Good to know

Show your Norway know-how!

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

Geiranger

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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9 useful things to bring

Beside your bike, riding gear, passport and credit card, there are a few things that makes out the mainstay of every riders touring set-up. These are the 9 things I can’t do without.

A lavvo is the ultimate compromise between enough living space and pack size. A mainstay in my touring set-up.

A lavvo is the ultimate compromise between enough living space and pack size. A mainstay in my touring set-up.

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Nordkapp – not the Top of Europe

So you want to ride to the top of Europe? Nordkapp isn’t it – but you can still reach it.

The classic North Cape pic, as my buddy Jon and I saw it. Photo: HP

The classic Nordkapp picture. But you are not on top of mainland Europe when you’re standing by the Globe.

After many adventurous miles on your motorcycle, you finally reach your goal. The North Cape – Nordkapp. You park your bike and wander along the path leading to the plateau and ask a fellow tourist to take a picture of you beside the famous Globe. You are on top of the world. On top of mainland Europe. Only – you aren’t.

Contrary to popular belief, Nordkapp is not the northernmost point in Europe. Some argue that the fact that Nordkapp is situated on the Magerøya Island in itself disqualifies it from being the northernmost point on mainland Europe. But for some reason, Nordkapp has gotten away with it, especially after they built the under sea tunnel connecting the mainland and Magerøya Island. Heavy marketing has also led most people to accept that the Nordkapp plateau IS the northernmost point.

But even if we accept that Magerøya is a part of the mainland, Nordkapp (N 71° 10’ 21”) is still not farthest to the north. Actually, it is Knivskjelodden (N 71° 11’ 08”). Knivskjelodden is a small peninsula west-northwest of the Nordkapp plateau. It is nearly 1.500 meters further north than the plateau itself, and you can see it when you stand by the Globe.

The good thing is that Knivskjelodden is reachable – but you’ll have to walk there. Some 7 kms south of the plateau,along the main road, you will find the starting point of a marked walking path leading to Knivskjelodden. The path is 8 kms long and will take you some 2 hrs to walk.

It might seem like quite an ordeal, but hey – how often are you on the real Top of Europe?

Standing by the Nordkapp globe, Jon is pointing at Knivskjelodden, where he actually has been.

Standing by the Nordkapp globe, Jon is pointing at Knivskjelodden, where he actually has been.

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Go to a rally while in Norway!

Want to visit a motorcycle rally while in Norway? The Rally Calendar is here!

Go to a bike rally while in Norway! It's great fun with great people.

Go to a bike rally while in Norway! It’s great fun with great people.

While riding around in Norway, it might be nice to have a chill weekend at a bike rally to wind down and relax. It’s a good idea in number of ways, as food and beer is a lot cheaper at rallies than anywhere else. Besides, you get to meet great people with the same interests as yourself. There are many rallies all over Norway in the summer months, and you will always find plenty of enjoyable, social fellow bikers who’d be more than happy to chat with you over a beer or two. Maybe they’ll even tell you about their secret, favorite road if you offer them a wee sip of that nice scotch you brought.

Rallies in Norway are not that big in attendance as the ones you might be used to.The largest ones, Rally Norway and the Troll Rally, typically attracts 1500-2000 bikers. Usually, the rallies are all from 100 to maybe 400 attendees. Smaller, but far easier to be social with all.

The Norwegian Motorcyclists’ Union publish a booklet, the NMCU Rally Calendar, with most interesting rallies posted. There is also an online version, although not all details of the rallies are disclosed here. The best option is to download the NMCU app, which includes maps showing all rally sites and route you directly to them. It will cost you a few bucks, though, as the app and full calendar are for NMCU members only. The good thing is that it cost only some 40 euro to join, and you pay your membership simply by downloading the app. It’s a small fee for a great service to make your trip to Norway even more enjoyable. Search for “NMCU” on AppStore or Google Play. The app is even in English, however most rally descriptions are in Norwegian. But by using Google translate and asking your fellow Norwegian riders (whom you may also get to know by posting your question at the Ride Norway Facebook Page) you will easily get by.

If you have questions regarding NMCU, the Rally Calendar or the app, contact NMCU.

The map routing feature is worth every penny!

The map routing feature is worth every penny!

You will find most of the rallies in Norway in the NMCU app.

You will find most of the rallies in Norway in the NMCU app.

The descriptions are mostly in Norwegian, but should be possible to decipher.

The descriptions are mostly in Norwegian, but should be possible to decipher.

The app is in English too, although most rally descriptions are in Norwegian. It bolsters a lot of other useful info too, also in English.

