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Old 05-24-2010, 04:22 PM   #1
ecce OP
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Cool2 Swedish gravel fun (not for kids)

As spring was starting to turn into summer here in southern sweden we (mike (right), noyah (bottom), ecce(top)) decided to leave home (bakground) and pointed our beaks north to extend spring.

We put together a 1400km route that was promising 80% gravel and other unpaved roads. The route was split out over thursday evening (300km transport), friday, saturday and sunday. We went from stockholm in the southern part of sweden to rätan in the middle of sweden (south of downhill skiing area in Åre / Östersund). Some parts of the route was inspired/copied from 100% pannben (english: 100% forehead-bone) which was found on the local offroad forums SOE

1 f800gs 2009 (noyah)
1 r1200gs 2008 (ecce)
1 vintage ténéré 1991 (mike)

What will follow shortly is a ride report of the trip by us three beginning with the first day.
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Old 05-25-2010, 03:44 AM   #2
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Bring it on

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Romania 2009 The Road of Kings
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ecce

1 f800gs 2009 (noyah)
1 r1200gs 2008 (ecce)
1 vintage ténéré 1991 (mike)

What will follow shortly is a ride report of the trip by us three beginning with the first day.
looking forward to updates
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:11 AM   #4
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okay, you got my attention.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:54 AM   #5
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:08 AM   #6
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Thanks to David (ecce) for taking initiative, plotting the course, etc.

Yep, me and the Rat...

we were going to stalk the nephews and their shiny Ubertech Beasts on this trip


There is always a lot of talk about Norway as one of the hot destinations in Scandinavia. It is, specially if you are looking for grand vistas. My country, Sweden, has a bit more lame geology and is basically flat. Most of our country is covered with pine trees, pine trees, pine trees... But, between the woods, we have massive amounts of gravel roads. Many of these are part of the national road network but there are also lots of logging roads and paths that are being reclaimed by nature.

The gravel roads up here have very little traffic and you can goof around as much as you like.

I hereby do declare that the Rat and I acted pretty goofy at times, although not always in unity

We were leaving in the afternoon and would be pushing 300 km on tarmac to reach the gravel forests that would start the next day off.

After a short stop in Stockholm City I started off before the others who were finishing work stuff. It was a good feeling to leave the congested Stockholm and get going.

I would be going slow on the tarmac since I was trying to squueze the last out of my already squared Conti TKC80's

These are the same ones that were on when i purchased the bike last year in Norway. TKC80 work pretty well on gravel and tarmac even when squared-off in dry conditions. So setting off, I rejoiced at the sunny conditions.

The german beasts can hit high freeway speeds with ease and we would rendevous in Uppsala, a city about 80 km north of Stockholm.

The nephews had been farkling their BMW's all week so I stopped off in Uppsala at "Lelles MC", a motorcycle dealer and shop, and farkled my bike with a matching blue tank net.

If you are visiting the capital area, Lelles MC is one of the biggest MC dealers / shops around and well worth a visit. They sell KTM, Honda, and carry spares for most brands. They have a very extensive gear shop for all types of riders with anything from cross boots to racing leathers.

Anyway, we soon got together and set off as a proper group, with the day turning into night and some rain. Robin (noyah) was the only one sensible enough to bring a reflective vest, which is an item that now goes onto my buy list for the next trip.

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Old 05-25-2010, 10:59 AM   #7
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Off to a good start!
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:16 AM   #8
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:25 PM   #9
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Talking Ecce Day 1

The day was beautiful and it was hot outside. I was working from home and had to see the 1200gs standing there waiting in the sunshine. I would soon be leaving home. Packing started just an hour before I had to leave so I managed to forget my sleeping bag...

Noyah was ready since long and was waiting at my place with his brand new helmet on all the time :) He left earlier and went via his place since he had forgotten the charger to the camera.

Apart from a stop to buy some beer and meet up Mike at a hamburger joint in Uppsala we didnt stop until just south of Sandviken where a road lined with small cottages on each side was plowing through a big lake. At first, seeing the road going into the lake on the GPS I was afraid I had managed to plot a route that required a car ferry but that was luckily not the case. It was still warm outside and people were fishing and going in their boats.

After an hour more on the road the weather changed quickly and we found our selves running in heavy rain with lightning all over the place. It was the first time for me riding a bike during lightning and it made the rain a bit more interesting to ride in. The bikes also needed a bit of fuel...

And noyah and I needed some of that well deserved holiday nicotine...

We finally made it to Bollnäs around 23:00 where we had booked a small cottage at a camping. Just by the water on the right side for a beautiful sunset which we were too late to get a glimpse of (sundown 21:30) and the rain was killing all possibilities of anyway. Just before we landed we stopped at a gas station to buy some breakfast and as we were stashing it in the panniers a beer fell out of my case, broke and started to flush my already rainwet face in a golden shower of beer. This made some of the local night-dwelling teenagers out in their 1980s "farkled" volvos very happy...
After some beers under the roof of the closed camping restaurant Noyah took on some weird Ingmar Bergman over-acting black and white movie pose that fitted very well with the wodden interior and overall feeling of this old but nice Härbre (norther european wodden cottage, often two stories tall but with a very small footprint).

The gear was soaking wet competing for space at the downstairs radiator which the width of the camera lens (and the floor of the cottage) was unable to fit into one picture. Upstairs were the beds waiting.

