Österlen, Skåne county in the very South of Sweden. I am not sure that I can call it my back yard. I never rode there before and I live in another part of Sweden. But my mother grew up here and her parents made a living as apple farmers on these grounds. During my childhood we used to visit every year, returning north with our car filled to the roof with fruits and other generous gifts from our relatives. For sure it is in my backyard of memories.
This time I would choose my own roads and rediscover my mothers homelands as an adult, comparing every impression to the memories of my childhood.
Looking at the map the starting point was obvious. My grand parents rests next to a beautiful church in Rörum, at the heart of Österlens apple growing district. I wanted to explore this area on small roads and get as close as I could to its natural beauty. Not knowing half of what it had to offer made me even more curious.
I am getting quite used to making my own routes from scratch and would dare to say that I developed a good nose for backroads and gravel. It is a bit of a puzzle to find and connect all your “good hunches” but in my opinion it is worthwhile.
I love to look at maps, aerial photos and google maps to get a good sense of what would be a sensible and beautiful route. But I get even more excited when I have to guess where there might be a gravel road or at least a trail to ride. Taking a chance is so much more rewarding than sticking to whatever other people recommend or the more obvious way.
You can check my route on Strava: https://www.strava.com/routes/20824027
Fortune favours the bold so to speak.
Every once in a while you get humbled and forced to step of your bike and walk. But more often you can confirm that taking a chance made it possible to see something you did not even expect and get blown away by new impressions.
After completing my loop around the landscape I found myself back at Rörum again. Looking at my photos I thought “did I really see all that during one ride?”.
Deep forests of beech trees with beautiful little creeks, hills filled with flowering heaths, the sea on the horizon and rolling fields of wheat and barley, meadows of flowers and, of course, rows and rows of apple trees. And a mad dog chasing me down a gravel road while my shoes just would not click in to my pedals (sorry, no photo). All in one ride. It might not have been my backyard when I started out but now it feels a bit like home.