Cy­cling to the North Ca­pe

The way to go

Sum­mer 1984: One ye­ar af­ter in­ter­me­dia­te ex­ami­na­ti­ons I ma­na­ge to ta­ke two months off my stu­dies to have a dream co­me true, cy­cling to the North Ca­pe (nor­we­gi­an: Nord­kapp). Su­re, tra­vel­ling mo­re than 3600 mi­les to the north of Nor­way is not eve­r­y­bo­dy's de­light. Tem­pa­ra­tu­res are ex­pec­ted to be low and  the wea­ther to be un­s­tea­dy. How­ever, at the end of this jour­ney I may de­cla­re the Scan­di­na­vi­an wea­ther be­eing not as bad as its re­pu­ta­ti­on.

My way north On the 4th of july I am rea­dy for ta­ke off. That days my bike is pro­ba­b­ly one of the ol­dest and hea­viest bikes that have ever be­en seen on their way north. How­ever, if you don't wor­ry about men­ding the chain you might call it qui­te re­lia­ble. About 20 kg of ad­di­tio­nal weight has to be car­ried: A tent, slee­ping bag, ca­me­ra (Olym­pus OM 2), 11 co­lor films (400+ sli­des) and other equi­pe­ment. On this trip, that does not cost mo­re than DM 1800.- (i.e. £ 600.- that days), I ruin a shirt, a jeans, a cy­cle chain, a ty­re co­ver and not less than 9 spo­kes. Though the bike ne­ver has a punc­ture.

One of the most im­port­ant things I car­ry with me is my pi­pe. I can't count the num­ber of mid­gets kil­led by the smo­ke of it. This way I keep my tent clean of tho­se ve­ry com­mon tor­men­tors, that are said to be the grea­test dan­ger you can face up north. May­be for that rea­son I shall quit smo­king mo­re ten years la­ter.

I do not car­ry an alarm-clock with me. That turns out to be wrong and forces me in­to wai­ting for fer­ry boats all through the night. But I do car­ry a dia­ry, to­day of gre­at va­lue beyond any doubt. It is the ve­ry rea­son why I am ab­le to wri­te this sto­ry to­day, about 15 years af­ter ...