I have never been travelling with a bike on a plane before. But, hey, there is always a first time. Fortunately, the airport in Tromsø is small and was only 4.5 km from the hostel where I stayed at. So I decided to check it out the day before I will have to fly.
No early check-in possible, but overnight-storage for bulky luggage. Perfect! Now, I needed to take care of my bike. I called-in a bike store not far from the airport for a cardboard box big enough for my bike. Unfortunately they just gave their last one away. But they pointed out another bike store in the vicinity. There I got lucky: they didn’t only have a box for me, but also disassembled my bike partly so that it would fit into the box. But how to get the box to the airport? Suddenly another cyclist from Germany, who I already met in my hostel showed up. He offered to help me carrying the box with my bike to the airport. Wow, that was very nice of him! The way to the airport was probably the longest kilometer walking since a long time.
I called myself really lucky that everything worked out quite well.
Also having arrived in Berlin, I got my bike in one piece, assembled it without major problems (okay, have to admit I watched some youTube videos on how-to before) and made my way to the train station. About 20 hrs after I left Tromsø on a plane, I rolled onto my bike into my parents driveway. Such a cool thing to having started my trip at their doorstep and also cycling back to them. A circle just closed – I love that.
Will I now switch my hiking boots with a bike long-term? No, but it’s definitely not the last time I set out on an epic bike trip. Having hiked long distances, changed my general perspective on the possibility of things. Here are my pros: On a bike you are
- more flexible as you can go longer distances.
- You can bring a little more luggage as hauling it along on your bike is a little easier than carrying it on your back.
- You can ride in hot(ter) conditions as the wind makes it feel cooler.
But I noticed a few disadvantages, too:
- I was always worried that my bike would break down. This dependency on functionality of my mode of transportation sometimes didn’t give me a lot of peace of mind.
- Due to the kind of bike I used I was dependent on roads. So, sometimes it felt I couldn’t immerse or connect totally into or to places as I passed them on an asphalt band.
- It took some effort to get away from civilization because of this dependency on roads. But in Finland I had a LOT of solitude anyway.
- Harder to get in contact with people on the way.
- And, oh yeah, at some point you start to ignore the pain in your backside, private parts, feet, and wrists.
BUT what surprised me most: as this trip of 6 weeks was much longer than the 2-3 week trips I used to do 8-10 years back, I actually got in this emotional flow of doing long distances the first time on my bike, too. It is hard to describe what it is. It takes some time on the road to be one with your surroundings and at peace with yourself, and after shedding some layers (what happens unintentionally at some point) that very special feeling kicks in, the highest of highs, the glow, the peace, the let-go, the exposure of your core. Let it happen and you‘ll profit in ways never imagined.