writing this post in a hurry because I want to continue the journey south as soon as possible. In a few days the temperature will rise from the current -28°C to -16°C on the Finnish highlands. I then want to take the opportunity to get as far south as possible before the severe cold returns.
These images are showing the journey in chronological order starting in Alta, Norway.
Photos taken by Edmund J Grønmo
For those of you who have the energy to read more
A human powered vehicles network (HPV) has made som questions for their site www.ligfiets.net. Here are my answers.
How long was the trip and how long did it take you?
Total amount of riding days: 20.
Totalt amount of days 31. I had to stay at half way for several days waiting for a delayed mail delivery.
Total amount of kilometers 2,313 from my home in Stenungsund north of Gothenburg to Nordkapp.
Totalt amount of climbed meters is almost two Mt Everest, 16,247 m.
What were the conditions: snow, rain, temperature? Were all roads passable?
This has been one of the coldest autumn in this region for many years. Most difficult was to cycle when temperature was -26°C. I did give up several times but kept going.
I had planned to be here two months earlier but was delayed because of a kidney stone attack. I did plan a very joyful ride, but now the ride was much more difficult than I expected. Sometimes there was a lot of snow on the roads and I had to wait for days before I was able to continue.
From my log 2nd November:
I start long before light is coming. It is snowing and it seems as if they don’t bother plowing the roads on Saturdays. I have to force my way through a thick layer of snow and as soon as I drive outside the tracks made by cars and trucks I’m stuck. Several lorries use chains on there wheels and leave deep grooves on the hard packed snow that is beneath the soft snow. It is like riding on a gigantic washboard.
Was it possible to drive from hotel to hotel or did you camp? I can imagine that many hotels or campsites will be closed in November.
Fortunately I managed to find simple accommodations almost every where in the north, hostels or cabins on camping sights. In one occasion I had to stay in a hotel. But I like to be on the safe side and would not make this trip without full camping equipment good enough for minus forty degrees. I have to plan for emergency stops and be able to survive by myself if something happens. This is making the velomobile very heavy and I would not have been able to make this trip without e-assist for the steepest hills. In these conditions the battery is only giving out 25% of its normal power. It might have been possible to make the trip with no electric assist if only having the clothes on the body and a credit card in the pocket, but I would never take that risk.
Did you have any special precautions such as winter tyres?
I was surprised to see how well summer tires work on hard packed snow when driving a four wheel velomobile. It might have been possible to make 95% of this trip with normal tires. Fortunately I had been sent winter tires by mail to the north, but mounted only the ones with studs on the back (Marathon Plus in the front and Marathon Winter in the back). Without the studs I would not have made it all the way, especially not in the steep hills of Nordkapp.
Have you been able to solve the problem of cold feet?
Fortunately yes. This trip had not been possible otherwise.
Velomobiles are made for warmer climates which is understandable, but here the solution is to have many layers which can be difficult to fit in a narrow velomobile. There will always be some parts chafing on the inside of the velomobile.
This are the layers for the feets from the inside: two pairs of woolen socks, electric heated insoles, double wool felt shoes, thick woolen socks specially knitted by my aunt, 10 mm insoles made of sleeping mat, large overboots with fiber fur on the inside and breathing cloth on the outside and sandals with clips. This arrangement can not be used if temperature is 0 or above since it would get wet.
Do you think a quattrovelo makes this trip easier than a three-wheeled velomobile?
Absolutely yes. I would not ride a three-wheeled velomobile on steep bumpy and extremely slippery downhills. We know how dangerous it can be to ride with a three wheeled velomobile on rumble strips by the side of the road. Then you can multiple that risk with 100 here. And most important, I think it might be impossible to ride in these conditions without having brakes both in the front and the back.
Did you have any special experiences in hotels or special encounters during your trip?
I like to camp as much as possible, but in the north of Sweden several people that I met wouldn’t let me to. They insisted in inviting me to stay at there homes. The closer I did get to Nordkapp, the more touristic and difficult it was to find cheap accommodations. Tourism is understandably a source of money and this is the same all over the world. I prefer to cycle on less touristic places where it is easier to meet people in a more relaxed manner. That is one of the reasons why I have accepted being a part of the 202020 Velomobile Challenge. It consists in visiting 20 countries at ones own speed and route during 2020. For now we are two participating velonauts and I hope more will join. The website www.202020.eu will be published when I get back home. For now have a look at https://www.facebook.com/202020VelomobileChallenge/