So – you want to ride your motorcycle to Norway?

You have seen all the classic images of Norway. Of the Geiranger fjord, the Atlantic Road, the Lofoten Islands and the North Cape with its midnight sun. And you wonder: “What if I took my bike there? What if I let myself see all this in the best way possible, which of course is from a motorcycle?” Then you start wRideNorway logoorrying about everything from weather to costs, and in the end you dismiss the whole idea, even though you know you will regret that you didn’t follow your dreams.

Fortunately, you have stumbled upon this blog, which is here to tell you that it is far easier to experience Norway by bike than you perhaps imagined. Here you will find everything you need to know about how to ride Norway on a budget, where to go and what to see. You will read other riders’ experiences, learn who to contact if you have a bike breakdown, and even get advice on how to ride in Norway during the coldest depths of winter, if you are of the really adventurous type.

Come on over, and be amazed. Norway is truly motorcycle heaven!

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Frosty fun

A smaller, but nevertheless friendly and funny winter rally is the Agder Frost Rally. The rally is held in January, and should be visited by any discerning winter rider.

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The Agder Frost is not a big rally. A handful of riders, but nevertheless a long standing tradition and a lot of fun. Of course. Here are some images from this year’s Agder Frost, kindly provided by Sigmund Hornberg and Halvor Nyquist.

If you want to attend, you can find the organizers – or rather, the guys that usually go – on their Facebook page. You may have to ask to be accepted into the group, but that is only a minor formality. Ask you questions, and you will get all the info you need. The rally is usually held near Svenes, and is conveniently accessible from the ferry port of Kristiansand, from which it is some 70 kms to the rally site.

Categories: bikes, Images of Norway, Rallies, Winter rides | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Show your Norway know-how!

Baffle your audience with your insight into Norway trivia. Here are 20 ice-breakers to get the conversation started.

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The length of the Norwegian coastline is 2nd only to Canada.

 

Even most Norwegians don’t know that parts of Northern Norway is further East than Istanbul. Or that more Norwegians than Canadians speak English. Armed with these 20 fun facts about Norway, you are ready to engage the domestic audience with your insight. Norwegians tend to be viewed as a bit introvert. But we aren’t, really. We’re just being polite by not disturbing you in any way, or wasting your precious time. A bit like the Finns. Until we’re partying, that is. In any case, these are good ice-breakers to get Norwegians to talk about other things than the weather. Good luck!

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New Year’s Rally 2018

Last weekend, the coolest bikers in Norway inaugurated 2018 with the traditional New Year’s Rally at Trollsvannet in Vestfold County. Next year, the rally has its 20th Anniversary. You want to be there – and it’s pretty easy to get there.

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Halvor Nyquist (right) needed a tug to start his 1985 Moto Guzzi 850 T5 sidecar rig. The rig actually used to be mine, but Halvor bought it from me a couple of years ago. He came back home all right. (All images: Kyrre Hagen)

Norwegian Kyrre Hagen is an avid year round rider. He has kindly let RideNorway publish his images from the 2018 edition of the New Year’s Rally. As always it was held in the deep forests near Trollsvannet (“The Trolls Lake”), and even though the temperature crept down to -20C on Saturday, nobody complained. Sunny, crispy and fresh air. What more can you ask for, right? Some 25 riders, good mood, good food, plenty of drinks, and even a stroll in the nice weather. Bonfires, fireworks and a good laugh for all is guaranteed!

Next year the rally has its 20th Anniversary, and you can be there to take part in the celebrations! Start your planning now -it’s pretty accessible from most ferry ports in the South and South-Eastern parts of Norway. The closest port would be at Larvik. Color Line traffics the ferry route between Hirtshals (DK) and Larvik, which is only 46 km from the rally site. And the ferry trip itself is a short 3.5 hrs. Do not worry if you do not know anyone at the rally: The organizers and attendees are very accommodating, and they will take good care of you. Check out a couple of videos from earlier rallies here and here.

Feel free to mail me or comment below if you have questions on how to get there. If you’re new to winter riding, read the Winter Riding Guide right here.

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Cool rallies in Norway

So you’re planning on doing a winter bike trip to Norway? You badass! Welcome! Here are the tips on how to prepare and where to go.

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Winter motorcycle riding does not involve any magic tricks. Just some common sense and a few preparations. It’s a whole new world awaiting you out there!

