Tour of Scandinavia
When Covid-19 has set pretty much everything on hold, including competitions - how does one stay motivated to keep riding and staying in shape on the road back to normal? Well, our ambassador Jacob Lemholt went on a tour of Scandinavia on his Krypton Pro, alongside his girlfriend, Laura, who went on her Krypton CS, to satisfy their lust for adventure on a bike. This is their #RoadToNormal.
Diary from Tour of Scandinavia
My name is Jacob Lemholt, I am a 26 year old Triathlete from Denmark, and I am one of Argon 18's ambassadors.
Let me tell you about my tour of Scandinavia: What routes we took, what it's like to ride a bike all day for seven days, and my recommendations for those who would like to go on a cycling holiday around Scandinavia - I would highly recommend the trip we took!
The trip took place on my Krypton Pro and Laura's Krypton CS.
Here is the list of the things we brought along with us:
- Pump, tubes, chain oil, tire iron and a multitool.
- 2 sets of cycle clothes
- 2 long sleeved cycling jerseys
- Cycling vests
- Cycling glasses
- Cycling helmets
- Cycling shoes
- 1 set of running clothes
- Running shoes
- 1 set of everyday outfits
- Swimming wear - hats and goggles
- 2 water bottles
- First Aid Kit
- Peanutbutter (in case of emergency)
The trip summed up:
The trip started in Vanløse, Copenhagen. From there, we rode through Denmark. We then took the ferry to Larvik from Hirtshals and visited Argon 18 Norway in Sandefjord. Then we went to visit the Swedish retailer ART-V in Gothenburg, and afterwards we set our tires towards Denmark through the west coast of Sweden on a route called Kattegattleden.
A trip counting 1100 km. about 8000 vertical meters and + 26 cinnamon rolls - one must not forget the coziness.
Day 1. Vanløse - Larvik
The first day started in Vanløse, Denmark and ended in Larvik, Norway. The weather was great and we rode towards the ferry in Sjællands Odde in sunshine. The road towards Holbæk is straight and not very inspiring - but we were happy and excited for our Tour of Scandinavia to have begun.
After Holbæk, and our first stop for cake (Pro Tip: Cirkle K have often got two cakes for the price of one during the weekends), the terrains got more hilly and most of our vertical meters were probably ridden around here.
In 2021, one of the stages of Tour de France will be ridden in the area around Odsherred, and I must say that this is a good choice, do to the beautiful landscape and high vertical meters.
From Odden we took the ferry to Aarhus where we had the chance to refuel, since we still had a good 70 km. to go. First though, we had to take the train to Aalborg to be able to spend as much time in Norway and Sweden, and to keep the timetable that was set for the trip.
We arrived in Aalborg - it was tough to get the legs working - but on we went! And luckily for us, the trip to Hirtshals was with great weather conditions and tailwind, which meant that the 70 km. went smoothly.
First stage ended in Hirtshals and was celebrated with pizza and a large soda. Now, the wheels were directed towards Norway. So far, the riding conditions had been a 'ride in the park'.
- Time: 6 hours and 38 minutes
- Distance: 179 km.
- Vertical Meters: 935 m.
- See the route on Strava here
Day 2. Larvik - Moss
Day two started off with a bit of rain, but a very high spirit! After only 2 km. we made our first stop to fuel our bodies with energy before the long day ahead. Generally, we had a lot of focus on getting the right amount of energy, both before, during and after the stages. Our go to sources for refueling comes in many forms, such as; buns with peanutbutter, sandwiches, cakes, snickers, energy bars, etc. Consuming foods with high energy is an important factor when doing triathlon - but also when going for long rides.
After breakfast we rode towards Sandefjord to explore the Norwegian landscapes with Marius from Argon 18 Norway. Besides from having a showroom, Marius is also a bikefitter - and bikefits a lot of cyclists and triathletes in Norway, including top athletes such as Hans Christian Tungesvik who is extreme triathlon World Champion.
We rode with Marius by car a bit further into the landscapes, where we met up with two kind Norwegians who were to join us for a ride in the hilly terrains. The nature was incredibly beautiful, and we passed one fjord after the other. We also got to try the infamous climbs on about 14-15 % in the landscapes around Sandefjord - somewhat of a different terrain than one wil encounter in the Zealand of Denmark.
We thanked Marius, Egil and Anders for the ride, and went on to set the direction towards Moss, where we had rented a cabbin for the night.
