On Monday and Tuesday we went on a bicycle ride.
I’d been making vague plans for a longer bike outing since the beginning of summer – Ingrid not being much of a walker, and somewhat too young for climbing mountains, biking seemed like a good way to get us all outdoors. Initially I had thought of maybe being away three or four days, but since the weather forecasts have been promising rain and yet changing all the time, and Ingrid hasn’t been in the best of moods lately, we cut it to just two days, with one night of camping. (We wanted to be as sure as possible that rain wouldn’t ruin Ingrid’s first camping experience, so that we can convince her to do it again next year.)
To keep it simple, we went for a local ride: a combination of Sverigeleden and Mälardalsleden, two marked and mapped bicycle routes. From our home in Spånga we headed east, via Kista towards Edsviken, where we hit the Sverigeleden. Then we followed that route north, past Sollentuna and Upplands Väsby, up to Märsta. After dining in Märsta we made camp at the beach at Steningebadet (with a view of Steninge castle across the water). On day two we cycled to Sigtuna, had a bit of a walk around the town centre, and continued to Bålsta. From there we took the train back home in the afternoon. In total I think we covered about 45 km on day one and perhaps 35 on day two. Ingrid sat on a child seat behind me, and Eric got the trailer with all the food, clothes and camping gear.
The weather was just about perfect for cycling. On Monday it was about 20°C and overcast but dry all day. On Tuesday there was a bit of sun, which made for a sweatier ride, but still not too hot. There was some wind to cool us off but not so much that it would be a hindrance.
I think Ingrid found the camping experience exciting: outdoor meals, sleeping in a tent, cooking porridge on the portable stove, washing up in the lake…
Well, the actual sleeping in a tent part was better in theory than in practice. At about 11 o’clock, prime sleeping time, we were interrupted by some yobs joyriding and skidding a van back and forth across the beach. It made an awful lot of noise and the headlights came close enough to make me worry they’d hit the tent. Fortunately they stopped when Eric went out and gave them the evil eye. Then a few hours later the early morning light started bothering Ingrid, and all her tossing and turning kept waking me. (And, predictably, sleeping on the ground is not at all comfortable when you’re 7 months pregnant.) We were all pretty tired in the morning.
The bike ride itself was, I think, rather boring for Ingrid. Sitting still, doing nothing… There was a fair amount of complaining about “I wish it was evening already” and “Are we almost there yet”. On Monday, in the more inhabited areas, we could at least stop at a few playgrounds on the way. On Tuesday it was mostly countryside.
Of course, the countryside had wild raspberries, and fields of wheat and oats (“flour for bread and cakes, and oats for your morning cereal”), and grazing horses, sheep and cows. Horses aren’t uncommon around the outskirts of Stockholm but there aren’t many who keep cows and sheep here. “Normally it is horses who are in pasture” Ingrid told me, somewhat surprised.
Next year I think we will try something a bit more ambitious – Åland perhaps, or Gotland. Baby 2 should be the perfect age: young enough to not be bored by the bike ride, old enough to not be too fragile.
Snacking outside Skånela church