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Traveling is something beautiful. Traveling by bicycle is the perfect way for me to really relax. In this way I can enjoy the just being part of life. In the Netherlands I notice that I am constantly busy with all kinds of distractions. On a bicycle I can unwind.
In 2015 I experienced that for a whole year when I cycled from Rotterdam to Singapore. If I think back about that journey, I don’t want it to be a peak in my life. I want it to be part of who I am. To find a balance between my day to day life in the Netherlands and occasionally breaking that with an adventurous journey. I wanted the same experience as in 2015, but then a shorter, more challenging version.
The result is a bicycle journey in the Arctic Circle from Saint Petersburg in Russia to the North Cape in Norway.
Traveling by bicycle is the perfect way for me to really relax.Quote from the preface
I want to go to the Arctic Circle at least once in my life to experience the winter there. I chose Russia because I didn’t know anything about the country and its people. I wanted to learn from the culture and talk to the people. Norway became my end point, because Norway would be in many ways more bicycle friendly. It seemed very interesting to experience the difference by crossing the border in the north. And I wanted to do that in winter because the weather conditions are the most challenging. I think it’s important to occasionally step out of the daily routine and I wanted to see what I could manage. How I would respond to the extremely low temperatures. If I would be sweaty from cycling and stopping for the night, pitching my tent in the cold while there will be a meter of snow. In this situation I really need to take care of myself. How do I do that in such extreme temperatures and in a place with nothing more then snow and trees? In the Netherlands overall life is easy, when I stood there in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, nothing would be easy. And I notice that I get energy from it. Sleeping at -25 degrees celcius is not only hard.
The moments when I could not get warm at night were scary. There was also a life-threatening highway towards Murmansk, the M18 or Kola highway. And that was the only road that was snow-free. I was warned on the way because accidents (once with fatal consequences) that happened to adventure cyclists. I decided to go, but that was a really dangerous decision. In the Netherlands I am used to traffic slowing down or driving around me, but in Russia a lot of cars and trucks got really close.
In Norway the air was very clear. I had set up my tent and saw on an app, which indicates the probability of the Northern Lights, that the chance was increasing. I opened my tent and what I saw looked like a light show. I stood there in my thermo clothing outside in the cold, flabbergasted with the fact that for the first time in my life I saw the Northern Lights.
Read on, article by article, I will take you into the preparations and the journey itself. I show you how beautiful the winter is in the north.
Cycling on ice can be ordered in ebook.
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