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  • Photographer: Roger Borglid

Magic single tracks

  • Johan Törnroth

Intense. Beautiful. Limitless. The wilderness in northern Dalsland is testament to a time when the ice sheets ruled. And in the heart of this wilderness, lies a rich network of tracks and pathways – perfect for everyone who appreciates a real adventure. Perfect for me.

The air is still and clear. The ground around me is covered by heather and tangled blueberry bushes. Here and there, grey, glinting rocky outcrops where the bog moss hasn’t yet gained a hold, can be seen. With my background in orienteering, I’m used to the great outdoors, but today, I’ve switched my running shoes for cycling shoes and headed for the wilderness of northern Dalsland – one of Sweden’s most lake-dense landscapes. I’ve always appreciated and valued the sense of calm and security the forest gives, but at this precise moment, balancing on two wheels, swishing along paths and through valleys, calm and security are not the first things on my mind. My focus switches from the ground a few metres in front of my bike to the beautiful surroundings, and back again. 

The nature in this region could have been created especially for single track mountain biking – at least that’s what I was told when I asked my cycling expert, Crister Blüme at Camp Dalsland, ahead of my trip. 

“Dalsland offers an absolute smorgasbord of paths for cycling, and even if by no means all of them are marked out in the terrain, there is a network of tracks for those with the courage to explore it. Dalsland is, in other words, a rough diamond. A place for the adventurous soul who doesn’t want everything laid on for them.” 

Crister goes on to say that more and more people are getting into mountain biking because it’s an efficient way of making the countryside accessible. He also reminds me that the further north you get, the harder the terrain will get. 

“South of Mellerud, it’s very flat. Then once you get up in the area of Bengtsfors municipality and Åmål and Ed, there are loads of rift lakes and the countryside is amazing.” 

Finally, Crister adds that every season has its own charm for cyclists, and as a passionate nature-lover, I can only agree.

 

My cycling adventure continues over long, narrow ridges that extend in parallel lines. Between the ridges, I pass marshy valleys, where the water from the low ground splashes around my tyres. Nature decides what speed you do here, and sometimes, it’s full speed ahead along the narrow paths with their winding roots. A combination swimming and coffee break by one of Dalsland’s numerous tarns is one of the highlights of my trip and revives my energy levels. With my gaze set on the magical scenery around me, I revel in the sense of freedom and out and out joie de vivre, mingling gloriously with the aching thighs that my wilderness ride has brought me. It’s a feeling that can only be described as calm. A really intense calm.

 

 

Dalsland X-Country

Dalsland X-Country is a mountain bike fun ride that starts and ends in Bengtsfors. The competition has been hugely popular in recent years, with over 800 entrants!  

The short route is suitable for anyone who doesn’t have much experience of forest biking, but would still like a bit of a challenge. The surface is mainly gravel and asphalt, with shorter stretches on tracks. 

The long route is considerably tougher. The course offers some fast downhill sections where you can really go for it, but also includes some tough uphill sections with technical elements. But whether you choose the long or the short route, you’ll be cycling along the shorelines of lots and lots of beautiful lakes and tarns. 

More information: campdalsland.se