Posts Tagged With: bikes

Checking out the Cali

Last winter I bought a 1999 Moto Guzzi EV 1100 California with the intent to build a sidecar rig. Today I celebrated spring by taking it on its maiden voyage (in my ownership, that is). Still without the sidecar attached – but what a ride it is!

HP Calif Guzzi

Even though I owned a Moto Guzzi California 1400 for a couple of years, I have never been too keen on cruisers. However, late last year I sold my trusty winter comrade, a Moto Guzzi 850 T5 with a Watsonian sidecar, to a buddy who had crashed his own sidecar rig a couple of weeks earlier. My T5, after serving as a winter rig for more than a decade, was up for a major overhaul, and my buddy was more than happy to take the job as long as he could buy my rig.

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Me on my 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 (top) and my trusty winter rig,
a Moto Guzzi 850 T5 with a Watsonian sidecar (under).

Hence, I needed to start looking for suitable objects to build a new sidecar – and there it was: A nice, blue 1999 EV 1100 California, available at a very good price. So I bought it, and started looking for a sidecar which I could attach to it. I ended up with an old Dnepr tub which will need some refurbishing, but all in all it might become a good rig.

Today was a marvellously splendid and sunny day. One of those days you just cannot stay indoors. So after servicing my wife’s Moto Guzzi Breva 750, I took my “new” California for its maiden voyage. And lo and behold! It is actually a very capable motorcycle! It is pulling strongly (which will make it ideal for sidecar pulling), and is rather comfy. I actually enjoyed my little trip in the spring sun to such a degree that I will take the Cali for another spin tomorrow on my way to work.

Who would have thought that?

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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

We’re thawing up

Norway is thawing up, and spring is near. If you haven’t already, it’s time to plan for the upcoming riding season. And to get your bike ready.

While others might find bird chirps and melting snow dripping from the rooftops to be the ultimate tell-tales of spring, I am looking for the first few bold riders who couldn’t wait any longer to bring their bikes onto the roads. Even though there are spots of ice and snow on the back roads, I know they are there. And sure enough: A couple of days ago, while commuting to work, I heard the magnificent sound of a bike while inside a tunnel. He roared past me and opened up the throttle going uphill towards the exit of the tunnel. THAT is the sound of spring!

Riders from parts of the world where you can ride all year round might not quite understand the agony Norwegian riders are going through these days. We are looking at the weather forecast, waiting, getting disappointed when it suddenly starts snowing again, hoping for higher temps, waiting, waiting…

But while we’re waiting, we can plan for the season. Myself, I am getting my KTM 690 Enduro ready for action. I bought this rally kit from Italian Alberto Dottori and have spent a few weekends in the garage with my buddy Tor to make it ready. I wanted more fuel capacity and range from my KTM, which originally has only a 12 l tank. With the Dottori set-up, I am looking at close to 30 l, which probably will make those hard-to-get-to places more inviting.

I am also planning for trips and tours, of course, and will try to make some videos from the more exciting ones. I have even invested in a Lily drone, which will be delivered in June, to get some cool aerial shots. Hopefully.

So, what are your plans?

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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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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!

 

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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.

Categories: Good to know | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spring!

I think we officially can declare that spring finally has arrived!

My Guzzi California 1400 is too ready for a new season, as spring finally has arrived.

My Guzzi California 1400 is too ready for a new season, as spring finally has arrived.

At least here in the south-eastern parts of Norway. A nice sunny weekend brought bikers out from their hibernation, ending the PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome) that has ridden them through a long, dark winter. I looked over my Guzzi California 1400, which now is ready for a new season.My Yamaha WR250R is currently at a workshop where they’ll put in new, stiffer springs, but it’ll be ready by next weekend. My wife’s Guzzi Breva 750 is due for service this week, and then I think we’re ready to take on the 2015 season.

