THE RAD RACE X AURORA COLLECTIVE TOUR DE SKANDINAVIA with many many many thanks to HEIMPLANET for being our home for 9 days.
Hamburg – Büsum
We’ve been dreaming of a tour like this as long as we’re on our bikes. A tour with our best friends, a tour with a small crew-bus to carry our stuff, a tour in the nature. So when we walked over the alps last year we decided that we needed to do one big trip every year from now on and it was pretty clear that bikes would be involved. So we just said „Let’s ride from Hamburg to Oslo“. Fuck it. Let’s just roll.
Since we founded the RAD RACE we met so many great people and one of the truly greatest was Sebastian from AURORA. He not only helped us to design our cycling collection he was also a great inspiration to us in many other ways. So to cut a long story short: he also dreamed of a tour like this and in the end he was the last piece of the puzzle that was missing to plan a tour like this. It took quite some time to get it all planned and work out the track route and all the 5000 other things you can think of to get 16 bike addicts on the 1.300km to beautiful Oslo.
Sebastian also introduced us tot he great folks of HEIMPLANET. We knew we needed a place to stay on our trip and we were so sure that we wanted to stay in tents and not in shitty hotel rooms. We wanted to breathe fresh air in the morning when we wake up, when we’re on our bikes and while we’re sleeping. We didn’t really know how amazing the Heimplanet stuff actually was, we didn’t even know building up a tent is supereasy in 2014 now… We didn’t even know Heimplanet existed. All the guys at Heimplanet were super cool though and they loved the „Tour de Skandinavia“ idea, too so they hooked us up with 8 tents so we could use them for our trip.
RAD RACE was founded from 10 friends to organize wild bike races and to design and produce great cycling apparel. Our first year started great but it was a hell lot of work.
The past few weeks right before the tour haven’t been easy for us. We had our RAD RACEs in Hamburg, Karlsruhe and Frankfurt just within 3 weeks and we just got back from the RAD RACE Bergfest in Frankfurt the night before we wanted to start our cycling trip. We were soooo tired and wouldn’t really believe that we’ll make it on this trip.
But we made it! We went on tour right in the morning of September 1st and after around 130K we made it to Büsum. We’re so fucking happy and we’re just soooo stoked that we finally made it on our bikes. 90% of the first stage was just pure rain, wind and we were all wet just after we left Hamburg. The 2 on fixed – Gunja and Flo – perfectly made it through the whole day and it’s just sooo great to have them with us.
The best thing of the whole day though were the last 20-30K though. It stopped raining, we hit the beach and we just witnessed a beautiful sunset. We were so damn cold but a hot shower in the middle of fucking nowhere saved our asses. And then we thought: FUCK we need to build up our camp. We didn’t really know how to build up a Heimplanet tent since we never did this before. We were just tired and didn’t want to spend a minute thinking how to handle this. But I swear that was easier then opening a bottle of beer. Seriously all of us had their tents blown up in under 3 minutes. We didn’t need any nails of tools or anything. We just blew them up and so our camp was ready in 5 minutes.
So while I was typing this I was lying in my Heimplanet tent and I hear 15 people snorring, farting, loughing, I hear bottles of beer and I heard some prayers for the sun to really come out tomorrow.
Büsum – Skaeberg
And here came the sun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a day!!!! We started the day early. Not because we wanted to but nobody could really sleep. Everyone was so pumped up to ride to Denmark… So when the sun was rising Gerri was already filming it because it was just too nice to stay in our tents and the rest woke up wayyyy too early. A super quick breaki with some very bad coffee later everyone was already getting their bikes ready because we wanted to hit the road so bad. So we did and it was Ingo’s time to get behind the steering wheel of our tour van.
Day 2 we decided our mechanic Luke should also get the chance to get on the bike but unfortunately a wasp hit him in the face so the ride was already over for him after 15K… He took some pain killers and it really took the whole day for his lip to get back to normal size. Looking back at it this was pretty funny (so sorry Luke!)
The rest of stage 2 was just so beautiful. Well except for 4 (!) flat tires. But well, fuck it. The sun was shining and we shot a lotta camera shit. Eti and Gerri are sharing the day so everyone can ride half of it. And to be honest. They kick ass so bad. Etienne is not really a cycler but still he managed to ride 50K yesterday and 70K today. Gerri was never on a road bike and also hit the road for 80K. Gunja called it quits after 70K or so and everyone else was super tired but happy to make it to Denmark. And the average speed for the trip was still not too bad and around 29. The thing is we don’t really want to race the tour, we wanna enjoy the nature, spend time with the best of friends and just kill it with everyone in the group. And we made it.
