All of the Charm posts on this weblog are meant to be fun. Today’s post is no exception, and details the 27th (Skarnsund) Bridge Run from Vangshylla (where we live) to Mosvik, about 6 km away, on Sunday 2018-06-17, starting at 10:00.
When we first moved here in 1988, Vangshylla was a ferry terminal that connected Inderøy to the neighbouring municipality of Mosvik. The ferry was replaced by Skarnsund Bridge on 1991-12-17, when it was opened by King Harald. Skarnsund Bridge is the only bridge crossing of Trondheim Fjord. For further information see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skarnsund_Bridge
Run officials have a spreadsheet detailing all participants, past and present, and can with certainty tell anyone which walks/ runs they have participated in. Readers may notice a dual personality tendency in the writing of this post. While most participants walk starting at 10:00 in the morning, there is also a more elite group that runs across the bridge, starting at 13:00 in the afternoon.
Our neighbour, Astrid Stømberg, is one of few who has completed all 27 walks/ runs. Trish usually walks with her, while my responsibility is to drive to Mosvik, and to pick the two of them up. A free bus ride is also available, but only at the end of the day.
Because of privacy concerns, we have not included pictures of people. All photos by Trish McLellan.
Today, we crossed the border between Inderøy and Steinkjer six times, twice driving and four times walking. We live in Inderøy municipality (population 6 800, area 366 square kilometers), part of Trøndelag county, in central Norway. Steinkjer municipality (population 22 000, area 1 565 square kilometers) is the capital of Trøndelag county, contains the geographical centre of Norway, and is located immediately to the north of Inderøy, except when it isn’t because the border is complex and follows boundaries between many different farms.
Today, we were walking to Bergsmarka. While a circular ski trail has existed here for countless years, it has been widened and improved this summer. It is jointly managed by the Sparbu and Røra sports clubs. In 1962, during the great municipal amalgamation, Sparbu became part of Steinkjer, while Røra became part of Inderøy. However, local identity remains intense, and it is common to have sports clubs that predate the amalgamations.
The walk is one of 28 this year, organized by Inderøy municipality, designed to encourage physical activity. These walks end at posts, that can be visited any time during the summer months from 21 May to 13 October. In addition, there are 8 events on specific dates during the season, with their own posts. A description of each walk is available in a printed brochure, as well as online (in Norwegian, but fun to look at): http://www.inderoy.kommune.no/getfile.php/4161916.1220.wb7n7kkppzntap/Inder%C3%B8ytur+hefte+2018.pdf There is also an app for the walks. Today’s walk is short (2.8 km forward and back), but has medium demands.
The Outdoor Recreation Act of 1957 governs the use of the countryside. An English translation of this act can be found here: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/dokumenter/outdoor-recreation-act/id172932/ The purpose of the act is:
to protect the natural basis for outdoor recreation and to safeguard the public right of access to and passage through the countryside and the right to spend time there, etc, so that opportunities for outdoor recreation as a leisure activity that is healthy, environmentally sound and gives a sense of well-being are maintained and promoted. (Article 1)
The first primitive Scandinavian ski was found in a peat bog in Hoting in Jämtland County in Sweden which dates back to 4500 BP (Before Present) or 2500 BCE (Before Christian or Common Era).
The oldest set of skis is probably the Kalvträsk skis, found in 1924, at Kalvträsk near Skellefteå, Sweden. Two skis measuring 2040 mm by 155 mm and a shovel shaped ski pole was 1560 mm long. Carbon dating indicates that the equipment is 5200 years old. The skis were made from pine that had grown on a slope, causing the wood to become denser than ordinary. Each ski had four holes for the bindings, which corresponds with ancient skis found in Siberia. The ski pole is similar to ski poles used in historic times by the Sami people in northern Scandinavia. The equipment is on exhibition at the Västerbottens Museum in Umeå.
While skis are useful for exercise by healthy adults, they are not particularly useful for routine winter transport by small children, or adults who have passed middle age. It is here that the kicksled, or spark, offers a more suitable vehicle.
A Kicksled museum is located in Piteå, Sweden, where the vehicle was first developed in the 1860s and 1870s. The museum claims that “The spark is a fantastic transport tool that is in every way in time. It is energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and in many cases shapely fashionable.” https://www.pitea.se/Besokare/Se–gora/Produkt/?lang=sv&TLp=462944
The first kicksleds had stiff wooden runners and were heavy. In 1909 Erik Timander and Anders Bertas in Orsa, Dalarna County, Sweden designed and produced the first modern kicksled, the Orsasparken, with its two patented spring-steel runners.
The traditional spark is fitted with a chair, which is useful for carrying a passenger, while the “driver” stands behind on one of the runners, and kicks the vehicle forward.
In 1994, Hannu Vierikko founded Kickbike Worldwide that developed modern scooters and kicksleds. He claims that these represent Finnish design at its best, by combining unique design with functionality.
