In the first episode of her series for EuroVelo.com, Birgit aka RawCandyRides tells us more about herself, her passion for bike touring and the start of her new trip along EuroVelo routes, visiting a few countries she had never seen before. We leave from Malmö, Sweden, on EuroVelo 10 – Baltic Sea Cycle Route.
Why do I cycle so dang much?
It has been five years since I first strapped panniers onto my brand new German touring bicycle and headed east, all the way to Japan. I didn't know one could. I didn't realise one bicycle is that durable, capable, enabling, and that there'd be ancient romanticised trading routes and life-changing experiences all the way, just like in all those books filled with tales of insane adventures, written by others.
Almost 30,000km and 41 countries later, I have stopped marvelling at the simplicity of life on the road. It is now where I feel most at home. Constantly moving, never knowing where I will sleep, what I will eat, who I will meet. There is time to slow down the pace of my life, enable my constant evolution of thoughts, and open me up to untold experiences - so vastly rich - that every opportunity I get, I like to discover somewhere new on two wheels.
So this end-of-summer I decided on a small loop all along the easy-to-cycle EuroVelo networks, through a few countries I have never set foot in before. First up: Sweden. I kinda look like them, which is always a novel experience being somewhere new. I can wildcamp (I love it!) almost everywhere legally thanks to their Allermansrätten 'freedom to roam' law, and there is the easy-to-follow EuroVelo 10 – Baltic Sea Cycle Route along the southern coastline, which continues all around the Baltic Sea. I was craving ocean smells, sounds and endless horizons, having been landlocked for a year, so this seemed ideal.
How it went
I started in Malmö (the Disgusting Food Museum is an absolute must!), yet by Karlskrona I was so disillusioned due to the endless coastal headwind, I took a ferry to Gdynia, Poland (which has a spa on board with spectacular views for only €12), and as the EuroVelo 10 continues on the other side, I'd still have my ocean adventure. It had been so easy and affordable getting to Sweden by Flixbus, that it didn't feel like a fail, but more like a short Swedish taster tour.
In my case it may have been better to take one of the few Swedish bicycle friendly trains for €20 from Malmö to Karlskrona, and then cycle north. Too often for me, the route goes next to a highway filled with trucks going to the various ferry ports. And that took the zen out of the cycle. And zen is what I needed, and expected.
Now for the good part
The beauty of all the Swedish fishing villages dotted along the way, and the ability to camp on the wild beaches along the pristine fresh ocean was a dream. I went for several skinny dips to wash off the last of the city slicker, and let my natural nomad emerge. Yes, even in Europe one can still go nomad.
Another unexpected highlight of this route was the Absolut Vodka Home in Åhus. A place that let this cyclist escape the rain and wind, to charge her gadgets and catch up online, without batting an eyelid. I got to marvel at the recent history of such a game-changing artistic and bold brand.
The ways of my bicycle
I had downloaded the EuroVelo 10 GPX track, but the signage for their Sydkustleden 3 route (which EuroVelo 10 follows) was super easy and flawlessy marked. No thinking and no stopping to check, needed. Later the 3 morphed into the 2. Then there was an unmarked stretch along quiet farmlife country roads, which is when the EuroVelo 10 GPX track took over.
Nourishing my body and foodie soul
A daily delight is Swedish food. I am a huge fan of liquorice, and in Malmö they have an entire chic shop dedicated to this black candy called Lakritzroten (they do not ship outside of Sweden, so I will be back). And it doesn't end there. Take a look at all the Swedish food culture delights to be had, half of which I tried, and two of which featured in the Disgusting Food Museum as samples to eat, if you're brave enough.
Having OD'd on knäckebröd, I was now ready for Polish pickles, pierogi and other EuroVelo 10 delights.
Author and photos' credits: Birgit, Instagram account: @rawcandyrides