|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
Report on bicycle tour in Sweden
From Kiruna in the North, way above the Artic Circle, to Stockholm, Capital of Sweden: 1411 kilometers or 877 miles.
The start in Kiruna.
Karin Wingqvist was at the wheel of the accompanying car. Being a physiotherapist by profession, she could have taken care of us in case something happened.
How it all started.
Having been a vegetarian since early childhood, and going from there to a vegan and frutarian life-style many years ago, I wanted to prove that a frutarian diet, of fruits, berries, nuts, seeds and fresh raw vegetables, would be enough, not only for everday activities, but also for quite serious exertion over a longer period. My choice fell on a bicycle trip, which I had been thinking of for many years, from Kiruna to Stockholm. It is a big distance, through some of the nicest parts Sweden can offer, good roads, climbing up and down the mountains, some of them pretty steep. We had of course also long stretches of flat ground, the road winding along the shores of lakes and of the Baltic Sea, running along mighty rivers as well as small creeks, giving us many opportunities to take a swim, and cool off. Our diet consisted of fresh fruit, berries, nuts and seeds for breakfast and lunch, everybody buying his/her own in stores and markets along the way. For evening meals we had a salad with fresh, raw vegetables, especially green leafy ones, carrots etc. We used only fresh water for drinking.
Information on the tour was published in many vegetarian, vegan and fruitarian papers and news-letters all over the world. Many societies had also published the information on their homepages on Internet. About 150 people, many from overseas countries asked for further details about the trip.
I am sure these people had never tried to live on only fresh foods for an extended period. We all know that Marathon runners, before the race, load up with lots of spaghetti, maccaroni, and other foods, rich in carbo-hydrates, to be strong enough to make it to the finish. The start of the tour was set for Tuesday July 15th 1997 and the day before we all met in Kiruna. staying overnight in the Youth Hostel. and the next morning at 08.00 a.m. we started out on our long bicycle trip.
We carried all our gear in bags mounted on both sides of the front and rear wheels. We each had about 12 to 20 kilos of luggage. I had made reservations in Youth Hostels or camping huts all along the route and we kept to our time table and arrived at our overnight places as scheduled.
Our longest day’s tour was 129 kms, and our shortest, the last day into Stockholm City, was 27 kms. We cycled a total of 1411 kms, averaging about 70-80 kms a day. The lowest average speed per day was about 14 km/hour the highest 20 km/hour. We enjoyed the countryside with forests, fields, mountains, lakes and the Baltic Sea. We had time to do a little sight-seeing in especially interesting villages and towns.
What did we learn from this trip?
As I said at the beginning, we wanted to prove that a frutarian diet of fruit, berries, nuts, seeds and fresh raw vegetables, would be enough, not only for everday activities, but also for quite serious exertions over a longer period. Our little group of all together six people has prooved that this is possible. Of course, there is many a sportsman, around the world, who has been living on a vegetarian diet, and has become world champion. We wanted to show the value of fresh, raw vegan food, consisting of about 70-80% (50-50% SDL) of fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, the rest being fresh uncooked vegetables. This is contrary to the average vegtetarian or vegan menues, which have a lot of cooked food at most every meal. Judging by from our increased well-being during the trip, we most definitely succeeded.
This was a private, non-profit, enterprise, initiated by me, without the assistance of any sponsors or donations of any kind. The participants paid for food and lodging themselves, as well as the journey to Kiruna and from Stockholm.
My wish is for a test like this to be carried out on a larger scale, organized by one or more vegetarian or vegan societies, with more participants, a longer distance and with steeper hills. This test should of course be combined with a thourough medical examination from start to finish, especially showing the participants’ condition of health and strengh from start to finish.
Arne Wingqvist, Stockholm, August 18 1997.
Arne Wingqvist. Centralvägen 8, SE-186 31 Vallentuna, Sweden