The Ride of Our Lives

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Cycling in Norway

Yes cycling in Norway! That is if cycling on a stationary exercycle in the "trim room" on board a ship in Norwegian waters counts as cycling in Norway.  If it does then I can also claim to have cycled inside the Arctic Circle, on the ship of course.  So what's this all about then I hear you ask (yes you did, I heard you).  Last week I went to Norway and got on board a Hurtigruten cruise/cargo/car/passenger/mail boat that sailed up the west coast of Norway, calling at all the little towns on the way. The Hurtigruten line has been around for over 100 years and really is the link to all the towns along the coast, with the locals using it like we would use the buses or the tube in London really. I have no idea who that man is or how he got into my picture!
We were "hunting the northern lights".  The solar activity was at its highest peak so far in the year and the chances of seeing them once we were inside the arctic circle were excellent, as long as it wasn't cloudy.  Yeah well, let's just say that the hunt goes on, just like the week of cloudy nights.

I kept myself amused on the ship and sort of on track with my London to Paris training programme by cycling each day in the trim room.  The bikes were orientated (and bolted to the floor) in an east/west direction, and had the oddest shaped seats I've ever seen on an exercycle, which made them rather difficult to get comfortable on I must say.

When the ship listed to starboard I had to hang onto the handlebars for dear life to stop myself falling off the back of the bike.  When it listed to port I had to push back on the handlebars for fear of going right over the top of them.  I thought how embarrassing that would be.  First I specialise in falling off Lara at zero kms per hour and then I get bounced over the handlebars of a stationary exercycle ... that would be too much.  All in all with the rocking and rolling it was a weird sensation riding the bike ... but I stuck at it (hero). Five days after getting back on land I still have the "wobbles" and I am sure my swaying/rolling/listing cycling is a major contributing factor. 

Other things that I learnt were not a good idea on a cruise:
  • trying to sit on a swiss ball with your legs off the ground on a ship in motion
  • getting between the walking stick wielding brigade and the buffet at any time
  • leaving your cabin curtains open when you have a deck outside your window
  • spreading your huge map out on the floor while trying to calculate just when you might cross into the arctic circle, unless of course you enjoy having walking sticks helpfully but forcefully placed on points on the maps seconds after your fingers were placed there
  • deciding to try the "drink of the day" in the bar

... and then you find some things where you just don't expect to find them ...

I can't finish this post without telling you that we went on a night time Husky sled ride - again to improve our chances of seeing the Northern Lights.  We didn't see them but we did get to eat reindeer stew and discover that Huskies are prone to flatulence and sitting downwind of them is not for the faint hearted.

It was good to be back in London, where the only hazards are trucks, cars, taxis, buses, pedestrians, mothers pushing buggies, and the government.

No comments:

Post a Comment