When we woke up we got to see where we were staying and the Härbre was nice as was the view from the patio. The clocktower was luckily not used since the camping was closed in wait for the summer guests, so we managed to get a good morning sleep.

The toilets were nice and clean too. I prefer the toilets and showers to be in a separate building when staying with three beer- and junkfood infused guys in a small wooden cottage.

Bikes were being readied, packed and air taken out of the tires for a day full of nice gravel roads!!
At first we wondered if Mike was preparing his mule for the ride by throwing gravel at it.. It turned out the seat was so sticky from years of oil and melting allweather suits -- that smeering the seat in gravel and sand was the only way to be prevent the trousers from being glued to the seat (common for the 1991 tenere maybe?) I guess he will fill in the missing parts of this treatment as Day 2 unravels.

ecce screwed with this post 05-25-2010 at 02:35 PM
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:27 PM   #10
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Looking forward to this one!
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Old 05-25-2010, 04:37 PM   #11
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Good day with nice weather and we were going to head out of town for a few days!
Headed 50 km in the wrong direction early in the morning to have time for a possible tire change, got a new Karoo 2 Front sitting out at ecce's place.

Entering the driveway I got scared mike had some problems with his bike since it was missing some parts
Turned out to be some vintage TLC session.

My little bike posing in the sun.
Heidenau K60 with about 8000 km on them should do so the Karoo will stay in the garage.
I spent the day washing the bike and re-pack for über weight distribution Oh and trying to be in mike's way ;)

My nephew had been put to supervise so I wouldn't tamper with the other bikes.
Smart move!

First stop together!
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:06 PM   #12
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Definitely subscribing to this one, I love seeing the pictures of northern Sweden.
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:38 PM   #13
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Having done the tarmac part of the trip during the night with heavy rain we were a bit worried the rain would continue but lo and behold, when we woke up it was to a sunny morning with clear skies.

The cabin we had stayed in at Vevlingestrand Camping was small but dry and comfortable with a good price price (around 400 crowns). Nearest city is Bollnäs and the region is called Hälsingland.

The cabin had a small kitchen and table on the ground floor and 4 beds above. The whole thing probably took up just around 10 square meters, or 33 square feet, of ground space. For some reason, the door was only about 4 feet high.

Built to resemble a animal pen? Or maybe it had been one?

I am sure it smelled like one that morning with all the gear still half-wet and the lot of us running around in long-johns.

Ready to go. On several occasions during this trip I found David checking out my bike with a skeptical look on his face.

Maybe he doubted it would make it back home, or he was confused at why I chose the pack-roll instead of my hard bags (I wondered about that too sometimes). Whatever, I like to think he was jealous since the Rat is a real bike

We soon got on our way and took some country roads

that at times were curvy and passed through nice rural areas. No pics of the twisties though.

After going north west we turned onto some well kept gravel roads

that progressed into more desolate areas

Los tres amigos (and kin) during a break. I think we did some 250 - 300 km that day. As mentioned, zero traffic. We had the region to ourselves and the ever present trees.

For those interested, the rear tyre on Robin´s bike is a Heidenau K60 that has 800km on it and still offers good grip. Seems to be a very good dual purpose tyre. I may get one for my bike.

Here´s me fishing for a lost earplug. What a pose. Relaxed. Dignified. Bike looks good too! This section has some of the best roads, dry with just the right amount of loose top surface. Video coming up soon from this area.

Same location, David with his beast, also on Heidenau K60 tyres.

There was this hunting coop and we all wondered why there was like a small wood ledge on the right side. Surely not a shooting support since it was only there in one of the directions?

Robin tries out the ergonomics of an idea..

If you visit Sweden on these gravel roads that stretch all across the country you will often find hunting hides and also bigger open shelters that have been raised by the hunters or by the national tourist organisations. Feel free to use these and break out your sleeping bag or raise your tent for the night. They often have a firepit and we have now concluded that they are including basic conveniences...

Anyhow, Sweden has “Allemansrätt” which translates into “Every Man´s Right”. In short it means you may pass over, spend time on, and camp the night, on any land even privately owned, as long as you do not stay too long, too close, or bother the natives. Common sense is what counts. It is a system that works and offers almost total freedom of movement. However, off-road driving is forbidden in Sweden. What a road is though, is debatable and allows for a bit of headroom. Might be good to know if you decide to visit.

The sun was up but earlier rains had turned some sections into mud ponds where the tracks from earlier vehicles created enduro-like conditions that we pedaled through. These were double track gravel roads but some patches just seemed to have melted and were pretty challenging a few times. No pics of this area unfortunately.

After a while, we got out of the wetter parts and turned into an area with drying ruts. This is where the Rat.. or was it was me?. finally goofed it and were laid down by a soft-sided track.

Low speed, soft landing but the tank was leaking gas so we brought it up pretty fast. Thus, no pic of the sleepy Rat this time.

Pop quiz. What´s wrong in this pic?

Let´s see if one of the nephews has got a pic with the answer
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:02 PM   #14
ecce OP
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I have a harder time finding out what is right in the last pic

More pics coming soon

I wish I had some from the stretches just 20-30 minutes before you crashed. Some of the best gravel I have ridden on the GS. The ones with grass in the middle... way to good to stop and take photos.

Next time!
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:19 PM   #15
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Oj, is that your brake lever folded up?

'07 XR650L
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