Around the Pond: 5000 km on the North Sea Cycle Route

During checkout at the reception I ask for directions to a camping store. I want a new sleeping pad, I'm still sleeping on the deflated one I destroyed on my second night into the journey. The girl behind the counter tells me that there is a small shop in Frederikshavn, directly in the pedestrian area. "Are you here by car?" she asks me. "No, I'm cycling". Big eyes! "Do you want to ride all the way to Frederikshavn on your bicycle?" Frederikshavn is about 40 km away...

The weather is unsteady: a few rain showers, but enough sun for me to get a slight sunburn on my nose. The wind is coming from the west, depending in the route I sometimes have a headwind, sometimes a tailwind. The cycle track mostly leads parallel to a busy road. The landscape is also not as nice as the west coast of Jutland.

Around noon I reach Frederikshavn. Before I search the city for the camping store I think I better ask someone who knows. In the tourist information they tell me that there is a large camping store a few kilometers south, along the E45. Big store, I'd not be able to miss it.

Before I try to find the big camping store I push my bike through the pedestrian zone, trying to find the small one the girl at the camping site told me about. No such luck. I also try to get the one map I'm still missing for the danish part of the NSCR in a book shop, but also no luck. Well, I think I can manage the 50 kilometers I don't have a map for.

The E45 is a dual-carriageway, the cycle track runs parallel to it. I follow the E45 south to find the big camping store. Luckily this is also the NSCR route. It is nearly 10 kilometers later that I see the store on the other side of the road. I have to track back for a kilometer for a tunnel to the other side. As I reach the store it just begins to rain.

The store is definitely not what I need. They have caravans, frame tents big as row houses, furniture, design cutlery, decoration and vases, but nothing as mundane as sleeping pads or tent poles for tunnel tents. At least I can take shelter here and wait for the worst of the rain shower to pass.

Because of the constant rain I'm not riding in my soft shell jacket, but in a Goretex jacket I bought for the trip. That jacket is definitely a mis-purchase It is watertight - in both directions. Water condenses on the inside, rain water that has run in at the neck can't get out. When I am sitting on my bike my forearms are horizontal, and water collects in the sleeves. As I take my hands off the handle a gush of water flows out of the sleeves. Water from the back of the jacket collects in the seat, I discover that I'm sitting in a puddle.

Shortly before Hals I meet another cyclist on a recumbent bike. He is from Norway, on a tour through Sweden and Denmark. We talk for a few minutes before continuing in opposite directions.

In Hals I end this day. I pitch my tent, warm up a can of goulash, and I'm done for the day.

Day 18 - June 20th: Skagen to Hals


Skagen - Ålbaek - Frederikshavn - Saeby - Hals


Distance: 111.68 km
Cycle time: 6:10 h
Average speed: 18.07 kmh
Total distance: 1358 km
© Thomas Stets
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