#031 European Divide Trail
The Swedish Parts
The Europen Divide Route is long distance bikepacking route Grense Jakobselv in Norway to Cabo St Vincent in Portugal. It passes through 9 European countries and is over 7 500km long. The estimated riding time is 100 days. Obviously for GRVL.se the most interesting parts are the 10 and a half sections passing through Sweden. 2350km of bikepacking trail. It should keep us busy for a bit!
When Andy Cox was designing the Swedish part of his European Divide Trail I had contact with him via @bikepackingsweden Instagram account.
We had great communication and when he launched the full length of his amazing trail at the end of May 2021 I contacted him again.
Andy, as always, was very generous with his time and agreed to be interview for GRVL.se
I asked him some questions about the Swedish part of his tour and here’s what he had to say.
What was your favourite stage in Sweden?
From Särna to Rörbäcksnäs and what to me felt like the edge of the wild lands. Wild, beautiful, rugged mountains, deep forest, signs of big wildlife and wonderful nature.
Any highlights especially for Sweden?
Highlights in Sweden are hard to say so I love all of the country that I saw. There’s a feeling I get in Sweden that is hard to pinpoint, but it’s unlike any other country that I’ve ridden through in Europe, and I’ve been to 24 of them. The people are friendly but not overtly, so they give you space but are interested in what you’re doing. The countryside is beautiful but not overpowering, so there’s a subtlety that gives you time to think and enjoy the place without being over-awed. The wildness is quite accessible by bike so just by accessing a series of dirt roads you can really feel away from everything, but you can also get back to civilization quite quickly.
Favourite part for the entire tour?
I love the wild and empty areas of Europe, so mostly through Scandinavia I’m very happy, then into the Vosges and Jura mountains in eastern France, and finally in the high interior of eastern Spain, from Teruel, Albacete to Carzola is beautiful, empty and often overlooked by tourists which is fine by me.
Type of bike you recommend for Sweden?
The route through Sweden could be ridden on any off road capable bike: gravel, MTB, touring, even a hybrid would be okay in most parts. Large tyres for comfort for long distance travel, lightweight bikepacking luggage if you want to go fast, but otherwise panniers would also work fine, even a trailer if that’s what you have. Suspension is good but not essential, mostly the tracks are in good condition, but there are parts of rough trail or if there’s forestry work then the tracks can get torn up.
The hardest part of riding the route?
Mosquitoes are bad for sure and if you’re not used to them then they really test your patience, and the distances between resupply does need planning well to be sure you have enough food in case of bad weather or worse trail conditions than expected. I made a small list of town to town distances at the beginning, just so I knew how much food to stock up with at each place. There’s also not many bike shops on the Swedish part of the route, so you need to carry spares and have a well serviced bike before you leave. Also, if you’re traveling in the middle of the summer and in the far north, the constant daylight is difficult to get used to. Sleeping can be a problem!