To Ystad, Demark and onto the UK

(Written by Dave)

We are currently on the ferry from Demark to the UK.  We’ve been on a transport whirlwind the last couple days.  We started two days ago seeing Nancy’s sisters off in Stockholm.  We managed to get up at 4AM to wish them safe travels.  After a couple of hours more sleep we caught the shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport, then the bus from the airport to Stockholm central station, and then the train from Stockholm central station back to Lund, where our bikes were being worked on.  Then finally, with completed bikes, we hoped one last train from Lund to Ystad.  It was a long day!

The bikes looked good.  They did everything we asked for.  My headset ended up needing to be replaced; I knew it was an issue.  My front hub is probably on the last repack before it needs to be replaced but they managed to get it working.  Best of all, my rear wheel has 36 shiny new spokes and is perfectly true.  I hope that it holds up better than the last one did.  I’d broken four spokes on the old wheel.  Somehow, every broken spoke came on a sunny day, with as nice place to pull over for the repairs.  I had the wheel rebuilt because my luck was sure to run out on the next broken spoke, putting us on a busy motorway, in the rain no doubt.  No point in tempting fate.  Nancy bike was mostly ok, just repacking required on all bearings – so at least that was good news.

We arrived back at Ystad to a home-cooked meal made by Oskar and Julia –what a nice home-coming.  It was great to come back to a familiar place and friendly faces.  Julia and Oskar really spoiled us during our time in Ystad.  We are happy to call them friends (no longer just French course classmates) and look forward to returning the kindness when they come to Sydney.  After dinner it was on to organising and repacking all the bags – they should be a bit roomier after all the things we gave Nancy’s sisters to take back with them but for some reason the bags never seem as roomy as you expect…

We had initially planned to take a train from Copenhagen to Amsterdam and then get a ferry over to the UK to start out John O’Groats to Land’s End journey.  However, we were struggling trying to get information about the tickets and how to deal with the bikes.  So, after some discussion and research over the last few days we decided to take the ferry from the west coast of Denmark across to Harwich in the UK and then make our way north to Scotland to start the ride.  This meant a train ride from Ystad to Copenhagen, another train ride from Copenhagen to Esbjerg and then a ferry from Esbjerg to Harwich.  Then comes the fun part – trying to make sure you can get tickets for all of the various legs, including for your bike, with enough wiggle room to make adjustments if one of the various legs does not work out.

So, today was basically a travel day to get us over to the UK.  We are now on the ferry so it turned out pretty successful, despite the worries of some of our crew.  This morning was the first time we have put the fully-loaded bicycles on a train.  I thought it would be a nightmare trying to get the bikes on the train in Ystad during the tail end of commuter rush hour but the 9:00 train was very empty so no issues at all.  We made it to Copenhagen central station in about 90 minutes – pretty easy travel.  Then after a short wait we caught the train to Esbjerg.  This was a bit more difficult as the train car had a steep staircase to get the bikes up- not sure why they would do that but we made it anyway.

It was about three hours to Esbjerg, and the train went right across Denmark.  We only saw bits of Denmark through the train windows but the sun was shining and it seemed like a very nice place.  Very flat, but nice.  Denmark was officially our 22nd country.  We rode all of 4ks there and know we need to come back.  We may have to plan a separate trip to ride through the Scandinavian countries as it looks like there is some great riding, especially when the sun is shining like it has been the last few weeks.

We arrived in Esbjerg with plenty of time to make the ferry so we wandered around town awhile before heading down to the ferry port.  Boarding was pretty easy – we were in the middle of a big pack of motorcyclists heading home after touring around Scandinavia.  It was odd though, to understand what people around you were saying.  We realised it has been over a year since we were in a country that spoke English as their native language and after not paying attention to what anyone around you was saying for so long it feels a bit odd to realise you understand what people are saying.  Well, they are British though, so of course the English is a funny but we can get it if we try…

Nancy is following the tried and true path of Dramamine and wristband.  That coupled with not enough sleep for the last few days means she is well on her way to sleeping much of the ferry crossing.  I am also looking forward to a bit of forced relaxation.

The ferry is schedule to arrive in Harwich tomorrow around 1pm.  We plan to ride into London to stay with a friend for a couple of days while we do some serious planning on our route for JOGLE. The next post will come to you from the UK.

Oh yeah, about today’s photos.  They are really bad.  If you are subject to motion sickness then I suggest you not look at them.  But then again, that’s what you get when you ride 2 buses, 4 trains and a ferry in a 36 hour period.  It beats flying and dealing with the bikes on a plane, but the photos leave something to be desired…

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6 thoughts on “To Ystad, Demark and onto the UK

  1. I am looking forward to reading about your plans for John O’Groats to Lands End. You will be riding through Lancaster where Jonathan and I when to university. We also lived in a small village just south of Lancaster. Great cycling country if you use the small roads.

    • Give us some road pointers if you can. We are just now working out the route. Any roads that are a “must” cycle? Or roads that we should avoid at all costs?


  2. You are riding around the UK? My memories of England are the M20 (?), riding with John Kramer in a car and thinking if I keep my head back I won’t get whiplash, the stop and go traffic, narrow roads and the round abouts that were with out speed limits! Of course all of my travels were landing at the airport and going to Weybridge. I hope there are safer riding paths for you then what I experienced in my visits to the Sequent office…

    • From my memory, any road taken with John Kramer behind the wheel, would be a carnival ride treat. We’ll keep the speed down and a keen eye out for John.


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