Posts Tagged ‘Lofoten’


I have now created a summary video of my cycle trip from Bodø to Nordkapp. Check it out!

YouTube video of the Bodø - Nordkapp 2012 cycle trip

YouTube video of the Bodø – Nordkapp 2012 cycle trip


I was on the main road: the E10, and I made a mental note to avoid main roads if possible. Cars passed by at full speed, as did large trucks.

Then I turned on the scenic route to Fiskebøl, and what a scenic trip it was. But first, just after the turnoff, I got a flat tyre.

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I think I damaged the inner tube when putting the tyre back on, and had to remove everything twice. Still, I got quite proficient at the end. And in this time the sun came out and it was a glorious, sunny day from that time on.

First I passed a stunning lake with pointy mountains as a backdrop.

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

After a nice lunch in Sandsletta camping ground, I moved on and passed some amazing fjords.

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

Austvågøya

I even saw some beach cows.

Beach cows

Beach cows

 

In Fiskebøl I caught the ferry to Melbu. In the boat I met a German: Volker. We got chatting and decided to cycle a bit together. He was going to Stokmarnes to camp: about 30km away. I wanted to go to my Couch Surfing hosting in Sortland, some distance further on the next island.

My plans of cycling all the way to Sortland (at least along the scenic route) were not realistic. In making these plans I was studying 2 different maps with different scales, and did a common trick of misjudging distances. 🙂 Anyway, while cycling to Stokmarnes it soon became clear that with head wind and hills, Sortland was not on.

Hadseløya

Hadseløya

 

And then I got another flat tyre and changed the inner tube. That was the nail in the coffin. No worries. I have time.

I had a nice evening chat with Volker. He is doing a nice round trip circuit from Bodø to the north and back. We rode about 20km together and may ride more in the coming days.


A cyclist is in the elements. Encapsulated in a controlled capsule, a car driver is isolated from outside. The cyclist feels each ray of sun, each breath (or gale) of wind, each slope. The cyclist hears the birds squawk, smells the salty sea and the fish drying.

My trip started with perfectly clear skies and not a breath of wind. I rolled passed Rheine and along the coast. The water was still. A picture of tranquility: boats lying quietly on the mirror water, next to quaint fisher’s huts and spectacular mountains looming in the background. The mood of the cyclist is a buoyed by such perfect conditions and some of the best scenery in the world. This is what cycling is all about.

Moskenes in the early morning

Moskenes in the early morning

Reine

Reine

The road made its way to the north of the island. The wind picked up (a head wind is default), and the clouds moved in. What was a warm sunny start was now a cold, windy affair. But don’t think that a bend in the road may turn a complete head wind into a side wind. The wind follows the valleys just like the road does. A head wind stays a head wind.

The mood of a cyclist moves with the conditions. Colder conditions, still dressed for the sun makes feet go numb. Head winds and exertion bring on the hunger 4 hours before shops open. Muesli bars and bananas bring back the energy. The cold grey skies turn a tropical looking beach into a more bleak, windswept, and still beautiful affair.

Ramberg

Ramberg

The day started with sun on the south side of the island, turned to grey on the north. Northern grey once again changed as the road returned towards the south. The blue reined again, and everything was friendly, and simply stunning.

My first major tunnel experience was followed by an open supermarket at Leknes.

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I met a nice German cyclist: Helmut, who gave a few tips. His most treasured piece of advice was wind related. If you have a head wind, try to find another cyclist and cycle together, one forming a wind shield for the other. We couldn’t do this: Helmut was cycling south. Another fact that he had that i didn’t know is that it is a standard wind pattern where wind comes from the north. I had thought that the wind direction was more random. Nice to know, but cycling from the north cape isn’t as satisfying.

I took a slight detour from the main cycling route and cycled through some nice farming country to my picnic with a view. I ate to the sound of the wind and sheep bells.

 

Sun was now reigning supreme. Around every bend was another view smiling at me. ‘You are here!’ the view was saying. ‘After all this planning!’

As my trip continued, euphoria of the views, a lowering energy level, and a wind becoming more brutal made pushing through it at 10 km/h on flat road less appealing. The last stretch before my decision was beautiful. A lovely fjord with spectacular mountains on the other side.

