By Ambassador Mikael Hedberg (Sweden)

After going through one of the harshest winters for as long as I can remember. I’m dying to get out there and do some bike touring again. I basically haven’t done any cycling during the first couple of months of the year due to the darkness, cold temperatures and at least a meter of snow depth. 

The spring definitely means a new beginning for me. Everything comes back to life again. We get to see the sun. Probably difficult to understand for someone not living so far up north, but not being able to see the sun for about a month really takes a toll on you. Days around here during the winter usually means about 4 hours of daylight, and during the month of December 2020, we only had four hours of sunlight during the whole month. So when the sun finally comes back, and some warmth with it, people around here tend to spend every bit of their free time outside. And so do I. 

I can’t wait for the roads to clear up, so that I’m able to take my Kona Sutra on that magical first tour of the spring. Going to a remote place, putting up my tent and just listening to the sounds of nature coming back to life. During the month of April the forests just explode with sounds from the thousands and thousands of migrating birds making their way back to the northern parts of Sweden after having spent the winter down in Africa.

Just being able to go on an overnight tour is such a powerful thing when you’ve been locked up in your house for the last couple of months. The sounds of the massive rivers transporting away the never ending amounts of melting snow represents the start of something new for me. A new season of cycling through the forests under the midnight sun. A new season to stumble upon small gravel roads that are just waiting to be discovered. A new season of searching for that perfect camping spot by a lake totally disconnected from the rest of the world. Just being one with nature.

What I’ve learned from last year is not to make any grand plans for the year. Instead I’ll just take the day as it comes. What I will do however, is to make the most out of every opportunity to go out and discover the world. Even if it just ends up being just a stone’s throw away from where I live. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to go on that epic tour in France or Italy. There are so many great things to discover just around the corner. 

Remember that bike touring isn’t about the destination. It’s all about the journey.