We left Germany in the afternoon and for some reason a few meters behind the border after we hit Denmark everything looked even prettier. At least it seemed that way. The trees and the birds and the fields just looked different.
Well maybe the grass is just always greener on the other side.
Skaeberg – Ringköbing
How can any other day be better than the one before? It sounds cheesy I know and there have been some first problems in the group, when we woke up it was just foogy and freezing and some parts of the day haven’t been easy but in the end this was one of the best rides I ever took. Why? Because simply everything was included why we went on this trip in the first place.
So where should I begin? Maybe with our bike rack we build?
With the first ever group pic we took on the tour on the crazy camping site in Skaerberg?
Fuck it. We went on the road quick and soon hit the beach. Unfortunately we lost the van right away since it wasn’t able to follow us on the waterfront. But we knew the boys in there would make it. And they did. It just took a while mainly since the track just took us a while. The concrete was so bad that it brought us three flat tires. Who cares though as long as you can still ride.
After we hit a real road again one of the many highlights of this sunny day was just ahead of us. We raced a few K down towards the beach. A quick and perfect race just between us. Rewarded with a coffee on the beach discussing scene politics… After the break our mechanic Luke got on the bike, Etienne took the steering wheel and Gerri was still revovering on the back bench (and OK, he took some awesome pics and videos again).
And it got better and better. A roller coaster ride through the danish woods, an off road session right after we passed Henne (Henne loved it), a beer on the bike after we hit the 150K for the last group…
We took 2 backpackers in the tour van that are still with us and that we snuck on our camping site. They just wanted to travel north as far as they would get and they were for sure super happy to catch a ride. I am pretty sure though they didn’t know the van would follow 14 bikes and stop every few min or so for a flat tire or just to film or take a pic…
Some other thing that would for sure happen, happened today. We had the first struggle in the group. Nothing too bad and most of us know each other forever but still it was just shitty. We lost Urban on the way since he just took a small detour since he spotted some kite surfers on a beach and when we looked back a few kilometers later, we weren’t just 14 anymore but one was missing. Before we stopped Ingo didn’t really gave a sign so we almost crashed and we had a discussion later that we should just chill out more, enjoy the trip and just wait when someone is left behind. Bla Bla, a few of us went back, got Urban back in the group and he was for sure super happy not to ride the last 80K on its own. The thing about Urban is this: he loves football and kite surfing. The only reason why he bought a bike was this trip. He only rode 200-300K before this trip and until today just within the last 3 ride he collected almost 500.
One of best parts of this day for me personally was when we lost the first two groups (we split up so some of the stronger riders can bring some weaker ones home) and totally lost our way (none of us had navigation or a map or any clue where we were). I don’t have any picture or anything and it’s really nothing special and maybe it’s just because I was so exhausted after 160K. We just stopped in the middle of fucking nowhere at an old farmhouse, an old man came towards us with his white dog and he waved at us to get closer so Danny went across his field and met him in the middle of it. We all just stood on the road holding on to our bikes, hoping this farmer would now where the camping site was (we didn’t even now the name of that place, we just knew the city that it was in). He shook Danny’s hand and told us where to go. It really felt home for some reason. It all felt right. He didn’t really gave us exact directions. And we didn’t care. Fuck it. No matter what, as long as it takes. We’re still on our bikes and we’re still together.
Ringköbing – Nibe
Sometimes a day on a bike is like a Hardcore song. It has its up and downs, there is an easy intro, there is a mosh part and some slow downs, there are some crazy dives and when you’re lucky there is a good friend in the pit to pick you up. There are some sing alongs and there’s some crazy screaming… Well this was a little bit how it was today.
We started with some slow riding, some filming stuff on a quite busy street. Etienne, Benny and Gerri are really risking it all to get the shots they want. But I tell you: it’s all worth it. The plan ist o shoot a documentary about this trip. Show our non-bike friends and maybe some other who care how great cycling is, show what you experience when you’re on your bike. What you see of this beautiful place when you’re not in a fucking office or just anywhere where you just don’t wanna be. When we’re on our bikes it just feels home.
The first 50k or so went by so fast and the next thing I know is we’re all sitting on a harbour somewhere eating pasta leftovers from one big bowl with some very bad coffee. Everybody was still smiling and laughing and we’re all having a good time. Still…
But what happened then wasn’t really the best part of the trip. We had to take a smaller danish highway for the next 60K. Just imagine 14 riders in one row and cars and trucks and all kinds of vehicles passing by with way more than 100 thirty centimeters next to you and you’re riding 32 on your bike (the wind was pretty good though). There wasn’t really any place for us AND the cars and we lost our van a while ago so there wasn’t really any other option than to take this route. We didn’t really speak for 2 hours or so. It was just crazy and dangerous fast riding and everybody wanted to get it over with as soon as we could.
