Despite the sun and a clear blue sky, today was not a great day. I got up at 7am after a restless night. After my morning routine, I tried to fix my rear tire and gave some love to chain and derailer.
A couple of km into the route, I came through bad gravel conditions. After that, my rear tire made funny noises and there was a lot of vibration in the bike.
After a short break, I took a closer look and found that my brand new rear wheel was disintegrating. More dislocated spokes and cracks in the rim. And that in the middle of nowhere.
Since I did not have much other options, I continued pedaling but reduced downhill speed to improve my survival chances should the rim finally crack. You can imagine that this did not feel great.
On top of this, I was always surrounded by 10-20 horse horseflies (deutsch: Bremsen) , big as bumblebees, trying to bite me – sometimes with success.
After 80km on the E95, I met Olivier from the French speaking part of Switzerland. He had tried both the Finnish and the Norwegian border and had been sent away twice because he was not fully vaccinated. Now he was cycling back to the South. He knew of bike shops in Gällivare (160km away) and Kiruna (275km away). Well, that was better than nothing.
Also, I saw a lot of the participants of SverigeTempot, an unsupported bike race over 2.100km that crosses Sweden from North to South. They have to finish the distance in no later than 8 days and 18 hours and carry all their supplies either with them or stop at a Pizzeria or so. Absolutely brutal!
Around 5pm I arrived at the first shop along the way. The owner mentioned a bike shop in Jokkmokk, just 60km away. And it is on my route anyways. Some good news finally.
The area here is way different than the south of Sweden. You can see that the winters are long and life is hard. The villages are more functional and less pretty. Despite the warm temperatures, there is still snow on the mountains. You can see skidoo’s and skidoo tracks everywhere.
My camping site tonight is a bit depressing. It is up in mountains with 10km of dirt road leading towards it and consists of a couple of worn down wooden cabins that are rented out to permanent users. I am the only traveller. Everything is so full of horseflies and mosquitoes that I have decided to “have dinner” in the men’s dressing room.
Learning of the day: If you want to go into the wild, have proper material!