RideEatCamp

Hello Norway

Europe

I pressed the fast forward button over the past few days because they were uninteresting to write about, except our flights.

On the bike trail from the Tromsø airport to town are signs that translate to "Thanks for cycling". What a nice way to arrive!
On the bike trail from the Tromsø airport to town are signs that translate to “Thanks for cycling”. What a nice way to arrive!

Tromsø is an island plopped right in the middle of a fjord, with more fjords visible every direction.
Tromsø is an island plopped right in the middle of a fjord, with more fjords visible every direction.

To reach Tromsø, Norway, from Aberdeen, UK, we had to take three flights: one from Aberdeen to Copenhagen, one from Copenhagen to Oslo, and finally Oslo to Tromsø. Although it can be easy to complain about flying, I’m only going to mention the positive. First, all three flights arrived at their destinations exactly five minutes early. When was the last time your flight was early? Thank you Scandinavian Airlines for doing the impossible. Second, flying into Tromsø is a tourist attraction itself. We literally flew into a fjord before landing, with steep mountains rising above us on both sides of the plane.

Intro to Norway

Before we could commence riding, we had to stock up on essentials in Tromsø. We spent July 22 wondering around the picturesque town on foot, continually in awe of the mountains around us and the prices of everything. We paid roughly $25 for a simple folding road map. One kiwi was almost a dollar.

What has also struck me is the modern architecture. The UK and Ireland are happy with their ancient stone buildings. Norway however has embraced the new. The Arctic Church in Tromsø, built in the ’60s, is one of the most fabulous buildings I’ve ever seen. It definitely showcases the Norwegians’ appreciation for nature as a holy place. Google it and be impressed.

Choosing a route

Because we did absolutely no prior planning, at first we struggled to figure out a route to take us from Tromsø to Bergen. Although possible, we didn’t feel confident creating our own route because of Norway’s dreaded tunnels. Norway has more tunnels per capita than any other nation. I just made that up but I’m sure it’s true. The main problem with the tunnels is that cyclists aren’t allowed to ride through all of them. Nor would we want to. Some of the tunnels reach up to 24km long. That’s a very long and dark and damp and loud and dangerous place to ride.

After enough research we found out about Route 1. This is the national long distance cycling route along the coast that’s also part of the international Eurovelo Route 1 from Portugal. I’m assuming that it avoids as many tunnels as possible while attempting to stick to the quiet roads. We’ll see how that goes.

On the road again

Fog rolled in near the coast, making me feel back at home in San Francisco.
Fog rolled in near the coast, making me feel back at home in San Francisco.
At our campsite the fog threatened to envelop us but it kept its distance. That orb in the sky is the sun. I took the photo around 9:30 pm.
At our campsite the fog threatened to envelop us but it kept its distance. That orb in the sky is the sun. I took the photo around 9:30 pm.

On July 23 we remounted our steel steeds and set off for adventure. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was magnificently sunny and unseasonably warm. After three weeks in Scotland we’d forgotten the pleasure of riding in good weather.

Everywhere we looked were steep granite mountain faces speckled with snow. It’s as if the high country in the Sierra Nevada were transported here to a much lower elevation. We were in fjord country.

Despite the mountainous terrain the riding was easy. The roads hugged the water’s edge, providing mildly rolling grades and splendid views of the countryside. In most countries this area would be deemed a national park. In Norway this must just be the average. I can’t wait to see what they deem as worthy of national park status.