Freddys Bikepacking Trip ans Nordkap

North of the comfort zone - solo bikepacking to the North Cape

18 years. 38 days. 3700 kilometers. One goal: Freddy wants to reach the North Cape solo after graduating from high school. A journey that pushes him to his limits not only physically but also mentally. Left to his own devices, he reports daily what concerns him.

Weekly updates every Wednesday.

You can find the packing list and equipment at the end of this page.

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I'm Freddy. I love road cycling and decided to take a special trip.

I have to honestly admit that I didn't prepare for my trip in every detail. I am of the opinion that so many things can go wrong - it is often better not to have a (rough) plan.

I put most of the preparation into choosing the right products. The rain jacket must be waterproof, the tent must be light and the cycling shorts must be comfortable. I minimized my equipment to have as much fun as possible on long, fast rides. In addition, needing little made me happy during this time.

The wilderness and diversity in Norway appealed to me most and I have wanted to travel to the Lofoten Islands for a long time. The islands that combine white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and rocky mountains.

So in Komoot I set my hometown as the starting point and the destination on the Lofoten. The idea of ​​then driving to the North Cape came almost out of nowhere. If so, then anyway.

I also set my daily limit based on my gut feeling. I set a number of kilometers per day including a buffer and booked the return flight. The rest will happen along the way and somehow I'll get there. I'm not the first.

I challenged myself to push myself to my limits. Away from comfort, just put your teeth together and go for it. The mental component makes the most difference and therefore challenged me the most. Seeing how much more you can do when you have to is crazy.

Have fun with my story. I would really recommend a bike trip to everyone.

The first two weeks:

My feelings during the first few kilometers were a lot of euphoria for the weeks ahead and relief to finally be able to set off, which I had talked about many weeks in advance. I wasn't worried about having forgotten something; if something was missing, I could still buy it.

The first few days were very hard. I have never driven such distances alone before. The first night on the outskirts of town I slept very little and poorly for fear of being woken up by strangers. It was very hot and I slept several times in the afternoon for a few minutes in shady places. The first few days in Germany were good for starting everyday life on the bike. At first I ran chaotically through the supermarkets and picked up my things, overtired and exhausted. I spent a lot of time every day planning the route past supermarkets, cemeteries and the right place to sleep. It was important to me to have running water where I slept so that I had enough for cooking, drinking, dishwashing and washing. After a few days I knew roughly how much I needed to eat and when I needed to buy something. Shortly before I arrive at the place to sleep, I look for a supermarket, buy pasta and pesto for dinner and oatmeal, fruit and water for breakfast. If you're cycling through Germany, I can give you the tip to look for free places to sleep at football pitches with a clubhouse. Two out of two attempts were successful to be allowed to sleep there and use the bathroom. Tell us briefly about your tour and ask politely if you can set up your tent for one night.

The most beautiful region on my tour in Germany was the Sauerland. Lots of forest and beautiful gravel are fun. It was also mountainous, but with so little luggage and the initial motivation it wasn't a problem at all.

During the first week, each day became more strenuous and my legs longed for a day off. I was proud of having driven 706 kilometers and was able to start the second week well rested and with even more power. After just 7 days my body had gotten used to the strain and the long daily stretches didn't bother me as much as they did in the first week.

The second week started with really crappy weather. But I was lucky enough to meet two Belgian women that morning and I rode with them for the rest of the day. I was invited by the two of them for coffee and in return shared my pack of gummy bears with them. Cycling brings people together and sharing food with each other is a great gesture. When I reached my destination that evening, cold and wet, I was clueless about where to sleep for the first time. I couldn't find a suitable spot for my tent on Google Maps, couldn't find a OneNightTent ad and to be honest I didn't feel like sleeping in a tent in this weather. A hotel was also too expensive for me. I wanted to ring strangers' bells and hope for a place to sleep in the shed. If it doesn't work after ten tries, I can always look for a hotel. Fortunately, the first house was a hit. A woman opened the door to me and I told her where I came from, where I wanted to go and whether it was possible to sleep in the garden or in a shed and dry my wet shoes in the house. If I remember correctly, the woman has five children, four of whom no longer live at home. There were plenty of empty rooms where I could sleep. Luckily there was still some dinner left and I sat in the kitchen with the parents and one of the daughters and we had a long chat. I was welcomed so warmly that it didn't feel like such a short encounter. The next morning I got fresh rolls from the bakery, a packed lunch and was greeted with the word “foundling”. They say “rain follows sunshine”. In my case, the meeting with the family was sunshine, because the rain stayed for the next few days.

The bad weather makes me like having to bite even more. Mentally, even more is demanded of me and I have to control my thoughts so that I can endure it or even enjoy it. To be honest, that only lasted for a very, very short time.