Winter riding is – if not common, so at least not unusual among Norwegian riders. Judging by the attendance at our winter rallies, it’s quite popular also among riders from abroad. Brits, Italians, Spaniards, Germans, Belgians, French, Danes, Swedes, and more: They have all been here, and keep coming, to experience this wonderful world of winter riding. And some even to have a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

But where to go? How do I prepare? Where are the rallies? And when are they? Do not despair: RideNorway is here to help!

Firstly: If you’re new to this game, make sure you are all set to ride in the winter landscape. There are no magic tricks involved, just common sense – and a few preparations. You will find all the info you need right here.

Secondly: Here is a list of some of the best winter rallies in Norway, commencing in October and ending in February. Alas, you will be too late for two of them, but you can still make the others.

A whole new, wonderful winter world awaits you! Enjoy!

Categories: Rallies, Winter rides | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Stranger things

Norway is mostly about breathtaking landscape scenery, fjords and mountains. But there is more to this country than meets the ordinary tourist eye…

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The Hessdalen Phenomenon: Strange lights that suddenly appears in the night sky, speeding along the valley ridge, and then disappearing into thin air. Veeeery strange indeed…

Because we also host Keiko the Orca’s grave (lead character in the movie “Free Willy”), the Hessdalen Phenomenon (some say it’s UFOs), a leprosy museum (500 years old) and the world’s steepest road tunnel (15.5% climb!). Check out the odder sides of Norway!

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Last year in review

Whereas 2017 in many ways was not what we would hope for, it was a brilliant riding year. Here are a few glimpses of last year’s fun. What is your image of 2017?

 

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Categories: Images of Norway, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy New Year!

All the best for 2018 to all of you! Hope to see you on the road somewhere in Norway!

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Postcard living

Last weekend I went to Olden in the western parts of Norway to join my Guzzi friends at the annual Guzzi Spring Rally. People in that part of Norway are living in surroundings of stunning beauty. It must be like living in a pic postcard…

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The Oldevatn lake is filled with melted glacial water, making it green – and coooold…

I took my new (to me) 1990 Guzzi SP3 for its inauguration trip to meet fellow Guzzisti at Oldevatn camping, not very far from Geiranger. This part of Norway is famed for its stunning beauty, and this weekend it certainly showed off in all its splendour.

I took Friday off from work, so I left for the rally on Thursday afternoon. It´s some 500 kms from where I live to Olden, so I opted for a stay-over at Lom. I chose a route which is not the fastest, but nevertheless pretty: Up to Fagernes, Road 51 over Valdresflye, the Stryn mountain road to Stryn and onwards to Olden. The bike ran flawlessly, apart from showing signs of a worn clutch boss, which of course is about to be fixed.

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Valdresflye mountain road is one of the 18 National Tourist Roads.

The Valdresflye mountain road – Road 51, one of the National Tourist Roads – is closed during winter, and opened for the season not many weeks ago. There is still some snow up there, but not on the roads, of course. It gets a bit chilly up on the top, so when you ride there – use your extra layer of clothes under your riding gear. In the summer there tends to be quite a few camper vans and other slow-moving tourists on the road, but as there is no vegetation to hamper the view of any oncoming traffic, they are easily overtaken.

After a rather unspectacular night at Lom, I did the last leg down to Olden over Stryn mountain road – Road 15. This road meets Road 63, which takes you down to the famous Geiranger fjord (also only open in the summer). But I kept following Road 15 towards Stryn.

The Stryn Mountain Road is tried to kept open also in the winter, but it´s frequently closed due to heavy snowing combined with tough winds. In the summer, it´s usually a tranquile, nice piece of mountain road with spectacular views. Be aware, though, that the tunnel starting the downclimb towards Stryn is VERY dark! Do not use sunglasses or tinted visors when you enter! The trick is to close one eye before going into the tunnel. When you´re inside and open it, your eye should have adjusted somewhat to the darker surroundings. There are three longer tunnels leading down to Stryn. Take precations when entering them. Just in case.

