Posts Tagged With: rally

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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Video: Let the chilly season begin!

The winter season is hereby inaugurated! The Woodgatherer Rally did what is was intended to do. Let the chilly season begin!

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Categories: Rallies | 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

Garage Mini Rally

The Guzzisti of Eastern Norway had to have a test run of the rally equipment before the Big Italian Spring Rally later in May. So they spent a weekend in a garage.

The Norwegian Moto Guzzi Club has several branches, covering different geographical areas. In the South East, the local Guzzi branch is named “Østenfjeldske Foroverlænede Guzzisters Forening”. This name is practically impossible to translate, but it goes in the direction of “The Forwardly Inclined Guzzi Riders East of the Mountains”. It makes your espresso go cold even before you’re half way through pronouncing the name…

Anyway: In only a couple of weeks, the riders of Italian bikes – predominantly Guzzis – will have their annual spring rally at Røldal in the West. The Guzzisti of the East couldn’t wait that long, apparently, because they threw a get-together in the garage of members Berit and Tor the other weekend. Tents were erected on the lawn outside Berit and Tor’s house, barbeques were lit, beer consumed and Guzzis discussed throughout the whole weekend. It was for all practical purposes a test run before the Great Rally. Here is a pick of the bikes that were there – quite a few belonging to the very garage in which the party took place.

This original Guzzi Storenllo 125 Scrambler is up for some careful restoration to get it running again.

This original Guzzi Stornello 125 Scrambler is up for some careful restoration to get it running again.

Rain didn't matter as the garage was turned into a party cave for the occasion. Yes - it's a garage of proper size...

Rain didn’t matter as the garage was turned into a rally cave for the occasion for some of the participants. Yes – it’s a garage of proper size.

This sweet sidecar rig, a Guzzi V11 and Mobec sidecar, is owned by Lars and is the envy of many Norwegian Guzzisti.

This sweet sidecar rig, a Guzzi V11 and Mobec sidecar, is owned by Lars and is the envy of many Norwegian Guzzisti.

We camped on the lawn and had a barbeque just outside Berit and Tor's house.

We camped on the lawn and had a barbeque just outside Berit and Tor’s house.

The Guzzi S3 is a rare sight. One of the few around was here.

The Guzzi S3 is a rare sight. One of the few around was here.

Another sweet sidecar rig, with a 1000 Le Mans engine and Hedingham sidecar.

Another sweet sidecar rig, with a 1000 Le Mans engine and Hedingham sidecar.

Il Presidente Bjørn (left), while Lars signals that there is something missing in this picture.

Il Presidente Bjørn (left), while Lars signals that there is something missing in this picture.

The Guzzi V35/65TT was an attempt from the Mandello engineers to make a dual sport back in the '80s. Not too successful, but popular among Guzzisti. Of course.

The Guzzi V35/65TT was an attempt from the Mandello engineers to make a dual sport back in the ’80s. Not too successful, but popular among Guzzisti. Of course.

It's a Guzzi bastard, looks dubious, and goes like hell. Eigil knows his way around engines.

It’s a Guzzi bastard, looks dubious, and goes like hell. Eigil knows his way around engines.

Beside a commuter Kawasaki 500, my Yamaha was the only non-Italian bike at the scene.

Beside a commuter Kawasaki 500, my Yamaha was the only non-Italian bike at the scene.

 

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

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.

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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!

Categories: Winter rides | 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)

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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.

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

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 høyfjellshotell. Posh winter luxury.

The rally at that time was held at Oset høyfjellshotell. 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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