Day 15-1. Ålesund to Midsund.
Distance D 72.76 km Max 56 km/h Time 5.06:44 Average 14.2 km/h
Distance S 72.8 km Max 55.5 km/h Time 4.51:04 Average 15.0 km/h
Today started earlier than the previous one and the weather was looking just a little more promising, albeit still rather grey. By twenty past nine we were packing up and as I noticed that an enterprising spider had already staked a claim to part of my Agu bar bag. It didn't stay there long as I had to fill up my water bag and pack things away.
By a quarter to ten we were ready to leave the campsite after the ritual last toilet stop and taking a photo of this NAF (Norwegian RAC) mechanics Volvo van. The grimy toilet blocks didn't stop us having a good night's sleep and we were ready to tackle the route up to Midsund. We realised that it was Friday and that we would not be able to find anyone in positions of authority to chat to about living in Midsund which was just a little irritating. We also wanted to arrive early enough in Midsund to be able to do some groceries. It wasn't that critical as we always carried two dried meals and other dried foods, about a day's worth in total, but some fresh food would be welcome. We were not sure how hard today was going to be but were hoping for a bit of sun.
In the same way we struggled to find the campsite the evening before we spent the first hour or so trying to find the road we wanted. We started by taking the road next to the dual carriageway just outside the campsite and trundled along it for a couple of kilometres. This passed houses and businesses before coming to an abrupt halt at a building site. The East Side of Ålesund was being developed and it wasn't clear where our road was. The only option seemed to be to turn left and head North for a little while. A little further along the options for cyclists disappeared again and we decided to cross the bridge over the main road and take a right turn. Here we dropped down onto a quieter road for a bit down by the water. Despite not knowing if we were on the road marked as National Route 1, it was a fairly obvious road to follow and was much quieter. Further up still the road took a left turn into a tunnel but we chose to carry on going East.
Cities are not our thing, maybe to wander round in when you are staying in a hotel close by but certainly not if we are trying to get somewhere. Looking at our map we thought we should be near the outskirts. However we both felt we needed to be one road across on the other side of the spit of land, with water on our left and hillside on our right. So we took another left turn and on climbing were greeted with a wonderful view spoiled only by a large modern out of town shopping development on the other side of the hill. Here we picked our way along a cycle path, being careful to avoid being hit by distracted car and van drivers crossing our path. We're very used to cars giving way to cyclists in the Netherlands but we were not sure who had priority here. If we were to believe the behaviour of drivers then cars and other vehicles had priority over cyclists. Hmmm. Fortunately this really busy section came to an end at a very large car dealership on a corner as we turned left at the roundabout onto a much quieter road.
Here we made our most time consuming navigation mistake of the morning. We stayed on the cycle track rather than joining the main road right after the roundabout. This went fine for a few hundred metres but then, as so often happens in Norway, the cycle track parted company from the main road and descended rapidly into a housing estate. It was not a cycle track for through traffic, merely to ensure a safe cycle route for local traffic. Damae, in 'I don't want to back track up that hill' mode seemed to think that it would climb back up to the road if we carried on. The first resident we found, pushing a pram, had no idea where the road went. Hmmmmm. Pushing on the road, whilst turning left and right, did indeed start to turn in the right direction and climb. However we ended up on another building site, we couldn't see the main road and the road up to where we thought the main road should be, didn't exist. Grump!