Practice makes perfect. After a string of late starts, mishaps and consequently even later evenings, our group pushed through the sleepless nights, finally hitting the road before 8am. It took a while, but so it goes in brevets like this. 2100km in 177 hours is no walk in the park, yet it doesn’t have to be a panicked sprint either. There’s a balance to be achieved and oftentimes, it takes a bit of on-the-bike rehearsal.
At a certain point in brevets like this, it becomes a game of catch up. You’re either catching up on sleep or mileage. Think of it as a scale. On one end is hours slept and the other, mileage ridden, with events on the road either adding to, or subtracting from the balance. In our rider’s case, mechanicals on the third day made for a long night in the saddle.
In the world of brevets, or randonneuring, Paris Brest Paris is probably the most infamous, with its total length of 1200km and massive rider roster. However, if you travel further north in Europe, something more sinister awaits. The Sverigetempot is a ten year old, officially-sanctioned brevet, totaling 2100 kilometers. It begins on the Sweden and Norway border, in a small town called Riksgränsen, which can barely be categorized as a town, it’s more of an outpost. From there, a small group of riders have either 144 hours or 177 hours to make it to the southernmost point of the country, Smygehamn. Along the way, there are checkpoints, or control points, at which point the riders will have to have their brevet cards time-stamped at designated places as proof of their mileage. There are other rules, such as there is no roadside assistance allowed and the riders are to be self-supported. While the organizers will transport a bag from the start, to the finish, every entrant must carry their clothing, food and water on their bikes. The countryside offers many hotels and hostels for shelter, so luckily, no camping equipment was necessary, allowing for lightly-packed bikes, with one thing in mind: efficiency.
After months of compiling and editing footage, the boys at Ertzui have finished their documentary on the Svertigotempot brevet we documented last year. If you’re in Los Angeles, please join us for the Length of Sweden Premiere at XIX Studios, along with a photo show from the brevet.
RSVP for this FREE event below.
Over the years, we’ve all really strived to make the content and the characters here on the Radavist unique. It’s been a slow process, but as I’ve just spent a week sifting through the site’s archives from 2016, I can honestly say this has been our best year yet. These year-end recaps are always a joy to collate, as it allows everyone here at the site, as well as the readers to look back and relive some our favorite moments.
2016 was busy. Very busy. In fact, the archives are almost twice as long as the previous year’s, which were almost twice as long as the year’s prior, making editing the site’s content into a digestible post challenging. We’ve omitted bicycle reviews and Beautiful Bicycles for obvious reasons, leaving only ride, travel and shop visit Reportage as the meat of the gallery and storyline. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and I’d like to thank everyone for making this site, well, rad! That includes you, the readers and the commenters. I couldn’t ask for a better community.
Before things get too sappy, read on below for the Radavist’s 2016 Year in Review.
This is the seventh layout of the Radavist 2016 Calendar, entitled “Descent Shadow.” Shot with a Leica M240 and a 21mm Super‑Elmar in Smygehuk, Sweden.
Ending a brevet like the Sverigetempot with a ripping descent through golden, rolling hills was an exciting experience for our troop of heroes, only heightened by the falling sun and the feeling of having just completed 2100kms in 156 hours.
NEW: There’s also a mobile image uploaded for anyone wanting a mobile phone background each month. August’s image is from Sweden, featuring tall aspen trees and long shadows. Click here to download Augusts’s Mobile Wallpaper.
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2016 Calendar – August. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)
As you might have noticed in the previous two galleries, not a lot of riders in the Sverigetempot are on traditional randonneur bikes, or even touring bikes. Rather, many of the participants are on carbon fiber road bikes, with a few select modifications to their components and of course, bikepacking bags. While there have been many excellent examples of bikes on this trip, I managed to photograph three in particular from the riders in our troop: Johan’s Focus, Daniel’s Roubaix and Johan’s Venge. Each have very similar specifications in terms of gear range and tires, but as you’ll see, are built to be lightweight, long-distance rigs.
The Sverigetempot is a brevet from the northernmost to the southernmost points in Sweden, which is about 1400 miles. That’s like riding from Seattle to San Diego. Entrants have the option for a 144 or 177 hour cutoff, which is roughly about a week. So far, there are 37 registered for the 177 with only 11 going for the 144. I’ll be there documenting the event and the vernacular of the Swedish countryside alongside Erzui Film, so be sure to follow along at @theRadavist and @ErtzuiFilm on Instagram.
Riding in Sweden’s Sverigetempot Brevet
Words and photos by Johan Björklund
In 2012 I thought about riding the Sverigetempot for the first time. I had never done it before and so I didn’t know what I was getting into…
Two years ago, I flew to Sweden to document the Sverigetempot, the longest randonneur event in the world. ERTZUI FILM was there too, covering the event with their pristine eye for video. Now, after a long, long wait, the film is live on VOD. Head to VOD to watch, check out some of my favorite photos below and see the coverage in the Related sidebar.
During our journey along the Sverigetempot, we had a few riders join in for bit of riding. One of which was Patch, a local who met our group on the last day’s journey. Patch showed up in this fluoro Rapha jersey and this rusted road bike, built with mis-matched parts and older aero bars. It immediately caught my eye, even in my groggy state, which was heightened by a fresh knee injury from the evening before (I clipped my knee cap on a rock while sprinting to set up a photo).
The story behind this bike was pretty rad, considering the bike’s current state. To summarize, one of Patch’s friends was beginning to build frames, so he helped Patch braze this bike together. Over time, it broke, so he repaired it and in that time, it’s been his go-to bike, taking him on brevets and tons of road miles. After a mishap, he ended up with mismatched wheels, which, I might add, really work here. The patina has come from years of riding it raw, through Swedish winters and the frame bag dons patches of both victories (like the Sverigetempot completion badge) and personal mantras.
Patch is a designer, a person who usually controls details and aesthetics yet this bike seems to have designed itself. That, to me, merited a photoset.
Well, after almost 30 hours of driving, we made it to the Nord of Sweden and the start of the
Sverigetempot, a 1200 mile brevet straight down the country’s spine. Tomorrow morning brings the start of the ride and even though its midnight, the sun is still shining…
Yesterday while on a ride, Erik hit a trash dumpster with his face in a freak accident. One minute we were all riding to explore the mountains and the next, a cacophony erupted and Erik was flying through the air before landing on his face. By the time Dylan and I made it to him, he was bleeding from his head and having seizures. I immediately called 911 and made sure he was breathing. After a few minutes, the ambulance and fire truck showed up, rushing Erik to the ER for scans.
A few hours later and he was good to go with a few stitches, a mild concussion and a sore back. All this happened just a few days before he and I are leaving for the Length of Sweden brevet, the Sverigetempot, a 1400 mile brevet from Northern to Southern Sweden. It made for an interesting start to the weekend and served as a sobering reminder that we’re all pretty fragile while on our bikes. Many thanks to the local South Pasadena emergency response teams for being so rad and be safe out there!