In the summer of 2019, I did a 17-day bike trip through Scandinavia with my cousin and my sister. We were and still are absolutely no cycling professionals and planned the whole trip really low-budget, but still all feel like it was one of the best trips of our lives. Maybe there is a cool tip for your next bike tour!
Even though we rode through Sweden and Finland in the summer, you could never quite rely on the weather forecast. Our bike bags were, just like our tent unfortunately not very waterproof, so that we had to lie in damp sleeping bags and clothes on the second day after a short but very heavy rain. So better spend a few euros more, because it is much better to live in dry clothes.
bookings in time.
We didn’t go the whole way by bike, but by train, ferry or bus. We booked the things about three months in advance. Of course, you can also do it more spontaneously, but especially when booking trains and buses, you have to keep in mind that you also have to book separate tickets for taking your bike with you – which we didn’t do. Unfortunately, this occurred to us only one evening before departure, and of course some trains were already at full capacity in terms of bicycles. We then went along anyway and luckily got through to Malmö, but we would have liked to spare ourselves the thrill!
On our bike tour, rarely anything did go as we had planned. Of course, planning is important, but sometimes it can only be implemented to a limited extent. From an accidental overnight stay on one of the largest cemeteries in Sweden to missing a bus that was supposed to take us to the other side of Sweden, there was pretty much everything. But if we hadn’t missed the bus, we wouldn’t have met a super-lovely Swedish couple, with whom we were allowed to spend the night, swam in their private lake in the morning and then had breakfast together with the Swedes, and the two of them also took us by car to roughly where we actually wanted to go by bus. Because of the, let’s say ‘forced spontaneity’ that we had to prove, we experienced a stunning hospitality that we still rave about every time we meet.
You’d think that would be obvious. But we didn’t want to spend any more money on additional utensils and thought we could manage without a stove for two weeks. Far from it, because we fed ourselves accordingly in the time predominantly from cheap white bread and muesli. First of all, this is not very nutritious and secondly, we already were sick of the bread after one week. And after the heavy rain showers at the beginning, a warm meal would certainly have been better than a slice of moist bread with a little cheese.
Things like sunscreen or bug spray are super important, but if you’re traveling with a tent or even just have some not-so-high-quality camping and biking gear, you should definitely have sewing kits and something like duct tape! We have our tent on the road determined two times sew (or tapen) had and the bike bags also had to be patched once or twice. Of course, a small first-aid kit and patch kit for your bike should not be missing, and be sure to think of a knife (preferably a multifunctional), a flashlight and a plate and / or bowl. What we appreciated most was a clothesline. Espacially when your trip is longer that one or two days you might wash your clothes- and then you need something where it can dry!
biodegradable washing utensils.
Tieing on the last point: if you want to wash your clothes while being on the road, you might be in the wildernis where you eventually don’t find a washing saloon. The lakes in sweden and finland are mainly very clean so it was no problem to wash our clothes in there- with biodegradable washing agent. We also had tooth paste without microplastics with us because obviously we had to clean our teeth in the wilderness as well. Plus, pack a bottle of ecofriendly and biodegradable shampoo so you can refresh yourself with taking a nice bath in a lake or a small river!
Not a survival tip, but still very enriching: We have from the beginning of each day of our trip in a small diary and recorded at the latest in the evening or even in between in small breaks roughly our experiences. Afterwards we pasted photos, the train tickets, Swedish money and the like. Even now I love to look at the book and reminisce. Without writing it down, I’m sure we would have forgotten many small but wonderful moments long ago.
I hope this amateur insider info helped you a bit. If you have any other questions, feel free to slide in our Instagram DM’s!