I reached the first milestone on the ninth day. After 880 km I left Germany and reached Denmark, which I crossed in just three and a half days. I met Jolio and Alex, with whom I spent two days. We laughed a lot and helped each other. The days passed quickly and as I waited for the ferry to Norway, I felt alone for the first time. I left the mainland and the journey was only just beginning in my head. The distance home and between supermarkets are increasing. But on the first day, the landscape around me compensates for these feelings and I enjoy the wild nature. I immediately feel at home between the red huts and the many rocks that I have been looking forward to for so long.

I reached Oslo in the third week of my trip. One of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. I took half a day and rolled through the streets on my bike under a clear blue sky. I remember the city with lots of greenery and being very clean. I drove past some parks and a small wild river. In the afternoon I met the parents of a distant acquaintance, with whom I slept for the night. The two of them went through every road with me that I had planned on my further journey to get to the North Cape to make sure that I wasn't driving on the E6. The E6 is the longest European road in Scandinavia and runs through the whole of Norway. However, it is very dangerous for cyclists because of its narrow width and the many curves in busy traffic. I was able to avoid them as much as possible. I had the best dinner of my entire trip that evening and we talked into the night about Norway, God and the world. I felt so comfortable that saying goodbye was even harder. The next lunchtime I left Oslo and, rested and strengthened, drove my highest average speed for the day.

The next few nights I continued to have good weather and slept by Norway's largest lake and a river until it rained and went to a plateau. That was the day I was most surprised by the landscape. It was probably because I had to fight against 2000 meters of altitude beforehand. But I would definitely like to visit the Rondane National Park in the highlands again with more time. Luckily for me, I spent the night in an open rest house as the temperatures outside were around 5 degrees. The next morning I woke up with a listlessness that I had never experienced before. This accompanied me for the next few days of the third week. I knew how strenuous the time had been so far and found it difficult to imagine doing as much again. I lacked the energy. But nothing helps. I set my alarm for six o'clock to leave my sleeping place around half past eight and just drive. Just drive and get through the days. One evening I decided to knock on a small house and asked if I could charge my batteries inside and camp next to the cabin. I was then offered a bed in the attic and spent the evening with the Norwegian family who were spending their holidays in this cabin. I was able to shower, wash my clothes in the sink and when the woman saw that I was cooking vegetarian food, I was given “Kjøttkaker i brun saus”, a Norwegian dish (meatballs in brown sauce). When I also slept in a sauna in Trondheim, the third week became the part of my trip with the most extraordinary places to sleep.

 

In the fourth week I met two cyclists. We all wanted to go to Lofoten, so we drove together for a day. We got along well straight away and laughed a lot together. We camped at the same lake, but had to say goodbye to each other the next day because I took two rest days and the other two moved on at different paces. One comes from Belgium and the other from Germany. The Belgian was amused by the German word “Stammkneipe” and a WhatsApp group with the title “Stammkneipe” was created in which we repeatedly sent each other pictures of sleeping places or other information. I was enjoying my sunny days without cycling on a farm, filling up my glycogen stores, and the landlady's son took me on a little hike to a waterfall. We were able to swim there and I saw a little more than the streets of Norway. Over the next few days I covered a good distance and met some German cyclists with whom I rode together for a short time. The weather was fantastic, blue skies and pleasant temperatures. The landscape became rockier and the road ran along fjords most of the way. My mood lifted - thanks to the encounters and the great cycling conditions. I clocked up my miles every day so I could catch up with my local bar friend at the ferry to Lofoten. We spent time together again and surprised the Belgian at his sleeping place in the Lofoten Islands. The “local pub” grew a little and was now complete.

 

The time on the Lofoten starts with bad weather. When it rains, the mood drops and perseverance becomes more important than before. But I had my routines when it came to finding a place to sleep or shopping for groceries. Despite the rain, I made faster progress and had very good legs. I met Germans twice in a row, who gave me a hospitable welcome. Once I was invited to dinner in a motorhome and the next morning I was approached on a ferry after a few kilometers but already completely soaked. We chatted and I was invited for coffee and cake on the other side of the fjord. It was super nice and the two parents whose children were staying at the accommodation offered me a warm and, above all, dry place to sleep. Since I was well on time, I gratefully accepted the offer. When I arrived at the house, I should and could feel at home. Luckily I decided to take this unplanned rest day. In the evening, when the weather cleared up, the older son and I took kayaks out of the basement and sailed a bit along the coast. It was one of those travel experiences that I always like to talk about.

