Over the past few years, the Dirty Halland has become a staple in our cycling adventures. We’ve taken part in both the 2021 and 2022 editions of this social gravel race held in Hallands län every last weekend of March. Each year brings a new route filled with challenging gravel roads and steep climbs.
However, this time we decided to approach things a bit differently. We can’t solely blame the unpredictable weather on the day of the event. Our own lack of fitness played a significant role. So what do you do when faced with 160km of gravel and 2,500 meters of elevation? Well, we made the decision to cut the route in half and set our own pace, aiming for the Slowest Known Time (SKT) on the course. Here’s a photo recap of our Dirty Halland 2023 in touring mode.
Cycling from Falkenberg to Slöinge
Our journey began with a train ride from Malmö to Falkenberg. Upon arriving in Falkenberg, we wasted no time and embarked on a 20-kilometer bike ride to reach our charming Bed & Breakfast. We randomly picked a place on Booking.com, which was located conveniently close to the start- and finish location.
And at first glance, Slöinge may seem like an ordinary village blending into its surroundings, but upon closer inspection, we discovered a few local treasures. Within Slöinge, there’s the SIA ice cream factory, a coffee roaster, and one of the best fika spots we’ve come across called Solhaga Stenungsbageri.
The Northern loop of the Dirty Halland 2023
The northern loop of the route is a climber’s paradise. We braced ourselves for steep inclines and ventured onto rugged dirt roads that wound through lush forests, treating us to breathtaking views at every twist and turn. Sabina even spotted a majestic wild moose on the trail ahead of her, a truly awe-inspiring moment.
This part of the route truly tested our stamina and determination, as there wasn’t a single meter of level ground. As we pedaled through the area, it became apparent that it was heavily utilized for wood production. Enormous machinery and excavators with continuous tracks, shared the same gravel roads we were riding on. These already rough and rocky roads transformed into challenging washboard surfaces, adding an extra dose of thrill to our cycling experience.
Resupply options were scarce on this particular loop. However, our luck turned when we stumbled upon a generous individual living in an isolated cabin in the woods. She not only provided us with much-needed water for our bottles but also shared heartfelt advice. One peculiar piece of wisdom she offered was to avoid storing our phones in our cycling jerseys. As she believed it could potentially harm our kidneys. We found it odd at first, but it made sense coming from someone with such a unique lifestyle surrounded by nature’s serenity.
The Eastern loop of the Dirty Halland 2023
We set off on our intended route, eagerly embarking on our journey southward and then northeast. The initial kilometers were smooth and paved. But we knew that the real adventure awaited us beyond the first gravel section. As we pedaled along, we were treated to breathtaking glimpses of the ocean from the hills. Surrounded by the beauty of the Swedish countryside.
Our timing couldn’t have been better, as we were fortunate enough to witness the vibrant yellow blooms of the rape seeds. Blanketing the landscapes in a golden hue.
Heading north, the terrain became more challenging, with climbs and technical trails. This occasionally required us to dismount and walk. But these moments of pushing our bikes only added to the thrill and sense of exploration on our journey. And let’s be honest, there’s something special about a good old hike-a-bike.
One particular highlight of the route was the section that encircled Biskopstorps Naturreservat. After a long climb, we found ourselves immersed in its beauty.
Rain and hail showers cut our ride short. We made the decision to deviate from the route and opted to ride back to our cozy Bed & Breakfast. We chose the wide road with a generous shoulder, ensuring that the few passing cars could safely give us enough space as we pedaled our way back.
Swedish slow living in Slöinge
Berte B&B in Slöinge served as the perfect base for our Dirty Halland experience in touring mode. And if your fitness level surpasses ours, why not take on the 2022 route the next day? You can practically pick up the route right at the doorstep of the Bed & Breakfast. Plus, the extensive breakfast provided is cyclist-proof, a true bonus.
Big shout out to Team Cyklamera for coming up with another spectacular route.
Follow all our adventures on Instagram.