We woke up to a bright blue sky, so the weather had improved significantly since yesterday afternoon. Just the right weather to go on a ride.
After we had cleared our room, that had housed us for the last two nights, we headed for the cafe, which we had discovered yesterday, for breakfast. On the way down to the cafe I noticed that the position of my gear shifters wasn’t quite where I was used to having it, which was surprising as the new position did not suit me very well. So even before having breakfast I had to fix my bike. But we didn’t think more about it and Solo just showed me how to change the shifters position into something that was more comfortable for me. Nothing is worth — well maybe except flats, chain breaks, non working brakes and gears that don’t work at all — than when your shifters are positioned in a way that forces you to move your entire arm just to change gears instead of just moving your finger…
But it was a fast and easy fix and nothing that delayed our well deserved breakfast for too long.
After breakfast we had one of the hardest tasks ahead of us, or so we believed. Finding our way out of a town is never very easy. Far too many roads that criss cross through town and you don’t want to ride along the biggest of them interfering with the motorized traffic and possibly ending at a spot where you are no longer allowed to continue on your bike. Since neither of us carried a bike map of Trondheim we had to rely mostly on my GPS and some on our instincts. Instincts that in cities easily get confused.
My GPS only has a 2’’ screen, which in bright daylight is not very easy to read, and I hadn’t figured out why it would not tell us when to turn left or when we were actually going wrong…but only showed us that little map.
So just getting us out of Trondheim, a ride of less than 10 kilometers, took already more than 1 hour and 30 minutes and we still had many more kilometers ahead of us.
For now we were basically following the coastline of the Trondheims Fjorden, before we had to turn further into the country later on.
Emergency stop needed
In an uphill segment after about 20 kilometers of riding our bikes, I experienced the surprise of the day. Suddenly not only did my brakes no longer were in the position I liked them to be, but my entire handle bar was free to rotate. So I asked Solo for an immediate emergency stop, already preparing myself to go back to Trondheim to see if I could get some bike shop to fix my bike.
It turned out the only thing holding it into place was actually the handlebar bag that I had fixed to it…
Sometimes I am seriously lucky just by carrying all that luggage it seemed.
Solo, being a trained bike mechanic, soon figured the cause of the problem. The screws that should have held my handlebar in place had loosened somewhat during our ride — or maybe I hadn’t been able to tighten them enough when I had rebuilt my bike after returning home from my trip to New Zealand… That in itself does not sound like a real big problem. You would just think to take out a fitting screwdriver and tighten them. Even with our limited toolbox it would not have been a big problem…if it had not been for the access to the screws being blocked by the mounting system of the handlebar.
We were unable to completely dismount the mounting system, because had we done so it would have been impossible to refit it and tighten its cables enough to hold the handlebar bag in place, due to our limited set of tools. So we had to work around it somehow.
Solo found a way to loosen the mounting system enough to be able to push it aside to access the screws that held the handlebar in place and was so able to tighten these, before tightening the mounting system again. Now all that was left for me to do was to readjust all settings of my brakes, gears and the grips.
I didn’t take the time for it, but it sure had added a delay to our schedule that we did not account for. So after the fix was made we hurried back onto our bikes to make our way up north.
When we arrived in the area near the airport of Trondheim in Stjørdal, some 30 kilometers from the city center of Trondheim, the route got confusing again. Too many roads criss crossing and we surely did not want to go to the departure terminal of the airport. But this time my GPS helped us a lot to get onto the route that we needed to be on. Soon we had left Stjørdal and the confusing airport area behind us and made our way toward Skatval, or so we believed.
It looked for a moment as if we would be forced to ride on the E6, where riding bikes on it actually was forbidden. Looking around we found a route that looked as if it would get us to where we needed to be. Until a construction site put a sudden end to our efforts keeping away from the E6. We stood there for a while wondering what to do.
Should we really try to get onto the E6 with all the traffic? Or should we rather turn back toward Stjørdal and find another route toward Levanger? When one of the construction workers came toward us, seeing our despair and helped us to find the right route. He actually told us that we could go on, on this construction site … we would just have to push our bikes for some time as the gravel was not suitable for bike riding. And then we would make it to Skatval.