The next day I had to face the bad weather. It didn't rain heavily, but it rained for over ten hours. It was windy and the temperature wasn't much above five degrees. Within the first few hours of the day I was cold and just wasn't getting any warmer. Although I was dressed warmly, I shivered for several hours. In the evening I came to a very small town and couldn't find a place to sleep. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep in the tent that day. A man standing in front of his house wouldn't refill my water bottles. It was already getting dark, so I made one last attempt. One last house I would ring to ask if I could set up my tent in the front yard under the balcony to avoid getting so much rain. The man first replied rudely that it wasn't possible. I can't sleep out there. That's why he invited me into the house. I was so happy about this invitation, which I no longer expected. I settled into a small, dark room and every few minutes the man came and brought me something else that I might need. First a towel for showering, then he told me that I could cook upstairs and also asked me when I would like to have breakfast. The next morning we had breakfast together, I grabbed some provisions, left the nice old man and drove another day in the cold. The next day I started my last long stages. 584 kilometers in 4 days to finish it quickly now. I left Lofoten in bad weather and drove to Tromsø. Now I had sunshine and around eleven degrees. This made the last days of my trip easier and I was able to simply complete my kilometers. Every day I sat in the saddle for up to eight hours and was on the road for over ten hours. I actually don't remember much about it. The landscape just passed me by.



The last three days are running. I met another funny guy who accompanied me for a large part of my day's journey and listened to his sometimes strange stories. I also remember the reindeer on those days.

Then the last day: I wake up in my tent at five in the morning because the temperatures drop noticeably at night. My bike was packed and I was able to roll off. My thoughts were jumbled and everything was great. I hardly met any people in the morning. I gave my last strength for the climbs that day and overtook e-bike riders for my ego in the last kilometers. As I read the North Cape sign and completed the last mountain, a weight that I hadn't noticed was lifted from me. I shed a tear or two and needed a moment to realize what I had accomplished. What I had done (more or less) alone.

I was very lucky that everything turned out the way I wanted. The fear of the chain breaking, a spoke breaking or even the frame remaining until the last hour of this adventure. So much could have gone wrong. But somehow it worked out. Thanks to the people who took me in, who admired my plan, to my friends who talked to me on the phone for hours during my trip. I am very grateful for every experience and every encounter during this time. I hope that with the video series and these words I can inspire and motivate other people to experience such adventures. I can really recommend it to everyone. Be brave, you only regret what you didn't do.

Your Freddy

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My equipment:

Clothing

  • Salomon Essential Lightwarm midlayer hooded jacket
  • Jeep hooded quilted jacket
  • Odlo Natural Merino 200 base layer set
  • Salewa Puez Aqua 3 PTX Jacket
  • Quechua rain pants waterproof NH500
  • Cotton T-shirt
  • Short, lightweight sports trousers
  • Long light sports trousers
  • Merino socks
  • 2x underpants
  • Neckerchief
  • Headband
  • Giro Rincon gravel shoe
  • Adidas Adilettes
  • Van Rysel helmet ROADR 500
  • Oakley Radar EV Path glasses

Sleep

  • Forclaz trekking tent Trekking - MT900 1 person
  • Vaude Hochgrat 300 - down sleeping bag
  • Forclaz air mattress trekking - MT500

Bicycle bags

  • Ortlieb Seat Pack 16.5L
  • Agu frame bag Venture Extreme Waterproof
  • Agu Top-Tube Venture Extreme Waterproof
  • Agu Snack Pack Venture
  • Vaude Trailfront II handlebar bag 13L
  • 2x Ultralight Dry Sack 6L
  • 2x Blackburn Fork Cage

Cook

  • Primus Express Stove gas cooker
  • Primus Summer Gas
  • Tatonka Kettle camping pot 1.6L
  • Cup
  • Opinel pocket knife 9cm blade
  • plastic fork
  • plastic spoon
  • sponge
  • Dishwashing liquid

bath

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • Moisturizer
  • Body soap (biodegradable)
  • Soap for clothes (biodegradable)
  • Hand cream
  • Labello
  • suncream
  • Small microfiber towel
  • wet wipes

electronics

  • DJI Action 2
  • DJI Mini 3 Pro
  • iPhone 13
  • Garmin Edge 130 Plus bike computer
  • headphones
  • 2x Anker Power Bank 525 (PowerCore 20K)
  • Respective charging cables
  • Decathlon headlamp
  • taillights

Tools/spare parts

  • Duct tape
  • Air pump
  • Multi-tool
  • Chain oil
  • Patch kit
  • tire iron
  • carbine
  • 2x spare spokes
  • 2x hose

Miscellaneous

  • Decathlon Foldable Backpack 10L
  • HipLok cable tie lock Z
  • First aid kit