Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
mattraisin
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Joined: 23 Feb 2010, 6:15am

Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby mattraisin » 7 Feb 2011, 5:28am

Has anyone here done any amount of cycling in Norway? I am thinking of doing a tour of 1000-2000 miles. The information I can find is generally just avoid tunnels and main roads but I need advice as to maps, camping gear, temperature up north ect. Any help is appreciated. Experience in similarly northern countries would be nice to hear. Websites and general pointing in the right direction all appreciated. My best experience is a solo and camping "Tour of Britain" which went from John 'o' Groats to Lands End but in a remarkably long fashion hence the poncey title (1200 miles, Highlands, West coast, Dumfries and Galloway, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Edge of the Peak District, Exmoor ect. all the hard parts!). Thanks in advance.
A puncture in the middle of nowhere simply gives you more time to admire the view.

iviehoff
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Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby iviehoff » 7 Feb 2011, 8:53am

If you have cycled in Scottish highlands you already know most there is to know in terms of general cycling issues. Conditions are remarkably similar to northern Scotland except more variable - warm days are hotter, and cool days are colder; winds are if anything a bit worse. Assuming you are going in a sensible season = mid-June to mid-Sept, unlikely to snow on you.

Camp-sites - there are lots, you will find information. In the north, wild-camping is pretty straightforward. In the western fjords, harder.
Maps - yes you can buy them. Tunnels - the problem is mostly the big ones on the big main roads which will be closed to you. There will be tunnels on smaller roads you will go through, so do make sure you have some working bike lights - mainly to be seen, but very occasionally you will come across an unlit one.

Here's a huge amount of info. http://www.cycletourer.co.uk/cycletouring/norway.shtml
Here's info on signpost cycle routes. http://www.bike-norway.com/engelsk.asp
Check out the Kystriksveien websit for information on the coastal route (avoiding the inland main road) between Bodo and Steinkjer (just north of Trondheim). http://www.rv17.no/?lng=en It is not specifically a cycle route, but is used as one. There is one tunnel the cyclist has to use an infrequent ferry to avoid, near Ornes if I remember correctly.

psmiffy
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Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby psmiffy » 7 Feb 2011, 12:09pm

I have cycled from Bodo to Stavanger and Sandefjord to Stavanger (N from Hoek) keeping mainly to the coast.

In the south of Norway the main road – east to west is often a bit narrow – wide enough for 2 HGV to pass but no shoulder – HGV rich - there is a cycle route along the coast that is worth using – occasionally gets a bit MTBish so is sometimes slow going.

North of Stavanger by using the ferries it is possible to stay away from the traffic (and the tunnels) to the point where a vehicle becomes an event – as you get further north the roads outside the main towns can be quite empty - apart from the area around Bergen (worth working out how to negotiate the north side of Bergen in advance). The ferry services are pretty good and relatively inexpensive. Onthe smaller roads they can be quite a few hours apart so it is worth collecting as many ferry timetables as you can when you see them - tourist offices can be a bit thin on the ground.

Along the coast it is possible to avoid the no-cycle tunnels by judicious us of the ferries (the cycletourer website is the easiest resource to use – (the official book of tunnels can be quite difficult to use) Crossing the high bridges in the wind and rain can be quite fun – best that every thing is tied on securely.

The weather as someone has said can be very variable – still and sunny one moment – then very windy and heavy rain – some of the hardest deluges I have cycled in have been in Norway – good waterproofs are a must – easy to get cold very quickly – Both times I cycled at the end of August /beginning of September and overnight temperatures were not that warm – to the point where when I camped below the glacier south of Bodo things froze in the night.

There are plenty of reasonable campsites and it is pretty easy to find somewhere to wild camp if it becomes necessary – some good tent pegs are a good idea as places to camp can be a bit rocky underfoot and the wind can blow a bit.

There are good Supermarkets in the big towns (particularly south of Bergen) but the further north you go outside of the cities the shops get more infrequent, smaller, not so well stocked and the opening hours shorter.

Cycling through the Fjords and along the Norwegian coast was fantastic – well worth the effort and I thoroughly recommend it.