 

I had planned to cycle around the island of Gimsøya: apparently a highlight of the Lofoten islands. This would mean 10 extra kms of full on headwind slog to a camping ground that wasn’t answering their phone, and so, I concluded, may be closed. Instead, I concluded, the main road was with a tail wind. I couldn’t resist. Off I went at 25-30 km/h or more rather than 10-15. This is cycling. My mood lifted immediately. I immediately enjoyed the sun and the views.

At a snack I talked to a Scottish cyclist who had cycled here from Scotland via Dover and Calais, Holland, Denmark and Sweden. Amazing.

I am now in a camping at Ørsnesvika a few kms out of Svolvær. After a dinner and a talk with a nice Norwegian family I was ready for bed.


Alert! Alert! There are some spectacular photos at the bottom of this post.

Admiring the view above Reine

Admiring the view above Reine

I had rejoiced when my luggage and bike was going to be checked through all the way to Bodø. I was looking forward to moseying on to the hotel with just hand luggage, getting a decent sleep, and walking across the road to the airport, and directly boarding the flight.

It was not to be so. The luggage was booked through to Bodø. But, it all had to pass through Norwegian customs first. My bike bags in the Ikea bag arrived. Then my bedraggled bike box slid in through the chute. It was raining heavily outside and the box had seen better days.

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Then the fun began. I put the bike box on a trolley. The bike sagged out the bottom, and the wheel dragged along the ground as I pushed the trolley forward. I took the box off the trolley and taped up the bottom. I then made it through to the customs door. I was flown back to my driving exam days, doing a 7 point turn to navigate through a door which was too narrow for the bike.

I was to check it in one floor higher. It didn’t fit in the lift. I took the bike out of the box, folded the box in half, and transported the trolley with the ikea bag, the bike with the handlebars sideways, and the folded droopy box one by one into the lift with the speedy closing doors. One floor higher I discovered that the checkin was closed for the night. They open again at 5am.
Down again, through another few narrow doors and across the road in the pouring rain to the Radisson hotel: a beacon of peace and luxury in the stress. I opened the box out and left it to dry in the locker room.

I skyped with dad and Valerie before bed. I had asked the wrong God for safe passage to Bodø. Thor was the wrong choice, said Valerie. I dreamed on plans to salvage my droopy bike box.

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The next morning I had a cunning plan ready. Cover the box with the tent tarp and run to the terminal. It had dried out enough, and was ready to be of service to Bodø. Through the narrow doors in three trips and up the lift. My box was too big to be flown, apparently. I had to abandon it. But, the alternative was just as good. Some huge strong plastic bags. A very satisfactory solution. Thanks Norwegian airlines.

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We lifted up above the clouds and flew northwards. Norway is a beautiful country. I felt a lump in my throat looking out of the window at the snowy tundra landscape. I am going to be cycling here!

The view from the plane

The view from the plane

My bags arrived in Bodø. My bike arrived. And… Yes!! It was alive and in good health. I cycled around Bodø, went shopping and bought some emergency rations, and went for a snooze in the sun before the boat trip to Lofoten.

Waiting for the boat in Bodø

Waiting for the boat in Bodø

Waiting for the boat I talked to a nice swiss couple and then a Dutch couple that were cycling from Holland to the north cape. I guess I might run into them a bit, although I suspect they are faster than me. They are also blogging: Esther and Niels’ blog. They had some nice stories to tell in the boat.

The weather has decided to be perfect. There were blue skies and hardly a breath of wind. I cycles south to the picture postcard village if Å. It was quite deserted and very peaceful.

The beautiful town of Å

The beautiful town of Å

Unfortunately the camping ground was closed and so I returned to where the boat had arrived at Moskenes, set up my tent and had dinner.

The camping ground at Moskenes in the late evening sun.

The camping ground at Moskenes in the late evening sun.

It was the perfect evening to take advantage of the midnight sun, and I cycled past the towering mountains like sharp teeth to the mountain overlooking the village of Reine. It is a famous short and steep walk, and no wonder. The views from the top were breathtaking.

The view from above Reine

The view from above Reine

The view from above Reine

The view from above Reine

Admiring the view above Reine

Admiring the view above Reine

The amazing view above Reine

The amazing view above Reine

 

As I said, it was steep.

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It’s now after midnight and still light. Time for bed. I need to be fit for the first real day of cycling tomorrow. I’m a happy chappy. The Lofoten islands are amazing!