Norway

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
robing
Posts: 526
Joined: 7 Sep 2014, 9:11am

Norway

Postby robing » 19 Mar 2017, 8:14pm

I read a cycling book from the Med to Norway and they really raved about Norway. I went there once all the way up to Narvik - but that was on an
Inter Rail trip in 1991! I'd be grateful for any information at all on cycling up to the Nordkapp, logistics, routes etc. Two things I know about Norway -
it's pricey and there will be a lot of elevation! What's accommodation like? I would be keen on camping. Is wild camping common practice/legal in Norway? Plus when is the best time to go, temperatures, winds etc. And are there a lot of biting insects? eg midges and mosquitoes as they really go for me and could take the fun out of camping.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Norway

Postby Cunobelin » 20 Mar 2017, 8:11pm

I was at Nordkapp last year

On a coach in one of the "convoys" with one Ice Plough leading

Tearing down the road the other way was a cyclist !

rotavator
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Location: North Wales

Re: Norway

Postby rotavator » 20 Mar 2017, 10:44pm

I have limited experience of cycling and wild camping in Norway mainly around Stavanger but here are a few tips:
1. The law about access to land is similar to Scotland's as you can walk over any uncultivated land and can wild camp overnight without problem. I found superb spots for wild camping a few hundred metres off the road.
2. Midges can be annoying but I did not find them as bad as in Scotland.
3. May is a beautiful time of year with everything coming to life again but there are several bank holidays to be aware of. June to September would also be good. Oct-Apr only recommended for rufty tufty types and crosss country skiers.
4. You need to check out tunnels on your route. Bikes are banned from some and there may or may not be a convenient overground alternative for bikes. Some are very long, unlit and scary. I guess the state highway website will provide info on these: google statensvegvesen
5. the price of food and most other things is ruinously expensive

hufty
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Joined: 28 Jan 2011, 7:24pm

Re: Norway

Postby hufty » 21 Mar 2017, 8:43am

Loads of previous threads on here about Norway, tunnels, wild camping, bikes on planes/trains/buses/ferries, maps etc - do a search. Have to say I love Norway for cycle touring especially the North. Elevation-wise it's not so bad and in general the gradients aren't punishing. Don't buy alcohol or eat out and it's not too bad costwise, combine that with low airfares and no visas and your holiday doesn't have to break the bank.
Please do not use this post in Cycle magazine

Vorpal
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Re: Norway

Postby Vorpal » 21 Mar 2017, 6:44pm

These are a few of the more recent threads about Norway...

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=108255
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=86142
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=82513
robing wrote:I'd be grateful for any information at all on cycling up to the Nordkapp, logistics, routes etc. Two things I know about Norway -
it's pricey and there will be a lot of elevation!
There are national cycle routes. They are generally pretty good selections, if they go where you are going. One of the threads linked above was about cycling to Nordkapp, too. E roads in the south are generally to be avoided (though some have cycle paths). Other than that, most roads are good for cycling, but be wary of tunnels. Cyclists are not allowed in some of them. A couple of the linked threads have good informaiton links about stuff like that.
robing wrote:What's accommodation like? I would be keen on camping. Is wild camping common practice/legal in Norway?

In Norway, there is something called 'allmannsrett'. It's basically everyone's right to use the land for responsible recreation, including camping, hiking, cycling, harvesting berries, etc. The basic rules are:
-no ground fires between April & September
-no camping within 150 metres of a dwelling
-no camping on cultivated ground, or disturbing growing crops
-leave the land as you found it

There are also little cabins in some places that you can rent for much less than a hotel room. They are called 'hytte' and may have little or no amenities, or may have full amenities and be quite comfortable.

robing wrote:Plus when is the best time to go, temperatures, winds etc. And are there a lot of biting insects? eg midges and mosquitoes as they really go for me and could take the fun out of camping.


The weather tends to be best May to September. The school holidays in Norway are from the 3rd week in June until the middle of August, so the last couple of weeks in August is a good time to do stuff here. The weather is often good, kids are back in school, but touristy things are still open, etc. Mountain passes may have snow well into July, and some places it may never clear completely. The year before last, Rallarvegen on the Bergen line (the road made to build the railroad) didn't open for cycling until well into July, and there were snow fields to cross all summer and autumn, until snow closed it again. That is a trip worth doing, if you can.

Biting insects invade the woodlands everyJune through August, at least. The inland part of Norway north of Oslo and over the border into Sweden are particularly known for mozzies. Coastal areas and above the tree line on high areas are usually relatively free of them, as long as you avoid densely wooded areas.

