Scandinavia 2001: Laidback to Lofoten

Oslo-Trondheim, Norway


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Thursday 14 June, 22 km

Frederikshavn-ferry (Stenaline) to Oslo (N)

The ferry to Oslo is one big casino, no wonder the tickets are so cheap. Sunny weather, stayed the whole trip on deck. On board I meet another cycle tourist, a Norwegian living in Denmark and planning to cycle from North Cape to Lofoten. To my surprise she'd even made a (test) ride on a recumbent. Oslo isn't a bicycle friendly town to cycle trough: busy roads with potholes and tram rails. Once out of the city centre I cycle along bike paths to the expensive (125 Nkr) and not so clean Bogstad campground.

Friday 15 June, 83 km

Oslo (Nordmarka)-Sørkedalen-Heggelivatna-Damtjern-Åsa-(RV 241)-Jevnaker-Rækstad (camping)

To avoid the busy roads I directly head for the backroads in Nordmarka, a forested wilderness area. The Sørkedalen road reminds me of the Belgium Forests (Ardennes). Although not paved the gravel road surface is ridable and there are even signposted bike routes. Nice views of snow capped mountains and glaciers from the 400 m. high Damtjern pas. Quiet backroads to Jevnaker. Nice campsite at a farm along the Randsfjord.

Saturday 16 June, 134 km


In Hov there even seems to be a recumbent bicycle shop (importing Flevobike recumbents). Unfortunately I can't find it. The library however, is open, so I can check my e-mail. Beyond Dokka a 17 km long, gradual climb to a 7-800 meter high plateau. After a quick downhill to Aurdal and not so busy E-16 I reach Fagernes. The campground in this tourist resort is crowded and noisy.

Sunday 17 June, 95 km

Fagernes-Beitostølen (RV 51)-Bygdin-Valdresflya (1.390 m.o.h)-Sjodalen (camping)

Road 51 to the Valdresflya plateau. The elevation difference of 1000 m. is very gradual. Until the ski resort of Beitostølen the gradients are not exceeding 3%*). Here I find a big supermarkt which is even open on Sunday. Climbing higher and higher, I enter the impressive mountainous snowy world of Jotunheimen.

At the youth hostel I reach the top and put on my fleece pants and gloves for the freezing cold downhill. Due to road constructions the road deteriorates into a rough track. Too rough for my recumbent, some parts I have to walk and push the bike through the gravel. Near Gjendesheim the road is paved again. Unfortunately there's too much snow for a hiking trip to Beseggen ridge, I continue the descent. In Sjodalen valley I find a pleasant and almost empty campground.

*) See the track profile of the Jotunheimenrundt, a 430 km long cycle tour through Jotunheimen.


Monday 18 June, 110 km

Sjodalen-Randsverk-(RV 15)-Lom-Bismo-Skjåk seter (camping)

Very steep descent to lake Vågåvatn. In Lom a scenic 'Stavkirke' and a visitor centre where I can check my e-mail. Beyond Bismo the road climbs gradually through the sunny Otta valley. On the high plateau I find another pleasant campground.

Bygdin, Sjodalen, Lom

Tuesday 19 June, 77 km

Skjåk seter-Grotli-Djupvasshytta (1038 m)-Geiranger-Eidsdal-Valldal (camping)

The ride starts in a landscape of impressive snow capped mountains and frozen lakes. The toll road up to the viewpoint on Dalsnibba (1476 m) seems to busy and difficult, so I start the breathtakingly beautiful descent to Geiranger. This hamlet is packed wih tourists and I continue the so called Golden Route, a scenic road between Geiranger and Åndalsnes, without taking a break. Not very wise, because the very streneous climb out of the fjord turns out to be a real killer hill with its steep hairpins of 10%. After reaching the viewpoint the suffering is over and a long descent to Eidsdal follows. In Valldal I camp at a relatively expensive campground, more suitable for caravans than tents.


Wednesday 20 June, 88 km

Valldal-Trollstigen-Trollveggen-Åndalsnes-Isfjorden-Torvik (camping)

The route to the famous Trollstigen is coming from Valldal not too difficult. Only the last 4 km to the Trollstigheimen pass, beyond the 'strawberry valley' and Gudbrandsjuvet (a narrow canyon) is a bit steeper. The Sky Mounti gradient meter reads 5-7%.

Geiranger fjord / Trollstigen


At the top I park my bike near the kiosk to walk to the viewpoint. From here gorgeous views of the 11 hairpin bends. After descending the spectacular Trollstigen, I visit in the narrow Romsdal valley the towering walls of Trollveggen; This 1800 meter sheer vertical cliff is a big challenge for mountaineers.

After a quick visit to Åndalsnes I find a campground on the opposite side of the Isfjorden.  

Thursday 21 June, 107 km

Torvik-Afarnes-Sølsnes (ferry)-Eidsvåg-Sunndalsøra-Ålvundfjord (camping)

The sunny weather has changed into drizzle, ideal circumstances for the midges. After taking a ferry in Afarnes to cross the Langfjord, I turn right on a small backroad to Eidsvåg. Just before entering the industrial town of Sunndalsøra I encounter the first, 6 km long, tunnel of this trip. Luckily it is well lit and not busy. In Ålvund I camp at a pleasant and spacious campground along the Haslafjord.

Fugelvåg Camping, Ålvundfjord (l) / Mats near Leksvik (r)

Friday 22 June, 132 km

Alvund-Kvanne (ferry)-Rindal-Orkanger-Melhus (camping)

Attacked by a seagull on my way to the ferry Røkkum-Kvanne. With my Dazer I'm well armed against dog attacks but not prepared against air raids! I regret I haven't put my helmet on and Hitchcock horror scenes cross my mind. After this remarkable incident a quite boring and long stretch through the Surnadal follows. Near Orkanger the traffic becomes heavier, the narrow and windy route 65 along the Orkafjord to Trondheim is not pleasant at all. I'm glad when I reach the Øysand camping unharmed.

Saturday 23 June, 140 km


Avoiding the busy roads to Trondheim I take the quiet 707 to Flakk. Unfortunately, I'm totally not aware of the start of the famous bike ride Store Styrkeprøven (Trondheim-Oslo) that same day. On the ferry to Rørvik I meet the Swiss cycle tourist Mats. He started from his home town and his heading all the way to North Cape. Planning to cycle the same route to Bodø, he's joining me on the coastal road 755 until Leksvik, where I get some problems with my 7-speed shifter. The closest bicycle repair shop is probably in Trondheim, more than 50 km away and probably closed for the weekend when I get there. After a few hours I manage to exchange the broken part with a healthy one taken out of my 3-speed shifter. I've now 14 of my 42 gears left, still plenty enough to manage the Norwegian hills, though.

Instead of following the main highway to Steinkjer, I turn left on a gravel road to Verrabotn, a very scenic backroad along lakes and dark forests. Near Verrabotn another seagull attacks me.The campground on the map near Follafoss doesn't exist. However I find a nice place to camp in a garden of a friendly couple and can even use the sanitary facilities.

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