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Kari randonnée au dessus d'un fjord
  • Writer's picture Kari & Jonathan

Autumn crossing of Scandinavia

Starting off from the Oslo Opera House, just the two of us with our bikes and very limited baggage (50L each). From the first pedal stroke we both knew that there was no turning back. Little did we know about the journey that we had ahead of us…

The plan was to bike from Oslo, through Sweden and Finland all the way down to Helsinki. Then to catch the boat between Helsinki and Stockholm, before to bike our way back to Oslo.

The first couple of days were warm and had quite some elevation gain. Kari had a lot of pain in the knees the first days, and all the long uphills did not really seem to help. Luckily it got better after some days and some sports tape!

We crossed the Swedish border and entered bear land, where we crossed a warning sign for bears, the first and only one of its sort. In fact, it’s one of Kari's biggest dreams to spot a bear in the wild. While Jonathan, on the other hand, would rather not. At least not unarmed. He spent many sleepless nights due to the fear of bear encounters.

(Un-)fortunately we did not observe anything other than bear feces. Perhaps because Jonathan made sure to wake up a couple of times every night to scare them away by shouting something like “YEP YEP YEP” while he was clapping his hands. He might have scared the sleeping Kari more than the bears…

We biked through wonderful national parks, crossed gravel paths lost in the middle of nowhere and saw nature that completely took our breaths away. Amazing sunsets and sunrises, clouds making images on the sky, animal life, the autumn colours of the forests, northern lights…

We found new places to build our little house every night. Our camp consisted of our tarps and hammocks, and sometimes, with the lack of trees, we had to put the tarp above the flipped bikes to make a "tent" with room for us on each side of the bikes.

The big reward of the day was to crawl into the sleeping bags at night. After a big meal…

Of course we had some challenges along the way. We were tired, we had pain, equipment that broke, mosquito attacks, heavy rain, 6 flat tires, 1 crazy tractor, headwind, freezing temperatures, 2 dog attacks, 1 broken chain, 1 broken front tooth…, but we always had a smile on our faces.

We really had to fight until the end. As Jonathan said, we had to earn and deserve the success of the bike trip. The last day looked like it would be filled with ease and many downhills, but it showed itself from a very windy side. The headwind kind of side…

When we eventually reached the city center of Oslo we could not stop smiling at each other in pure happiness that we had made it.

In total we rode 3000 km and more than 20 000 m elevation gain crossing the three capitals Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm, spending 35 days of living outside.


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