We tried in between to get back onto our bikes instead of pushing them, but soon had to discover that it would only make us crash our bikes. So we pushed on…until finally the road’s surface was again suitable for riding our bikes. Until the next construction site came that had filled the road with sand instead and we found ourselves pushing our bikes yet again.
We reached Skatval — probably around half way toward our goal of Levanger — after 45 kilometers and 5 hours 16 minutes at around 2p.m.
How to get from Skatval to Levanger on a bike?
But our troubles where not over, not yet. First we had to find our route toward Levanger. The cycling path that looked so good soon ended at the E6 again. So we turned back through the village and tried a different route. Following the Fylkesveien 38 and the Fylkesveien 40 we believed would take us closer toward Levanger.
Instead the 40 lead us into a new round of trouble. We followed it down the hill toward Solhaugen, but soon figured it made no sense following it any further. So we turned back up the hill, looking at the street next to the one we were on…the E6 would for sure get us to Levanger…were we in a position to try it? It had no shoulder for us to ride on…we discussed it for a short while, but decided against it. Solo decided on top of the hill to turn into eastward direction and to see if behind that bridge that we could see was a road that could take us to where we wanted to go. He told me to wait for him, so we wouldn’t both have to make the way twice. Soon he was back, the road led nowhere. But he saw a sign on his way back. Pointing out a bicycle path toward Levanger, if we just followed the road that we minutes earlier had decided could not be the one.
We looked at each other and figured where there is a sign there is a road, so we just would have to go further than we did in our first attempt.
Soon afterwards we found ourselves at the entrance of a campground, but there was no one to ask for directions and after all the sign had said that the bicycle path would be in this direction, hadn’t it?
So we rode across that campground and found a small forest path which at least went into the right direction. After some time we met a pedestrian, whom we asked for directions because we thought this could impossibly be the path we were supposed to be on. But sure enough she confirmed that we only had to follow that path and we would get there.
Well we got to something…a fence for sure 2 or 3 meters high with a nice bright sign telling us „No Entrance“…but after the fence our path continued…we discussed climbing over the fence, but that was no good idea with the bikes and our luggage. Getting around it wasn’t possible either. For the second time we made our way back, shortening the forested path by going over some farmers land. We met the people over whose ground we were now pushing our bikes and when they asked us where we wanted to go to they told us that this bicycle path to Levanger had been closed for years.
Why no one had taken the sign down they did not tell us.
They also told us that in order to get to Levanger we would have to ride on the E6 for some time before we could get off and onto the old E6 up a mountain and over a plateau to Levanger. We thanked them and went back up the hill that we had taken before. Again we discussed for a little while if we should try to ride on the E6 with all the traffic and no shoulder.
But we did not know for how long we would have to follow it. We did know that we both were exhausted after now about 8 hours of a bike ride.
We had spotted a train station in Skatval earlier that day, so we decided to go back to Skatval to see if we could get onto a train to Levanger instead.
Sometimes you have to take other means of transportation…
When we arrived at the railway station we had some time left before the train would arrive, so Solo asked me to get some chocolate for me and something to drink for both of us at the nearby grocery store. We sure needed it.
Since this was a local train we did not need a pre-booked train ticked for our bikes, all we needed was the approval of the conductor, who again was nice enough to let us embark on the train.
We had spent 8 hours 45 minutes to cover 72 kilometers, ridiculous, considering we spend around 2.5 hours discussing how to get on…
When we got out of the train in Levanger the weather had changed to pouring rain again, and all we knew was that Levanger had a campground, but I only had the road plotted into my GPS from the path I thought we would have been using on our bikes. Not from the railway station.
Once again we were happy to find a warm waiting room, where if nothing else we could wait for the rain to stop — or worse stay over night if we had to. There we met a young woman who had some local knowledge and was able to point the way out for us where we would find the campground.
So we pushed ourselves to get ready and jump back on our bikes for the last time of the day.
It must have been raining a lot in Levanger on that day as the campground had many large ponds where the road was supposed to be. So Solo decided to not pitch his tent but rather book us into one of the campgrounds cabins if one was available.
We were lucky. They had a cabin available for us. Once we had settled down into it and got ourselves back into presentable shapes we had to make a decision of what to have for dinner. We didn’t buy anything along the way, but with this weather neither of us fancied going out for dinner.
So for dinner we had what was left of the chocolate and the remaining nuts that we had carried for so long together with a hot cup of tea for me.