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.

Wind and a wheel

By Stuart Lowe on

It had rained in the night but was relatively ok as I set off. As I reached the western end of the island and a place called Dryna it started to rain. Not so dry in Dryna. As I took to ferry over to Brattvåg the rain set in. The temperature drops when it rains. It gets closer to the temperature of the ocean. Rather than take the National Cycle Route 1 on a big diversion around the coast, I took the high road up and through a tunnel. Out the other side I had a nice straight road down that I could take full use of. I had the wind behind me. The rain got worse.


View from the bus stop


At the end of the fjord I bought food in the only shop open and then sheltered in the door of a Thai food hut. The rain wasn't stopping so I pressed on. Now the wind was against me too.

Old bridge

As I passed into a different fjord it became broken showers but I still had a bit of wind against me. At Spjelkavika I had a choice. Take the road south to a ferry or into Ålesund where there was a longer ferry. The timetable I got last night suggested they were about the same price. Ålesund it was then. There was a bike/pedestrian path most of the way into town but it kept changing sides and had bad curbs and bumpy stretches. At one point my rear brakes nearly failed. I adjusted them. A bit further along I realised they were juddering. I checked my wheel. It was cracked on the rim. Again?! It was Sunday. Everywhere was closed. Do I go back to Spjelkavika and wait for morning. That would cost time and money. Neither of which I have spare. I pressed on.


I took the ferry out of Ålesund. Except the ticket seller said this wasn't a ferry and rather than being about 40 krones as suggested by my ferry timetable, this not-a-ferry-ferry was 115 krones. Drat. We had already set off (they set off before you buy your ticket). This day was getting worse.

I disembarked in the rain. I went up a hill hoping the houses would stop so I could wild camp. Near the top of the long hill I found the only flat bit of land away from houses I could. It was basically a bog. There were a million midges. My pegs would hardly stay in. I had to take my wet things inside my tent. I made food inside my tent and hoped the water level of the bog didn't rise. It would be like Nebraska all over again and I had no toilet block to escape to.