Norway is a beautiful country that is perfect to get to know by bike. High mountains, blue fjords, small farms and gently winding roads. Liv Jorstad Paulsen, who is our Norwegian partner, rides both every day and for fun. Personally she likes to take a trip on the classic Dovre mountains to enjoy wilderness, quiet gravel roads and lots of fresh air.
What kind of cyclist are you?
I am a cyclist in many ways. An everyday cyclist who thinks the bicycle is a practical means of transport in Oslo, a city that is becoming more and more adapted for cyclists. It is often faster to use a bicycle than a car for both transport and action. I also use the bicycle for exercise and like to use a gravel bicycle to cycle in the field and on the road. In addition, I like to go on long trips by bike with my own luggage on the bike.
What do you like best?
I like to discover places from the bike seat and arrive at a new place after a long day of on the road. If I travel abroad, I often take some bike rides to experience the place. I like to spend some time with maps to orientate myself and find exciting places to cycle. I also like to share my experiences and inspire others to cycle. I collect my riding tips on the newly started site www.bestbiketours.no.
Do you have examples of what you experience when cycling in Norway?
Norway is famous for its beautiful nature. Here you can experience a lot of different things. Coastal areas from south to north, from idyllic landscapes in the south to Lofoten with fisherman’s cabins and further north to a rough climate in the north of Finnmark – perhaps in combination with Hurtigruten. Then there is Duvende with a rural landscape with farms and livestock grazing. There is also steep mountains and fjords with low-traffic roads that meander in the landscape and mountain biking with cabin life and wild animals. In Norway there are large wilderness areas with forests and lakes, moose, wolves and bears. Furthermore, you can experience modern city life in large and small cities. Good tips are also cycling along canals and disused railways, as well as island hopping with ferries.
Should you have something special in mind before embarking on a longer bike ride?
In Norway, it can be good to plan a little if you want to take a longer bike ride. It is especially important to check on the map how far it is between accommodation and places to get food. There may be areas where there is a long distance between points of tourist infrastructure. Pre-book accommodation, especially if it is high season. If you are new as a touring cyclist, you may want to start a little cautiously and not set up too long stages in the beginning. It is often considered that 40-60 km a day is a suitable distance. Take your time, remember to take frequent breaks and enjoy the trip! On a bike ride, you often need a little more food than usual. Bring some extra energy bars, nuts or the like. It is also important to check the weather forecast – it can change quickly and it is important to be prepared for weather changes. If you want to bring a tent to be more flexible, there are many opportunities for good tent sites. Also remember to bring equipment for simple repairs – especially for punctures, as it can be a long distance to the nearest bicycle shop.
Do you have any personal favorite places or destinations to recommend?
I like cycling along the coast – especially in Vestfold. Here there are lots of beaches, restaurants, accommodation and it is easy to get to and from by train. The national Coastal Route runs through this area and is signposted as Route 1. In several places, the trip can be combined with a boat trip and a visit to the car-free island Veierland is especially recommended. In the summer, the weather is usually nice here and it is close between the small towns with a cozy summer atmosphere.
The Norwegian mountains are also a favorite. Especially Dovrefjell with its route Tour de Dovre. Here you really get up in the Norwegian wild nature in the national park where you can see both musk and wild reindeer. Here there are quiet gravel roads that apply and the landscape is fantastic with the freshest air. Accommodation in cozy mountain cabins where you meet other people interested in hiking and can eat Norwegian local food which adds an extra edge to the experience. It is also easy to get here by train along the Dovre line.
I have also recently cycled the west coast along Jæren from Egersund to Stavanger and it was a very special experience. This is part of the North Sea route and it varies between old railway sections that have been converted into hiking trails, over the mountains on gravel roads and along the Jær landscape which is open with long beaches and views of the open North Sea. Ending in Stavanger, you get to experience a charming city with old wooden houses, charming pier life and a good atmosphere.