Norway 2022

We decided to go to Scandinavia again this year and Norway was our first choice this time. We wanted to see a bit more of the South of the country, we hadn’t been there yet. So we took the ferry to Kristiansand with the intention of riding North from there. We wanted to go to the region Valdres because there was supposed to be a beautiful bicycle route over there; Mjolkevegen.

We couldn’t leave until Sunday, but that did mean that it was a bit more quiet on the road. We drove to Hirtshals and parked the car on a campground. We payed a bit for it and could leave it there during the whole trip. We made the ferry right in time, we could board almost immediately when we arrived. After a 2,5 hour boatride we arrived in Kristiansand where we had to cycle a few kms to our hotel. We decided to start luxurious and booked a hotel (including breakfast) for the first night.

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The next day the sun was shining brightly and it was warm immediately. So it was a very good start of our trip. After breakfast we were off for the first stage. We had found a route which was partly unpaved, so we were looking forward to riding gravel right away. It turned out to be a very hard bit of road, with very steep hills. It became a hike-a-bike part. But that was okay, we hadn’t expected it to be easy because cycling in Norway is never easy. When we had reached the top of one of those hills and were slightly going down, Linda wasn’t paying enough attention and fell. Cuts and bruises everywhere and larger/deeper cuts on elbow and eyebrow. The eye was swollen, black and blue and closed almost immediately, so it didn’t look very charming and good. We decided we had to go back to Kristiansand and find a hospital for treatment. That meant riding about 20 kms, but we didn’t really have a choice.

In the hospital she was treated quickly. A nurse cleaned everything thoroughly and a doctor, also Linda, stitched up the elbow and eyebrow; 6 stitches in the eyebrow and 3 in the elbow. Then we were allowed to leave. But where to?

We wanted to go to the campground in the city, but when we arrived there we discovered that it was reserved for a congress or something for the next few days. They didn’t even want to make an exception for a wounded woman with a very small tent. So we decided to check online if the hotel had a room available and they did so we booked another night at the hotel and went back there, which meant another few kms of riding. It was hard riding with a closed eye because you can’t see any depth. Fortunately Linda’s sunglasses were still in one piece and were big enough to cover most of the black and blue and swollen eye so people weren’t able to see much of it.

The next day Linda wasn’t feeling too good, so we stayed in the hotel another night. It was a good day to rest because the weather wasn’t great and the rest was much needed. Every so often she put an ice pack on her face to help the swelling go away. That did help, because the next day the eye was open. It was sunny again, the eye was open and she was feeling a bit better so we took off for our second try of starting this trip. You have to start some time. The route was nice and the hills were steep. We had to climb a steep hill and then descend before going up again on the other side of the valley and so on. A lot of up and down, but it went okay and at least we were on our way now. We found a cute campground and went to bed early to recover a bit more.

The next days we cycled on nice, small roads to Kvinesdal and Tonstad before we climbed up to Adneram. The weather was sunny and warm so we were lucky with that. From Adneram you ride up to the highlands where the wind is in charge and there are snowpatches all around. The dark clouds and strong, cold wind made this beautiful rugged world even more impressive. We crossed the highland and descended on the other side. We had to continue to the town of Dalen because the road leading there would be closed on weekdays because of construction. It was Sunday, so we had to continue because the weather forecast said rain for the next day and we wanted to be on a campground then. So there was another long climb ahead of us, but it was a very nice one. At the end there was a very steep and short descent to the town and we were happy we made it on this long day. And, indeed, it rained continuously next day.

The rain had cleared the sky and the next day the sun was shining brightly again. It was great weather for cycling and it stayed that way to. We rode via Austbygde to the energy plant of Rjukan and then, with lots of climbing, to Dagali from where we continued to Gol. The scenery was continuously beautiful with lots of climbing, forests, lakes, snowcapped mountains on the horizon and more beautiful highland.

Gol (not far from Geilo) is the start of a famous cycling route, Mjolkevegen. An almost entirely unpaved route of 250 km (156 miles) through the area of Valdres. It used to be used bij the milk truck when it collected the milk churns from the farms along the route. It’s mostly unpaved and runs through beautiful nature and there are many small (former) farms and holiday cabins along the way. The first part is from Gol to Beitostolen, then the route is the same as Jotunheimvegen to Vinstra.

We didn’t really have a very good start because the day we left Gol it started raining very quickly. We decided not to continue that day because it would be a waste of that beautiful route, so we went to the nearest campground and stayed there the rest of the day. The next day it was still very cloudy, but it was dry so we could give it another try. The road was made of packed sand, so it wasn’t too hard to ride, and slowly we climbed to around 1000 meters (3000 feet). The views and scenery were beautiful again; snowcapped mountains around us. After a long day with many hills in the end and the dark, looming sky behind us, we arrived in Ryfoss.

