Author Archives: HansP@RideNorway

About HansP@RideNorway

I was riding my Guzzi over the Atlantic Road in the North West of Norway a while ago. Even though the weather wasn't bright and shiny, the scenery was absolutely stunning, as were the roads. I concluded that I live in something which must be close to motorcycle heaven, and that more riders should know about this. Hence this blog. My goal is to inspire you to ride Norway, and to help you do so without breaking your bank account. See you on the road somewhere!

9 December: Top 3 Viking destinations

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

3 December: Top 3 Viking destinations of Norway

Norway is also about vikings, of course. If you are into viking lore, you need to visit at least these three to get a flavour of our heritage.

1) The Viking Planet

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An impressive digital Viking installation! (Image: TheVikingPlanet.com)

This is the world’s first digital Viking museum. It opened in 2019 in Oslo, right next to the City Hall, and is the first in a series of digital viking museums that are planned in Norway and abroad. Check it out to satisfy your viking cravings!

 

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The Oseberg, Tune and Gokstad viking ships at display. (Image: UiO Museum of Cultural History)

2) The Viking Ship Museum

Also in Oslo, this museum displays the spectacular Oseberg, Tune and Gokstad viking ships. They used to be sea-going vessels until the were used in burials back in the days. They were discovered in the early 20th century, and you can now see them in flesh – or wood, if you will – at the Viking Ship Museum in Bygdøy, Oslo. Go there!

 

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The Chieftain’s House. (Image: The Lofotr Viking Museum)

3) The Lofotr Viking Museum

This is in Lofoten, and if you are there anyway – which any rider visiting Norway should – you may as well ride to this museum to check out how the Vikings built their longhouses and lived back in the days. You can also sail in a viking ship – replica, of course – in the sea nearby.

Have you other Viking places in Norway to recommend? Let us know in the comments below! Or read on here.

Categories: Northern Norway | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

8 December: Top 3 Winter Rallies of Norway

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

8 December: Top 3 Winter Rallies

Norwegian riders rides in the winter too. Where there are riders, there are rallies. These are RideNorway’s Top 3 Winter Rallies:

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The Primus Rally. Sometimes snowy, sometimes just downright cold. (Image: RideNorway.com)

1. The Primus Rally

Probably the most know of them all on these shores. This quintessential winter rally has been going on for some 50 years. No-one seems to know exactly when it was organized – or rather: Not organized – for the first time, but it was sometime in the very early 1970s. It is the Norwegian winter rally that attracts the most foreign riders too. It’s always in the last full weekend of February – book your ferry tickets now! Check out YouTube for videos from the rally, or have a look at this one, from 1980. The funny thing is that it looks more or less the same today as it did 40 years ago.

 

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The Woodgatherer Rally is always in the 1st full weekend after the 1st winter day, which is 14 October. (Image: RideNorway.com)

2. The Woodgatherer Rally

Even though this rally is held in October, and not nearly as cold as the Primus, it is technically still a winter rally. It is always held at the 1st full weekend after the 1st winter day, which is 14 October. It is also held at the same place as the Primus Rally, at Fjorda in Bjoneroa. A wonderful rally!

 

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The New Year’s Rally is a fantastic blend of bikes and fireworks. And snow.  (Image: RideNorway.com)

3. The New Year’s Rally

In the first full weekend of January – sometimes the second full weekend – the ladies and gentlemen of Sandefjord MCC throws a New Year’s Rally at Trollsvann in Vestfold. People show up with their bikes, tents, cooking gear and – above all – fireworks at a parking in the deep forest, celebrating the New Year as only winter riders can. Highly recommended!

For more information on winter rallies, visit this page. For tips on winter riding, read here. And if you disagree with this list, let us hear in the comments below!

