Images of Norway

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

Norway from the saddle

How does Norway look from the saddle of a bike? Swede Markus Vikberg rides Norway quite frequently. This is a couple of videos he shot on a trip he did on his Triumph Tiger 800 last summer with a couple of friends. Enjoy!

Categories: Images of Norway, norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On gravel from South to North

This year’s great escape was a gravel tour from Oslo in the south to Kirkenes way up north in Norway.

Stuck in the mud somewhere in Sweden.

Stuck in the mud. I was glad I had opted for the relatively light Yamaha WR250R…

I am from up north and had planned to go there this summer to do a few preparations for my mum’s 80th anniversary. I could of course go by plane, do my stuff, and return in a couple of days. But then again – why bother doing it the easy way when I had got hold of a GPS route that would take me and my bike by gravel through all kinds of “roads” in a week? Plus another week for the return trip?

I invited a couple of riders from the local Offroad Touring Club who knew about my plans and wanted to tag along. On a trip like this I thought it would be better to be at least a couple of riders to back each other up – just in case.

A spectacular crash on day 1, but no harm done to neither man nor machine.

A spectacular crash on day 1, but no harm done to neither man nor machine.

So Nikita, Arne and myself set out 20 July. None of us had done that trip before, so we guesstimated that it would take us some 5 to 7 days to complete the trip one way. We had already agreed that the official part of the trip would end at Kirkenes, and that every man was for himself for his chosen mode, route and speed of the return trip. We set off from just outside Oslo, heading for Os in Hedmark county, where we would spend the night at a friend who’s an accomplished enduro rider, and whom had done the trip a few years earlier. But drama set in on this first day of riding: Nikita, the freshman in the trio, misjudged a right bend, locked all wheels and went off the gravel road in quite a spectacular manner. We all thought this would be the end of his trip, but luck was on Nikita’s side: No harm done neither to man nor machine, except a few scratches on the side panel of his Africa Twin and a broken indicator. A very steep learning curve indeed for our man, who learnt a lesson or two with regard to paying close attention to the road especially when riding on gravel.

Entering Finland from Sweden.

Entering Finland from Sweden.

At our friend Inge’s place we were treated with a great meal and sauna, plus some advice on the route ahead of us. Arne, who was by far the more experienced gravel rider among the three of us, took care of the navigation. We had decided to go through Sweden and Finland in search of gravel, as it is shorter (but not necessarily faster) to go through our neighbouring countries. Besides, especially Sweden has a great selection of gravel roads in a variety of qualities.

Day 2 took us from Inge’s place to another friend of ours, Fredrik. His family has a summer house in Sweden, so we were to meet him there for a stay-over. We were again met with a full meal and an outdoor spa-like mini pool with amenities such as Jägermeister and beer. Needless to say, we had to have a slow start the morning after.

The trip through Sweden was fun, and at times rather exhausting – especially through a “jungle” with muddy tracks pretending to be roads. The heavy rain in the days prior to our trip had turned it all into a swamp, and – of course – the air was quite .packed with mosquitos and midges. At least they served as great motivation to get us as fast as possible out of the swamp.

A roadside fix. A few mozzies helped on the motivation to get going...

A roadside fix. A few mozzies helped on the motivation to get going…

The northern parts of Finland had plenty of gravel roads – but not so many that went all the way through. They tended to go in to a cabin or something, and just end there. So we were forced to do quite a few miles on asphalt. Not so much fun, but at least the area is pretty to look at.

After 7 days of riding we crossed the border from Finland back into Norway and finally arrived at Kirkenes. Even though many have done this trip before, we had a high sense of accomplishment. Before we split, we toasted in coffee and ice cream and decided it had been a great trip. Actually so much that at least a couple of us wanted to do it again sometime. But that will be another story.

Reaching Kirkenes after 7 days of gravel. We felt it like quite an accomplishment.

Reaching Kirkenes after 7 days of gravel. We felt it like quite an accomplishment.

Nikita stayed on in Kirkenes and did a trip to Nikel and Murmansk. He speaks Russian, so it was practically a must for him to go there. Arne and I went on to the Varanger peninsula to try out the gravel roads there, and made it for a fast return on asphalt down south after a couple of days. Whereas Arne aimed for a week at the Bukkerittet gravel bonanza, I headed home to have a few days off before starting work again.

What I can say, though, is that my Yamaha WR250R was a really good choice for a trip like this. I was especially glad for chosing that bike when I was stuck in the mud somewhere in Sweden, and could lift the bike out to get going. So if you want to do a trip like this: Choose your bike wisely!

 

Back home to wash off the mozzies...

Back home to wash off the mozzies…

 

Staying the night at a couple of good biker friends in Nord-Trøndelag county, Liv and Merete.

Staying the night at a couple of good biker friends in Nord-Trøndelag county, Liv and Merete.

 

Another ferry on my way southbound.