From Ryfoss it’s only about 40 kms (25 miles) to Beitostolen, but those kms are by far the hardest ones on the whole route. There’s a 5 km (3 mile) part in which we had to ascend 650 meters (1950 feet). The gradient didn’t go below 10% and mostly not even below 11%. There were parts of 17% to. In the meantime the rain was trying to catch up again, but the strong wind helped push us up. When we finally reached the top, we didn’t take a lot of time to absorb the stunning and spooky scenery because the cold wind and the incoming rain forced us to descend, but not before we put on some extra clothes and even gloves. A tiny shower caught up with us, but fortunately it didn’t last very long and there was a small shelter for us to stay dry in. After another hilly last kms to Beitostolen we decided to stay there for the night. It’s a small ski town with a few outdoor and sport shops. We had to buy a new sleeping mat because one of them had broken a few days ago. Fortunately we knew that we could buy a new one in Beitostolen.

From Beitostolen Mjolkevegen is the same as Jotunheimvegen, which also is a famous unpaved route. We had done it before and remembered it to be very nice. This part also winds through nature and (sometimes hilly) highlands. Unfortunately it was over with our luck of staying out of the rain. Just when we arrived at the top of a long climb, it started raining. And it didn’t get dry anymore either. We were happy we were past most of the longer climbes, so the road was going down most of the time. We had wanted to try and find a nice wildcamping spot, but because of the rain we decided to go to a campground in Skabu instead, to be able to sit inside and take a warm shower.

From Skabu we could cut across to the next unpaved route, Peer Gyntvegen. We didn’t want to ride Mjolkevegen to the end in Vinstra because then we would have had to go back sort of the same way for part of it. So we turned onto Peer Gyntvegen, which we also had cycled before. The day started clear and sunny, but it turned more cloudy and cold during the day. Then it started raining again to, but not for too long this time. The road was very hilly, with pretty steep hills, and mostly went through forest. In the little ski area of Gala the road was paved but after a long climb it turned into gravel again. There is a store on top of the hill, so we could buy something good after all the effort to get up there. Then it wasn’t long before we saw the camping spot where we had camped the previous time we were there. Because the sky turned darker with every minute and because it was a nice spot right by the lake, we decided to camp there again. When the tent was pitched and our tea was ready, it started raining again. But this time also it didn’t last very long. We were surprised that we had seen so many other cyclists on the road, a lot more than the previous time. There were also still quite a lot of them passing when we were sitting by our tent. Apparently it has become more popular to go cycling/bikepacking.

For the next day, rain was predicted from about 1 pm on and we wanted to be as far as possible by that time. So we left our pretty little camping spot early. It was cold and the wind was strong, but at least it was dry. After a few kms we turned off the Peer Gyntvegen to ride an alternative route to the town of Forset. It turned out to be a good choice, because the little road was very nice and we didn’t see any other soul over there. It also wasn’t very hard, mostly flat and downhill. We passed a fishing lake and little farms and at the end we descended into a pretty green valley. We arrived in Forset before the rain and were happy about that. We doubted about what to do next, go to the campground in Forset or continue riding to Dokka. We really wanted to continue to Dokka, but there was a long and steep climb coming up and the predicted rain had come really close. But we decided to continue.

The climb started with 5 kms (3 miles) of a 10% gradient, so that was hard. After that, it flattened out a bit, but it kept being hard. About half way the steep part, it started raining, so we had to put on our raingear. And climbing in raingear isn’t much fun! Right where the climb flattenes a bit, there’s an abandoned restaurant with a covered porch and a bench, so we went over to shelter from the rain a bit. That was a good decision because the rain started pouring down harder and harder. After a while we got back on our bikes, because by staying there we wouldn’t get anywhere either. Right then the rain started coming down a bit less hard and the rest of the climb wasn’t very steep and long anymore. After a bit of flat we turned into another unpaved road. We could have continued on the paved road a bit further and then ride to Dokka on another paved road, but that was quite a bit longer so we decided we’d just take the unpaved road and see how bad that would be in the rain. But this also turned out to be a good choice. It was a very nice road, alongside the water and through forest. The beginning was pretty flat, later there were some hills. It kept on raining, but not as hard anymore so it could have been worse. It stayed hilly till Dokka and we were very happy when we finally arrived there. Because we felt sorry for ourselves because of the bad weather we found we deserved a cabin that night. We turned up the heat and had a very warm and nice evening.

