June 20, 2011
When the worldâ€™s largest recreational bicycle ride, VÃ¤tternrundan in Sweden, finished at midnight June 18th with its highest number of participants, Great Britain’s Patrick Stevens aboard his Pocket Llama was among the 18,272 cyclists who completed the full 300 km course.
VÃ¤tternrundan, held for the 46th consecutive year, starts and finishes in Motala at the north-eastern end of Lake VÃ¤ttern in south-central Sweden, halfway between Stockholm and Gothenburg. The main event circles the scenic Lake VÃ¤ttern, while the shorter rides are held on its eastern side.
The 300 km ride this year saw the largest ever number of overseas registered riders, 4,548Â (20% of total), representing 37 nations â€“- so many that the organizers had been forced to erect more flagpoles along the finish, to accommodate all nationalities participating.
Here’s part of Patrick’s report to Bike Friday:
“I have just come back from cycling VÃ¤tternrundan (pronounced vet-turn-rund-an) which is a 300 km (about 190ish Miles) and is meant to be the largest recreational bicycle ride in the world.Â People from all over the world were there. It is one of the Swedish Classics.
“There were super expensive racing machines all over the place and I got a lot of laughs (and scoffs) for riding on a folding bike touring bike with phat tires. OK, I wasn’t exactly Lance and I did have to work a lot harder than my friends who were on their road racers, but I did putÂ quite a few others to shame by whizzing past them on the Lama.
The comment most people seemed to make was that I would be so much slower on a folder. OK, I was slower than those who were on racing bikes and cycling in groups, but I put that down to being on a Lama touring machine andÂ and not a Rocket racer. Still 13 hours including breaks etc., was not bad and I am very chuffed with my 28 kph average speed.”
Anyone interested in 2012, entries for the 2012 VÃ¤tternrundan are accepted beginning September 1st. Entries are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Last year, all spaces for the 300 km ride were filled in six weeks.Â Cyclists wishing to participate in any of the 2012 events should contact the organisers at:Â email@example.com.
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