The wonders of being able to see.

The first time I complained to my parents that I had a hard time seeing the subtitles on the TV, I remember being around 12 or 13. My parents took me to an optician who told me to hold the books at a longer distance from my face when I was reading, and that I would be fine. According to him my eyesight wasn’t that bad. I doubted him though, and a short while after that I had to start sitting on the floor in front of the TV to be able to see. My parents then took me to another optician who made me pick out a pair of glasses straight away. It was official, I was nearsighted. It’s not too bad actually, it’s kind of like my eyes have a really awesome built in camera lens that make things really close to me (like 10 cm) be sharp and everything else is extremely blurry. And my eyes are super sensitive so I can no longer wear contact lenses, I’m scared of getting eye surgery to fix it and if I’m not wearing my glasses I get nauseous and bump into things but other than that it’s GREAT.

Or not.

But there’s not much to do about it so I just have to accept it. Last year, for my cycling trip to Paris, I went to an optician on Kungsgatan in Stockholm called SportOptik. I picked out a great pair of sport glasses that changes color depending on how sunny it is outside, and I love them. I have used them on every single bike ride since, no matter how short.

When I started planning for this big adventure, one of the first companies I contacted was SportOptik, because of their great service and expertise in the area. Last week I went to visit them, to have my eyes checked out and pick out a new pair of glasses to use on my adventure as well.
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I met Lars, who is the owner of SportOptik, and after checking my eyesight he helped me pick out a new pair of glasses.
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These will have different type of glass, they change color to a more green shade, which is good when it’s cloudy or rainy outside. It still filters out all the UV light.

Thank you so much Lars and SportOptik, I really appreciate you supporting my adventure!

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.
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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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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!