“I stopped to talk to a small boy in Bergen – Does it always rain here I asked – The boy replied – I do not know I am only 15 years old”

mattraisin
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Joined: 23 Feb 2010, 6:15am

Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby mattraisin » 8 Feb 2011, 1:03am

Thanks for the information and help. Just wondering If anyone knows the prevailing wind I presume it is similar to Britain's SW. I had particularly bad experience of wind in Scotland by getting caught in severe head on winds on my first day, this destroyed my target of 75miles to 35 miles and I could barely manage 10 mph down hill. Also, is a standard tourer with schwalbe marathons suitable for the terrain in Norway. I have a Ed Bike co-op Country Traveller which is a year old and with around 2000 miles underneath its belt. Its an Alu frame but I have found no problem with it, I'm one to believe that a good alu frame is no different from a good steel one, it rides like a dream. I am planning this trip for 2 years away as I need time to save and plan so am really just trying to get the groundwork done so I can figure out what I am aiming for. Any Idea on how much a 20 day trip would end up costing?
A puncture in the middle of nowhere simply gives you more time to admire the view.

iviehoff
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Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby iviehoff » 8 Feb 2011, 9:29am

mattraisin wrote:Any Idea on how much a 20 day trip would end up costing?

That is hugely dependent upon how assiduously you avoid spending money.

pal
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Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby pal » 8 Feb 2011, 2:27pm

Here are some wind statistics (not sure when you're going, but you can change the month): http://www.windfinder.com/windstats/windstatistic_map_norway_6.htm As you'll see, quite few south-westerlies, but quite a lot of other things too -- which might explain why every travelogue of cycling in Norway which I've read complains at some point about cycling into a headwind!

cycle2thecircle
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Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby cycle2thecircle » 24 Apr 2011, 1:47pm

I came across this thread as I am also planning a Norway cycle - Oslo to Bodo and will be taking the coastal route from Steinkjer to Bodo. Looks fantastic.
The tunnel map on the cycle tourer website is useful (http://www.cycletourer.co.uk/maps/tunnelmap.shtml). How long are you planning to cycle for? Im just finalising our route - we have 5 weeks to get from London to Bodo (http://www.cycle2thecircle.com).
Some useful info on here thanks!

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Steve Kish
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Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby Steve Kish » 24 Apr 2011, 6:14pm

Only advice I can offer is to try and include Geiranger fjord - breathtaking scenery! :D
Old enough to know better but too young to care.

nmnm
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Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby nmnm » 25 Apr 2011, 3:23am

mattraisin wrote:I am planning this trip for 2 years away as I need time to save and plan... ...Any Idea on how much a 20 day trip would end up costing?
I pedaled round the south coast then got the train to Stavanger and the ferry up the Lysefjord and then, camping at the water edge campsite, cycled up and down this (below).

It needn't take two years to plan a 3 week trip to Norway, surely? Your bike is ideal. You just need a raincoat and camping gear, a minimum of £20 per day plus arrangements to get to and from Norway.

I am reminded of a heartening sight - I'd thought Norway sounded very grand and foreign and explorerish and indeed when I went there it was wonderful. On returning to Britain, we got off the ferry and a reeeaaally old Norwegian guy got off too, hitting Britain on a shopper bike, setting off on his tour of Scotland. They do seem like a great get-up-and-go nation.
Image

hufty
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Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby hufty » 25 Apr 2011, 6:19pm

I'm off to Norway soon and spent a while looking at maps. I've gone for the Freytag & Berndt Road & Leisure Series. The southern two maps (which would get you as far north as Trondheim) are 1:250K, the northern two are 1:400K. Google ISBN 9783707903164. It's hard to find a decent sample picture so have a look at: http://s1112.photobucket.com/albums/k499/c3b2a1/c3b2a1/?action=view&current=Nogmapsample.jpg

A friend lent me some of the Statens Kartverk Sykkel Guides so I've done a direct comparison with one of my 1:250K maps. A few minor roads are missing from the F&Bs but only a few and it wouldn't ruin my day. On the other hand loads of roads are missing from the sykkel guides if you deviate from the narrow map corridor, if you see what I mean. But they are guides not maps.

