Scandinavia 2001: Laidback to Lofoten

Coastal road, Norway


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Sunday 24 June, 130 km

Malm-Namsos-Salsnes-Lund (ferry)-Hofles (camping)

After Malm I follow the Kystriksveien (Coastal Route) to Namsos. Road 17 from Steinkjer to Bodø is a scenic, north bound alternative route to avoid the busy traffic of the E6. From Namsos, where the 17 heads inland, I follow route 769. A scenic, narrow road along the beautiful rocky coastline. Unfortunately, some road constructions force me to push the bike a few kilometer over dirt roads :-(

I arrive late in the evening at the ferry port in Lund and wait a few hours for the next ferry. In the cafe I have dinner and pick up a copy of the free brochure Kystriksveien. The travel guide is very convenient, it contains ferry timetables, tourist information and services (camping, shops) along route 17. There's even a chapter for bicycle tourists, including a tunnel guide. Very recommended!

Monday 25 June, 96 km


Time to do some shopping. The small village of Kolvereid has a surprisingly big shopping centre, with two supermarkets, a bank, library (to check e-mail), photoshop (for a new lithium battery), hardware store (rød sprit for my stove) and even a bicycle shop! Unfortunately nobody in the shop is able to help me with my Gripshit troubles. From Kolvereid I take road 771 until I finally hit the "17" again near the Heilhornet mountain. Another ferry from Holm takes me to Sømna island. A bumpy backroad near Vik leads to the campground Bjørnvika.

Tuesday 26 June, 74 km

(c) Image fromønnøysund-Torghatten-Brønnøysund

In Vik I pass an outdoor store. If they sell mountain bikes, they may have some parts too... To my luck they have some left-over Sram-shifters, including the so needed internal metal spring! I can have it for free and my shifter is functioning again!

From Brønnøysund I cross a huge and steep bridge to the Island Torget where I visit Torghatten, a mountain with a hole in it. Before visiting the hole, I have to fix another one in my flat front tyre. The hole in the mountain is reached by a steep trail. You can actually walk through the impressive, 35 m high and 160 m long "tunnel" straight through the mountain. Back in Brønnøysund I stay on the pleasant and quiet Mosheim camping.


Wednesday 27 June, 100 km

Brønnøysund-Horn (ferry)-Anndalsvåg-Forvik (ferry)-Tjøtta-Sandnessjøen-Levang (ferry)-Nesna (camping)

This day I plan to take a lot of ferry crossings and therefore have to follow a tight schedule. For the 17 km long stretch between Anndalsvåg and Forvik I have 1½ hour. Luckily the terrain is flat and I can catch the next ferry to Tjøtta without hurry. Thanks to the Warm Gulfstream this area is remarkably dense populated, not as remote as expected.

Forvik -Tjøtta ferry (l) - Sju Søstre (r)

The overcast conditions make place for sunny spells. The mountain range of the Sju Søstre (7 sisters) is now clearly visible. Near Sandnessjøen I pass the impressive and steep Helgelandsbridge. The last 20 km I make some speed to reach the17 hr ferry to Nesna. In this beautifully located town, surrounded by snow capped mountains, I camp at the crowded campground next to the ferry harbour.


Thursday 28 June, 128 km

Nesna-Utskarpen-Kilboghamn (ferry)-Jektvik-Tjong-Ågskardet (ferry)-Forøy (camping)

About 10 km from Nesna a strenuous climb of 4 km length to Sjonfjellet. During the climb (max. 10%) a reindeer crosses my path. On top of the 300 m. high plateau nice views and a nice conversation with a Dutch couple who inspect campgrounds. On the opposite side of the fjord you have a good view of the coastal road. Less than a few kilometres away and yet 40 km of cycling along the fjord. After Utskarpen I have to pass several long tunnels. These are well lit, so I pass them without any problems.


On the ferry Kilboghamn-Jektvik I pass the Artic circle, marked by a sundial along the rocky coastline. I cook a pasta meal at a sheltered pciknickspot along the beautiful Tjongsfjord. The last ferry of today is to Forøy, where I find a crowded campground with more than a few mosquitos (the first I've encountered this trip, not too bad!)


Friday 29 June, 67 km

Forøy-Halsa-Holand-Halsa-Vassdalsvik (ferry)-Ørnes-Mevik (camping)

The Svartisen tunnel to Glomfjord is forbidden for cyclists. An alternative route is a ferry from Vassdalsvik to Ørnes. The next one leaves at 14.30, plenty of time to cycle the 30 kilometre and a detour to Holand. From road 17 I have a good view of the Engabreen glacier. Through foggy and drizzly weather conditions I return back to Halsa and head to Vassdalsvik. At the Mevik campground I do my laundry and hang it to dry in the garage of a friendly campground manager.

Holandsfjord, Svartisen/Engabreen gletsjer

Saturday 30 June, 115 km

BodøMevik-Storvik-Kjøpstad-Saltstraumen-Bodø (ferry)-Moskenes-Å

After a very early, sunny start, it starts drizzling again. I am too early to witnes the famous tidal currents of Saltstraumen. Near Bodø drizzles turn to heavy showers and I have to wait for a while in a bus shelter. The city centre of Bodø has a very American atmosphere with its rectangular street pattern and indoor shopping mall. At the ferry terminal I purchase a ticket for the evening ferry to Moskenes, Lofoten and have a chat with two other cycle tourists. To my surprise one cyclist, the German photographer Reinhard, has already heard of my Gripshit troubles. He'd met the Swiss guy Mats, whom I met one week ago.

Because of a very rough sea, the ferry trip is not very comfortable. An hour or so before midnight we approach Lofoten and all of a sudden impressive mountain walls appear though the thick clouds. Due to the soft light of the midnight sun a fantastic, almost spooky sight. After inspecting a very wet and windy campground next to the harbour, I cycle with the two other cyclists to Å, at the end of the road. Here we pitch our tents at a very scenic campground.


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