Or: an accident never comes alone.
We were so looking forward to just trekking again, this time through the Swedish countryside. The two stages to Uppsala were rolling in all respects: low hills that are easy to cycle up and roll off for a long time without pedalling. Fields that follow the curves of forests, streams and hills. Together, they form a very pleasant scenery.
On the smoother roads, Oscar did feel a bump in the front wheel, so once we arrived in Uppsala we inspected the tyre. To our dismay, we found a weak spot where the inner tube really made a bump of it and not, as before, that the tyre was not snug in the rim. Scour bike shops tomorrow to find a suitable replacement and then travel on? We knew we had 120km without facilities ahead of us and wanted to do it in 2 days. By now, we had also realised that Gamla Uppsala is a very important historical site for Sweden that we could hardly ignore. With the first shop scheduled to open at 10am, we thought it would be wiser to stay a day. The little repair shop close to the campsite did not have any tyres of the desired size, but was quite willing to call a colleague to enquire there. That one turned out to have 1 tyre in the right size, only slightly used for a show model. We went there and he convinced us we’d better take that tyre, because nowhere in town would we be able to find exactly what we had, i.e. a tread with “smooth road” tread in the middle and studs on the side for when you get off-road. We decided to mount his tyre on the rear wheel then, because if you slip a bit with that, you won’t immediately be flat on the ground. In front of the shop, in the shade of a tree, we moved the old front tyre, which was now at the back, back to the front and mounted the new rear outer tyre.
On Friday 23 June, Swedes would celebrate midsummer and all shops would be closed. So we bought bread for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and resolved to also stock up on enough supper and spreads by the end of the day to get through to Saturday evening. In Gamla Uppsala, preparations for the next day’s festival would start from 5pm, including decorating and erecting a maypole. So there we went. We parked the bike near the museum and walked all site seeing (burial mounds, old church, open-air museum with historical buildings from the region) to where the maypole would be decorated.
It was a fun experience with a very friendly atmosphere. We had some nice conversations with people involved in the event and before we knew it, it was 7pm. Something told us that the supermarket might close earlier and yes, a check on the website taught us that they had closed at 6pm… but were open the next day, thankfully. So we decided to stay to see the raising of the maypole and also immediately after that practice of folk dancing. Actually, all much more fun than coming the next day as far as we were concerned. We had a great time.
Back at the bike, it turned out our pump had been stolen! What a rotten trick. You start to doubt yourself anyway, so we drove past the bike shop to see if we left there, but alas. Just before we reached the campsite, the bike became difficult to steer: flat front tyre! Fortunately, the campsite had a bicycle pump, so we were able to patch it right away. Now the front wheel’s rim tape was the culprit, so we taped the sharp edges there too, like we did on the rear rim in Greece. We decided that we would stay in Uppsala on midsummer’s day as well, because travelling further without a pump really didn’t seem a wise idea.
Fortunately, on Saturday one of the eight bike shops in the city centre turned out to be open after all 😰. We bought the best portable pump it had. A much simpler little thing than the one we had, but it will no doubt help us sufficiently if we will need it. And so we left Uppsala at around 11 o’clock 2 days later than intended….
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