I’m writing a 6 part series on my 500 mile bike ride from Stockholm to Copenhagen, which I did in 6 days. So one post for each day of the ride. Get it? 😉 Here’s Part 5. I also wrote this post with ten of my favorite memories from the ride.
Halmstad to Helsingborg — 60 Miles
I know what you’re thinking. I woke up the morning of Day 5 and had a HUGE breakfast. You’re exactly right. And of course at the end of my breakfast I packed a bunch of food to make a picnic lunch on the road and filled my Coke bottle with orange juice. I only had 60 miles to go on Day 5 to get to Helsingborg. I was excited about Helsingborg. I always love cities that connect countries. There’s always a unique vibe.
It was weird to set off on my ride and have Myla (my Google Maps Navigator) tell me that I’d arrive at my destination by 12:50. That seemed insanely early to me! Of course I knew that I would arrive later than that (always add time for getting lost and my breaks) but 12:50 was by far the earliest estimated arrival that Myla had ever given me.
Halmstad is on the ocean but I never got to it. I stayed in town along the river. When I left Halmstad my route took me inland and then I finally wound my way down to the coast. Then there was a twelve kilometer stretch right along the water. The ocean is always a welcome site when you have been away from it for a while. I walked up to the top of some sand dunes and had a snack.
I passed through some beautiful terrain on Day 5. I was not in a hurry, enjoyed some rolling hills, and chatted with my wife on Facebook Messenger who was wrapping up a late night on a cruise ship with some girlfriends. With so few miles required of me, I was relaxed and taking it easy. After a while in the countryside with rolling hills, I found myself on a significant climb. It was nice. Once I reached the top, I meandered down this country road for about 10 kilometers. This was one of my favorite stretches of the entire ride. I made myself a picnic lunch at an absolutely beautiful spot.
I had also figured out a way to help preserve the battery on my phone. I was now riding with it plugged into my computer. The computer did not provide enough of a charge to keep the battery full, but it slowed the battery drain enough for me to feel comfortable using my phone more. I took several videos. I’d mount my phone to the front of my bike and turn it around. I’d do this not really knowing what the terrain ahead would look like. Sometimes it’d be great, sometimes not.
I stopped and decided to record a section that ended up being amazing. It was a descent and I was having fun swerving from one side of the road to the other and the scene before me was absolutely breathtaking. When I stopped at the bottom I realized I had not switched the camera view, so instead of recording my amazing descent, I recorded an extremely closeup view of my handlebars. C’est la vie.
At the bottom of the descent I had about twenty miles to go. A wind gust hit me so hard it nearly knocked me over. Then the road turned and I was riding into a fierce head wind. The next fifteen miles were tough. It wasn’t just the head-wind. I felt like my body was starting to break down. My neck and my shoulders and my arms were sore. When people ask me about a ride of this magnitude, one thing I always point out that people who aren’t cyclists wouldn’t expect, is how sore your neck, shoulders, and arms get. You are constantly hunched over and looking up. And constantly doing a plank with your upper body.
That fifteen mile stretch with the headwind wasn’t much fun at all. Then Helsingborg was upon me, the winds died down, and the last five miles or so into town — with the town sort of pulling me in — those miles felt easy.
I located my hotel and as I rode my bike toward the entrance the doors automatically opened up and I rode my bike right up to the reception desk. I felt so bad-ass. I took a shower and located a place nearby for a massage.
I went back to my hotel and did some work. I haven’t mentioned that in previous posts, but on most days I did some work from the road, working more and more as I rode fewer miles. I didn’t begrudge the work at all or feel like it was taking away from my trip. I was happy to do the work and interact with my colleagues.
Fish ‘n chips for dinner and chatted with someone at the front desk about the ferries to Helsingborg. Seemed easy enough. Tomorrow I would be in Denmark.
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