What did we learn for the next trip?

Tips for the trip itself.

1) Summer 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) We would do the route anti-clockwise (from the Swedish border to Bergen) if we were doing it again. Clockwise we ended up on the exposed outside edge of the road more often than we would have liked. Also the best of the scenery (in our opinion) is to be found west of Kristiansand.

3) When the sun shines in Norway it can get very hot. Take suntan lotion with you, it is essential.

4) Space rest days more evenly though the trip. Although we made good use of the ferries to have pauses in our day, better planning of rest days to include say, sites of interest would have made the trip even more enjoyable. We finished earlier than expected and would have appreciated a couple more half days earlier in the trip to look at things.

5) Decide what sort of a trip you want. Is the aim to do as many kilometers of the route as possible or to eat as many waffles and visit as many galleries and museums as possible? I think we didn't decide really. We were not going to finish the whole Norwegian section and then ended up with plenty of time to do all of it. More waffles would have been nice.

6) Listen to and communicate with your cycling partner. If you get strange or delayed responses it is probably a good idea to stop, take a break and eat some high calorie food. For example if you notice you are feeling cold, then maybe your partner needs to know.

7) Start early rather than later each day. Some days it was past midday before we got going. Fortunately it stays light late in Norway in the summer, but our experience from the summer of 2006 is that starting earlier does seem to help.

8) We noticed that the effect of a hard day was felt not the next day, but the day after (and then with a vengeance).

9) Take a standard folding road map to supplement the guide books. Still expect to get lost.

10) The off road sections seem to have the best of the scenery. Some of them are a lot of hard work but we wish we had done a couple of the ones we missed.

11) There is a lot of climbing, so look after your knees. We found SPD click pedals and matching cycling shoes helped a lot. We also took bandages for our knees and used them every now and again.

12) The hardest parts of the route are between Kristiansand and Egersund. There are also hard climbs before and after that section. Starting in Sweden though would give a more gentle introduction to the terrain than starting in Bergen did.

13) We thought we might have to camp wild during the trip but ended up using a campsite every time. A couple of times we ended up doing a bit less or a bit more cycling that we had planned but that was not such a problem. We found them not too expensive (from 90 to 140 NOK per night) and a good shower was generally 10 NOK per person.

14) Flying to and from Norway was the cheapest and quickest alternative. The damage to Stan's bike, on the return journey, was annoying but apparently not so unusual. Listening to other horror stories we discovered that in fact, we got away lightly with just one broken wheel. We decided for the next trip to travel by train, which in terms of packing bikes and gear is a lot less involved.

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