With my whole aim to try something new every month, I was kitted up in full cycling gear (thanks to my mom) and brought on my first proper mountain bike experience in Sweden (thanks to her boyfriend). I say proper, because I have cycled up a few hills, like the attempt to cycle to Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia which went horrible wrong or that time I almost fell in Myanmar when I realized my brakes weren’t working while cycling/rolling down a steep hill.
No, in Sweden you do things properly to avoid near death experiences, although the Swedish hills did prove quite dangerous.
Lets talk about my outfit first (shoutout to my Mommy for making me look like the real deal)
No one has to dress like their about to cycle the tour de France but a helmet and padded pants are a must! Protect your head and your P. Now that I looked the part, I had to get down and dirty.
The thing with having a real mountain bicycle is that you have to learn how to use it to make your ride successful. I had to actually learn about gear change. I never realised the power of the gear until I was using it to cycle up and down the hills. Quick summary, low gear when you are climbing a hill, medium to high gear when you are on a straight level road or going down. Some of those hills nearly killed my quads but the real fear hit me when cycling down steep, bumpy roads. Another big tip is to keep control while cycling downwards by hitting those brakes steadily, not suddenly, and leaning back on your seat a little.
After about 45 minutes cycle and a 5 minute scramble through forest trees, we reached the “waterfall” we had heard about. It was a pretty view, while my feet could stand.
After 45 minutes of hard paddling and sitting, our bladder’s needed a little attention. Heads up, I am not a fan of natural toilets nor public toilets. So this shed we came across that did not flush was simply not an option for me. I had to hold it in for another 30 minutes on the way down, but my mom took the risk, as you can see by her hands holding on to dear life…
What makes the forests of Sweden slightly different are the random huts you can find where explorers can stay overnight for free, according to the Allemansratten law. We explored without a sleepover and found hidden beaches and wildlife mushrooms (do not just try wild mushrooms FYI they can be poisonous!!).
All in all, it was a great experience which left my bum and thighs aching for the following days.