A Swedish Safari

A Swedish Safari

A loop that takes you on a journey from deep forests to coastal archipelago islands on endless perfect gravel roads and technical single track giving you a glimpse of Swedish life of past and present. The Swedish Safari 300 Bikepacking trail links up some of the best scenery, points of interest and nature reserves South Stockholm and North Södermanland has to offer.


Stats

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Getting there

Either fly to Arlanda, Stockholm International Airport and take the suburban train down to Södertälje or fly to Skåvsta Airport and cycle to the southern section of the route. ( 18km )


Highlights

  • The single track through deep forests on the Sörmlandsleden.

  • Exploring the historical mines of Sörmland.

  • Crossing the bridges out to the islands of the Archipelago.

  • Testing your balance on narrow walking wooden planks.

  • Looking out for the Swedish Royal family at the Kings Summer Palace, Tullgarn.

  • Biking the endless gravel roads through Swedish forests and spotting different breeds of deer, moose, wolf and all the different eagles and falcons on offer.

  • Swimming in the quiet and un-spoilt forest lakes.

  • Taking in the panoramic views at Uppsa Kulle Hill.

  • Enjoying the Swedish tradition of fika (afternoon coffee and cake).

  • Enjoying the free ferry ride across the sound at Skansen.


The Adventure

This 300km loop begins in the town of Södertälje just south of Stockholm city, Sweden. The start of the trail is accessible by suburban train that runs from Stockholm International Airport via Stockholm City Centre.

The trail follows bike-able single-track sections of the Sörmlandsleden Hiking Trail and gravel roads, linking together some of the most interesting and rewarding parts of this deeply historic and beautiful part of Sweden. From the deep forest to coastal archipelagos where island hoping is possible by a series of bridges.

This loop explores the different and diverse parts of the region. From old abandon mines to one of the Swedish King’s official summer palace, this trail will have you testing your single-track skills on technical forest trails and narrow walking planks. It will have you scanning the skies for some of Scandinavia’s largest eagles and birds of prey and keenly watching the meadows for deer, moose and wild boar.

You will lose count at how many times you will stop to swim in the warm summer lakes, and with Allemansrätt, the law that allows all to roam and camp where you please, you will be spoilt for choice of where to spend the night. The trail passes by cafes, store and water points, and even through the beautiful coastal village of Trosa but still will have you, in parts, feeling lost and remote.

A solid mountain bike is advisable and although the route does not gain much altitude the single-track sections can be quite demanding. Parts of the single-track can be avoided but other sections are obligatory to link the trail together.


Gear

I used a 3 season set up on this trail which included a free standing tent, plus 5 degree sleeping bag and a good insulated ground mat. For Sweden in general I would recommend a rain jacket and rain trousers even during the summer months. We are in Scandinavia and not the Mediterranean! I like to use a titanium cup to cook in as it can be used on both a stove and directly in a fire. Through out this trail we passed by many shelters, especially in the northern sections on the single track. There are always fire pits at the shelters and many will have pre-chopped wood at them supplied by the local community. These three sided shelters are also good to sleep in but due to mosquitoes I use the inner netting of my tent if staying over.

H20

Water is no problem for most of the route but along the stretch from Östermalma Slott to Nynäs Slott collection water can be tricky. There is a tap in Stendörren at the museum but at time of writing (the hot summer of 2018) this was turned off. But Swedish people are very friendly and accommodating so in the worst case you can always call into a local house and just ask. If you are going to drink the water out of the lakes we suggest boiling first. Along the tour you will see many blue signs saying Källa. This is the Swedish word for a well.

Food

There are shops or restaurants everyday on the trail. Supermarkets in Södertälje, Jarna, Björnlunda and Trosa.

In Sweden you can only buy alcohol above 3.5% in the government run Systembolaget stores. On the trail they can be found in Södertälje and Trosa if you feel the need to top up!

Some of our favourite cafes and eateries include Nynäs Slott, Tullgarns Slott, Paradise Beach Café, Skottvångs Grufva museum and of course the beautiful castle and wildlife reserve of Öster Malma Slott and their all you can eat lunchtime buffet. A worthy marked detour.

Accommodation

We camped in the forest three of the four nights but there are plenty of hostels and hotels in the region. In Trosa, for our last night we stayed in a cabin just off the trail, Trosa Havsbad. ( www.trosahavsbad.se ).

Around Björnlunda there is the beautiful hostel in an old Farm Museum run by the national tourist association, STF. This is a perfect stopping point at 130km from Södertälje and is exactly on the trail near the supermarket in Björnlunda and the beginning of the beautiful Erikgatan marked cycle trail.

Allemansrätt is a law that is enshrined in Swedish culture which give you the right to roam throughout the countryside and camp where ever you like for one night. Some rules apply and camping in Stendörren Nature Reserve is forbidden. For more info please visit: https://visitsweden.com/about-the-right-of-public-access/


Tips

  • If you bike this in the middle of the summer you will need a mosquito net

  • The most difficult part of your trail was the single track through the forests.

  • You don’t need to carry so much food as it’s easy to get along the way.

  • There plenty of water but use a filtration system to be on the safe side if filling up from the lakes.

  • We budgeted about $200 include train fare ( $5 each way from Stockholm centre ) and we did stop a few time for lunches, dinners and some beers. But you could definitely do the trip for under $50 once in Sweden.


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Exit

At the end of the 5 days we took the train from Södertälje back to Stockholm. The trail conveniently starts and finishes at the train station.


Michael O'Dwyer Interview

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Bikepacker Profile

Michael O’Dwyer is an Irish guy living in Stockholm, Sweden. After years of working too much he rediscovered his love for the bicycle by getting unexpected invite to go bikepacking in Mongolia. He went and was hooked. His love of travel found a new direction and using his bike loves to explore foreign lands and taste new cultures. When home in Sweden Michael spends his time exploring the forests of his adopted country looking for its best trails. Instagram: odwyermichael and bikepackinginsweden.


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What got you into Bikepacking?

I have always been in to climbing and camping so when an unexpected invitation to go on a bikepacking trip to Mongolia.


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What your best bit of Bikepacking gear

My titanium 900ml cup as I can use it on my stove or directly in a fire.


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What sleep system our you using & why

Western Mountaineering -5degree sleeping back with a Synmat UL mattress. I hate being cold at night.

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How many Kgs is your setup

Bike and gear is coming in at 25kg which is ok special for long distance flight, not to much extra weight charge

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Where your next Bikepacking trip

We planing a 10 day bikerafting trip to spain in December


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What camera gear did you use

Olympus E-M5II with a 12-40 lense. I also use a DJI Mavic Air Drone

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Did any Bikepacking kit fail ?

I’ve been lucky I research a lot of my gear so this trip my gear held up no fails

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What the best advice you can give

Don't push too hard on the first day and take your time on those long up hills. It’s about the adventure and not the distance.


CHECK OUT MICHEALS DETAILED GEAR LIST WHAT HE TOOK FOR THIS TRIP OPTIONAL ETC ETC ETC