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

7 December: Top 5 Fjords of Norway

Norwegians celebrate “Jul” (from old norse Yule) on 24 December. RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

7 December: Top 5 Fjords of Norway

 

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The Geiranger fjord is one of many fantastic fjordscapes in Norway. Be prepared for a busy viewing point at The Eagle’s Bend coming down towards Geiranger. (Image: RideNorway)

Norway has it fair share of wonderful fjordscapes. Some of them are included in the Unesco World Heritage Sites list, and at least one of them should be on the list of any first-time rider to Norway.

This time, you don’t have to take it from RideNorway. Travel and Leisure India has already put together the Top 5 Fjords of Norway list. Whether the ranking is fair doesn’t really matter, as they are all worthy their place on the list.

So visit Travel and Leisure, and start planning!

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6 December: Top 3 food festivals in Norway

Norwegians celebrate “Jul” (from old norse Yule) on 24 December. RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

6 December: Top 3 food festivals in Norway

Going to food festivals is a great way of getting a great chew for a small price. So also in Norway. The foodies are having more choices than ever in this country, and some regions have really got their act together and are producing high quality foodstuff which you can sample in abundance. RideNorway has been to several throughout the years, and these are our top 3 picks:

 

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Trøndersk Food Festival in Trondheim. If you are a foodie: Go there. If you are not: Go there anyway. Image: RideNorway

1) Trøndersk Matfestival – Trondheim

The Mid-Norway region – the county of Trøndelag – is getting a firm grip on becoming the most important local food region of Norway. In late July/early August, the Trønders are celebrating their fantastic food and beer culture by throwing “Trøndersk Matfestival” in the middle of the town of Trondheim. Whole streets are full of food samples, outlets, local fast food and drinks – a spectacle that we can wholeheartedly recommend. Everything is under tent roofs, so even in poor weather you can enjoy this festival. Park your bike for a day or two, and indulge in flavours that could only come from Norway!

 

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Happy food, happy people in Stavanger. Image: RideNorway

2) Gladmatfestivalen – Stavanger

Literally “The Happy Food Festival” is an annual event taking place in July in the oil capital of Norway, Stavanger in the South West of the country. It is not far from the entry port of Kristiansand, in case you take the ferry from Denmark. The festival takes place downtown Stavanger, covering the whole harbour area. Even if this is not strictly a Norwegian flavour’s festival, you can find high quality edibles for a meager price during the days the festival lasts. As in Trondheim, they usually have a beer festival tent close by, if you need to quench your thirst. The only major downside of this festival, is the constant influx of cruise ship tourists clogging the festival area.

 

3) Bergen Food Festival – Bergen

This is still one for RideNorway to visit, but it is definitely on the shortlist of great food festivals in Norway – if we take hear-say into account. It is held in Bergen – a pretty town on the west coast of Norway, worth a visit in any case. The festival, usually held in end-August/early September, includes the Cider Festival. Believe it or not, but cider from the Hardanger region is truly delicious! It must have something to do with traditions going back to the 13th century, great craftmanship and nice surroundings for the fruit trees.

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5 December: 17 things Norwegians love about Norway

Norwegians celebrate “Jul” (from old norse Yule) on 24 December. RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

5 December: 17 things Norwegians love about Norway

The 17 May celebration of our 1814 Constitution is in itself a spectacle like few others: Norwegians – young and old – dress up in their finest costumes and dresses, goes out in the streets, wave their flags, views the marching bands parading, greet the King (if in Oslo), and generally indulge in – to outsiders – a strange show of patriotism. Some adults dilute their patriotism with generous amounts of Champagne for breakfast, but each to their own.

In 2014, at our 200th Constitution Day Celebration, the national newspaper VG did a poll amongst Norwegians, having them voting over the 17 things they love about Norway. Very national-centric, of course, but still: These facts may help you in your efforts to interact with the locals.

 

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“Winter” ended up on the 17th place on the list of things that Norwegians love about Norway. Riders, of course, cope whatever the weather or whichever season. Image: RideNorway

1) Freedom of expression
2) A varied nature
3) That Norwegians go for long hikes
4) Gender equality
5) That people live all over the country
6) That most people are economically well off
7) Norway’s wealth
8) Egalitarianism
9) Winter sports
10) High taxes and well-funded public services
11) The big differences in the seasons
12) The Royal Family
13) The egalitarian public school system
14) Policies on intoxicating substances
15) Multiculturalism
16) High level of subsidies to the agriculture
17) The winter

Some of these one can clearly understand. Others are quite… odd? What do you think? Leave your comment below!

