The Bicycles of a Bikepacker.

When I cycled across Sweden in 2013 it was on a Scott Sub20 hybrid, which I have to admit was not the perfect bicycle for touring. For the last 20-30 km each day I was so sore that I had to stand up and pedal, and four of my fingers were numb for a week when I finally arrived after 5 days in the saddle. I had cycled a total of 567 km, but I was happy and proud to have made it.

My Bianchi carbon race bike was the perfect bicycle for the fully supported trip from Sweden to France this summer, and I really enjoyed cycling on it. Sure, I got sore from time to time, but we did keep a pretty fast pace and cycled 150-200 km a day so maybe that’s not so weird. After 7 days and 1200 km we arrived in Paris. The frame is not made for carrying weight though, but we had support vehicles for our bags, food, water and mechanics so that wasn’t an issue.

Dreamy eye on my racer.

When I started to plan coast to coast across America I quickly realized that neither one of my previous bikes would be the right one for such a long and strenuous trip. I wanted something robust but fun to cycle on, and something that could carry a heavy load. If you google “best touring bicycle” you get a lot of different results, but it usually comes back to one very popular brand: Surly. You can’t look at a single bicycle forum or touring blog without seeing review after review of the Surly Long Haul Trucker. Just like its name suggests, it’s a real classic when it comes to bicycle touring. 

But after having cycled on a carbon racer for an entire season, it felt like a huge step back to settle for a LHT. I continued searching for the perfect bicycle for my trip, and soon my eyes fell on another Surly bike; the Straggler. It’s a cyclocross with disc brakes and a bunch of other components I’m sure of, but I won’t bore you with the details. Mostly because I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Seeing as there are very limited options to buying Surly bikes in Sweden, I contacted one of the few dealers, a company called Cyclecomponents, to ask some questions and I also wanted to check if they perhaps would like to sponsor me.

To my absolute surprise, they did. 

And a few days ago it arrived, and I fell in love. It’s such a nice bike, the color is called “glitter dreams” which hello, could it fit me any better? It has a steel frame which is good because it’s very sturdy, but that also means it’s not the lightest bike around. I don’t mind though, I’m not looking to break any speed records. If you want to know more about the specifics, please look here. Don’t ask me, because I’ll probably stare at you with a frightened look on my face.

Right now I’m in the honeymoon phase with Elsa (yes, she has a name) which means I don’t really want to get her dirty or wet or anything really. She’s just so shiny and new… so while she’s still so pretty, please enjoy some photos of her. Once I hit the roads I’m sure she’ll never look the same again…
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“Are you having a midlife crisis as 28?”

This is a question I’ve been asked several times during the past few weeks. Is this a midlife crisis, or why am I doing this journey?
I’ve been dreaming of doing this adventure for years, and slowly working my way towards it. This year, after having cycled across Europe, I told my parents that “next year I’ll probably not cycle during my vacation.” Not even a month later I told them that next summer I’ll cycle across America. So yeah. I’m a pretty impulsive person. I don’t believe in dwelling over things, you should just make a decision and stick to it and everything will be fine.

So is this a midlife crisis? At 28? I don’t think so. Wanting more out of life than just working 40 hours a week is not a crisis, I think it’s more of an awakening. I feel like I’m finally waking up from this comfortable, secure life that I’ve had for the last three years since graduating college, getting a job and buying my first apartment. I’m a person who loves security in life, so that should be the ideal situation for me, but lately I’ve just felt locked in and panicky instead. Also, I get bored easily with many things. On one hand I can spend an entire weekend in bed watching tv-shows and not feel bored for a minute, but at the same time I’m the person who used to color my hair twice a year (including pink and blue) because I got bored. I’ve been known to get tattoos because I’m bored. I’ve also bought two (2) apartments pretty spontaneously because I got, yes you guessed it, bored.

I don’t think I’ll get bored cycle touring. If I do, it will be easy to just switch things up. I can go wherever I want, I can stay in one place for a while and then continue, I can ride centuries every day for a week (100 miles/160 km) if I feel like it, or just lie in my tent with a kindle and read.

I think I’ll enjoy this new awakening.

Next up, I’ve finally gotten my bike! More about this in future posts. And I got a new banner, do you guys like it?