It is often possible to camp alongside fjords and lakes, but you may have to put up with more disturbance (people drinking, fishing, staying late, coming early, etc.) than you would find in the woods. Also, check for 'no camping' signs (picture of a tent with a red line through it) before you set up camp. Camping is sometimes not allowed on public beaches, especially near towns.
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DaveFY7
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Joined: 16 Jun 2009, 12:42am

Re: Norway

Postby DaveFY7 » 26 Mar 2017, 9:17am

The Lofoton Islands are worth routing through. Up there with some of the best cycle touring I have enjoyed. Ferry from Bodo to A and from Andenes to Gryllefjord.

https://www.visitnorway.com/places-to-g ... n-islands/

I was advised to buy a fishing rod to keep my food bill down but never did. There is an abundance of fish. Also boiled up some fresh mussels alongside a fjord one afternoon. Midges were an absolute nightmare and I had to cover up every bit of exposed flesh when wild camping.

Vorpal
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Re: Norway

Postby Vorpal » 26 Mar 2017, 10:11am

DaveFY7 wrote:The Lofoton Islands are worth routing through. Up there with some of the best cycle touring I have enjoyed. Ferry from Bodo to A and from Andenes to Gryllefjord.

https://www.visitnorway.com/places-to-g ... n-islands/

I was advised to buy a fishing rod to keep my food bill down but never did. There is an abundance of fish. Also boiled up some fresh mussels alongside a fjord one afternoon. Midges were an absolute nightmare and I had to cover up every bit of exposed flesh when wild camping.

It's fine for tourists to fish here, but there are minimum sizes for keeping fish, and a special licence is required for catching king crab.

http://www.fiskeridir.no/English/Recrea ... -in-Norway

As for midges, it depends very much upon where one goes. I've lived in Norway for 5 years and travelled around the south of Norway, but never seen (or felt!) a midge. Mini V is especially sensitive to moquitos and midges, and she hasn't been much bothered by them camping, except for mosquitos in the woods. I've heard that midges are a problem in inland areas of northern Norway, but I have not tested that. People also say that midges only live where bog myrtle grows, and that bog myrtle (carried & rubbed on exposed skin) will keep them away. I don't know that truth of it. As I said, I haven't encountered any myself.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

brynpoeth
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Re: Norway

Postby brynpoeth » 26 Mar 2017, 4:38pm

The Gazette reported on a tour in Norway about 1973

The cyclists waited before the long unlit tunnels and recruited a friendly motorist to drive slowly behind them, protecting them and lighting the way

Norway has just become the country with the *happiest* people

The PM had got used to being second, after Denmark. *I will need to think of a new quip now* she said
Cycling? Of course, but it's far better on a Gillott.

iviehoff
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Re: Norway

Postby iviehoff » 29 Mar 2017, 9:29pm

You'll find there is still extensive snow cover at low level if you go to northern Norway in May. The snow doesn't usually melt in Tromso until some time into May, and Tromso is far from being the coldest place. Early June can still be pretty cold too, even in the south.

Most people say Nordkapp is a big let down. The worst kind of tourist trap. Also, the only thing it is the northernmost point of is the road system. The real northernmost point of continental Norway is a feature called Knivskjellodden, which is about 10km up a footpath from a point about 10km from Nordkapp, and apparently a very nice walk (google will tell you about the walk), but due to snow cover you usually can't walk there until late in June, and even then you'll be walking over snow from time to time.

If you need an endpoint for motivation, then Kirkenes might be a better one. The north of Norway east of Nordkapp is worthwhile. Also, you can fly home from there.

In terms of wild camping, despite the generous permission, it is quite tricky in practice to find suitable wild camping locations, especially south of about Trondheim. This is because there is very little flat land in that part of Norway, and what there is and is not either covered in tall vegetation, rocks or bog is already in use for something. Lofoten is also difficult as there is very little flat land there. There are plenty of organised campsites and, except in the vicinity of the main cities, they are pretty reasonably priced and don't need booking. So you will probably end up using them from time to time.

Don't cycle up the E5 so far as you can avoid it. Apart from the fact that you can't, because of all the tunnels closed to you, it is dangerous and unpleasant for the cyclist.

MartinBrice
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Re: Norway

Postby MartinBrice » 30 Mar 2017, 11:30pm

Nordkapp to me was great. It's never going to be a wild and remote place, but the coffee is good and I bought a reasonably-priced pair of socks with Nordkapp written on them, I wear them to work. You can buy beer there. It's great - when I wheeled the bike to the monument there was a round of applause. And you can easily put the bike on a bus and go back to town: no need to ride up those bloody hills yet again. From the town you can get the hurtigruten westwards and get off to see the Polar Bear Club, which is a waste of time but you've been there. So, to me, Nordkapp was worth the effort of riding up from Bergen.

MartinBrice
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Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

Re: Norway

Postby MartinBrice » 30 Mar 2017, 11:33pm

But I very much echo Ivehoff's point about wild camping: in theory it's good but in practice you end up on campsites cos that's the only ground flat enough to put a tent on. It's really designed for walkers who are far from the road: it's really hard to get a fully-loaded touring bike more than a few yards from the road once you get on to marshy ground or thick forest. And little tracks away from the road are rarely where you want them to be.


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