Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.

There are a lot of great things happening right now, but the most important one is definitely that I finally ordered the bike I will be cycling on next summer! Yes, I do have two bikes already, thanks for asking, but one is a carbon racer and one is a hybrid, none of which are really made to cycle for long distances with panniers packed to the brim with gear.

The Scott Sub 20 hyrbid was my choice for the trip across Sweden in 2013 (it was my only bike so not much of a choice, but still) and it was fine, but after 5 days my fingers were numb and I could barely sit down. Not very pleasant. The Bianchi racer was the one I used for the Paris trip in the summer of 2014, and I love it so much, but you’re really not supposed to put a lot of weight on a carbon frame, so that’s out of the question unfortunately.

The bike of choice for next year will be the Surly Straggler, a fun and pretty cyclocross with a steel frame and disc brakes. If the classic touring bike Surly Long Haul Trucker is the old and reliant grandfather, then the Straggler is definitely the crazy little sister that likes a lot more speed and a little more prettiness. Kind of like myself.

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Pretty new purple sparkly bicycle. Let’s see what I shall name her…

Thanks the enormous generosity of one of the few Surly dealers in Sweden, the amazing bike shop Cyclecomponents is giving me a pretty great discount on the bike of my dreams. The thought of getting a bike sponsor was something that I could only dream of, so when they told me that they would do it I was ecstatic. Such a nice surprise, and the choice of the Straggler was an easy one to make.

And while I’m at it I just want to raise a warning flag. No one told me this when I bought the hybrid in 2012, but I thought everyone should know. If you buy a bike, there is a big risk that you might find it a lot of fun to cycle. If you do, there is a good chance that soon you will not have just that one bike you started out with, they will multiply. You started out with one little nice bike and all of a sudden – boom, you’ll have to move to a bigger apartment. You start noticing that they take up more and more space. And all of a sudden you sit there and there’s three bikes surrounding you and you have seriously no idea how it happened. Just wanted to raise a flag of caution, I speak from experience…

Anyway, it will take a few weeks for me to recieve it, but I will give you a nice and thorough update once I do.

What’s your bike of choice when cycle touring?

Review of the Velocity Clip.

A few weeks ago I sent an email to a company called Velocity Clip who makes a handlebar mount for your smartphone, camera, gopro or whatever you want to put there basically. I asked them if they would consider sponsoring me on the trip, and they did. I decided to make a video blog review thingy of the handlebar mount, so here it is. Thank you Velocity clip!

The Cecilia Trail.

My plans for next summer are progressing, and the route has been set. I will start pedaling from Yorktown, Virginia and continue on the TransAmerica trail westbound. When I get to Florence, Oregon roughly 6800 kilometers later I will turn the handlebars south and continue on the Pacific Coast towards San Francisco. I will call this the Cecilia Trail.
cecilia_trailRight now my main concern is how I’ll be able to wait until May to actually start my trip… I want to go now! But I’m loving  the planning part of this as well, researching bicycles, camping equipment, cooking gear, reading blogs and forums of other cyclists. And the blog will soon get a fancy makeover, just wait and see…

Getting the gear – starting the packing list for cycling across America.

It’s almost exactly 8 months until I start my big trip now, and I’m in full planning mode. Planning and plotting is usually one of my favorite parts of anything, and for this trip I’m reading a lot of blogs of other female solo cyclists which gives me great inspiration. I’m also doing research on what bike to get, on panniers, how to make my own cycling cap, safety tips, and I’m looking at every hashtag I can find for cycle touring on instagram.