In the end Etienne, Gerri and Benny were waiting at this one bridge with the camera drone and I think what they filmed was worth the risk to take this fucking road…
After this, Urban and Henne called it quits and told the street to go and fuck itself and sat down in the van. They told us they don’t wanna risk their lives no more and since there wasn’t room for anyone else in the bus still 10 of us needed to continue on that hellride.
The good thing is: it ended after 2 more minutes. The street cleared up. The cars disappeared for some strange reason (maybe danish people don’t get in their cars after 5pm or so) and 30min later we really had the best rides of this whole trip.
We drove in the woods, wild horses running right next to us, some great lakes and the best landscapes you can ever imagine. AND the roads were just sooo fucking perfect and fast and the concrete was so smooth and we raced it all down as fast as we could. We didn’t really felt the first 140k but we were just flying down to Nibe.
When we arrived we couldn’t believe what we saw: our Heimplanet tents and the whole camp was already and completely build up and the even better thing: we are staying right at the water front so the very next thing we did was jump in the icy cold water.
So in the end it all worked out. Like it always does.
Tomorrow we are riding to Göteborg so we gotta get up in a few hours already so we are getting the ferry at 2pm already…
Nibe – Göteborg
There really are only a couple of occasions when getting up 6am in the morning kicks ass. One of these rare days was today. We only had a 125 k to go BUT we neeeeeeded to be on the ferry to Gothenburg at 1.30pm sharp! If we missed this boat we needed to wait forever and pay another fortune to get from Denmark to Sweden. So the plan was to ride quick, not to take many brakes and just make it to the ferry in time.
So far so good. A quick breakfast. Packing our shit together really is a great teamwork on day 5, so we got on the road pretty much in time. After a few days bringing the HEIMPLANET tents to travel size just takes seconds and I cannot emphasize enough how much of a fucking help these great tents are. Even if it rains like crazy you stay dry. Inside the tents there is so much room fort wo people and even with 3 it’s til cozy and comfy.
Today it was just 12 of us since the two brave fixie riders Gunja and Flo needed to take a break from us roadies. The only thing is: the road really wasn’t anyting special. To be honest the road sucked hard. Like yesterday it was just a damn huge street and it was 12 kids against some trucks on a 40cm pavement.
And this damn street never ended. Pretty much the whole way to Fredrikshaven was just like that. And it totally broke our group into pieces. Urban was so fucked up he wanted to ride alone against the wind and the trucks. Danny’s pedal broke. We didn’t take enough tubes (we stupid idiots) and so we lost Benny and Dirk and the van needed to pick them up.
So in the end it was only 7 riders that made it into Fredrikshaven on their bikes. The rest was just fed up or too destroyed to cycle. The other 7 split up into a faster and slower group what really also was kinda shitty.
But when we met at the ferry everybody was smiling and I saw a lotta high fives and Gerri, Eti and Benny were already filming some great footage again for our documentary. So we took our bikes and cycled into the stomach of this huge ship (I didn’t really expect the boat was bigger than any other ship I’ve been onto).
Beeing on the ship with the crew was just so perfect. Imagine 16 people sleeping on the floor, browsing around this huge ship, enyoing the perfect view with the best possible weather. We were the only ones with bikes on the ship so we could depart from the ship right before the giant trucks rolled out. From the moment we touched swedish ground Göteborg was only nice to us. Some first coffee, some riding in the city, some bike stuff to repair the bikes.
For the first time on this trip we’re staying in a real bed. We’re kinda bummed to miss a day in the Heimplanet tents but some bus- and outfit cleaning definitely was the thing to do!
We’re super stoked and so excited to ride our first day in Sweden tomorrow. For tonight we’re just happy to made it to Göteborg alive after 2 crazy days on a danish highway…
Göteborg – Kungshamn
The race against the darkness…
From the moment we woke up in Göteborg to the moment right now here at this beautiful camping site in Kungshamn this day was just so fucking perfect. I am so sorry to tell you that all over again but we cannot help but just wonder how awesome Sweden is.
Day 1 in Sweden was already better than all our danish stages combined. The nature, the weather, the tracks, the riding. It was all so great. You gotta come here quick and ride your bike or just do whatever. Sweden just rocks so bad!