“The Kickspark is a new design of a kicksled. Traditional style kicksleds have been in daily use in Scandinavian winter since the beginning of 20th century but for some reason the design has remained the same while other products have been developed a lot. The new, innovative design takes the old winter product to a new level. The Kickspark suits as well for all round use as for sport and fitness. The frame is light and stiff offering excellent control also at high speeds – or for tall riders.
“The handlebar comes with comfortable and warm hd foam grips. You can fold the frame by loosening two bolts or completely disassemble the sled using 6 bolts. This way transportation and storage is quite easy.
“Kicksled can be used anywhere, where you would use skis or ice skates and quite a bit beyond too. For the best ride, choose runners for the surface you plan to ride on. The Kickspark comes standard with steel runners, that can be used in most conditions: ice, snowy and icy roads, paths and trails with a relatively hard snow surface. Those work fine if one can walk on the snowy surface without sinking. The standard runners are made of 5 mm wide and 28 mm tall zinc coated spring steel.
“Snow Runners are plastic skis that support the kicksledder even on snowmobile or cross-country ski trails. Snow runners come in two widths: 36mm and 56mm for softer tracks. Those glide better than steel runners in snowy or cold (-10C/15F or colder) conditions.
“Ice Runners are designed exclusively for kicksledding on ice, similar conditions as skate touring but work better than skates on rough or soft ice surface. Ice Runners glide amazingly well and quietly, yet the grip and control are far better than in the Standard Runners.
“Kicking on snow-free ice with the Ice Runners is a whole new winter sports and outdoors experience. Racers reach speeds of 25-40km/h depending on the distance (100km record being 3:38:50). Long touring on (sunny?) spring ice is something Kickspark riders keep talking about when the ice is gone.
“Even the fastest sled needs a grip under the kicking feet to propel it forward. On snowy surfaces in temperatures well below freezing normal winter boots work fine. On an icy road or lake studded winter boots/ running shoes or crampoons work better. Crampoons are studded (steel studs normally) kicking soles that can be attached to virtually every shoe. The best alternative are spike shoes originally designed for (Finnish) baseball or orienteering equipped with 9-12 mm spikes, some use even golf shoes. Stability/stiffness of the shoe is important.” http://www.kickbike.com/en/kickspark.html
So much for the commercial announcement. With a sales price of about NOK 3 000 (CAD 500) including freight, I won’t be buying a Kickspark Max anytime soon. However, that much money can buy a lot of material to use in the Unit One workshop.
Anyone with a derelict spark they want to get rid of, is invited to take contact.
The Olympic Games have their monomyth – the lighting of the Olympic torch at Mount Olympus, Greece, and its transport to the site of the games somewhere else in the world. Torchbearing is good public relations, that brings a lot of public interest resulting in ticket sales and, more importantly, passive television viewing. It also provides historiosity, an intertwined package of ersatz-historic fact, pseudo-myth and quasi-designed torches. Paloma Faith is a typical torchbearer. In her photo from the 2012 London (England) Olympics, below, she demonstrates the Olympic ideals – skyhigh patent red heels, custom white tracksuit, bare midriff with belly jewelry. If only I knew something about designer sunglasses, hair fashions and makeup, I could comment on all those items too. It doesn’t matter that the flame is missing, when so many other important elements are included.
Each community, of course, has its own myths that are equally valid to promote. Those that never had, or have lost, their myths, can always invent new or adopt different ones.
One way for communities to show their spirit is to hold parades that emphasize the mathematical equation: Unity = Cooperation + (the joy of) Diversity.
If one googles “unique parades” one of the first items listed takes you to Huffpost Women, and an article titled Weird and Wacky Parades from Around the World. The first parade listed, “The Mermaid Parade celebrates the sand, the sea, the beginning of summer, and the history and mythology of Coney Island.” Alas, a disappointing parade, just like the two next ones on their list: Running of the Nudes and Go Blonde Parade.
For those of you who were directed here because a search engine found the phrase “mermaid parade” you will be disappointed. This blog is far too honest and un-American to show a female breast with its nipple covered by a miniature sea shell. I have never understood why it is acceptable to display 98% of a breast, but unacceptable to show 2%, consisting of its only working part. The Cony Island (NY, USA) Mermaid Parade will not be discussed further. I gave more serious consideration to including the “Running of the Nudes” through the streets of Pamplona (Spain). This is a more compassionate and fun remake of the “Corrida de toros” or “Running of the Bulls.” I particularly liked their slogan, “Out with the old, in with the nude!” Again, this blog is not in the business of providing gratuitous nudity, even if the purpose of the run is the promotion of animal welfare.
Also missing from this list is the Riga (Latvia) Go Blonde Parade. I appreciate blondes. In fact I appreciate all natural hair colours. I am less enthusiastic about dyed hair, be it black as a replacement for gray, or bright red/ green/ blue as a replacement for mouse brown. My main objection with Go Blonde type of parades is that they exclude non-blondes. Some of my best friends are non-blondes, and I would want them to participate on equal footing in any parade.
