The love of the fjords – Hardangerfjord

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to bring my bike to the west coast of Norway. More precisely Jondal by Hardangerfjord, where my wife’s family has a cottage. And let’s be clear: the area has a spectacular Norwegian nature that is just waiting to be explored on the bike.

From Jondal you there’s a 19 km climb (https://www.strava.com/segments/2015349) up to Folgefonna Glacier and the summer ski resort. It brings you from sea level to 1190 meters and at this time of the year there’s quite a bit of snow at the top. But they clear the road up to the ski resort and on a sunny day you can easily ride up on a road bike with 25mm tires. Riding through such a tunnel of snow is out of this world. It’s a surreal experience!

After having done such a majestic climb you can stay low and ride along the fjord. That is truly amazing. The curvy roads along the waterfront with the spectacular mountains in the background is good for your mind. I did a 6 hour ride around Hardangerfjord via Utne-Kinsarvik-Ulvik-Norheimssund and back to Jondal. This included two ferry crossings (Utne-Kinsarvik and Tørvikbygd-Jondal). Make sure to check the timetable and plan your ride in accordance with that. I had to get up for an early start at 4.45 am to catch the first boat from Utne to Kinsarvik since I had to drive the car all the way back to Oslo in the afternoon. But that just gave me the opportunity the enjoy the sun rise as well. Not a bad one!

And what a day on the bike it was! 6 hours of riding and just enjoying my own company and the nature. For sure I’m gonna do this again. Soon!

Winter Wonderland by bike

Back in the days – when I lived in Denmark – I wasn’t a big fan of winter. To go out cycling on a grey and rainy day wasn’t exactly attractive. But since then I moved to Norway and about 3 years ago I discovered that when riding in proper snow is so much more rewarding than the grey and winter days that are so common elsewhere. Outside Oslo we have a huge natural park called Nordmarka. It’s closed for traffic but have a large network of gravel roads. These are fantastic for gravel riding and during winter quite a big part of them are actually cleared for snow, so the local residents (yes – there are a few of them) and the tree logging machinery can get access. That makes it possible to ride on hard packed snow. And with studded tires (spikes) it is just plain awesome. Much better than riding on roads that have been salted. And on a very good day it can actually be better than summer…

In about a weeks time I’m organizing my Mid Winter Patrol. I did a similar long ride at Midsummer in June. Back then 45 people joined me for a 7 hour ride ending at around midnight at a local bar for beers and snacks. Now we are approaching solstice and why not celebrate the return of the sun with a ride? That’s is Mid Winter Patrol.

So December 14th I’m taking those who haven’t parked the bike for the winter out for a 3-4 hour ride. We’ll do 50/50 road and gravel roads. The latter hopefully being covered in snow. On Sunday I was out with a friend to check out the conditions. And I think it’s safe to say: it looks promising 🙂

Atlantic Ocean Road

The name alone of this piece of road on the Norwegian west coast sounds promising. The core Atlantic Ocean Road is actually just an 8 km section crossing the gap of the fjord right where the open ocean begins and Iceland is next stop! When visiting a friend in the region last year, I brought the bike and we got the chance to ride this beautiful road. It basically goes from rock to rock for 8 kilometers. With the Atlantic on one side and the mountains and the fjord on the other side the scenery is stunning. It is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the area for reason!

When we rode it we extended the route to a 35 km stretch along the coastline and back again. No doubt, there are other options for longer or shorter loops which includes the Atlantic Ocean Road, but that will have to wait for next time. We ended up in a small village called Bud, where we found a much needed cafe and had some waffles with traditional Norwegian brown goat cheese. It sounds weird, I know, but it is good 🙂