Routes

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

A tradition is born

9 people, 7 bikes, 4 days, 3 nationalities – 1 brilliant ride! Actually so brilliant that we need to do it again next year. 

The crew from Finland: Antti, Mia, Jaana, Reijo, Ilpo and Timo, flanked by Danish Andreas.

The crew from Finland: Antti, Mia, Jaana, Reijo, Ilpo and Timo, flanked by Danish Andreas.

Ilpo (FIN), Andreas (DK) and myself (NO) are working for the same company in our respective countries. When we learned that we also loved to ride motorcycles, the plans for a joint ride in Norway took shape rather rapidly. So when the day arrived for a proper Tour de Force in the tenderloin of the Southern and North Western Norway this Thursday in June, we were no less than six Finns on four bikes, two Norwegians on each of our bikes, and a Dane on his. A pretty good set-up for an extended weekend.

Even though the bike models were spread from my rather off road biased KTM 690 Enduro via my wife Sølvi´s Moto Guzzi Breva 750 and Andreas´ Honda SP1 to the Finns´Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Heritage whatever, the route we chose was suitable for all. You can find the majority of the route here.

We had decided to go for a more luxurious accomodation than I usually prefer. Tents and self catering was substituted with hotels and multi course dinners with a fine selection of wines. Very comfortable and dangerously addictive…

Therefore we chose to meet at Nermo Hotel just north of Lillehammer. I met up with Andreas as he pulled off the ferry from Copenhagen on the Thursday morning, and we set off for Nermo. My wife had some work to do first, so she would join us later in the evening. The Finns – Ilpo, Mia, Reijo, Antti, Timo and Jaana – arrived by ferry to Stockholm the very same morning and set in for a 700 km ride towards Nermo. Andreas and I tried to find all the smallest roads towards the hotel, just to extend the trip a wee bit in the warm and sunny weather.

At Nermo, we found that we had the whole hotel to ourselves, so when the rest of the crew arrived in the late afternoon, we had our riders´meeting and dinner quite uninterrupted in the hotel´s library. The Finns even brought the necessary ingredients to make “salmiakki-kosso” as a gift: Koskenkorva vodka with bon-bons which you soak in the spirit to flavour it. Apparently a Finnish speciality which we will try out in due time. Oh, and they also brought Moomin cups from which to drink the stuff. Very posh.

Friday morning was as sunny as the previous day, so when we set off for Venabygd mountain and Rondane, we couldn´t have asked for a more scenic friendly weather. The Finns and Dane, more accustomed to the flatness of their countries, seemed pretty satisfied with the scenery. Mia was even a bit sceptical when I told her that this was just a warm-up for the scenery ahead of us. But as it would prove later, it was.

After Oppdal, heading towards Sunndalsøra, Kristiansund and the Atlantic Road, the Weather Gods decided to test our spirits. They opened all the showers and sprayed us thoroughly. The Atlantic Road, which usually is quite an experience to ride across, was now cold, wet and something we hurried across to get to our chosen accomodation for the night, the Hustadvika gjestegård. My KTM´s speedo decided to call it the day at the last tank stop before the Atlantic Road, presumably getting tired of all the water. My wife´s Breva had a small oil leakage through a brittle valve cover oil seal, but none of these were serious faults and did not hamper our trip.

At Hustadvika gjestegård, we dried ourselves, seeking refuge in a wee drop of Jaloviina, and had another wonderful dinner as we watched the skies clear up and hoping for less rain the next morning. When Saturday morning broke, it was still raining. It eased off after breakfast, allowing me to fix the Breva´s wee oil leakage, so when we set off for Trollstigen, it was only raining a bit here and a bit there. The scenery as we neared Trollstigen was very dramatic, with the low hanging clouds and wet road. But the pay-off when we got to the top (and the souvenir shop where mandatory Trollstigen regalias were bought) was no less than awesome. The rain kept easing off, and we started to feel the heat from the sun as we set off towards Geiranger.

When we settled for lunch at the Jordbærstedet cafe, the sun had returned, and the ride got even more joyful. We could not have asked for better circumstances as we entered the Eagel´s Bend to look out on the Geiranger fjord. Mia now realised why the Venabygd and Rondane mountains were only warm-up. Reijo decided that the view was unreal and had to be created by special effects, smoke and mirrors. Andreas on his Honda was just a big grin inside his helmet, and Antti couldn´t get enough of video taping it all. Indeed a fantastic ride and a fantastic view. Even if we had to negotiate our bikes through a rather tourist crowded Geiranger to get to the mountain top on the other side, we were quite a happy band of riders when we met the intersection of the Stryn mountain road, which would eventually take us back to Lillehammer and our final stay-over for this trip.

Reijo, a seasoned rider who as taken his bike to most parts of the world, including the Americas, Myanmar and Africa, concluded that parts of the road he had ridden today was all the way on the top of all he had ever enjoyed on a bike. Quite a statement, and quite an endorsement of Norwegian motorcycle roads.

The trip was a success to such an extent that we decided to repeat it next year, only then we´ll go to Finland. It will not be like this trip – but it will be different. And in the end, that is what it is all about.

Andreas and yours truly on our way to Nermo Hotel.

 

Andreas and his bike, although not for rent.

A KTM 690 Enduro works fine in Norway, I´d say.

Cheers to the Gudbrands Valley!

Ilpo (left), yours truly, and Andreas. We are working for the same company in our respective countries.

My wife Sølvi´s Moto Guzzi Breva 750.

Well, the Finns have their regalias in order.

Even flying flags from their Harleys 🙂

Sølvi at Venabygd mountain, Andreas in the background.

Taking in the view of the Rondane mountains

A wee stop on our way to Trollstigen. This is at Bolsøya.

Parked at Trollstigen, watching over the bikes while the rest of the crew takes in the view.

Sølvi (left), Mia and Ilpo at Geiranger.

Final dinner at Hvelvet Restaurant in Lillehammer.

Categories: Routes, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Viking biking destinations

Why not turn your bike trip in Norway into a Viking theme trip?

Norway is famed for its viking heritage, and here you can find the Top 5 picks where you can learn more about a culture that was far from as savage as it has been portrayed especially in popular culture. More importantly: You can get to drink proper honey mead!

The Oseberg ship. (Photo: Grzegorz Wysocki)

The Oseberg ship. (Photo: Grzegorz Wysocki)

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Fly the Atlantic Road

Check out this fly-over video of the Atlantic Road! What is your favorite road in Norway?

The Atlantic Road should be on anyone's bucket list.

The Atlantic Road should be on anyone’s bucket list.

I am extremely fascinated by the Atlantic Road. It is one of the most wonderful pieces of road in this country – and that says a lot! This 8274 meter long road connects Eide with my favorite place in these parts of Norway, Averøy Island. It was opened in 1989, and is one of the most visited places in this country. The road comprises of no less than 8 bridges, making the road seem like it’s “jumping” between the small islands on which it run. The tallest bridge, Storseisundbrua, is at 260 meters. The UK newspaper The Guardian even ranked the Atlantic Road on top of its list of the best road trips in the world. Actually, the whole road from Kristiansund, through the undersea tunnel to Averøy, across the island and the Atlantic Road, further onwards along the Hustadvika to Bud is one fantastic motorcycle trip in itself. Make sure you visit it when you come here!

If you already have a favorite road in Norway – which is it?

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