With this day, there had come an end to Mjolkevegen/Jotunheimvegen/Peer Gyntvegen and we were back in civilization. The first part of Mjolkevegen, from Gol to Beitostolen, absolutely was the most beautiful part of the whole route. It’s really hard to describe the stunning view we had over there and it really is worth riding it, even thought it also is the hardest part by far.

The weather was great again the last days and we cycled to Hergeroa, close to Langesund and Larvik, in 4 days. The scenery turned from very hilly, to hilly, to much less hilly while we were getting back to sea level. When you’re back on sea level, it’s hard to imagine that just a few days ago you were still up and above 1000 meters (3000 feet). The last day we just had a short ride to the ferry in Langesund left. From there we took the ferry back to Hirtshals, where our car was still waiting for us on the campground. After one last night of camping, we drove back home.

After about 1.450 kms (910 miles) and 21.500 altimeters 65.000 feet, we were at the end of this trip. Once again, it was a beautiful trip. Norway is just such a great country for cycling (touring). Even though we had cycled part of it before, we still managed to ride most of it in new parts. The scenery was stunning again, especially in Valdres between Gol and Beitostolen. It’s hard to describe how beautiful it was over there and we tried to capture it in our pictures but pictures are never as good as the real thing.

Sweden 2019

In 2019 the plan was to take the roadbikes to the French Alps, but the weather was bad everywhere we checked. So, at the last moment, we decided to go to Sweden, where the weather forecast was a bit better. We booked the ferry from Frederikshavn to Göteborg and an hostal in the city for the first night. Then we drove the well known route to Denmark.

Of course, we wanted to ride a different route than we had before and we managed to do so. We rode around the Vattern lake and passed Orebro to get tot Filipstad. From there we crossed to the Norwegian border and then went down the Westcoast, with the famous and touristy town of Fjallbacka, back to Göteborg.

We tried to ride unpaved roads as much as possible, and also succeeded in that. We let our route depend on the small gravel roads we found on the way and were led through hilly forests most of the time. We hardly saw any other person or vehicles, so we could enjoy the scenery in peace.

The West Coast was pretty nice to. Fjallbacka is a famous little town because Ingrid Bergman used to spend her holidays there and writer Camilla Lackberg used it in some of her books. It’s a very scenic and cute town, but very touristy. Including busses with Azian people. There are more of those little (even smaller) towns along the coast and they are much quieter. We followed the rocky coast down to Göteborg and rode over more hills, through forests and took small ferries to some of the islands.

The weather was a bit changeable during this trip. It started with rain, then some days of sunny and hot weather and then it turned into more changeable weather. But, all in all, it was good cycling weather and we enjoyed the trip a lot.

Iceland; land of glaciers and lava (2018)

We knew Iceland was going to be a challenge and an adventure. We had read the stories of other people and decided on a route we would like to ride. And it indeed turned out to be an adventure and a challenge. While at home and in all of Europe they were suffering through the hottest summer ever, we were in Iceland suffering through their wettest summer ever. And that while it’s not the driest destination anyway.

The adventure already started straight from leaving the house. We wanted to go to the airport by train, but part of the route was not possible due to construction. So we were taken to the first train station from where we could reach the airport without problems. From there on the train ride went fine and we arrived at the airport quickly. Continue reading

Norway; land of snowcapped mountains, rugged and cold highlands and beautiful views

Click here for part 1; Sweden (and click on the flag)

Noorwegen/ Norway

Noorwegen/ Norway

We were almost blown and flushed out of our tent in Røros, but the next day the weather was a lot better. It just was very cold due to the strong, icy wind. From there on, we started on our way home since we would be going South again. Continue reading

Spring/ summer 2017

The leaves on the trees are starting to change color and starting to fall. That means, unfortunately, that summer is over again. The days are getting shorter and we will not cycle as much anymore. Despite that summer didn’t bring us a lot of good weather, we still managed to make some kilometers/miles. But most of those kilometers/miles were ridden during vacations. Continue reading

Back on the road

Summer has arrived, so time for a vacation! It was quite hard to figure out a destination, there are so many choices. But because we only have 3 weeks, we didn’t want to travel very long/far and we wanted an easy to reach destination. So we decided to go cycling in Norway if the weather would be good. If not, the plan was to take the roadbikes and go to France. Continue reading

A week Tenerife

HotelAfter having worked for many months, we just wanted a break. Because it’s winter, most people go skiing but we decided we wanted warmth and sunshine. So, we decided to go someplace warm and sunny to finally enjoy those things we miss so much. But we didn’t just want to lay by a pool or on a beach for a week. Of course we also wanted to cycle! And Tenerife (Canary Islands, belonging to Spain) is a very good place for cyling this time of year… On Tenerife, there’s the volcano Teide, the highest mountain of Spain and a real challenge to ride. So, Tenerife it was! Continue reading