The logistical challenge: Cycling to Nordkapp, hiking on Svalbard

Posted: June 24, 2012 in Cycling, Hiking

This summer I will be cycling from Bodø to Nordkapp, and then hiking on Svalbard. This poses a logistical challenge. By documenting all the logistical elements, I hope to ensure that everything is covered.

The challenge:

  • Arrive in Bodø with undamaged bike and all cycling luggage.
  • End in Tromsø with bike and cycling luggage (after having cycled to Nordkapp) ready to fly to Svalbard.
  • Transport bike and cycling luggage back to Holland undamaged.
  • Have backpack and hiking equipment (some not taken on the bike trip) in Svalbard.

Transporting the bike and luggage

Here is a list of what I am taking on my bike trip. I am starting the bike trip in Bodø and ending in Tromsø. The bike will be transported by plane from Amsterdam – Oslo – Bodø, and then Tromsø – Svalbard – Oslo – Amsterdam. In my experience (and also that of my local bike shop), bikes often get damaged when transported by aeroplane. I will pack the  bike in a cardboard box which is used to deliver new bikes to bike shops.

Bike ready for transport

Bike ready for transport

Of course, I will remove the pedals, turn the handlebars to the side, and deflate the tyres. A tip for removing the bike pedals: the left pedal is removed by turning clockwise, the right pedal by turning anticlockwise. 🙂

I have been blessed with very helpful bikeshops in Eindhoven and Tromsø. Rijwielcentrale in Eindhoven gave me the box in the photo for transporting the bike to Bodø. MXTromsø and Intersport Sportshuset Tromsø have both kindly offered to give me a cardboard transport box for the flights from Tromsø back to Holland (via Svalbard).

The box is very big. My good friend Jennifer has offered to come with me in the train to the airport on the 6th of July to help me take my bike and luggage and transport box to Schiphol airport.

To reduce the number of individual pieces of luggage for the flight, I will be transporting the two front bike bags and one of the bike back bags in the check-in luggage of the plane in an Ikea blue bag. The Ikea bag seems quite robust, but I think I will get it reinforced at the local tailor. I will use the other back bike bag as take-on hand luggage.

Ikea bag with bike bags

Ikea bag with bike bags

The Ikea bag closes with the bike bags

The Ikea bag closes with the bike bags

As there are no flights from Amsterdam to Bodø leaving and arriving on a Saturday, I will be staying overnight in Oslo on Friday night before taking an early morning flight to Bodø on Saturday morning. I will be staying in the Radisson Blu Airport hotel which is directly opposite the airport. There are no escalators or stairs between arrivals and the hotel, so the bike can remain in the transport box.

Return trip Nordkapp – Tromsø

Having cycled from Bodø to Nordkapp, I need to return to Tromsø with my bike and luggage to fly to Svalbard for the hike. There is little public transport far north. There is a bus to from Honningsvåg (near Nordkapp on Magerøya island where Nordkapp is situated) to Tromsø via Alta. Much more convenient and comfortable is the Hurtigruten boat which stops at Honningsvåg and lots of other stops on the way to Tromsø. I will be taking the boat, and hoping for nice weather so I can see the fiords from a different perspective from the sea.

For the record, bus 207 leaves Honningsvåg at 06:40 in the morning and arrives in Alta at 10:35. From there there is a 10 minute changeover time in Alta to bus 150 to Tromsø (leaving 10:45). If this changeover is missed, you need to wait a day in Alta for the next bus. I did not investigate this option too extensively once I discovered the boat option. I imagine, however, that it is possible to arrange for the busses to wait in Alta so the bike and bike luggage can be transferred.

Transport of hiking equipment to Svalbard

On Svalbard I will need different equipment to what I need for the bike trip. I will take a backpack and heavy hiking shoes, among other things. I will not be taking these things on my bike trip, and I need to get them to Svalbard for the hike. I am sending my backpack and the equipment that I don’t need for the bike trip to Svalbard where it will be stored until I arrive from Tromsø with my bike. The bike will be stored at Longyearbyen while I hike, and then I will return to Holland with everything.

I will be sending my hiking equipment by insured post (post.nl).

Backpack in City Box

Backpack in City Box

A backpack cannot be sent just as it is, but needs to be in a cardboard box (no larger than 100x50x50 cm). The standard cardboard boxes available at the post-office or at hardware stores (for moving house) are not large enough. My pack fits in  the largest box from City Box. In theory it should also fit in the box I ordered online from www.onlinepartijen.nl. The box arrived today, but seems a bit thinner than the City Box..

Backpack in City Box

Backpack in City Box

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