Our Must Do Rides series features some of the best routes around the world. This ride was captured and written by Swedish photographer Simon Hedman.
Must Do Rides: Malmo
Malmö might not be the Champs-Élysées, nor the Tuscan countryside, but you'd be surprised what this small city in the south of Sweden has to offer. It is one of the most cycling-friendly cities in Europe (in my opinion), when you take into account the amazing cycling community with well-organized group rides, a cycling-specific cafe, genuine sportive cycling clubs and the almost endless possibilities of the open road.
Because I was born in this city and have spent the past seven years discovering these roads, I was honoured describe why this route is a Must Do Ride.
A perfect 4-5 hour route of just around 120 kilometers, covering some rolling hills with a total of 800 meters of elevation, two infamous climbs, a nice "fika" (cake/snack) stop, and a tad of the golden gravel or as we call it in Sweden "sportgrus”.
We all met up, as normal, outside Musette, Malmö’s local cycling hangout. The founder, Daniel, treated us with some pre-ride coffee as we talked about the route and the sportgrus sections of the ride. Since we've all covered most of the roads in the south of Skåne (the region in the south of Sweden) we all knew what we wanted.
The ride took us eastbound, riding on the safe bike path, through the city center. Some minor traffic lights later and we were hitting the dashing countryside, just under 10km into the ride.
If you like sportgrus (gravel), you will love this ride. You are able to push the cranks for some lightweight Strade Bianchi reminiscent sections on multiple occasions during the 120km. Since we don't have any major mountain passes outside of Malmö, this is where we get a bit excited, unknowingly pushing the tempo, and then letting the group reassemble at the end of each stretch.
We stopped in Skurup, for a standing Fika, meaning "have a coffee/soda/cake". The Fika is a mandatory task when covering a long distance in Sweden. A Fika would provide the option of hanging out with your friends, talking about the past, present and the future of the ride.
As we were about to hit off from the Fika, we faced the first mechanical of the ride, a non-shifting Di2 gear. This is definitely not your normal issue. We started to scratch our heads, as we downed some chips and soda. Luckily someone came up with the idea of shifting the gear from another rider who also happens to have the same groupset, and lo and behold, we were off.
With the blood sugar at a more normalized level, we began our journey to one of two climbs of the ride. Slimminge hill, a 1550m long (not high) climb with 5.6% gradient on the smoothest of tarmacs. That was followed by a hill called Klägget with an approximately equal distance and gradient, but this time on gravel.
Even though we have all done this ride in several constellations of groups, and different times of the year, I think we always seem to appreciate what we have just outside Malmö. While this city might not be world-renowned as a cycling destination, it’s always exciting what you can find in your own backyard.