I’ve been busy

In fact, too busy. As a full time teacher, co-editor of WIMA’s anniversary book, WIMA Sweden board member, MA student and a lingustics researcher, riding has been something that other people did, but I had no time for.

However, it is time to listen to the master, Douglas Adams: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by”. (Quote from The Salmon of Doubt”).

I shall now spend more time taking baths and drinking tea – preferably on the beach (although to my knowledge he drank his tea at home).

Also, we’ve instated the rule of weekend rides 😀 So we’re now exploring a new place in the Penedes region every weekend, this weekend was Santa Oliva, a village only 20 minutes ride from our house:

We have a very old GoPro camera which we use sometimes, and for this trip Christopher was wearing it. I love riding through little towns and villages, the houses are so cute and and the streets so narrow and winding. This was during the siesta time so there was virtually no-one out.


It was a windy day, as you can see on the flag. Christopher was nearly blown off the road on his little bike and I had to wrangle against some heavy gusts as well.

The Catalan text next to the drinking fountain says: the fountain, brings water – like a river of tears from the mountains far away to the foot of the castle – for me and for you and for the foreigner. What a beautiful message!

The glory of gravel

Gravel wasn’t something that I went out of my way looking for in the past. The perfect road used to be smooth and winding tarmac but while living in England I gravitated more and more towards the adventure segment of motorcycling. When Christopher started riding, his interest was geared towards the smaller roads and exploring, rather than following the asphalt ribbon.

For Christopher, a motorbike trip is another possability to catpture great photos, this was Scotland 2016

We did some light trail riding (typically called greenlaning in local lingo) while in the British Isles and this lead onto getting equipped with a lighter bike, trading the Versys for the GS and then onto better tyres, putting on the Heidenau Scout. Lastly, better boots were purchased, and I now walk around like a squeaky robot in my Sidi Adventure 2 (but they are amazingly comfortable while riding, and have protected our ankles really well so far).

This summer Cool Cat, my blue GS, got a pair of Heidenau tyres as well, and crash bars too. Then I went out looking for gravel. In Sweden, unlike some other countries such as England or Spain, gravel roads are quite frequent in the countryside so enjoying riding them is a huge benefit. My native region, Värmland, has especially many gravel roads (and a strong tradition of rally driving too). As I mentioned in my previous post, the gravel road no. 673 in Värmskog (up to the bakery and beyond) is even a kulturminne, cultural landmark.

I ventured out on some stretches of the Swedish TET and, unlike the Prades mountains in Spain, where Christopher and I were riding TET earlier this summer, it was largely gravel roads, and some forest roads (we also call these tractor roads as they are made by and for forest machinery). In the Prades mountains we encountered mainly gravel or dirt trails, sometimes very gnarly due to rain earlier in the year and these trails require higher skills and greater precautions for us novices.

In Sweden, I both went out exploring for fun but also implemented gravel roads in my routes to go places.

This is just off the TET not far from Karlstad, a total surprise to find “the red gold” (lingonberries) when I stopped for a break.
On the TET a bit after the town of Kil going north
On the TET a bit after the town of Kil going north.
This forest road is also on the TET, in the vicinity of Hjo.
This forest road is also on the TET, in the vicinity of Hjo.

Lastly, I’d like to mention the gravel course I took with SMC (the Swedish Motorcyclists Central organisation) where I improved my braking and cornering a bit. But there is only so much I can learn in a day and, unfortunately, I couldn’t join more courses during my stay in Sweden. It is so worth the money and time spent, I hope I can join them again next year.