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An active family reunion – Bikepacking the Hærvejen

Robin Patijn - Farawayistan

An active family reunion – Bikepacking the Hærvejen

Bike Touring Collection by Robin Patijn - Farawayistan



21:48 h

258 mi

5,875 ft

During 2020, travelling was largely impossible. Even family visits between the Netherlands and Sweden were a hassle for months. So when the travel restrictions finally allowed it, my father, brother and I travelled to the northern tip of Denmark. Here, we would see each other for the first time in what felt like ages. And what better way to enjoy each other's company than a 400 kilometre (250 mi) bikepacking adventure?

The plan was to cycle the Hærvejen. The Hærvejen – translated as the army road – is a prehistoric route between Frederikshavn in the north of Denmark and Padborg, located near the German border. The route is more than 1,000 years old, and has been an important trade route throughout the years. Oxen, honey, fur and weapons, among other things, were transported via this ancient route. Today, the Hærvejen serves as a cycling and walking route. On the way, we saw medieval churches, Viking stones and prehistoric burial mounds.

We rode the route from north to south. A wise choice as it turned out. There’s plenty of wind in Denmark, as evidenced by the many windmills along the way, and we had the wind at our backs. For logistical reasons, our adventure didn’t start in Frederikshavn, but in Aalborg. It’s easy to get there by train. The majority of the route is asphalted, but along the way there are also some single track and gravel roads through forests and fields.

The Hærvejen is part of the amazing European Trail Divide; a 7,600 kilometre (4,724 mi) bikepacking route right across Europe from Finland to Portugal. You can find more information about the route here: komoot.nl/collection/1070173

Bikepacking the Hærvejen was an unforgettable adventure. For both my father and brother, it was their first experience of bikepacking. The campfires, nights in sleeping bags and hours in the saddle were the ultimate family reunion. And all this despite the inevitable hunger pangs and fatigue.

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259 mi

5,425 ft

5,325 ft

Last updated: November 9, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • 03:05
    35.2 mi
    11.4 mph
    300 ft
    225 ft

    By train from Malmö, Sweden - where I live - via the Danish capital Copenhagen I traveled to Aalborg. The country's fourth largest city is easily accessible by train from every corner of Denmark. Martin (father) and Jeroen (brother) had driven from the Netherlands to Padborg by car. They also made the

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    by Robin Patijn - Farawayistan

  • 05:12
    61.6 mi
    11.8 mph
    1,525 ft
    1,475 ft

    It wasn't until the second day of our adventure that we really picked up the original route. It didn't take long before the signs with 'Hærvejen' showed us the way. The entire route is well signposted. The first part of the route ran on rocky gravel roads through wooded areas, interspersed with moors

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    by Robin Patijn - Farawayistan

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  • 05:28
    63.3 mi
    11.6 mph
    2,575 ft
    2,250 ft

    The third day took us through the heart of Central Jutland, or Mittjylland as the Danes say. After a double portion of oatmeal porridge, we rolled up the sleeping bags and mats and got ready to leave. The first part of the route went straight through Viborg and was probably not the most beautiful part

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    by Robin Patijn - Farawayistan

  • 04:43
    57.7 mi
    12.2 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,150 ft

    On day four we had another long day in the saddle with almost 100 kilometers. The night at the B&B had done us all good, my activity tracker showed that I had slept almost 11 hours. Martin and Jeroen had also slept wonderfully. So the 100 kilometers scheduled for today promised to be no problem at all

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    by Robin Patijn - Farawayistan

  • 03:20
    39.8 mi
    11.9 mph
    400 ft
    350 ft

    The last day of our Hærvejen adventure turned out to be a relaxed ride. The final destination Padborg was only 65 kilometers away. Packing the bags went faster and smoother. The washed clothes from yesterday no longer smelled of bright detergent, but of the smell of a fireplace.


    Not only did our bodies

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    by Robin Patijn - Farawayistan

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    258 mi
  • Duration
    21:48 h
  • Elevation
    5,875 ft

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An active family reunion – Bikepacking the Hærvejen

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