Sticks & Stones – a Swedish Bikepacking Adventure

November 22, 2020

Entry bans, quarantine rules, flight cancellations – vacation planning for 2020 required increased creativity and flexibility. The TGO Challenge in Scotland in May and across the big pond to Amiland in the fall were actually planned. Although I’ve been there so many times, Yellowstone National Park is still waiting to be discovered by me. Four days paddling on rivers and lakes, two backpacking trips and some day hikes were planned, flights booked and permits secured.

After my big plans for Scotland and the USA burst like a soap bubble thanks to Corona, I thought about what else I could do with my annual vacation under the given circumstances. It should be uncomplicated and spontaneous, but still adventurous. And it should not put too much strain on my knee. The last operation was only three months ago and the next one was imminent – the cruciate ligament was still defective. At the end of August, over a glass of wine, the thought arose from a pleasant evening: Why not just saddle up the brand new mountain bike, take the ferry to Sweden and let yourself drift? After all, my orthopedist always says: “Ride a bike.”

Without further ado, I sat down at the computer and thought about how many kilometers one could easily manage over hill and dale in two weeks. Kalmar looked like a good turning point and so I just left the rough planning to komoot in mountain bike mode. A little bit here and there the route was straightened up and the round trip of about 800 kilometers was finished after one hour.

In the middle of September I started with the ferry from Rostock to Trelleborg. From there it went off to the north, deep into the nature reserves and forests. The mountain bike route, which komoot had put together for me, often led over wonderfully quiet hinterland roads and gravel roads, but especially on the first days also over rocky paths and winding trails like the Skåneleden. Not quite up to the high trail art yet, this meant for me that I had to push and lift the bike in parts. Including over ladders of cattle fences. And so I was very happy that I had not planned more than 50 kilometers a day for the beginning.

The further north I came, the more wooded and lakey the landscape became. One beautiful campground after the next. Despite the possibility of wild camping, I spent almost half of all nights in so-called Vindskydds – simple wooden sheds, which are open on one side and always have a fireplace. Pure campfire romance! I found most of them relatively spontaneously via a Google-Map and komoot and adjusted the route a little bit from day to day. Just the kind of spontaneity I had hoped for. Finding stores to fill up supplies on the way was just as uncomplicated – securing the beer in the evening.

After a city stroll in Kalmar at half time, I drove back south along the coast to soak up the salty sea air. Small fishing harbours, pretty villages, narrow trails and always the surprise where the route would lead to next.

An adventure that was created in one hour on the computer and still provides me with great memories. I highly recommend copying! You can find the tour with all stages and the daily experiences here:

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