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We’re now at the business end of this adventure. If you’ve enjoyed this blog and enjoyed following me on this wonderful journey then please take the time to take a peek at the wonderful work the people at NYF (nepalyouthfoundation.org.uk) are doing to give young Nepalis a start in life. Any donation however large or small will go a long way and if you want to do it anonymously that’s possible too. Please. It will make a difference to a young persons life. It really will. It will also mean a lot to me. Whatever the amount.
Speaking of which. Whilst I was in Eastern Europe last year I met a wonderful human being called Brett.S who like me is an Aussie. Transpires he lives in Sydney in a suburb adjacent to where we lived. Small world. We caught up with him and his wife when we were back in Sydney this year and he took a real and very sincere interest in my bike ride and what I was hoping to achieve . This week he informed me of an action he has has taken in respect to this ride. Quite an incredible action too. Brett. A massive massive thank you and I dedicate this ride today to you.
It was positively balmy when I set off this morning. Not a breath of air, some light high cloud and the promise of some sun. Circumspect, I still donned my bullet proof rain jacket and kept the leggings on but was brave enough to dispense with the DHB neoprene overboots I had been wearing the last 6 days. Those things make your feet sweat quicker than doing push ups in a Norwegian sauna.
Morning camp view.
If I had seen Peter the Dutchman at camp this morning (see yesterday’s blog if you’re confused) I am sure his book would’ve told me that after 5.2km of riding today I’d have a 4.6km climb of 8% gradient. I passed the largest herd of reindeer I’ve seen thus far and more picturesque boat houses overlooking a mirror like fjord.
After about 30 km of riding I dropped down into Langfjord which soon proved to be the longest fjord (32km in length) I’ve ridden alongside this trip. I am just glad I didn’t have to do the the other side as well. The road was a beautifully smooth piece of tarmac and wide too. Still didn’t stop Swiss driven campervans from getting too close.
Here’s the thing. It’s a wide open road. There is no traffic coming towards you. You spot a cyclist . Do you slow down? Do you gently swerve around him and give him as much room as is sensible? Having gone past him do you then accelerate away and cross back onto the correct side some 100 metres down the road? If you’re Norwegian , French , Italian, Swedish, Danish or Spanish then the answer is a definite yes. If you're German it depends on your mood at that moment. If you're Swiss you simply do not change anything and continue as you were before you’d seen the cyclist . While I am at it, Motorcyclists. Seriously, just because you’re riding a motorised version of what I am there’s no need to pass so closely. Between the two of us we take up less than half a lane. How about manouvering away from the cyclist by crossing over the middle line. Ggrrrrrrr.
Passed these two cyclists on their Trikes as I headed north. I really do wonder how they fare on the steep stuff. Am not entirely sure I’d feel comfortable being that low down either in terms of visibility to trucks and Swiss driven campervans.
Passed my 473 rd Norwegian Fish Farm in a Fjord.
On the opposite side of the fjord the mountains were literally falling into the water.
8km before the head of the fjord they’re building a tunnel that will avoid having to negotiate a tricky piece of old road up and around the top of the fjord. You’ll simply veer right and 1.5 km later the tunnel will spit you out on the other side of the peninsula. What it will also do is deprive a Sami community of their income for at the head of the fjord they have several stalls selling all manner of local produce including reindeer pelts and antlers. Once the tunnel is open (which seems imminent) that road traffic will be no more. Quite sad really.
Nearing Alta and after passing legally through several tunnels I was faced with one last bridge leading a 1.3 km tunnel forbidden to cyclists. We were directed onto the old road which then involved a 13 km circuitous route over several hills before redoing the main road.
So here’s a question for the panel.
The bridge and tunnel are where that “18 min” is and the route is dark blue. The cyclists alternative is the light blue route that you can see rejoins the main road . Ignore the timings in the photo as they’re for car trips.
So do you ignore the small “no cyclist “ sign and ride the 1.3 km tunnel because it doesn’t look any different to the many you’ve already legally ridden through or do you take the 13 km suggested route? Remembering too that you’ve just cycled 102 km and within 15 km of “Home” .
While you ponder that also ponder what any donation will do to help the Nepal Youth Foundation help the youth of Nepal.