Posts Tagged With: motorcycles

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

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?

Categories: bikes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Norway Bike Weekend

Tomorrow, a band of Finns, a Dane and a couple of us Norwegians are joining force to do a Norway Bike Weekend. It will be a blast!

The Rondane Mountain Range

Actually, this is a trip that has been planned since last October, as one of the Finns is a colleague of mine. He has never ridden in Norway, and when I suggested to do a spring trip he was all in. He has invited some of his riding buddies from Helsinki and area, also bringing their wives riding pillion. From Denmark we are having one guy, whereas my wife and I are representing Norway. Some Swedes and Icelandics would have completed the Nordic set-up, but maybe next time.

We are doing the Tenderloin of South-Eastern and North-Western Norway, including the Venabygd Mountain Range, the Dovre Mountain Range, the Atlantic Road, Trollstigen and Geiranger. Quite an extensive route for a weekend, even for an oval one, but these guys are used to riding long and hard. They are Iron Butt Masters, so they know the drill.

I had to adjust the riding comfort of my KTM 690 Enduro with a comfy seat from Seat Concepts.

This evening, prior to our departure, I have prepared my KTM 690 Enduro with a more – shall we say – touring friendly seat from Seat Concepts. The standard one is not made for long hauls – not for my butt, anyway – so fortunately it arrived this afternoon, just in time for our departure. A while ago I bought a similar branded seat for my Yamaha WR250R, and I am so satisified I didn´t have to look further for a comfy seat. The pannier rack for my KTM didn´t arrive in due time, though, so I have to use some packing space on the Mothership.

     

The Mothership is my wife´s Moto Guzzi Breva 750, which also got its Krauser panniers mounted today. They fit very nicely, and is a breeze to install. It is one of those C-Bow thingies, and looks and feels pretty sturdy, even for being semi-rigid panniers. We will se how they fare in the debut this weekend. The only worry is the weather forecast. It has been the wettest, coldest and most snowy spring since 1946. It has become a tad warmer, though, so let´s hope the Weather Gods will treat us nicely.

 

Stay tuned for pics from the Norway Bike Weekend trip 2015!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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)

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

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!

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

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!

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

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