Romeleåsens Dressincykling has been on my “must do next time I’m in Malmö” list for quite a while, but circumstances never aligned to get me there. Today, thanks to the generous lend of a car from my friend Morgan, sunny weather, and Catherine (of knees-incompatible-with-cycling) occupied at crafts demonstrations for the day, circumstances did align, and Oliver and I set off for rural Björnstorp, about 30 minutes out of the city. Here’s what we were headed for:
Dressincykling is “trolley cycling,” and in this case at least it means riding a cycle-powered railway inspection contraption over 7 km of an abandoned rail line from Björnstorp to Veberöd. There’s room for a “driver” – the one who cycles – as well as a passenger (who sits on a wooden bench) and also for a bag or other supplies you might want to take.
I phoned ahead for a reservation and was told to show up a 1:00 p.m., and, sure enough, when we arrived the owner was at home waiting for us. A 5 minute introduction – how to cycle, how to turn around (pick up the 60 kg cycle and rotate it), how to use the brake (it’s a foot pedal, not a hand brake or “cycle backwards” brake) – a 200 SEK (about $30) payment and we were on our way, cycling through the fields and woods of rural Skåne.
Oliver – he averse to all carnival rides and most anything where he’s in motion – was freaked out for about the first 5 minutes, but when he realized that I could slow down and stop at any point, that the contraption couldn’t fall over, and that it was speed-limited by my legs, he calmed down, started to crow like a train whistle and settled into the ride. I even convinced him to try cycling for a moment or two (it didn’t take).
The rails were, as rails are, flat, and the cycle offered much less friction than a regular bicycle, so even though we traveled 14 km over the afternoon, it didn’t feel like we’d cycled that far (you cycle out 7 km then turn around and cycle back 7 km).
About 20 minutes into the trip there’s a pleasant picnic area (100 m up the road there’s also a café, but it was closed, something we learned with some quick Google Translating of “stängt”). We stopped for a rest, spent some time with a very nice black cat, and used the toilet that’s off in the woods and surrounded by a shelter made from sticks.
After this break we were off again, and about 30 minutes later we came to the end of the tracks. Having come completely unprepared and so without food or water, we were happy to find that Veberöd is a well-resourced little town with ATM, grocery store, pizza shop and public library (does one need anything else for survival?). We bought some chicken curry sandwiches at the gas station along with some bottled water and some chocolate, ate in the town square, and then headed back to the cycles.
Waiting at the rail-end we found a Swedish family and their two cycles, and we swapped cycles to make logistics easier and I got some help turning ours around. The ride back was slightly inclined, so I got a little more winded than I thought I would from the easy downhill there. But it was nothing too fatiguing, and with a brief stop to renew ties with the cat we were back at home base about 45 minutes later.
Altogether the trip took us about 3 hours from start to finish. We rode through forests and fields, crossed about half a dozen roads (which are well-signed; one even has a STOP sign you swing out before crossing), and never ran into any trouble. The cycles are well-maintained, the little introduction just enough information, and the people we met along the way were friendly and helpful.
If you ever make it out yourself, I recommend taking a picnic lunch: there’s room enough on the deck to carry it all, a very nice picnic area to eat it in, and you’ll be glad for the break (say hello to the black cat for us). If you, like us, go unprepared, from the end of the line just cross the road, follow the path to the sidewalk, the sidewalk to the main road, turn right and about 500 m along you’ll find food, water and cash. All in, a great day-trip from Malmö or Copenhagen.