Of course, planning the new season has been going on since long. Here are a few happenings on my list: In April, we’re heading towards Evje in the southern parts of Norway, to meet up with biker friends at the Evje Rally. May will see us at the Moto Guzzi Spring Rally, whereas we in June will have a bunch of Finns over for a ride through an extended weekend. In July we’ll do a gravel road trip all the way up towards the Nordkapp – maybe the single trip I’m looking most forward to. The latter part of the season has not been planned yet, but I suspect it’ll be mostly gravel riding for my part. You’ll read all about it on this blog.

Yep, it’ll be a great season!

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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.

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

Candy store

Our biannual motorcycle fair is a big thing for riders in Norway. It’s drooling time!

A not so new bike on display at the M/C Fair.

A not so new bike on display at the M/C Fair. Still droolable, though.

It is estimated that there are some 130.000 riders in this country. Not so many compared to – say – Italy, but enough to fill the biannual fair. Besides a few small, local shows, this is actually the only motorcycle fair to be reckoned with here.

It’s hard not to be tempted by all the sweet bikes that are on display, even though I must confess I have a soft spot for older bikes. At the Guzzi club stand, for instance, I saw this 250 Airone with the classic Guzzi design.

The Road Administration touted their National Tourist Roads project at the M/C Fair.

The Road Administration touted their National Tourist Roads project at the M/C Fair.

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A sweet Moto Guzzi 250 Airone at the Guzzi Club´s stand.

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In cooperation with the Norwegian Motorcyclists´ Union (NMCU) the Road Administration presented a brand new strategy for motorcycle strategy in Norway. Good also for you who will visit us.

For the first time I also spotted the Road Administration’s booth where they touted the National Tourist  Road project. They have realized the obvious that those particular roads are extremely well suited for motorcycle travel. Check out this link for more insight.

On a more political note, the Road Administration presented their brand new Motorcycle Strategy, which includes 21 concrete actions for improving the safety of motorcyclists in this country. The Norwegian Motorcyclists Union, which played a key role in the making of the strategy, had a stand from where it was presented to a huge audience. Norway is already the safest country to ride a motorcycle in, according to statistics from the European Motorcycle Safety Council. With this strategy, it will be even safer. Good thing!

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Heavy Water Sabotage Trip

One of WW2’s most famous sabotage actions was against the heavy water plant in Vemork, Telemark. You can – and should – visit the plant on your motorcycle trip.

Yours truly selfie with Asle, Håkon and Geir-Olaf by the sabotage memorial monument.

Yours truly selfie with Håkon, Asle and Geir-Olaf by the sabotage memorial monument.

The Norwegian telly broadcaster NRK recently aired a highly popular series depicting the quite astonishing sabotage mission against the Vemork Heavy Water plant in 1943. Dare-devil Norwegian commandos, trained by British SOE, managed to get into the plant and detonate explosives – without casualties – to stop Hitler from getting his A-bomb, for which he thought he needed heavy water, or deuterium oxide. When you get there, you realize what a stunning feat this was, as the plant is on the other side of a deep, steep canyon – and especially since earlier failed sabotage missions had led the Germans to strengthen the security and placing some 3000 troops in and near the facility. SOE later reckoned this mission to be its most successful during WW2.

Although the building which housed the plant itself is no longer, you can have a tour in the older, now decommissioned power plant building, and have the story told. It is a great ride to get there. This route takes you off the main road at Kongsberg and leads you along the twisty Road 40 and 753 until you reach Vemork, which is some 200 kms west of Oslo. And if you’re in a really adventurous mode, you can do bungee jumping from the bridge that crosses over to the plant. I didn’t, though…

Have fun!

 

This is the actual building where the sabotage took place - Vemork Hydroelectric Plant 1935 by Anders Beer Wilse - Galleri Nor

The actual building where the sabotage took place, Vemork Hydroelectric Plant 1935 by Anders Beer Wilse – Galleri Nor

 

You can have a guided tour at the plant, and get an insight to the many sabotage actions that were launched against this plant during WW2.

You can have a guided tour at the plant, and get an insight to the many sabotage actions that were launched against this plant during WW2.

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

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