Bike trip to Lindesnes
Day 1 – late start
On Monday we started our three-day bike trip to the southernmost point of Norway, the Lindesnes lighthouse. We, a group of four, started at 12 because we couldn’t go any sooner due to some grocery shopping, we couldn’t go any earlier. For the first day we planned about 85 kilometres to a nice island where we wanted to camp the first night. The mood was not the best at the beginning as we started pretty late and the first hours we struggled with the hilly route and the headwind. But we managed quite well for the first hours and after a decent lunch the mood was at the very top. After a very nice and necessary ice cream break in Mandal we went for the last part and finally reached the beautiful island of Unneroy, were the rest of the group already set up a bonfire. Sitting at the bonfire with nice company at one of the best camping spots I have ever been let us immediately forget about the strufggles from the beginning of the day. We slept without a tent directly under the stars or in a hammock, one more advantage of camping trips in spring over winter.
Day 2 – Lindesnes, two men down
After a nice breakfast we left our campsite to do the last 30 km to Lindesnes. We left around ten, that gave us around two more hours to drive than the day before. Unfortunately, one guy in our group felt very sick from the beginning on, so it was quite some hard work to get up the final hills to get to the famous lighthouse. The blowing headwind made it even harder, so we were very happy to finally reach Lindesnes around lunch time. During a big break of exploring the lighthouse and surroundings and having something to eat, the sick guy decided to look for buses to get home as riding on the bike was no longer an option for him. The day before and a upcoming sickness made him so weak that it was the most reasonable decision to not bike any longer than necessary. The next bus stop we aimed for was in Vigeland, a small city just after Unneroy, were we spent the first night. On the ride there we all agreed that it was the right decision that the sick guy takes the bus, as he was feeling weaker and weaker. With the time another group member felt very weak and struggled a lot due to biking two days, so she decided to join for the bus ride. I was a little sad that half the group wouldn’t join for the last lef back to Kristiansand, but with some time in between I understood that it was the right decision to go back by bus, when you have the feeling that you can’t manage to ride that far anymore. So it was just me and Will, who went on for the last 80 km to Kristiansand. As we felt quite confident, we decided to take a little detour through the forest which led to some very hilly tracks were we almost had to walk the way up. That was a very fun, but very exhausting part, so were thinking about calling it a day and searching for a nice camping spot in the Mandal area. There we met another group of three and decided to join them for camping at the beach close to Mandal. Again, we had a nice little spot directly at the beach and spent the night with cooking, swimming and guessing zodiac signs.
Day 3 – easy peasy last leg
On the last day we went on for the last 65 km. Although we left Mandal late, we went on fast as we had tail wind for the first time. There we realised how big the impact of the wind is. With tailwind you have the feeling of flying through the landscapes, while you are struggling so hard to get up a big hill, especially when there is the wind blowing straight in your face. Luckily, the biking road on the coastline is so nice that it is easy to find nice spots for a break. The downside of this is that you tend to make more breaks as you might need, just because you want to stop at every nice spot. Anyway, we reached Kristiansand around 4pm and ended the trip with coffee and cookies.
The real Great Ocean Road?
At first, I need to stress the beautiful nature we passed on our way. The road kept us at all times very close to the amazing sea and the dark blue water. A view you just cannot get sick of. And even if a round trip would be the more interesting way it was very nice to stay at the coast the whole time.
As I mentioned earlier only half of the group finished the trip as it was planned, by bike. And some might say, that the trip failed as we either planned to much, or didn’t have the fitness level to reach the goals we set ourselves. But with some time reflecting the trip I would say that experiences like this are very important as you learn how to estimate your skills your mood and how much skill, energy and power the task will take. And even if a situation as we had it on the bike trip was never dangerous and there was always an easy way to escape difficult situations (taking the bus for example), being in the outdoors, especially in the mountains can bring you in situations where changing the plan and taking the escape plan might save your life or the life of others. I think it is important that we reflect ourselves in situations like this – are we strong enough to fulfil that task? – and support others in their situation, as we cant make the decision for themselves. I think, especially in outdoor education you have to make sure that people always question their own abilities regarding the task they have to do, as people in outdoors tend to overestimate themselves more easily than the other way around. What came to my mind as well, when finishing the trip was that camping in spring in good weather is a lot easier and relaxing than camping in winter and in snow. You don’t have to worry about so much, you are not getting cold so easily and you have a lot more daylight. I wouldn’t say that I rather go camping in summer than in winter, but there is a lot less to worry about.