Categories: Good to know, norway | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

4 December: Top 3 destinations NOT in the official Norway guidebooks

Norwegians celebrate “Jul” (from old norse Yule) on 24 December. RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

4 December: Top 3 destinations NOT in the official Norway guidebooks

If you are a seasoned Norway traveller, or just want to go to places that are not necessarily the postcard picture perfect place, this post is for you. You really don’t care too much for the crowded (all in relative terms, of course – this is not Venice…) tourist attractions in Norway, but are instead looking for places which give you solitude, quietness and additional bragging rights when back home in the local pub with your friends. You are willing to ride that extra mile just to get to this place, and don’t mind staying the night in your tent – so here it is, RideNorway’s Top 3 destinations NOT in the official Norway guidebooks:

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Hessdalen is peaceful, quiet and a great place to walk the dog. But in a leash. Because of the sheep. Image: RideNorway

1) Hessdalen

Hessdalen is a somewhat secluded valley not far from Røros, in the middle of Norway. Or middle of nowhere, depending on your take. Hessdalen is one of RideNorway’s favourite spots to find peace and quiet in this part of the country, but despite its quietness it still has some suspense to offer: Hessdalen’s claim to fame is the odd light phenomenons that may – or may not – occur at any given time. There are apparently studies of these phenomenons taking place. But for us, it’s a place of tranquility. Follow the road beyond where it goes gravel, and find your spot to put up your tent whenever you like. Bring everything you need – it is a bit to ride to the nearest grocery store if you forgot your bacon to your breakfast eggs.

 

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Finnskogen is a favourite rideout for many gravel enthusiasts. Image: RideNorway

2) Finnskogen

Finnskogen – or “The Forest of the Finns” – is an area in the South-East of Norway, bordering Sweden. Its name origins from the Finns that migrated here in the 17th century. But to you, it is an area of forested secludedness. An area where you can hone your gravel riding skills, while finding those sweet spots near a lake to put up your tent and try you fishing luck. Even though it is pretty accessible by vehicles, not many venture into these forests, which makes it a sweet playground for you and your bike. The silence is breathtaking, which makes it the perfect hideout for a couple of days to lower your puls rate.

 

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Fiskevollen has its 10th century charm somewhat intact. Image: RideNorway

3) Fiskevollen

Fiskevollen is Norway’s largest inland fishing village, dating back to the 10th century. It is situated in Rendalen in the South-East of Norway, and sits at some 700 meters above the sea level. Today, it is holiday homes for the locals, but it has retained its picturesque quality. The Sølensjøen lake is a nice place to try your fishing luck, and you can put up your tent out of ear’s reach of the few people that occupy the cottages during the summer months. It can be chilly at this height even in the summer, so to experience a night or two at Fiskevollen: Make sure your sleeping gear can take it. Oh, and the road there is a wonderful gravel road!

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3 December: Top 3 craft beers of Norway

Norwegians celebrate “Jul” (from old norse Yule) on 24 December. RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

3 December: Top 3 craft beers of Norway

These tips are only to be followed when you have parked your bike for the day. Remember: Norwegian highway police enforce (for all practical purposes) a zero tolerance in DUI. Whatever you do in your home country: Do NOT drink and ride while in Norway.

