Is thirty-five days going to be enough?
We're about to embark on our fourth long cycle tour and this time it will be a really long one. I have thirty-nine days leave from work and this fits in Damae's long summer holiday. There are two plans both starting with following the National Cycle Route 3 from Kristiansand up to Fløro. From Fløro we'll head up via Barmen and Midsund to Trondheim trying to follow the National Cycle Route 1 along the coast. Then from Trondheim we have a choice. The easy and safe one is to turn south following the National Cycle Route 9 down to Strömstad and take the boat to Sandefjord. The less likely one is to head north to Bodø and then take in the Lofoten Islands. We'll have to see what happens when we get to Trondheim.
So far we've not cycled very much this year. It has been a bitty annoying sort of year: everything we have tried to do has not gone right. It took three goes to get our train and ferry to Norway booked. Troubles with a tent took up several visits to the camping shop before the problems were resolved to our satisfaction. Our lovely VSF T400 Rohloff bikes had to go back for a day to have 17 sprockets fitted: a case of mis-communication between ourselves and the bike shop.
Still that is now all behind us and we are ready for the trip. Well almost. Damae went straight from the last week of school to a week long Jazz camp in Norway. When she gets back she'll have around twenty-four hours to get her self packed and sorted before we head off to the train. This packing will take longer than last year as we've now decided to use four panniers and leave the rack packs at home this time. All with the great idea of saving weight and making it easier to walk down trains with the bags.
To complicate things we've picked up some new gear some of which weighs more than the stuff it replaces. There is a method to our madness. The heavier Exped down filled mats are really warm and very comfortable. A good nights sleep is essential if we are going to achieve our (ambitious) goals. A new Helsport tent is lighter than the Citadel and has a very small pack volume whilst offering about the same space inside the tent. I've also invested in a smaller Trangia 27 which just fits in a new larger Ortlieb bar bag saving space in the food pannier.
Will it all work? Will we cope with so many essential things being new? Will we end up loving our Rohloffs or cursing them? There is only one way to find out and we've both looking forward to getting on our bikes and feeling the road underneath us.
Exactly what lies ahead of us is uncertain but hey that's all part of the fun.