Pets (believe they) are people! Many feel they should be included in parades. Naturally, Homo sapiens with pet allergies are not always in agreement. At the Port of Los Angeles there is an annual Lobster Festival, with a Lobsterdog Parade as a highlight.
Parades, like most cultural artifacts, morph! While searching for an appropriate photo of Lobsterdog, I came across an almost iconic photo of a costumed pooch. It appears to be from the Lakewood, Ohio Pet-Tique Spooky Pooch Parade, in 2010. Not being a dog psychologist, whisperer, trainer or owner I have very little understanding of dog feelings, especially when they are subjected to humanoid whims. However, the mutt in the photo looks sad, and is undoubtedly aware of his loss of dignity.
Houston Car Art Parade
Cars are (treated as) people. Since 1984, some 250,000 people (not all certified psychiatric cases) watch over 250 vehicles. It started when Texas artist Jackie Harris spent $800 transforming a 1967 Ford station wagon into a “fruitmobile”.
There are countless variants: The Friday night “cruise” immortalized in American Graffiti, and countless other tedious teen films; Annual car parades featuring, in alphabetical order, classic cars, hot rods, muscle cars, sports cars, station wagons, touring cars, veteran cars. Most of these variations focus on preservation of past technology, a few allow owners to improve – or at least change it. The big difference with Houston is that the parade focuses on the creation of automotive art.
Now we come to one of my favorite parades, Bosch! I’ll let the organizers describe it in their own words. “Every June, since 2010, the waters of ’s-Hertogenbosch provide the venue for the Bosch Parade. A wondrous armada of vessels and objects inspired by the work and ideas of Medieval painter J heronimus Bosch. Artists from all disciplines (art, theatre, dance, music, architecture) collaborate with groups of enthusiastic amateurs and volunteers to create this artistic, water-borne parade. This spawns not only a creative floating parade by and for the city, but also an extensive creativity network throughout the city.” http://www.boschparade.nl/english/
The Olympic Games have their opening and closing ceremonies. Universal Athletics can have as many or as few parades as people want. Hopefully, this will provide some inspiration.
Today’s effort was to work on a logo for Universal Athletics. The first version has no text, the next ones incorporates the English language motto, “Having fun, Keeping fit”. This is followed by Norwegian and Swedish versions with the same motto in translation.
The Olympic Games hold little appeal. They represent yet another example of how the world’s elite allow taxpayers to subsidize their participation at events, where a class of entertainers called athletes – many using performance enhancing drugs – compete.
The only way the majority get to see the Olympics is on their television screens. Rights to the events are sold to media corporations, who inflict viewers with excessive advertisements, to extract wealth for themselves – and the very exclusive 100 members of the International Olympic Committee.
The Olympic Games got off to a bad start. Nationalism was at the root of Greek interest in reviving the Olympic Games after the Greek War of Independence, which ended in 1821. Games were held sporadically in 1859, 1870 and 1875. The International Olympic Committee was started in 1894, organizing the 1896 Olympic Games. The committee focused on nationalism, inviting countries to compete against countries, rather than athletes to compete against athletes.
Participants outside the elite were also discriminated against, with an artificial distinction between amateur and professional. Two incidents were of particular importance. Jim Thorpe was stripped of his pentathlon and decathlon medals when it was discovered that he had played semi-professional baseball before the Olympics. Swiss and Austrian skiers boycotted the 1936 Winter Olympics in support of their skiing teachers, who were not allowed to compete because they earned money with their sport.
Jim Thorpe (1887-1953) is particularly interesting. Not only was he of mixed Native American and European ancestry, he excelled at many different sports. At Carlisle Indian Industrial school he competed in football, baseball, lacrosse and ballroom dancing. The pentathlon involves long jump, javelin throw, 200 metres, discus throw and 1500 metres. The decathaon features ten events over two days. Day 1: 100 metres, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 metres. Day 2: 110 metres hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1500 meters. Later, he played baseball, football and basketball professionally. An ABC Sports poll voted Thorpe the Greatest Athlete of the Twentieth Century in competition with 15 other world famous athletes.
The Olympic Games were envisioned as a means for the aristocracy and other members of the elite to promote their own interests. This began to be eroded with Eastern Bloc state-sponsored full-time amateur athletes. Amateurism was gradually phased out of the Olympic Charter from the 1970s to 1988, when all professional athletes were made eligible to participate.
The reason behind this post is that Russian polevalter Yelena Isinbayeva says she will file a discrimination suit if Russia’s ban from global track and field competition is upheld and she is barred from competing at the Rio Olympics. What this says is that the country, not the athlete is important. This is the wrong emphasis.
What I would like to happen is for people to forget about national teams and to encourage local athletics and sports. Athletics should be fun. I hope people will use their time between 2016-08-05 and 2016-08-21 to develop their own athletic potential, rather than sitting in front of a screen watching others.
If enough of us begin at the local level, a universal athletics movement can’t be far behind.