I’m also looking at and buying a lot of cycling gear. Last week I got a delivery of merino wool shirts, thermal underwear and socks, and yesterday I finally got the cycling shoes I’ve heard so much about; Keen Commuter III. They are clipless SPD cycling sandals (clipless means that they clip into your pedals, but to me the name sounds like they do the exact opposite hence the explanation…oh well) but unfortunately Keen has discontinued them, so I had to search high and low before I found a pair in my size. I finally found them on Rose Bikes and I’m in love already. I think these will be great for next summer, and they should definitely give my feet some interesting tan lines…

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My lovely new shoes. They’re also great for walking in, something that’s not usually said for cycling shoes…

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Last Sunday it was time for the annual Sthlm Bike race, which takes place the first Sunday in September each year in the center of Stockholm. It’s 42 kilometers and you start cycling at 7 in the morning in a deserted Stockholm. It’s not often you get to race down the usually busy streets without any cars or busses, but this is one of the reasons why I really love this race. That and the breakfast you get afterwards as well of course. But this year it had an even bigger importance, it meant that my time with Team Rynkeby officially was over, the charity group I’ve been riding with for the past year. We delivered the check to the children’s cancer foundation (Barncancerfonden) and it was all over… Sad, but I’m so glad I got to do it, and got to know such great people and cyclists. I’m sure they’ll be happy to whip me back in shape for America next year!

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Me and Gullan, my lovely bike. I love her so much! My 6 year old nephew namned her (it’s an old Swedish women’s name) and I think it fits her perfectly. Especially since gul = yellow.

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With some team mates at the breakfast afterwards.

With the check of the money we raised. 11 million SEK (1.5 million USD).

With the check of the money we raised. 11 million SEK (1.5 million USD).

If you want to check out some great blogs of awesome cyclists, then I have some recommendations:
Melissa/The Loong Way home – She started cycling from Barcelona last year and has been on the road for 13 months now. Really amazing cyclist and person and she happily answers all the questions I throw at her via email which I am so grateful for.

Shirine/A Wandering Nomad – A twenty year old girl who will make you feel like you’re living your life with the completely wrong standards. Has been cycling for more than a year with a $5/day budget. Warning: makes you want to quit your entire life to cycle. Or wait, is that just me?

Travelling Two – Basically my bicycle touring go-to guide. They know everything and they have guides for everything. Check them out!

How it all began – the start of a cycling obsession.

In the summer of 2012 I was at my company’s summer party and some colleagues started telling me that I should start cycling to work instead of using the metro, that it was a much nicer commute than being stuck in the underground. I had a distance of 13 kilometers to work, and my colleagues were right, it was a nice ride.

That was until a few months later when I got sick of so many people cycling past me, I wanted to be able to compete with them as well and my old bike just couldn’t keep up! I went and bought a Scott hybrid and fell in love. I never knew cycling could be that fun! I kept cycling to work, but in the spring of 2013 I decided that instead of taking the train home to my parents that summer, I would ride my bike. A journey across Sweden, around 567 km in total. In preparation I cycled to work as usual (we had moved the office by then, I now had 17 km to work and I was actually happy about the longer distance!) and I also did a 50 km test ride. Not nearly enough, but I made it safe and sound to my parents.
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When I arrived everyone thought I was going to be sick of riding my bike, but quite the opposite actually. And around that time I read about a charity ride called Team Rynkeby, where you cycle from Sweden to Paris and raise money for the children’s cancer foundation.

It took less than an hour after having read the article until I had signed up. 

In September I found out that I had made the team, and the preparation began. Spinning twice a week, events and meetings all during the winter, until we finally got our Bianchi bikes at the end of March. It was my first time ever on a racer, and it was truly love at first sight. I even carried my bike the entire way home from the store, because it had rained and I didn’t want it to get wet.

So we started cycling outside, we put in our required 2500 km of preparation, I cycled the world’s biggest bike race Vätternrundan, 300 km around a huge lake and then all of a sudden it was July of 2014 and we were off to Paris. We cycled through sunshine and rain, through headwinds and tailwinds and up and down the hills of Belgium. Arriving in Paris was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life, and I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.
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And now it’s time for my biggest adventure yet. I hope you all will enjoy the ride, I know I will.