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(10) Our first week

June 11, 2012

Monday 4th June
Woke up early to very strong wind. Didn’t want to get out the tent as it was so cosy but remembered we’re starting our trip today! We battled the wind with our bikes to the visitors centre and the globe which marked our start. Sara took our photo in our ShelterBox and Okehampton CC jerseys and tried to smile despite the bitter wind. Off we went –S.Africa here we come.

Looking like we’d already completed an expedition not about to start one!
It felt great to be heading South, the views were awesome, the sky was blue but the winds were terrible. We got blown all over the place even slowing us down when going downhill which no cyclist appreciates. Tim managed to use his shark kite to aid him up the hill. We stopped by a stunning lake for a late breakfast of porridge, banana and chocolate spread ; )

Sharon enjoying the chocolate spread a little too much…

We headed down to Honningsvag, stocked up on supplies and ate our lunch in the supermarket car park. Tim nodded off once again, we really must employ a more effective method of security…

The wind was now behind us and after about 30 miles we started to look for somewhere to camp. For miles and miles there was nothing but cliff one side and sea the other. Tim saw an arctic wolf. Sara and I were keen to spot one too – we did see a dead one on the road – does that count? Finally arrived after riding 64 miles from the start to a cold but pretty bay where there was a long drop toilet and even bench to cook on.
Tuesday 5th June
We woke late and had a leisurely breakfast of porridge and banana. We finally left at midday. We had lunch in the car park of a tourist info in Olderfjord and found a plug to charge up our laptop and phones. Had noodles, sausages and cheese for lunch. Tim filled up his water bag in a restaurant and spilled it all over the counter much to the horror of the waitress.
Had a fantastic ride to Skaidi (about 20miles). There was little wind and not a cloud in the sky. The road was awesome, gently undulating with a fab downhill into Skaidi where Sara treated us to an icecream. We tried reindeer – very similar to pepperami. We left and looked for a place to camp – a few miles out of town we found an area of flat ground and set up camp in a rough field near a river. Tim persevered with putting up a tarp tied to our bikes for shelter. Had rice and tinned chicken and veg for tea. Thank goodness for Sara’s spices, as it was pretty tasteless on its own. Tim discovered the spokes on my bike were loose and spent an hour tightening them up , will need to keep an eye on that. Had a strip wash in the river and washed some clothes – v. cold. Covered 45 miles.
Wednesday 6th June
Set off about 10am after porridge for breakfast. Had lunch next to a frozen lake. On the road we met a German cycle tourist called Andre who was cycling to Nordkapp and back from Germany. Unlucky for him he had a head wind : ( Shortly afterwards Tim was chased by a small black fluffy husky dog – he squirted his water bottle at him but this didn’t deter him, these Norweigan dogs are tough. Tim nearly fell off from having the giggles.

The landscape was barren but stunning

Rode on to Alta and had a shower and ice cream – Tim was allowed to put his own topping on to his delight.  £2 a shower, well worth it to feel clean, felt fab. We met another German cyclist called Thomas who commented that he’d seen us 3 times since Nordkapp and each time he passed us, we were in bed.

We went to do a food shop and whilst Tim was guarding the bikes, a man was commenting to him on how unrealiable the glass recycling machine was, whilst the automatic doors kept closing on him and nearly squashing his head several times until he had finished his rant this was much to tims amusement

We continued on, and stopped off to look at some rock art. The walk down to see it was partly north shore riding (timber walk way). Sharon wobbled her way along. Tim and Sara flew along. Campsite hard to find due to drop off on right and cliffs to the left. Eventually found somewhere in the woods next to the road – it was like putting a tent up in porridge as the ground was covered in leaves. Had chicken mince and rice for tea – v.yummy. Sat under tarp. Very tired and cold, went to bed at midnight. Did 55miles.

Thursday 7th June
Woke up at 9.30 feeling exhausted. It rained overnight. Had a long breakfast. Left at 11.30am. First 10 miles were really hard work. All of us were feeling tired. Undulating road, difficult to keep body temperature even as cold on down hills due to the icy wind and the sun always seemed to come out going uphill. Stopped after 20 miles for lunch in Talvik – bought bread, chocolate and crisps for a treat and cooked lunch on a bench on the green next to an old wooden church and fell asleep with the sun on our faces. Road for another couple of hours and stopped at the top of a hill to look in a  shop that sold things that were made from reindeer hide. Views most stunning so far. Stopped to camp early, weather mild and a stunning spot by the river. Covered 35miles but a well needed rest.