Apart from that, you are always more than welcome to enjoy proper Norwegian beer. Whereas Norwegian cuisine – you know, lutefish, smoked sheep head and the lot – may sound questionable at best (even if it tastes wonderful, at least to Norwegians), the beers we have to offer are top notch! For many, many decades, Norwegians and everybody else thought Norway had no beer brewing tradition, and that beer was best brewed in the UK, Germany and Belgium with the traditional lager, ale or wild yeast. A few years back, the prominent beer conoisseur Lars Marius Garshol started to investigate Norwegian farmhouse ales. Lo and behold: An all Norwegian, fourth class of yeast was discovered – the Kveik. Kveik is very special, as it is fermented at really high temperatures (up to +42C), making the beer ready to drink in just a couple of days. Each kveik has its own characteristics, depending on where in the country it is from. Some have really citric flavours, others more earthy, others again more floral or fruity. But we can assure you that the beer is top stuff, and the yeast itself has become an export article to the beer brewers of the world.

You simply must sample this beer when in Norway, even if you thought you didn’t like beer. Assuming you’re not seeking out local brewers of traditional farmhouse ales, you have to buy it. Here’s RideNorway’s top 3 list:

1) Voss bryggeri – Jolabrygg

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Voss Bryggeri – Jolabrygg. Image: Vossbryggeri.com

This is a brew for celebration of the Winter Solstice, or “Jul / Jol”. But it is so good that it deserves to be drank all year. It is not like the traditional dark ales served at this time of year. Rather, it is a golden, slightly sweeter, but oh so fruity beer. If you cannot find it, look up “Vossaøl” or “Kveika Rugøl” from the same brewery. They are almost as good, and are usually easier to source in the summer.

2) Haandbryggeriet – Earthkveik

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Haandbryggeriet – Earth Kveik. Image: haandbryggeriet.com

A slightly lighter kveik beer with more earthy flavours, and more hops. It is perfect accompanied by something to nibble after a long day’s ride. It is sold in 0.33cl flasks, so a bit more awkward to transport in your pannier – but it is wort(h) it. Perhaps the best beer to get you introduced to kveik beers.

3) Ego Brygghus – Helt Rått

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Ego Brygghus – Helt Rått raw pale ale. Image: ego-brygghus.com

The wort in this pale ale has not been boiled, as is customary with beer elsewhere, which is why it is called a raw beer, or “rå”, hence its name “Helt Rått”. It is double dry hopped, instilling slightly more bitterness to the usually fruity kveik brews. It has the full body of a raw beer, while retaining the juicy flavours. A good thirst quencher after a day in the saddle!

You might have to seek out the Vinmonopolet which is a state owned and run monopoly for sales of alcoholic beverage above 4.7% vol to find these (except Helt Rått, which may be found in well assorted groceries or at Gulating). The Vinmonopolet outlets are found everywhere. If you have trouble finding one, ask any local. They know where to find one.

Oh, and if you are into beer brewing and want to learn more about kveik and how to brew with it, seek out kveiktraining.com. Maybe you’d like to make a stop-over out West to learn the trade while you’re in Norway anyway?

Do you have other favourite beers? Let us know in the comments below!

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 December: Top 3 roadside snacks of Norway

Norwegians celebrate “Jul” (from old norse Yule) on 24 December. RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

2 December: Top 3 Roadside snacks of Norway

Norwegian chefs are actually very competent. They win Bocuse d’Or, and the Nordic’s only 3 star Michelin Restaurant is in Oslo. But as the smart biker that you are, you will not burn your hard earned money there, as you have motorcycle gas tanks to fill and places to go. As you are curious by default, you of course wonder what this country has to offer when it comes to local specialities – in particular roadside snacks. You have heard of lutefisk, smoked sheep’s head, and other delicacies. These are not the roadside snacks you are looking for, and besides they are hardly available in the summer. You want local specialities that you can savour en route, and these are our Top 3 Roadside Snacks of Norway:

 

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Dried reindeer heart. What’s not to like? (Image: www.rorosrein.no)

Dried reindeer heart. It might sound pretty hefty, but rest assured, it is probably some of the most tasty cured meat you’ll ever have. It is hard to come by in the Southern parts of Norway, as there are no reindeer herds there (apart from in the Røros area), but you can get some in the North (and Røros). Also perfect with a wee dram and beer after a day’s ride! A good substitute for this delicacy will be dried, plain reindeer meat.

