Mälaren runtLonging for a longish day trip? Why not go on a spin around Lake Mälaren, then!
The small and medium-sized A and B roads servicing the rural areas close to Mälaren (the third largest inland body of water in Sweden) are generally flat, passing through a pleasant and varying landscape. Although traffic levels are scarcely annoying, finding the itinerary can be a bit of a challenge. The glory awarded the succesful circumnavigator is nevertheless immeasurable.
On these very roads the once famous bicycle race "Mälaren runt" was held for many years. It's premiere year was as early as 1892, and in due course this event obtained the undisputed status of being the number one single-day road race in Sweden, enjoying the annual participation of the entire (national) road racing elite for decades. Gradually, the popular fascination with cycling vaned in the post-war years, and in 1962 the orgsanisers finally decided to end the tradition due to lack interest, no doubt ("too long, too tough").
A new serious attempt at establishing this race as a regular event happened in 1982. This time, apart from the traditional (amateur) road race, a mass-participation "ride" was organised on the same day and course.The entire scheme only lasted for four years, though.
Mälaren Runt RandonnéIn 1992 the centennial year of the traditional race, the Stockholm cycling club Fredrikshof IF/Cykel organised a non-race version in accordance with the international rules for randonnée bicycle events, and this has been repeated every August since.
This low-key, small-scale enthusiast event is neither a race proper nor a standard mass ride for the average "punter", but rather a reliability ride for the experinced, self-reliant long-distance tourist and/or time-trialist. The aim is to negotiate the circa 340 kms unassisted in less than 24 hours.
Randonnée rules stipulates an average speed between "controls" of between 15 and 35 km/h. The participants that choose to ride together in a formal audax group, normally keep to an average speed of about 22-23 km/h, stopping only at predetermined places along the course.
All succesful participants are rewarded a unique embroidered badge, as proof of excellence that year.
How do I find the way?There are no special signs along the route, and no marshals direct you or help with traffic. If you are uncertain of the correct route the easiest option is to hang on to a group of more experienced riders.
At the start all participants receive an A4 copy of the exact official description of the (compulsory) route, i e in Swedish only. It is a good idea to study a detailed road map beforehand. The most difficult parts to navigate are typically the more or less urban areas, where road choices are many and hard to describe without ambiguity. On the other hand, it is usually possible to find a knowledgeable local to ask directions from.
What if I can't complete the entire ride?Well, there are no provisions (on the part of the organisers) for picking up any retiring riders. This is a reliability event, remember? In order to be able to buy a bus or train ticket home, a credit card or a sufficient amount of cash is strongly recommended. If you use regular cycling shoes, a packed down pair of (light) soft shoes for hiking (in case of severe mechanical problems) is also recommended.
MR Intro page (Swedish):