en route
arterial road brilliance

words and photography by Hagen Bender

Every once in a while it happens. The magnificence of a new route that can’t be understated.


On a day where the weather approaches you in full beauty of sunshine or when the beauty lies in the conquering of rain, sleek and hard gusts. Some routes are just waiting to be explored, and one is just like that. 

The countryside around Stockholm does have a lot to offer. With emphasis on around Stockholm. So before narrow daydream roads trap your view, you gotta make your way out of town on arterial roads.


And that’s why we skipped the suburbs and took the commuter train to the slutstation (Swedish: final station). After a little confusion about the planned route, we left Södertäjle and found ourselves in a dazzling winterscape in no time. The roads weren’t narrow yet but dry and there were barely any cars around. What else to whish for!?

Well, there actually was some little extra. The grädde på moset, the icing on the cake, in a very literal sense: fika. Fika is this little coffee break and a major institution of Swedish culture. Plus, it works perfectly fine with riding bikes. Pretty quickly, taking some time out of the saddle to celebrate coffee and cake has become a central part of group rides for me. Even more so on in wintry conditions.

So although we had a destination, the journey rapidly became this rides’s main goal again. This was when we hit that little back road, which would take us to the next village with a café. The very good tarmac conditions were gradually buried by snow and ice until we finally rolled over a thick white ice cover. Apart from rolling, a lot of sliding was involved, of course, because we all went on road tires. However, we did quite well with only two little crashes, but no bike was scratched and no Lycra was ripped.

The ice rink stretched for about 15km and polarised into appreciation of the bizarre icescape and absolute concentration not to fall. In the end we were happy to get some grip on cleared roads again, had some excellent heavy-calorie delights and hit the road back to the train.

The route

worth sharing?

Name: Hagen Bender
Age: 27
Lives in: Stockholm, Sweden
Profession: Student
Bikes: Canyon Aeroad
Cameras: cell phone (HTC M8)
Best place cycle: Any narrow road with little traffic.
Follow on Velonode: @hhaaggeenn
www: climbingdiasphora
Instagram: @hhaaggeenn

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