The app is in English too, although most rally descriptions are in Norwegian.

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Size doesn’t matter in Norway

For riding in Norway, practically any bike size will do. Actually, a too big one will probably be more restrictive than a smaller one.

Choosing a smaller capacity, light bike makes it easier to venture to the secluded, nice places in the forest.

Choosing a smaller capacity, light bike makes it easier to venture to the secluded, nice places in the forest, for example.

Of course you’ll have fun on your Triumph Rocket III. Even – to a certain degree – on your Boss Hoss, if that’s what you have, even though you might struggle in the tightest bends of the Lysebotn serpentines. I have toured extensively on several bikes, mainly Guzzis from 750 ccm upwards to my California 1400. I must admit, though, that in the last year or two I have toured more and more on my small capacity Yamaha WR250R. It’s more than adequate for the low speed, narrow Norwegian back roads, where you should spend most of your time anyway, while still being able to do highways (which are a max of 110 km/h anyway) without being stressed. Why, my daughter and I have even toured on a couple of pizza delivery mopeds. We didn’t venture too far on those, but it is still doable.

There are not that many long, boring highways in Norway. Except for the southern parts of the E6 and E18, and a few stretches around Trondheim, Stavanger and Bergen, the roads are usually quite small enough to be capable of catering for 125 ccm bikes too. Which means that if you have a learner youngster at home who wants to tag along, or you are a learner yourself: Do not that let it prevent you from coming over.

It’s the mindset that counts – not the tool, right?

IMG_5676

My current favorite touring machine, a Yamaha WR250R, fitted with an extra large tank for extended range and a pannier rack for soft bags.

 

 

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In Norway, you are never trespassing

To pitch a tent wherever you want on uncultivated land is a right for everyone who roams this country – Norwegian or visitor. And it adds to the experience of Norway.

To find a nice spot and pitch your tent somewhere in the uncultivated land adds to the experience of Norway.

To find a nice spot and pitch your tent somewhere in the uncultivated land adds to the experience of Norway.

With a country such as Norway, with so many beautiful areas and scenery, you might think that the access is restricted or commercialized by someone. But that isn’t the case. To Norwegians (and visitors) it is a long-standing right to roam the land without restrictions. It is actually the law: It is forbidden to deny anyone access to uncultivated land. You can freely ride your bike onto a forest road, find a nice spot, and pitch your tent without the fear of doing something illegal. You can read the fast facts about this act here.

More often than not, I bring my tent when I ride around. It gives me the ultimate sense of freedom. With a little food and a stove in my pannier, I am totally independent – at least for a couple of days – and can choose my home for the night at my whim. To me, it adds to the experience of this country. Sure, it can be nice to book into a hostel, or rent a cabin or pitch your tent at a camp site. But to really feel the tranquility and vastness of this nature, a night or two in the wild is good. And that’s what we motorcyclist are all about, right? Wild and free and all that?

Besides, it saves me for a couple of hundred NOK each night I spend wild camping…

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It’s good to be a rider in Norway

Riders in Norway enjoy a freedom that is actually quite impressive.

It's good to ride a bike in Norway. This is from near Byrkjelo in the west.

It’s good to ride a bike in Norway. This is from near Byrkjelo in the west.

Riding a bike in Norway gives you advantages that other vehicle drivers can only dream of. Just listen to this:

– Bikes can filter in traffic queues.
– Bikes are exempt from road tolls.
– Bikes are allowed to ride in the bus lane (not with a sidecar, though).
– Bikes are for the most part exempt from bridge and/or tunnel tolls (the exception being where a bridge or a tunnel has substituted a ferry, where you’d pay anyway)
– Bikes have free parking in designated areas.
– When approaching a ferry queue, you are expected to move all the way to the front, passing the queue, so that the ferry crew can stack your bike in spots where a car can’t be parked. So you’ll always be first on board.
– Automatic speed cameras do not recognize bikes (but let not that trick you into speeding).

Bikes are for all practical purposes exempt from road toll in Norway.

Road toll? Bikes are free. Naturally.

These benefits, if we can call them that, are all firmly based on reason. If we cannot use public transport, it is good for traffic that we use two-wheelers instead of congestion-creating cars. As we also are “soft” road users, we need extra protection, e.g. allow us to ride in the bus lane. And so on. Nothing of this has come by itself, though. The Norwegian motorcyclists have through their own organisation, NMCU, fought for these rights. And now you, who are coming to visit us, can enjoy exactly the same benefits.

Nice, or what?

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