Today might go down in history as the longest bike ride of my life. My butt can attest to that-Owie! The great thing about this island is that it is nice and flat, perfect for cycling. I hate hills. Well, going down is fine, but going up? Yeah, I was always that kid walking her bike up the hills. I have to be honest here… I like it when things are easier than harder. I’ve never been one to challenge myself physically. I don’t care if I’m the first one at the top of the hill, or on the winning team. I’m just extremely un-competitive. And I like to go slow, so it’s probably better that I do these things alone. Well, unless you are someone who likes to go slow too, then you’re more than welcome to join me!
For some reason I thought the island was much smaller than it is. In fact it’s 16 km wide, and 136 km long! I covered a very small area today, and easily cycled 35-40 km. I was staying on the north end of the island, which I think is a bit more remote than the South end. There are so many nature parks here, with all sorts of different landscapes. Sandy beaches, rocky beaches, limestone formations, forests, cliffs and farm land. It’s so beautiful, and despite that it is Sweden’s summer playground, not overly run amok with tourists. I didn’t hear English being spoken once in 2 days, well except for by the hostel owner. This is where the Swedes come for their holidays, and what a lovely place it is. You could easily spend a week or two here exploring. It reminded me a bit of Savary Island (in British Columbia) only like 100 times bigger! It’s funny, the town before you head over to Savary Island by water taxi is called Lund, and I saw a sign for a town called Lund right in the area as well, so maybe it was Swedes who first settled that area of the Sunshine Coast because it reminded them of home. I’ll have to look into that, because Oland certainly reminded me of home!
So I set off on my ride, map in hand. The sun was shining and I swear, the birds and butterflies were following along with as I rode along. I was cycling alongside farms with cows and sheep and windmills in the fields, when the road finally opened up and there was the ocean.
The pavement turned into a dirt road and for about an hour I was cycling along the shore. Is it possible to die of too much beauty? I felt like I was filling my vessel, just taking in as much as I could, stopping as much as I could and just taking it all in.
The limestone columns at Byrums raukar. These are formed from the oceans constant eroding of the soft limestone, and the harder stone columns are what’s left. There are about 120 of them right here in this spot, and this area of the island is the only place you’ll find them. Large numbers of fossils are also found in this area as well, but I didn’t find any. Boo. I LOVE fossils!
I spent the rest of the day cycling making my way back home, cycling through some forest, then back inland through what I would have to call a wind tunnel. There is a GOOD reason why there are so many windmills on the island! Holy cow, that wind was blowing against me, but cooling me off at the same time. It prompted the question, would I rather be able to go faster but be sweltering because there was no wind, or be cooler and have the wind slow me down? I decided to make my peace with the wind because cool wins over speed. But man, I was going slow. This was also at about hour 4 1/2 of my ride, and I was getting tired. I just wanted to get home, but according to the signs I was still 12 km away. Plus, my lady parts were really starting to smart from the bicycle seat. I toughed it out though and made it into town and had the BEST slurpee I’ve ever had in my entire life!