Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

Meeting people on the road

By Stuart Lowe on

I was up and off earlier than normal. I rode along the fjord wishing my knees would feel less sore. I think my saddle had slipped down a few days ago so I'd shifted it up. Hopefully they'll improve. There is a worrying red mark near my right ankle that has been there a few days now. I assume something bit me. I hope it clears up.

The village at the end of the fjord was closed as it was a Sunday so I couldn't get any water. I'd have to use mountain streams. I headed up the 260m hill rather slowly. Half way up I met two Germans cycling down. They'd cycled all the way from Siscilly! I carried onwards past signs warning about reindeer and elk/moose to the summit where there was a handy picnic table. I stopped for late breakfast.

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Two Germans

Whilst eating a couple of fried egg sandwiches, a Swiss man pulled up on his bike. He had a special trailer for his little dog, Barun. He'd cycled all the way from Switzerland. As we were chatting a camper van pulled up and I was greeted by a Scottish couple who'd spotted my Scottish flag as they drove by. They were Sheena and Alistair. They also had a lovely dog named Thistle. We all sat around the picnic table chatting. Sheena and Alistair made us cups of tea (with milk!) and gave us chocolate biscuits. There may not be anything as enjoyable as a nice cup of tea in a proper mug at the top of a hill after hundreds of kilometres cycling. Sheena also gave me a tin of baked beans! It turns out they've lived in the US and Alistair got to work near Cape Canavral so he told me about the rocket launches head seen. Sheena told some funny stories about bear encounters on treks in the US. It was lovely having a nice conversation and poor Christian could only follow bits of it due to the speed and accents. All good things come to an end so we got on our bikes and Sheena and Alistair waved us off in opposite directions.

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Christian and Barun the dog

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Sheena, Alistair and Thistle

After a nice free wheel down to the fjord I met Mattieu who had cycled from Grenoble. He only spoke a little English so I practiced my French. He had two little stuffed animal mascots like the French guys from Alta. Perhaps it is a thing. As we were chatting I heard a friendly toot as Sheena and Alistair passed by.

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Mattieu

On another 8km around the fjord and the big hill for today started. It was a long, continuous, slog up 380m to the summit. There I met Celia from New Zealand who had a fold up bike with a suitcase on a special trailer she'd imported from the US.

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Celia

As we parted the rain set in. But I had a nice long descent back down to fjord-level to enjoy. At Oksfjordhamn I decided I would start looking for somewhere to camp as I was getting tired. I went around the headland and found a little spot down from the road by the fjord. I put up my tent in the rain and huddled inside to eat dinner.

It has been a great day thanks to meeting so many nice people. Special thanks to Sheena and Alistair for their hospitality and stories.