Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->Scandinavia 2006-->Tips and tricks-->The journey

Back to tips and tricks

Tips for the trip itself.

1) Summer still officially ends in Norway in mid-August. For example some ferries don't run after that time, or with limited schedules. Some campsites close or the opening times for receptions are more limited.

2) The Danish section of the NSCR is in terms of hills a lot easier. However as with the coastal areas of the Netherlands the wind can blow very hard. If you have a headwind this will slow you down.

3) A second problem for the Danish section is road surfaces. Unexpectedly we spent more time on unmetalled roads than in Norway. The gravel road surfaces we encountered were sometimes very hard going. The gravel consists of smooth round pebbles which unlike sharp edged crushed stones don't seem to pack down to form a coherent surface. The biggest problems came with what seemed to be newly laid gravel paths and more solid sand paths with a scattering of round pebbles on them. The former could bring you to an immediate standstill whilst the latter was very uncomfortable, with small stones flying sideways from under the tyres and a lot of jiggling particularly though the handlebars. As a result of 2) and 3) we'd be inclined to be less optimistic in planning a trip in the future in coastal Denmark. Also we are now considering replacing our touring bikes with bikes with mountain bike or Schwalbe Big Apple tyres.

4) Denmark seems well set up as regards campsites. The only place where they were few and far between was the first section from Tonder to Ribe. We encountered no campsites where facilities were less than good. Many of the sites we used had 'family' or 'couple' washrooms which varied in size but all had a toilet shower and washbasins in a single room. Most were large enough for parents and children. If we had children we would not hesitate to take cycling holidays in Denmark. For the more adventurous there is a national network of free or low cost basic campsites. There is (Danish language) guide available Overnatning i det fri 2006-2007 which has an English summary of the symbols. We used one campsite which was sited in a childrens play ground in the tiny village of Smidie. Both of us found it charming.

5) We had no problems in using trains with our bikes in Denmark. We encountered one local train where the carriage floor was two steps up from the platform, otherwise the trains were quite accessible as were the stations.

6) Expect delays on the night trains to and from Denmark. On the outward journey the connection to Duisburg was fine. We arrived over an hour late into Flensburg, which being our destination didn't matter. However on the return journey we missed the connection in Duisburg. This added significant time to our journey as the first available connection involved taking four trains instead of the one. There is only one direct connection from Duisburg per day, so if you miss it tough luck.

7) We were told in the tourist office in Bergen that it is no longer possible to cycle to Voss. Apparently a couple of tunnels are no longer open to cyclists. At the time of writing we have not been able to ascertain if this is correct information or not.

8) The ride up from Voss to Mjølfjell Youth Hostel is covered in tarmac or very good grit. After Mjølfjell it turns immediately into a track of reasonable quality. We did up to the Youth Hostel in a short day's cycle, the route climbed pretty much all the way, which is good as you have more time to enjoy the beautiful and varied scenery.

9) If you do not have a head for heights you may want to miss the section of the Rallarvegen between Hallingskeit and Myrdal. You can use trains to avoid this section, but be careful as some trains either don't take bikes or don't stop at Hallingskeit. We are thinking of trying to do this route this summer (2007) again and try to get down to Flåm. If we do, I'll put some information up on the site and try and take some photos. The rest of the route, from Hallingskiet to Haugestøl was not scary at all.

10) The Rallarvegen has some amazing scenery, it is also amazing to be cycling 300m higher than the highest point in the UK. The weather in summer can be quite unpleasant and cold. If you are thinking of doing the Rallarvegen then take some warm clothing and good waterproofs. We experienced temperatures of around 5'C the night we camped, a contrast to the 25+'C of the day before.

11) Close to the highest point of the Rallarvegen there is a museum and more importantly a cafe. We sheltered there from the rain and wind and warmed up on the way up. We were both glad that it was there, it gave us a chance to dry out a little before pushing on. The fresh waffles with jam and cream are to be recommended and the coffee was very welcome.

12) The hardest parts of the trip was the Rallarvegen, with the gravel sections in Denmark with a strong headwind, a demoralising second. The Rallarvegen has the challenges of a combination of steep inclines and grit roads. Some short sections of the Rallarvegen which had been recently repaired, were not cycleable with a fully laden touring bike, neither were a few short inclines. They were not impassable, it was just advisable to get off and push. Most people we passed on the Rallarvegen, had mountain bikes which probably are better for the off road sections in general.

13) From Haugestøl to Geilo and on to Dagali is on good main roads. The section to Geilo was a bit busy but perfectly cycleable. From Geilo to Dagali was quieter but there were a few big climbs on the way. After Dagali on the Numendalsrute there was a 30km dirt road but of good quality almost as good as cycling on tarmac. The rest of the route was tarmac.

14) The bike compartment is often nowhere near your seats in the train. We have to work out a way to get our bike bags from the cycle compartment to our cabin. This probably will include taking a deep breath, and politely asking people standing in the corridor, watching you walk towards them, to get out of the way.

Back to tips and tricks.

Page created 21/01/2007. All material is © 2005/6/7 Stanislav Williams