Friday 8th June

Sara was woken by reindeer outside the tent and proceeded to take a few pictures while tim and sharon liked the look of the underside of their eyelids and woke an hour later to reindeer poop instead. We got going by 9.15 AM (we put AM as we do get up late sometimes) a record for us , we rode past a nesting bird guarding its chicks  right on the side of the road which chased sara off with its big orange beak to our amusement.

We road on in some of the best scenery yet and caught up with two female  Norwegian cyclist, tim sat behind them for a bit he said he was tired 🙂 As the day went on the road went north into a really strong cold north wind so we stopped at a garage where we met a young lad called jorgen who told us about free coffee inside – we piled in brought a bag of crisps and claimed our free coffee and  grapes from a bowl. We headed off reluctantly into a  freezing head wind and started a 4 mile climb where we stopped halfway up to camp, tims right knee was hurting by this point. Covered 53miles.

Saturday 9th June

Tim woke with a sore knee and we all continued to climb to a snowy landscape.

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Tim and Sara heading into the cold wind

We descended the other side in rain ,stopped in Storeslet to pick up food to find a bread promotion was on. I think we cleared half the display before deciding which bread we liked the best. We set up camp outside the shop to cook dinner then rode on to our next camp spot a few hours later, pointed out by a kind local man. We set up camp and a German couple appeared over a large rock brandashing 10 cans calsberg and lots of glass shot bottles which we kindly obliged to help them drink. They spoke no English and we spoke no German, except ‘I have a dog’  and ‘I love you’ neither of which are a good for keeping a conversation going. Sara and Sharon went to bed hearing Tim ask if they’d seen Father Christmas – the reply was ‘no he’s in Finland’. Sara and I were in fits of giggles. Another great day for scenery. Rode 58 miles.

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Our campsite that night

Sunday 10th June

Nice 5 mile ride down to the ferry where tim went to chat to some fishermen and had a go at casting off  -they looked quite nervous with lead flailing around the air. We took the 40 minute ferry ride which increased our average speed to 8mph where we rode for 20miles to catch our 2nd ferry only to be broken by a cracker and chocolate spread break.

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Tim cycling between ferry journeys, the scenery was stunning

We got off  the ferry after being drawn in by the smell of hot dogs and rode for another 10 miles before finding a field in front of a fjord to cook lunch. We fell asleep for a couple hours reducing our average speed to 2 mph.

By this point sharon was getting a lot of pain in her left hand from blisters and swelling. Tim thought she was turning in to a wolf and was about to morph in to a claw not to sharon’s amusement. we road on and as the traffic got busy we found a farmers field about 12 miles from tromso to camp in. Rode 36 miles plus 2 ferry crossings.

Monday 11th June

We woke to find sharon still in a lot of pain but not fully transformed into a wolf. We road on to tromso to find a campsite and seek a doctor to either cure the claw or chop the hand off and convert it to a multitool so we don’t have to carry so much stuff.(Can I add at this point, some of you will understand Tim’s sense of humour – for those who don’t please bear with him, no hairy animal pun intended : ) )

Sharon’s poorly hand – aka the claw

We were directed into a very scenic back road into the city where we found a lovely campsite and hired a cabin which is actually a shed now a laundry house.

Can all this really fit onto 3 bikes?

We headed into town to find the hospital, tim armed with allen key and screwdriver bits to make sure they fitted sharons new hand. After speaking to the doctor he seemed to think it could be an reaction to a poisonous plant and prescribed antibiotics. We headed back into the centre to meet up with sara and went for a Burger King as a change from rice and noodles before heading back to the campsite where tim repacked his toolkit.

We’re off to the Polar museum tomorrow morning before heading south-west to the Lofoten Islands.

Will post again when we have internet access next : )

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. janx permalink
    June 11, 2012 10:15 pm

    Wow I get the amazing scenery. Sounds like a hard slog with all the winds and sun in your eyes and cold. I hope your hand gets better. Bummer having to take antibiotics…make sure you get some Vit C………….blimey starting to sound like a mother!!!!