The owner greeted us with a hot shower and amazing food - this really set the standard for the rest of the trip. After dinner, he offered us homebrewed beer and helped us plan the rest of our routes for the trip. The routes consisted of both road, gravel and climbs - but we were ready for it on our heavily packed Krypton bikes!
- Time: 4 hours and 27 minutes
- Distance: 119 km.
- Vertical Meters: 928 m.
- See the route here on Strava
Day 3. Moss - Fjällbacka
Again, the day started with rain - and this time it was all day! But, since we - yet again, woke up in great spirit knowing we had a great day of adventures ahead of us, it was all good. We were accompanied by our Swedish host from the cabbin, along the Norwegian and Swedish coast for the first 60 km. of the trip. This stage was the most hilly of all, and this was certainly felt by Laura. Luckily, we come across 'Gottisexpressen' along the way, and this gave us the opportunity to refuel and bring a lot of 'gottis' with us for the rest of the trip.
We came across the prettiest places on our trip, and especially the bridge between Norway and Sweden, by Svinesund, stood out.
The route after our 'gottis' stop was in a forrest with very few cars - excactly what we had been hoping to encounter on our trip; silence, nature and us on our bikes.
We then rode to the coast, which was a bit more of a 'busy road' do to summer traffic. We rode through several small summer vacation spots, before reaching Fjällbacka. Tired and wet, we then headed out to get some dinner to bring home where we could relax, dry up, and get a good night sleep to be ready for the forth stage.
- Time: 6 hours and 11 minutes
- Distance: 158 km.
- Vertical Meters: 1450 m.
- See the route on Strava here
Day 4. Fjällbacka - Gothenburg
Another day with good vertical meters, and this time in sunshine! It was refreshing to see the sunlight after two days of grey clouds and rain - and to be fair, Laura's mood did rise a bit!
We had our wheels turned towards Gothenburg, where Kattegattleden begins - the route we had really been looking forward to riding - this you will hear more about in the following day's narration.
The route from Fjällbacka to Gothenburg primarily consisted of road, however, there was a path on the route which consisted of gravel - I had been looking forward to see what my Krypton Pro was made of, when the grounds got more uncertain, off road. Even with heavy packaging, and a very bumpy road, I was impressed with how remarkably steady and comfortable the bike was to ride.
This stage also came with our first 5 minute ferry ride - these are to find several places around the coast, because the land consists of various diconnected pieces of land. The ferry ride was super short, easy to take, and free.
We rode along the coast of Sweden and the country presented itself from its most breathtaking side - the sun was shining, the water was clear and blue, and the view was just absolutely amazing!
We crossed a bridge and came to a small island called Vindön. From there, we went to Otrust, another island, where the nature is really beautiful and with almost no cars. We then took the ferry back to the mainland by Svanesund.
Not only did we 'hit the mainland' we also 'hit the wall' - at least that was how we felt! 40 km. left in 10 m/s headwind actually felt like a wall. We had a sneakers (because there is nothing a snickers can't fix) and then we continued to the last mini ferry ride, which took 20 minutes, and then we arrived in Gothenburg. When we got to our hotel, we had a small break, before we went to explore the city by foot, and afterwards went back to the hotel to get a good night sleep.
- Time: 6 hours and 39 minutes
- Distance: 165,5 km.
- Vertical Meters: 1373 m.
- See the route on Strava here
Day 5. Gothenburg - Varberg
Breakfast buffet - yes, that was how the day started! We had strategically planned to stay at a hotel with a breakfast buffet, in order for us to fuel our bodies with energy for the day ahead.
We only rode for a few kilometers before our first stop, which was at one of the swedish Argon 18 retailers, ArtV Cycling in Gothenburg. I would definitely recommend visiting this place if you are in the area. Yet again, Argon 18 hit the nail on the hammer with finding the right people - the service is great and the people are super professional. Furthermore, they bikefit some of the best riders in the world, both swedish and foreign.
We had a great talk about how components on the bike play a role, and can be optimized, and what their experiences with different set-ups are - all, whilst having a great cup of coffee.
After a thorough bike-wash, we were back on the road and on towards 5th stage of our tour. We had an exciting day ahead of us, since Kattegattleden, an about 400 km. long route along the Swedish coast towards Helsingborg had begun. The route consisted of road, gravel and a lot of well known holiday spots - including our final destination for the day; Varberg.
