Summer 2007: What we have learned for next time.
This is just one page, not that we have stopped learning but as our experience increases we have to work harder to find things that we have learned.
1) Make hay whilst the sun shines. Yes if you have nice weather in the North of Europe in general and Scandinavia in particular you can cycle from early in the morning to late in the day. If you do this you can travel a long way in a day.
However, nice weather means hot hot hot, even in Northern Europe so take lots of water with you. Two litres of water is not enough for a hot day, especially if you have to climb.
2) Plan a route and stick to it. Although we enjoyed our Norwegian bit the trip became a little aimless once we had done the Nigardsbreen and headed back down to Sogndalsfjøra. The wet and cool weather did not help inspire us to do a couple of days of serious cycling. We both think that had we had a plan, agreed in advance, then we would probably have headed up from Balestrand to Fløro instead of heading back to Voss.
3) A cycle tour is for cycling and not visiting cities. Once you are in a country with your bike you might as well maximise the cycling part of the tour. If there is a budget airline that flies to that city then you can take a long weekend and fly there. The main problems with cities is finding a safe place to store your bikes and bags and that wandering aimlessly around enjoying the atmosphere is easier when you don't have to push a bike round.
4) If you hit wet weather then a good extra groundsheet for your tent makes everything a lot more bearable and is worth the extra weight. We ended up buying a builders tarp in Sogndalsfjøra towards the end of the trip. It helped keep the bottom of the inner tent dry, added an extra layer of insulation and increased the dry covered area in the tent.
5) The combination of a smaller tent and a small wing also makes life much more pleasant in wet weather. The advantage of a separate wing is that if the weather is fine you don't need to put it up.
6) Take the MSR Wind4 when cycling in mosquito infested areas. In such places a tent with a large mosquito proof inner tent makes life much easier. Being able to cook, eat and live in the inner tent is a godsend when the only sound outside is that of hundreds of mosquitos.
7) More bags means more stuff means more weight. It also means more to carry through the train from the bike compartment to where you are sitting/sleeping.
8) Be happy with what you have done, rather than what you could not do. There is always next year, and in the meantime you can to make plans to do what was not possible last time.