  2. Anna permalink
    June 12, 2012 6:48 am

    Great instalment! Ivy is enjoying looking at the photos too, though was concerned at the onset of Claw Hand! (Hope it’s on the mend and you’re not now half reindeer!) Love the 2mph speed average – I think you’ll be on course to beat Mike Halls’ around the world record! 😉 Stunning scenery. Good luck! X

    • June 12, 2012 9:35 am

      thanks span the claw is on the mend give ivy and H a big hug from us clad you love the photos its hard to narrow them down without boring everyone looking for to the next week of adventure , off to the arctic museum
      tim shaz and sara ps sara says hello

  3. Joe permalink
    June 12, 2012 11:38 am

    Hi guy’s it’s great to read your blogs as I eat my lunch at my desk. I am so jealous of your adventure and will get touring myself. I have just bought a tent and have started to add other items I will need to tour.

    Pictures look great keep on peddling,good luck.

    Joe

  4. exiledevertonian permalink
    June 12, 2012 5:37 pm

    Hi guys, I hope this finds you well. Loving your blog. Following you on your fantastic journey has me itching to do something of a similar nature. The pictures you have posted are amazing. I bet they don’t do your surroundings justice though! Good luck on your travels, I like many others, eagerly await your next post. Take care guys – Tim.

    • June 14, 2012 3:16 pm

      thanks tim great to hear from you, no the pictures don’t do it justice,one thing i can say is leaving the front door is the hardest steep that and saving up over the last three years
      love to gem t&s

  5. June 12, 2012 7:26 pm

    Hey guys. Great blog! I hope you don’t have to chop off your hand and you will still have a use for your multitool! 🙂 I’ll be cycling in northern Norway in the summer myself, and reading your adventures really gets me itching to start my (much more modest) trip. I have been following Andre (who you mentioned here) on twitter who also has a lot to tell..
    I wish you all the best with your ambitious plans, and keep on enjoying the trip!

    Matthew

    • June 14, 2012 3:25 pm

      thanks matthew , its great to hear from everyone and that they are enjoying our blog ,we have had to go to a skin specalist and they told us that it was an allergic reaction to the tromso plant or heracleum persicum these grow wild so it might be worth looking it up so you don’t get the same.
      all the best with your trip
      regards tim and sharon

  6. natalie permalink
    June 12, 2012 9:39 pm

    so good to hear its going well, apart from the claw! sounds like you’re loving it! everyone is asking about you! keep safe!! we all love you! x

    • June 14, 2012 3:26 pm

      we are both missing you loads cowburt has had a whale of a time aswell i’ll send you some pics
      all our love tim and shaz x

  7. Stu permalink
    June 12, 2012 10:40 pm

    Brilliant guys! Amanda and I are up to our ears in nappies. Love the blog, I feel like we are living it with you. Great pics too.

    I’m hooked already. Will Sharon fully turn into a warewolf? What nationality girls bottoms will Tim’s favourite be?

    Tuned in for more… 🙂

    Stu

    • janx permalink
      June 13, 2012 5:42 pm

      I am hooked too. Loving the blog. I am in suspense to know the next bit so don’t stop blogging!!!

    • June 14, 2012 3:29 pm

      great to hear from you you look like your doing great ,will keep you posted on all events
      love to all tim and shaz

  8. Rose permalink
    June 12, 2012 11:14 pm

    Brilliant blog, guys! I guffawed reading the anecdote of the man ranting whilst being squashed by the automatic doors and Tim giggling at the dog! Also, intrigued by the shark kite…?
    Safe cycling and hopefully you’ll be in more temperate climbs soon! Xx 🙂

  9. June 14, 2012 1:51 pm

    Great instalment. . . which I read on my lunch break too! I did wonder where all the blue skies are . . . they seem to have left the UK with you! Take care of the claw (did you have to put your wedding ring on the other hand?) – I’m looking forward to the next update. R*

  10. June 14, 2012 7:38 pm

    Wow, it must be incredible waking up every day to views like that. Especially with a bucketful of chocolate spread to keep you going. 😉

    Hope the claw returns to normal over the weekend … though it’s probably worth mentioning that the next full moon isn’t until early July. Good luck Tim!

  11. June 15, 2012 4:47 pm

    Brilliant blog – really enjoying it. Sounds like my kind of trip – loads of chocolate. We’re off for a month to France and Spain – tent is huge so fortunately we’re driving.
    Good luck Nicky and Mike xx

    • June 18, 2012 7:04 pm

      Have a great trip – you watching the tour? Lovely to hear from you – we’ll keep up the chocolate eating : )
      S and T xx

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