There were no vacant rooms in Varberg, so we bought two sleeping bags and decided to sleep outside in the nature. We went to get pizza (again) and afterwards we went to the supermarket to get some refreshments - then things took a turn; a kind Swedish man asked about our bikes, this led to a conversation, and he ended up offering us to sleep on his boat in the nearby harbor. This kindness, we had been met with, by all the people we had come across on our trip.
We brought our sleeping bags and camped in his boat - a nice experience, however, a bit rocky, since the wind was blowing 12 m/s.
- Time: 5 hours and 43 minutes
- Distance: 140 km.
- Vertical Meters: 835 m.
- See the route on Strava here
Day 6. Varberg - Gryteskär
After a rocky night in the boat, we headed south. The stage of the day was long, but we started early and the spirit was high. We had breakfast at a local bakery in Varberg (Bertilsson Bageri) we can highly recommend their blueberry swirls and their pistachio swirls!
Kattegattleden brought us on roads with breathtaking nature, where we came across other cyclists with heavy packaging, exploring the landscapes on bikes, just like us.
6th stage brought us on a lot of off road in the forrest and gravel roads - which was nice for a change.
We arrived in Båstad where we encountered the highest climb on the trip - our cycling computers read 20% climb! We felt we rode straight towards the sky. I had been riding in the area before and therefore, I knew about the climb, however, it was a lot harder with heavy packaging and legs that had been stepping on the pedals for several days now. When we reached the top, we came across a plateau where we stood and enjoyed the view.
We then headed for the final destination of the day. We rode through a nature reserve where we rode side by side with the ocean and some sheep - such a beautiful way to end this long stage. Even though the terrain was tough, we yet again got a taste of how versatile our Krypton bikes are.
We spend the night in a shelter and cooked dinner over a campfire; luckily we had bought sleeping bags the day before, so we were ready to sleep in the nature.
- Time: 7 hours and 18 minutes
- Distance: 173,1 km.
- Vertical Meters: 865 m.
- See the route on Strava here
Day 7. Gryteskär - Lynge
Last stage of our Tour of Scandinavia!
The wheels were directed towards Helsingborg, where we were to ride with the ferry til Helsingør. This stage tour took place on many twisted roads and through cottage areas with many holiday guests.
We stopped for "Fika" (Coffee and cake) at a farm called Flickorna Lundgren. After a while we hit the coast, which we followed all the way to Helsingborg. We were able to see Kronborg the last 20 km. before reaching the ferry to Denmark.
The last route of the trip we knew well - we have been riding it many times for long weekend-rides. After about 1100 km, more than 8000 vertical meters and countless cinnamon swirls later, we reached Argon 18 Lab & Store in Lynge. We were greeted by smiles and a perfectly made cup of coffee.
The Krypton Bikes
The tour took place behind the handlebars of my Krypton Pro and Laura's Krypton CS - two extremely versatile endurance bikes.
Both Krypton bikes are equipped with electronic Shimano Ultegra Di2. The bike frames are light, with high stiffness, and very high levels of comfort! Both bikes have disc brakes, which secures an effective and responsive break to ensure a good and comfortable riding experience - especially by descents and in hilly terrain. The Krypton bikes are really showing excactly how versatile they are, when proving themselves comfortable and steady on both road, off road and gravel! The frame allows for a wider tire size, which gives the opportunity to change to 33/35 mm. gravel tires.
We rode our Tour of Scandinavia on our Vittoria Rubino pro 28 mm. tires to make sure we rode on durable tires with little resistance, since knowing that most of the tour would take place on road and gravel. There were times where to terrain was very challanging, however, both bikes and tires managed super well! We ended up riding the entire tour without problems or punctures.
All in all, the Krypton bikes were the perfect companions do to their extreme comfort and versatility!
See the routes on Strava
- Day 1. Vanløse - Larvik: https://www.strava.com/activities/3777050541
- Day 2. Larvik - Moss: https://www.strava.com/activities/3781355821
- Day 3. Moss - Fjällbacka: https://www.strava.com/activities/3787259557
- Day 4. Fjällbacka - Gothenburg: https://www.strava.com/activities/3793956836
- Day 5. Gothenburg - Varberg: https://www.strava.com/activities/3802601333
- Day 6. Varberg - Gryteskär: https://www.strava.com/activities/3832915556
- Day 7. Gryteskär - Lynge: https://www.strava.com/activities/3832918213
The riders in this story, are riding older, discontinued Argon 18 models which have been updated for 2021.
See them below.