Aug 08 2008

Moving on to Plan B…

The collection of rain clouds that parked themselves over southern Sweden at the beginning of the week seems to REALLY like it here, so we're still at home in Malmö rather than cycling and camping on Öland. On the upside, we did get to watch the Opening Ceremonies for the Beijing Summer Games tonight (though the Swedish TV editing totally screwed with my joy in making snarky comments about the athletes' outfits during the "Parade of Nations").

We're all packed up and ready to go the moment we get a reasonable stretch of dry weather, though neither one of us is holding our breath for that to happen any time soon. In the meantime, Dr. Darling made a rather disappointing discovery while coordinating our transportation to Kalmar (the coastal city where you cross the bridge over to Öland). It seems the Swedish national rail company (SJ) missed the memo on what a bicycle-friendly country they serve, because the rules for bringing a bike on board a train are clearly intended to discourage people from doing it.

First off, they require you to make a reservation in advance, which is fine when your travel plans are not dependent on the weather.  Then, if you want to be able to roll your bike onboard loaded with touring gear, the trip has to originate OUTSIDE Sweden, otherwise you're expected to completely disassemble it and stow it like luggage. I kid you not.

Surprisingly enough, the skinflint Swede was willing to pay for tickets originating in Copenhagen in order to avoid having to take the bikes apart in Malmö's Central Station and reassemble them in Kalmar.  But we both balked at the reservation issue, because it would mean committing to specific dates that could easily be rainy and unbike-able.

Enter Plan B.  In this case the B stands for Bornholm, a small Danish island a bit further off Sweden's southeast coast. And we can get there by taking a regionally operated train (Skånetrafiken) to Ystad that permits us to roll the bikes onboard fully assembled and loaded with our gear. From there we catch a high-speed ferry out to the island.

Off course implementing Plan B will require that it's not raining on Bornholm either.

Anybody got a suggestion for Plan C?

Feed my ego!

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