 

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Valldal strawberries. Buckets of taste bombs! (Image: www.jordbaerivalldal.no)

Strawberries from Valldal, Toten and Biri. Every other country claims to have the best strawberries. They are all wrong. The very, very best strawberries are found in Valldal, Toten and Biri. We kid you not. When you are in the Geiranger area, you will find numerous outlets selling Valldal berries. Just North of Oslo you will find Toten and Biri, where they grow berries that are only matched by those from Valldal. You will find roadside strawberry sellers who will provide you with these savoury taste bombs. Make sure you ask for Toten and Biri strawberries!

 

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Dried cod. A snack for special occasions. (Image: lofoten.no)

 

Dried cod. When you go to Lofoten, this is what you need to get. They sell small bags of dried cod in practically any store (also in the South of Norway). If you want to be like the locals, you buy a whole dried fish. It may smell a bit after a while when resting in your pannier, though, so the bagged version may be preferred. It is high on protein, and very tasty – at least when you learn to appreciate the taste. Also a winner in combination with a beer.

So what do you think? Will you try all these when you come to Norway? Or do you have other favourites that you have sampled when visiting us? Let us know in the comments below!

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1 December: Norway’s Top 3 motorcycle roads

Norwegians celebrate “Jul” (from old norse Yule) on 24 December. RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

1 December: Top 3 Roads of Norway

We all have our favourite riding roads. Some like the gravel road kind, others like the scenic ones. Norway is full of wonderful motorcycle roads, so choosing the best is almost impossible. However, this is RideNorway’s current top pick:

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The Varanger Route is right on top of our (current) Top 3 Roads of Norway. (Photo: RideNorway.com)

1) The Varanger Route. 160 km’s of very special road from Varangerbotn to Hamningberg way up North in Norway. It’s one of our favourite routes because it’s not overfilled with tourists in slow camper vans, the scenerys different from anything else, and this writer is from the area. Ok, very biased, but the fact remains: If you can, do the Varanger road. You will not regret it.

 

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The Suleskar Mountain Road seems like it was made for motorcycles. It’s just great! (Photo: Suleskarvegen.no)

2) The Suleskar Mountain Road. It is true: This road was practically made for motorcycles. It is narrow, twisty and great fun. It takes you over a magnificent mountain range, and leads you even to Lysebotn. The hairpins taking you there are legendary. The only downside is that you will encounter some camper vans along the route. They may be hard to pass due to the at times narrow road, but most of the drivers are polite and will pull over to let you pass. Don’t let this minor annoyance put you off: Explore Suleskar!

 

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You must not miss the Coastal Route – Road 17 – when you visit Norway. Ride along it and feel the heartbeat rate slow to a leisurly pace. (Photo: RideNorway.com)

3) The Coastal Route of Northern Norway. No list is complete without it. 650 kms, plenty of ferries – this is the road you choose to lower your heartbeat. Make sure you plan somewhat ahead to see all the juicy parts, which may require a deviation from the Road 17 itself. You should plan for at least 5 days, although it is doable in 3 if you hasten through. But you do not want to do that. It needs to be savoured slowly.

If you have been riding Norway – do you agree with these picks? Or do you have other favourites? Leave your comment below!

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Julian’s Journey to Nordkapp

Britton Julian Davies undertook a month-long trip to Nordkapp and beyond to raise money for the battle against cancer.

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Julian Davies is a Brit restaurant owner and – above all – a motorcycle enthusiast. Here with his trusty Suzuki V-strom which he rode on his epic journey.

Julian visited Nordkapp in May. While this may be a good month to ride in other parts of Europe, you may encounter snow and even blizzards when passing the Arctic Circle. Which is what Julian experienced. He also outran Hells Angels in Denmark, was invited to a meal and a bed by some Norwegian farmers, found Troll droppings outside his camp cabin, had coffee in a hotel manager’s office – and a lot more. Read about his amazing journey, chronicheled by Steve Evans, and see the images: Julian’s Blog – By Steve Evans

Categories: Northern Norway, norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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