Cycling along the Strömsholms Canal is a real idyllic dream, and in the vicinity of the canal it is completely curbed by interesting and rewarding excursion destinations. Something that more and more cyclists could find out if they knew about this gold mine. We have met Raija Edvinson, who works with tourism issues in Fagersta and who is part of the channel's collaboration group together with her colleagues from Smedjebacken, Surahammar, Hallstahammar and Västerås.
What opportunities do you see for you in cycling tourism?
We have not actively worked with bike tourism for so long, so we have many development opportunities. After we started collaborating with you at Sweden by Bike, it is fun to see that several housing establishments have now understood the importance of cycling tourists and want to invest in them. Especially in the current situation, when it becomes more vacationing in Sweden, it is important to offer good conditions for cyclists. The canal area and the whole of Västmanland is really a fairly unexplored area so there are great opportunities for many more to discover this destination. Several packages can be created and anyone who does not have their own bike can rent a bike from this summer. What is a disadvantage today is that you can only take two bikes on the train so it can cause problems if there are several with bikes who want to get on the same train. So there, I wish there would be a change.
Do you have any tips on some strawberry spots in the area that are good to take get on with a bike?
There are many strawberry spots along the canal, and the first thing I think about is all the beautiful locks. In addition, it is an exciting experience to see a lock and how the large lock gates are opened and closed manually when boats arrive. There are 26 locks and of course my favorite is Semla in Fagersta but it is also very idyllic in Seglingsberg in Surahammar and in Trångfors in Hallstahammar. In Västanfors in Fagersta we also have Crown Princess Victoria's lock at the hometown! She was here and named the lock when the canal celebrated 200 years in 1995.
Then there are lots of different interesting sights along the canal, ranging from hometown farms in Söderbärke and Västanfors to various exciting, old industrial environments. Ängelsberg with the World Heritage Engelsberg Mill, the Oil Island (the world's oldest preserved oil refinery) and the Sculpture Park definitely require a longer stop. Here you can advantageously spend the night at Engelsberg's guest house, eat at New Servings or have a coffee at Café Höjden, all within walking distance and with a lake view. The next coffee break can be taken at Genbergs Café in Virsbo, where there is also an art hall, and taste their pastries or something else. In Surahammar there is a motorcycle museum and in Hallstahammar you can find a canal museum that are both worth visiting. A grand palace shines yellow in Strömsholm and not far from there, in Borgåsund, you can have a snack or eat some food in the newly renovated harbor magazine. So there is a lot to choose from!
For those of you who want to read more about cycling along Strömsholm's canal, we recommend looking under Cycling trails where the trail has its own side. There are also forages on how you can organize your bike ride along the canal during four wonderful bike days. Maybe your next summer vacation?