These are strange times; we are living through with the Covid-19 pandemic. With travel restricted even to our local countries here in Scandinavia. I have spent most of my outdoor time bikepacking my local area around the island of Zealand here in Denmark. This has led me on many roads and trails I have not experienced before even though I felt I had a fairly in-depth knowledge of many of the areas. I can therefore conclude that even a well-known area can be viewed from new angles, by sometimes riding the trail in reverse.
Some of these small adventures involved Troll Hunting in Copenhagen greater area for the Forgotten Giants. There are now eight not six to be found. Other times I have ridden the Ice Age Trail which is a new trail going through the old Ice Age countryside of western Zealand. It passes the site where the word famous Bronze Age Sun Wagon was found. The trail is mostly small asphalt or gravel roads so take your bike not your boots.
Coming to the end of 2020 I noticed that the Bikepacking.com site announced a community event they called Goodnight 2020 where the idea was to do a local overnighter to say goodbye to an otherwise crappy 2020. I was game, and set to planning an overnighter even though the weather here in Denmark was mostly grey, windy and wet at the time. I quickly settled on doing a shortened circumnavigation of The Ise Fjord. In the middle of the Fjord lies the Island of Orø. The locals call it the Pearl of Ise Fjord. I decided to overnight on the island, which is served by two small local ferries. A cable ferry on the east end and a small ferry on the southern end crossing the Fjord to the town of Holbæk. Both are cheap and do not require bookings.
Route can be seen and downloaded here https://www.komoot.com/tour/296870524
Setting out from my local town of Hillerød on Tuesday morning in the still dark during the Christmas vacation. I rode familiar trails south towards The Mill River valley. Here I turned westwards and followed it till its origin in Bure Lake. From here small forest roads and a bumpy riding trail took me further west. I crossed the train line going to Frederiksund and the bridge across the mouth of the Roskilde Fjord. On the other side I crossed the narrow peninsula to the east coast of the Ise Fjord. Here I turned south riding the rolling hills. The weather was misty, grey and wet so there was no view out over the fjord. On the way I passed the very ugly but impressive looking Kyndbyværk. It was once a major power plant, but in modern times its function is not unlike a heartstarter designed to regulate and kickstart the power net in the event of a major power failure on Zealand.
I continue to ride the coast south coming to Hammer Bakke where the cable ferry quickly takes me across to the Island of Orø. Here I have a quick chat with two guys with heavy backpacks. They are also on an overnighter and can’t understand how I can carry all my needed gear on my bike without panniers or a backpack. I good naturedly call them ‘Noobs’ and we part with a wave. They are crossing to Hammer Bakke and I am turning north in search of the coast trail along the east coast of Orø. The map shows me a shelter site on the northern coast, which I want to check out as a possible overnight location as I have not been at it before. The trail is very wet and muddy where it lies close to the water, so I have to get off and push the bike even with 57 mm wide MTB tyres on it.
The campsite is empty and has a good view of the Fjord now that the weather has cleared a little. I continue past it as there is still daylight and I want to check out another possible camp spot on the other side of the island. I also want to go into the small local town Bybjerg to get some late lunch and stock up on water. There is a fierce southern wind blowing so I look forward to riding north the next day.
I ride around the island ending in town at the local Pizza place doing take away. I consume a falafel sandwich as a late lunch and hit the local CoOp for some evening snacks and a local beer. I weigh the pro and cons in bringing a sack of firewood with me, but eventually decide against it. Taking to the bike I ride out of town towards the camp site I passed earlier. Here I hunker down inside my Vesper sleeping quilt that I am testing for Outsite.org. Review will follow once I have had several more time and nights with it.
I am up early and packing my gear. I want to catch a ferry across the fjord before it gets light. I ride the dark roads to the southern point and the small ferry taking me across to Holbæk in 25 minutes. Here I get two cheese rolls and a coffee at the local Circle K. The attendant smiles and winks at my bike outfit. She apparently has no fashion sense for bikepacking in the wet, muddy and cold.
The coast trail takes me west before turning north and following the west coast of the Ise Fjord up towards another small ferry at Rørvig. Along the way I pass the two dams that were built to create more farm land. The riding is again a mixture of small roads and forest trails. I even get out on the sandy beach where I have to push the bike. In Kongsøre Forest I pass the campsite and very nice picnic/beach areas at Sandskredet. Back in the summer I came the other way and stopped here for lunch. Today it is too cold and I continue on.
Going through the Ulkerup Forest I come across a gathering of small hooded stone statues. Not knowing at the time what was going on. I did some research before this write up. Apparently, the statues represent the souls of the old Ulkerup farmers and it is said they still whisper in the twilight and visit their old living places. They actually were a bit spooky and reminded me more of a group of Illusionist Gnomes from the time when I played Dungeons & Dragons.
Passing through Nykøbing town and getting a sandwich and onwards to the small coast town of Rørvig from where the ferry would take me across the mouth of The Ise Fjord. Hitting the coast trail I spotted the ferry arriving so I sped on and made it with two minutes to go before departure. You can buy a ticket onboard.
The wind had turned to the south east so arriving in Hundested I quickly weighed the pros and cons, and deciding to take the train the rest of the way back to Hillerød from where I started the day before. I having ridden and crossed through this part of the route on many rides before. The train was warm and I managed to eat a roll and upload a couple of pictures to my Instagram profile @bikepackingdenmark thereby completing my #goodnightcampout2020