Winter rides

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

Embracing winter

These days, most riders are parking their bikes for the winter in our part of the world. Not so with a handful of die-hards who have their winter season inauguration rally 16 – 18 October.

Ivar and Knut enjoys the early Saturday morning at the Woodgatherer Rally.

Ivar and Knut enjoys the early Saturday morning at the Woodgatherer Rally.

Some 40 years ago, a handful of guys established the Primus Winter Rally, which is held in February each year at Fjorda in Bjoneroa, some 1.5 hrs riding from Oslo. In preparation for this rally, some of them went to the site in October to – well – chop some wood for the upcoming event. In a matter of a few years, this turned into a rally in itself – The Woodgatherer Rally. Even if there is not much wood chopping these days, the rally in itself has become an inauguration of the winter season for a handful of die-hard winter riders. Not accepting that motorcycle riding should be restricted to the summer months, they venture into the cold on two or three wheels, adapting to the winter chill with proper gear for both man and machine.

The Woodgatherer Rally is always held in the first weekend after the first winter day, which is 14 October. So if you want to come and join some 50-60 fellow riders, you are most welcome. Be aware, though, that you need to bring everything you need yourself: Tent, a proper sleeping bag, food and your preferred paraffin/kerosene stove. There is no bar, showers, restaurant or hotel rooms to be found at the site (although most camps turns into some sort of bar during the evenings).

What can be promised, though, is an experience you’ll remember! Check out the videos below for more info and inspiration.

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

Frozen

The first pics and videos from last weekend’s Primus Rally is hitting the web. What a rally they had!

(Video published by permission of Roger Visser)

Roger Visser and his crew from the Netherlands rode some of the ca 80 bikes from several countries that rallied together in the Fjorda area of Bjoneroa last weekend for the annual Primus Rally. Alas, due to duties for the Norwegian Motorcyclists’ Union, I couldn’t participate myself this year. But the video from Roger shows some of the good things that goes on in the frozen period in Norway. Reportedly, it was a mild venue this year, only -16C during the night, and around 0C in the daytime. Nothing scary, in other words.

You can also see some pics if you tune into the Primus Rally Facebook Page. Enjoy!

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Yay! Soon Primus time!

I said to my Danish Triumph-riding friend Lars: You have to go to the Primus Rally to become a fully fledged motorcyclist. It’s not true, of course, because I just wanted to lure him over to Norway to join me for a rally because he’s a good guy. But besides that, the (in)famous Primus is due the upcoming weekend, if you need to grow some hair on your chest.

It’s been around for a while. Some say 43 years. Others 45. The fact remains: It’s by far the most popular winter rally in Norway. At least of the ones where you camp outdoors. Usually the attendance is anywhere from 90 to 120 bikes.

The Primus has always been organized the last full weekend of February. It’s never been advertised or anything. People know when it is and just turns up. A lot of Danes, some Germans, Norwegians of course, a few Swedes, and the other year we had visitors all the way from Scotland (thanks for the tin of haggis, by the way – it IS really good!)

The upcoming weekend is Primus Rally weekend!

The upcoming weekend is Primus Rally weekend!

It’s not like the Elefanten treffen in Germany nor the Dragon Rally in Wales. It is not even near being what the Krystall Rally is. The Primus is a very simple rally, where what you bring with you is all you have. A local merchant comes along with some firewood which he sells for quite reasonable prices, and there is a boombox – if you know what I am referring to – available. Other than these quite modern amenities, you have to bring everything yourself to camp for a couple of days out in the woods of Fjorda near Bjoneroa. The riding time is approximately 2 hrs from Oslo, if you’re considering to join.

You should.

Here’s a video from a previous year you can have a look at while you book your ferry ticket and scramble your gear.

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Krystall weekend

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This is from my 2006 trip to the Krystall rally. Putte on his Corda tried to pull-start my Ural, but to no avail…

This weekend is the Krystall Rally taking place in Norway. It is a winter motorcycle rally up in the mountains somewhere in the southern part of the country. It has moved around a bit, but this year it is in the Rondane mountains.

What is in my view special about this rally, beside it being organized for 44 years this year, is that it is held at a hotel. So you ride there, park your bike, and carry your stuff to a nice, warm room. Not a bad idea, really, and certainly it has become popular among foreign riders, as I have understood it.

Not that I would know, though, because I was there only once, nearly ten years ago, in 2006. I had a Ural sidecar rig at the time, and my buddy Tor with his immaculate Guzzi rig and I went there. To make a long story short, the Ural broke down on the morning of departure from the hotel, so I had to ride in the tub of Tor’s Guzzi to get home and fetch the Ural a couple of days later by car and trailer.

Anyway: Krystall Rally might be a nice way of meeting other winter riders and learn from their experience, if you’re new to this. You don’t have to worry about camping out and all that. All you need to think of, is how to get there. And preferably back too.

Tor on his Guzzi and me on my Ural en route to Krystall 2006. Wow, time flies...

Tor on his Guzzi and me on my Ural en route to Krystall 2006. Wow, time flies…

The rally at that time was held at Oset h√łyfjellshotell. Posh winter luxury.

The rally at that time was held at Oset h√łyfjellshotell. Posh winter luxury.

Some of the rally goers back in 2006.

Some of the rally goers back in 2006.

Categories: Winter rides | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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