One other thing which I only discovered the other week is that you can get maps laminated by the people that do the Ordnance Survey tough maps: http://www.aqua3.com/services.asp which I've done and can recommend wholeheartedly. I've also tried Nikwax Map proof, which is a good way to destroy a new map IMHO.
Please do not use this post in Cycle magazine

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syklist
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Re: Need help as per Cycle Tour in Norway?

Postby syklist » 26 Apr 2011, 9:02am

I've a few travelogues on my site, covering Norway from the south up to Trondheim. In 2009 I did two more national cycle routes, the 2 from Porsgrunn to Lysebotn and the 6 from Launes via Røldal, Haukeli and Rjukan to Lunde (both very hard work). I've not started on the travelogues although trip stats (Part 2) are up on the website. If you are interested in those routes send me a mail or a PM. My plan for this summer is to cycle up from Gol to Bodø and spend a week or so on the Lofotens.

Maps/Tunnels: there is a slightly out of date but still useful planning map available here. This has an overview of the main cycle routes and shows tunnels including information as to which are closed to cyclists. It is a good starting point, but I would refer as well to the tunnel map on the Cycletourer websitefor more up to date information. The slight problem with Norwegian tunnels is that whilst many that are closed to cyclists have signs to that effect, many others that are closed don't have any signs at all.

For more maps and books try the SLF shop. The SLF is the CTC of Norway. They also have a selection of guide books for some of the major national routes. You might find the Bike Norway site useful too. We use freytag and berndt road maps for general route planning, navigating and making our own route maps.

As regards avoiding main roads that can be tricky. If you get really stuck you can put your bikes on intercity buses, trains and ferries. Some of the signed routes take you onto the old road on the other side of the valley from the main road (Numedalruta for instance) whilst others, the Rallarvegen and NSCR spring to mind, are closed to motor traffic in places. However, National Route 4 that runs from Drammen to Bergen follows the Rv 7 (a major trunk route) between Drammen and Gol. There are no alternative cycle tracks in many places so you have to keep your wits about you as you share the road with traffic. Two other routes put you onto the busy E134 between Haukeli and Røldal although the cycle route directs you onto the old road instead of taking longer tunnels. You might find you have to take an alternative route in other places, Bergen to Voss springs to mind. Generally, the official routes try to follow quieter roads where possible.

Climate: this varies, the southern interior has a continental climate which means summer temperatures can rise to above 30'c although due to the latitude evening temperatures can dip sharply. The coastal areas are more temperate but can suffer from very changeable weather. Expect to get wet if you are following the coast - good rain gear is advisable. Check out the YR.no website for current weather forecasts and weather data from the last year. Here is the data for Bodø for the last year.

Tent + equipment: I'd suggest a tent that pitches flysheet first that can withstand foul weather. My partner and I sleep on Exped down filled mats, for comfort and warmth, plus three season sleeping bags in summer. This combination is a little OTT but keeps us warm at all times in a normal Norwegian summer. We have used Thermarest mats in the past which were also fine if a little uncomfortable. For cooking we use a Trangia, and fuel is readily available but you should have no problem finding screw on gas cartridges for gas burners.

Campsites: in the tourist areas there are plenty and prices vary a lot. Generally expect to pay NOK 90-150 for a tent and two people although in 2009 we found a pleasant campsite for NOK 54 a night and a less pleasant one for NOK 225. Showers are usually extra, NOK 10 will normally get you 5 mins of warm shower, some campsites use tokens instead of coins. Many campsites have a kitchen to cook in and larger ones often have washers and driers. You can also camp wild, if you observe certain rules. From memory you must be at least 150m from houses/buildings, not on land with a fence round it and not next to the road but I'd check this at the first tourist office you find.

Once last important point is that the summer season in Norway ends in mid August. This means that some campsites will shut, or the reception has limited opening times, which can be irritating if you need tokens for the showers. Many museums are only open at weekends and the smaller 'bygdetun' collections of old buildings and stave churches close. Also some smaller tourist ferries run reduced services or stop altogether.
So long and thanks for all the fish...