We left our hostel around 10:30am and that was definitely the one mistake that made everything complicated later on. But more of that later… Pretty soon we lost the van for the first time while trespassing some private ground. We weren’t shot and the people inside the property were actually pretty cool and didn’t really care that we were riding their trails.
When we found the van a little bit later we all fuled up and ate something and believe me: we needed that. Although we thought everybody would be totally destroyed a few still wanted to race the perfect streets. So Schubu and Ingo formed a team and were hunted by Chris and Henne and it was just so fast and raw and we didn’t really care about what was coming behind the next corner. But in Sweden there always seems to be something around the next corner. This is what we saw when we were just coming down the street:
Unfortunately in all the racing mode we lost Urban (once again!) so he took a small detour of like 18k or so. We waited forever and Ingo went after him to get him. But when we found him he wasn’t pissed at all.
Soon after Ingo found Urban the van found us too so Urban, Ingo, Jan and Chris raced right behind the tour bus so we could get the others. Imagine riding with 50-75 km/per hour 60 centimeters behind the rolling van. Danny had 75km/h and later Paul and Ingo were racing behind it and Eti took some shots from inside the van for our documentary. We knew it was dangerous and for some reason we forgot to fix the door at the side of the van. So when Ingo and Paul were riding around 80km/h the door suddenly snapped and almost chopped Eti’s face and feet off. That really was a lesson and we know that was super stupid so believe me: we won’t do that again. Still it was fun though…
After we got everybody back together we had THE perfect coffee break and we had some soul food fort he remaining 100 (!) kilometers. We knew we had a long way to go but the sun was shining, Etienne jumped in the fjord and was trying to catch some fish and we were all just enjoying our time together. The thing was just: we were sitting there for way too long. And after the bike crew left the tour bus had a stupid accident and crashed in a parked Volvo (of course it had to be a Volvo!) what caused some major problems since there wasn’t any support from the van since it took them 3 hours or so to take care of the accident formalities. Everybody on their bikes waited at the ferries (yes, we took 3 ferries today and were cycling on a swedish island and it was just so great!) and Ingo had to go back and then back again and bla bla bla we were just too late.
So after all the trouble we had only 75minutes or so left in the daylight and we knew we HAD to make it since we didn’t really end up on a field in the middle of nowhere, waiting for the bus to come in our sweaty bike outfits… So the race against the darkness began. And I tell you, THAT was the best ride on a bike I ever took. The crew had to work together, the stronger ones pulled the weaker cyclers, we really worked as a team to make it.
And it got darker and darker and darker. The thing about Sweden is: there is no light on the streets what means: when the sun came down you cannot see shit anymore and it really gets so cold. We didn’t want that. We wanted to make it. And in the end we did. We arrived when it was just getting dark. First some of us were really fucked up since it really was a hell of a ride. But after we had some pasta and a few beers everybody was just smiling and we knew we had just completed one of the best, if not THE BEST cycling day of our lives.
Kungshamn – Sarpsborg
WE MADE IT TO NORWAY! It’s pretty ugly so far and the weather changed completely right after we touched Norwegian ground, we had some minor crashes and we are all pretty messed up after 1000km but we are sooo happy to finish the 7th stage…
The day startet a little earlier than yesterday since we didn’t want to make the same mistake twice to start the day too late and risk to ride into the darkness. The camping site was super awesome and we enjoyed a breakfast with the whole group in the sun in front of our Heimplanet tents, sitting on the gras and eating our daily-routine-food (MyMuesli, some bread with jam and bad coffee).
Everybody was riding except our mechanic Luke and our film-mastermind Gerri. Flo was also back on track after his cold but he tried out the Bombtrack Hook today for the first time. The track in Sweden was again wonderful and fast and sunny and just pitch perfect. You really have to see it to get what I mean. A director would not shoot a film here because it really looks too crazy beautiful with all these red and white and yellow houses, the cows and sheep on the greenest grass, the blue sky, all the little and bigger lakes and people doing nothing but painting their houses.
We split the group in 2 parts: a faster crew and a slower crew that just wanted to enjoy the landscape more. That worked perfect since and the slower group arrived only a couple minutes later than the others since there have been some flat tires and bike shit on the way. We had some pizza and salad and then the clouds got darker and darker so we knew another race would be up:
The race against the rain. We win if everybody strays dry.
To cut a long story short: we lost.
The best part of the day and one of the best of the whole trip was when we crossed the boarder from Sweden to Norway. You really cannot believe how awesome the scenery is.
