So I’m getting rather excited and with just the occasional fit of doubt, which may be more aptly described as ‘bricking it’. In only 15 more days I shall be landing in Kiruna in the far north of Sweden to meet up with Shane for a 3 week cycle ride, taking an indirect route, to Tromso in Norway.

Just another bike ride I keep telling myself. Except this time it’s going to be in the middle of winter, above the Arctic circle. Finding places to wild camp should be easy; in the cold, it’s everything else that will be hard.

FTO-Day, in case you’re wondering, is what I’ve decided to call Day 1 of the trip, my arrival in Kiruna. FTO is my own abbreviation for ‘Freeze Tits Off’ Day. You may laugh, but I have been warned! Cold hands and feet are not the only extremity a girl has to worry about (according to a well-informed source). I will have to get back to you on that… Minus 15 may just as likely refer to the temperature to be expected when I land as to the number of days left until I fly.

Summit in the Snow!
The last time (only time) I biked in the snow - Utah November 2011

I’m as well-prepared for this as any trip I go on, which may or may not be a comforting thought. I’ve done my homework, I know what I need and what I need to do and what I still need to get. But as with anything unknown, the proof will be in the doing. So until I get to Kiruna and get on the bike I won’t know for sure how I’m going to cope.

In the meantime, the main thing I need to do is winterise my bike and make sure I get hold of a good sleeping bag if the one I’m expecting last minute doesn’t arrive. (You can’t expect absolutely everything to always go according to plan.)

It’s a relatively short trip so I don’t intend to be blogging as I go. It strikes me as too much effort for not enough gain. For readers who are interested to know how I get on, then I will be posting a full report up once I get back (hopefully typed using the 10 fingers I am currently in posession of). Of course there’ll be lots of photos too (and I’m hoping to get some shots of the Northern Lights). In fact, photography is one thing I intend to focus on in my spare time on the long dark nights.

And although I won’t be blogging, I’ll have my phone with me and the plan is to tweet the trip as I go, which will be a creative challenge in itself if it is to be interesting (and simply a challenge if I am not to get freezing fingers while touchscreen-typing).

The rest of my creativity (of which there is little) will be used up in making snow animals outside my tent and any spare time I will put to good use beating shane at chess, if indeed we succeed in playing in oversize mitts with a travel-size board. There are, you realise, many ways to keep entertained without the use of modern technology, and that’s good to remember sometimes (and I’m sure it isn’t really necessary to go winter biking to be reminded of this).

Snow Lady and Snow Baby
Snow Lady and Snow Baby in the garden at home

So, if you want to see how the trip unfolds in black-and-white dark-night-snow-light tell-it-how-it-is twitter-truth then follow me here (#icenutz is the trip hashtag if you want Shane’s tweets too).

If you want the details, all in one go, once I’ve had chance to digest it all and with photographic imagery which will surely show it better than I could ever tell it, then you’d better subscribe to the blog so as not to miss it here.

If there is a phone failure due to the cold weather, then I apologise now for the ensuing tweetout and hope you will check out the blog for the final report.

Thanks to Camp Ripan who have offered accommodation when we arrive in Kiruna. And thanks to my sponsors Webtogs, Alpkit, Schwalbe and Dogwood Designs for helping kit me out with the gear I need.