Another ferry on my way southbound.

 

Troms county had put on its finest colors to greet us.

Troms county had put on its finest colors to greet us.

 

Yours truly, Arne and my brother-in-law Fritjof awaiting for the sauna to get warm enough. Vadsø in Finnmark has the highest density of saunas in Norway - or so they claim.

Yours truly, Arne and my brother-in-law Fritjof awaiting for the sauna to get warm enough. Vadsø in Finnmark has the highest density of saunas in Norway – or so they claim.

 

Vardø in Finnmark county was the scene for quite a few brutal execution of people accused of witchcraft during the 16th century. They were all burnt, and this monument is raised to their memory.

Vardø in Finnmark county was the scene for quite a few brutal execution of people accused of witchcraft during the 16th century. They were all burnt, and this monument is raised to their memory.

 

End of the road. Hamningberg in Finnmark county.

End of the road. Hamningberg in Finnmark county.

 

Arne at a road crossing somewhere on the Varanger peninsula in Northern Norway.

Arne at a road crossing somewhere on the Varanger peninsula in Northern Norway.

 

Way to go! Finnmark county has plenty of nice gravel roads to offer!

Way to go! Finnmark county has plenty of nice gravel roads to offer!

 

Yours truly giving the end-of-the-trip speech in Kirkenes...

Yours truly giving the end-of-the-trip speech in Kirkenes…

 

Entering Finland from Sweden.

Entering Finland from Sweden.

 

We saw this beauty at a stay-over in Finland. A Guzzi California 1100.

We saw this beauty at a stay-over in Finland. A Guzzi California 1100.

 

A river we chose not to cross due to depth and rocks.

A river we chose not to cross due to depth and rocks.

 

Getting to know the local beer.

Getting to know the local beer.

 

A wee bit posh eating style...

A wee bit posh eating style…

 

Break by the lake.

Break by the lake.

 

A Road Warrior rests whenever he can...

A Road Warrior rests whenever he can…

 

Kebab lunch.

Kebab lunch.

 

Nice view over the waters.

Nice view over the waters.

 

Nikita at a break somewhere in Sweden.

Nikita at a break somewhere in Sweden.

 

Arne packs his new-to-him KTM 690 Enduro.

Arne packs his new-to-him KTM 690 Enduro.

 

Chillin' out after a day's riding at a camp cabin.

Chillin’ out after a day’s riding at a camp cabin.

 

A few scares on route: A close call to riding the front wheel into the hole in this broken pipe in the middle of the woods.

A few scares on route: A close call to riding the front wheel into the hole in this broken pipe in the middle of the woods.

 

Fredrik (left) watches as Nikita packs his Africa Twin.

Fredrik (left) watches as Nikita packs his Africa Twin.

 

Arne (left) and myself prior to departure

Arne (left) and myself prior to departure

 

My weapon of choice for this trip: A Yamaha WR250R. More than capable of a trip like this.

My weapon of choice for this trip: A Yamaha WR250R. More than capable of a trip like this.

Categories: Images of Norway, norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

23 more reasons to ride Norway

If you still need reasons for visiting Norway on your bike, here are 23 more.

Reine in Lofoten. (www.earthporm.com)

The website Earthporm.com has posted these stunning images of Norway. Alright – a few of them are of taken in the winter, but still they should give you more reasons (if you need them) to pack up your bike and get over here. Not entirely unexpected, a majority of the images are from the Lofoten area. Of all the scenic pearls you’ll find in Norway, Lofoten is probably the most shiny of them all. Come see for yourself!

 

Categories: Images of Norway | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We want to see yours!

We want to see YOUR Image of Norway!

My riding buddy Jon captured this image on our way from the North Cape. He really wanted a pic with his Triumph in front of these racks that is used to dry fish. An Image of Norway. Photo: Jon Whitmore

Jon captured this image on his way from the North Cape. He really wanted a pic with his Triumph in front of these racks that is used to dry fish. An Image of Norway.
Photo: Jon Whitmore (2012)

If you have been to Norway on your bike, I am sure you have a picture that defines your experience of this country. Now we want to see it! Just that one picture that you think is the quintessence of your ride here: Was it that sunny night at the North Cape? Was it the rain and fog in Bergen? Maybe when you encountered snow beside the road over one of the mountain crossings? Whatever it is, we really want to see it! Wherever you’re from, Norway or abroad – let us see it.

Send it to me for posting on http://www.ridenorway.com, or post it directly on the Facebook page. A few details regarding your pic would be welcome too.

We’re all looking forward to your Image of Norway!

Even the camp sites in the Lofoten Islands are magnificent. Is this how you picture Norway? Photo: Jon Whitmore (2012)

Even the camp sites in the Lofoten Islands are magnificent. Is this how you picture Norway? Photo: Jon Whitmore (2012)

Categories: Images of Norway | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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