For some not so cool reason right after we crossed the boarder, the landscape changed into an industrial area with a lotta factories and strange looking people. That was all good since we were blessed with an awesome track so far but the thing was that it started to rain heavier and the roads got real slippery. We had two minor crashes with some blood but nothing too bad. So don’t worry, we’re all fine and hope to continue tomorrow. And then we lost the way and had to go back and it took us forever to find the camping site.
But now we’re here and have only two more stages to go to Oslo. We have already seen a lotta signs until Oslo and cannot wait to make it alive and all well. We don’t wanna stop, we wanna continue and ride and ride and ride. We are already planning a new „Tour de …“ with the same crew for 2015…
For now we’re dead.
Sarpsborg – Hokksund
The break up. It had to happen. The group split.
It’s not as bad as it sounds though. There was just a group of riders that wanted to take the day slow. One group that wanted to go further and faster. And one group that stayed in the bus to film and chill. The saddest thing though was when Danny left since he had to work back home. Fuck that, we miss you already!
So I can tell you the story oft he 139k crew.
And this was a nice one and to be honest there is not much to say really. It was one of the best, if not THE best bike rides I ever took. It was all in there: highspeed cycling, uphill riding, beautiful nature in all colours, some amazing friends, a boat ride…
We started at around ten, left the camping site in shitty weather but I swear the moment we started rolling the sun was shining. Just a few hundred meters after we left our place there was this awesome street that lead us through the woods. Trees to our lefts and rights and a perfect concrete to roll in maximum speed. It was like in a computer game. Unreal. Really. So fucking perfect.
And from then on it was just a perfect ride. The sun never left our side and the water was just next to us 90% of the time. We did some awesome shots for our documentary and had a perfect 45min break when we went on the ferry.
I tell you we were all so happy and when I dreamed about this trip this day was exactly how I pictured it. The only shitty thing was that we weren’t with the full group. But the others told me that had a great time, too (at least until they saw our pics on our cameras)…
The camping site in Hokksund is plain awesome and we’re gonna celebrate Paul’s birthday in a real restaurantm. Fuck homemade pasta for once. My present for Paul: I took that pic of him and if you really tell me roadbike cycling is for nerds, just look at the picture again.
Tomorrow is our last day and each and every one of us is already pretty fucked up that the trip is over then. It seems like everyone is gonna make it to Oslo in one piece. And even Urban likes cycling now (at least I think he does. He would never admit he loves it. How can you not.)
I haven’t asked everyone but at least I can tell you I would rather roll a thousand miles more than flying back to Hamburg.
Danny, we miss you.
Hokksund – Oslo
We made it.
I cannot tell you how how tough the last day was. It rained cats and dogs the whole night. We heard the rain outside and we just prayed to the bike god that it would stop. But it didn’t. It just got worse and worse. After breakfast we had to make a decision and we chose safety. We constructed a shorter route to Oslo that has only 80k and 1000meter altitude. The other option would have been to ride 122k in full rain and that just would have been too risky. We were already pretty much destroyed after 1.255.000 meters in our legs.
So we packed ourselves in the thickest outfits we had (thank you so much to IrieDaily for your rain jackets!!!) with us and started the stage with 10 riders. It rained and rained and rained and it only stopped after 20k or so. But it stopped and the sun was with us for the rest of the day, just how it almost was for the whole trip. Thank you sun! We owe you big time!
The track itself was not too special but it had some highlights. The longer route would have definitely been the more spectacular option… But fuck it. We wanted to make it to Oslo in one piece.
The best and for some the shittiest part of the whole track was the altitude on the last part of the stage. Almost 600meters up within 10k or so…
And when we didn’t expect it the Oslo city sign appeared. It was right there when we just thought it would be great to finally arrive since our legs hurt, everything was cold and wet and the moral of the crew wasn’t at its best. Oslo was right there when we needed it the most.
I can only speak for myself here but when we climbed the opera (if you ever make it to Oslo, grab a bike and cycle up that big white thing) it was truly magic. 1.335km earlier we started in Hamburg and 9 days later we arrived in Oslo. We made it with our own feet and our own bodies and all we needed was a bike. It is something completely different to travel with a bike and I think Jan said ist best: „I don’t really care that I am in Oslo or wherever. It was all about getting there.“
Thank you HEIMPLANET for being our home for 9 days. It was a pleasure sleeping in you. I really never never thought I would like camping so much and we are so happy and thankful for the Heimplanet guys to bring us closer to the nature a little bit more.
Thx guys for being on this amazing trip with me. It was a truly epic experience and I don’t wanna make it a one in a lifetime thing. So gear up for 2015. I hope we will be back for another „Tour de…“ next year.
The Rad Pack!