Stryn has a slogan – “Beautiful Stryn” – which is somewhat generic, but in this case it fits the area. The Stryn area IS beautiful! As is Loen, Olden, Utvik Mountain Road, et cetera. You cannot go wrong wherever you choose to point your front wheel. The roads may be considered somewhat narrow, but on a bike this is not a problem. Be aware of the many coaches carrying cruise ship passengers to sightsee the Briksdal Glacier. Or what´s left of it. Also – if you really want to part off with some cash, try the newly opened SkyLift cablelift in Loen. It´s some 50 euros, but those who do it says the view is awesome at some 3000 ft above the sea level.

I have stayed at the Oldevatn camping several times, and prefer this to any over-priced hotel accomodation: Due to heavy tourist traffic, accomodation prices tends to be in the higher end of the scale in the summer. But the camp sites are usually set at wonderful sites, and renting a cabin for a night or two shouldn´t break your budget.

The return ride was a rather uneventful ride in poor weather back home. But still – it was a day on the bike, which is always a good day.

Categories: bikes, Images of Norway, norway, Rallies, Routes, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Checking out the Cali

Last winter I bought a 1999 Moto Guzzi EV 1100 California with the intent to build a sidecar rig. Today I celebrated spring by taking it on its maiden voyage (in my ownership, that is). Still without the sidecar attached – but what a ride it is!

HP Calif Guzzi

Even though I owned a Moto Guzzi California 1400 for a couple of years, I have never been too keen on cruisers. However, late last year I sold my trusty winter comrade, a Moto Guzzi 850 T5 with a Watsonian sidecar, to a buddy who had crashed his own sidecar rig a couple of weeks earlier. My T5, after serving as a winter rig for more than a decade, was up for a major overhaul, and my buddy was more than happy to take the job as long as he could buy my rig.

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Me on my 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 (top) and my trusty winter rig,
a Moto Guzzi 850 T5 with a Watsonian sidecar (under).

Hence, I needed to start looking for suitable objects to build a new sidecar – and there it was: A nice, blue 1999 EV 1100 California, available at a very good price. So I bought it, and started looking for a sidecar which I could attach to it. I ended up with an old Dnepr tub which will need some refurbishing, but all in all it might become a good rig.

Today was a marvellously splendid and sunny day. One of those days you just cannot stay indoors. So after servicing my wife’s Moto Guzzi Breva 750, I took my “new” California for its maiden voyage. And lo and behold! It is actually a very capable motorcycle! It is pulling strongly (which will make it ideal for sidecar pulling), and is rather comfy. I actually enjoyed my little trip in the spring sun to such a degree that I will take the Cali for another spin tomorrow on my way to work.

Who would have thought that?

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Right then – spring is (nearly) here!

So we’ve been through the New Year’s Rally 1st weekend in January and the venerable Primus Rally the last full weekend of February. Now it’s time to plan for this summer’s escape!

From this year’s New Year’s Rally, 1st full weekend of January. It was cool, and I debuted on my new Yamaha Tricity scooter with studded tires on a winter rally. Worked a treat!

This summer I will do all of Norway. Top to bottom. But in two legs: First, I’m having a bunch of biker friends from Finland coming over in July. My wife and I are spending ten days with this excellent crew. It’s their third time riding in Norway, and I’ve rigged a route – The Social South Bike Tour, Norway 2017 – for us. It’ll take us to Trollstigen and Geiranger (of course), Olden, Hardanger, Road 13 down towards Stavanger, Suleskard mountain road including the Lysebotn serpentines, Dalen, ending the trip near Oslo. It’ll be a hoot, especially since a couple of my Guzzi friends in the West are considering throwing us a barbequeue party to remember, with pit roasted suckle pig and plenty of home brewed ale (so maybe we will not remember after all…). But I cannot reveal the whole thing here – in case some of my Finnish friends reads this.

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The Svartisen Glacier in Nordland county. I took this pic last year while guiding a bunch of Finns to Lofoten along the Coastal Road 17.

The second leg is with my 81 year old mum. We have since long planned a 14 day long trip from Finnmark far north, where she lives, all the way down south with her riding in the tub of my sidecar. Her recent osteoporosis scans forced us to alter those plans, however, so we’ll take the car. It’s a convertible, though, so we will get wind in our hair anyway!

So start planning, people! There are miles and miles of splendid roads and fantastic scenery awaiting you here in Norway. And a trip here doesn’t have to break your bank.

 

 

Categories: Misc, Uncategorized, Winter rides | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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