Scandinavia. Norway to be precise.
One place I’ve always looked at on the world map and thought ‘hmm, I wonder what it’s like to ride my mountain bike there?’. Every photo is postcard picturesque plus it’s the world’s happiest country.
When one of your friends invites you over asking for help ‘testing’ the new trails he’s discovered, I was hard pushed to say no. So we booked a flight and off we went…
For me, one of the best things about travelling is arriving to your destination at night when it’s pitch black. You’ve no idea where you are, or what surroundings look like. It’s a role of the dice and I love taking the chance.
Norway Played Its Ace Card
Waking at the crack of dawn as I do, I couldn’t wait to see outside. We spent the night in a tiny hobbit style house. Walking out onto the balcony in the crisp morning, I was greeted with clear crystal blue skies, steep mountain ranges and fjords that looked like glass – right in front of the house.
Endless narrow fjords cutting their way through the country. Waterfalls cascading down the mountain side. The glistening glaciers that never melt. And to think it was only an hours flight from my hometown Manchester was a blessing in disguise.
Our first stop was just north if the city of Bergen. Will, our guide, and lover of a good ol ‘hike-o-bike’ mission took us exploring on a 6 hour epic! Being in Norway for only 3 nights, we wanted to squeeze as much as possible into such a short time without feeling rushed. The more reason to organise another trip in the future I guess!
Scaling peaks most of the time with a bike on your shoulder is painful. The walking paths were far too steep to peddle up. But when you’re rewarded with views and trails like these, it all becomes clear why I chose mountain bikes as my primary passion!
After an epic day in Bergen, completely depleted of energy and high on happiness, we drove a further 2 hours north into the Norwegian serenity to Will’s house in Granvin. Hardangerfjord is one of the most famous fjords in Norway and the fourth longest in the world at 179,000m long.
Will and his girlfriend Klara kindly put us up for the night in their cosy Airbnb for the night which we spent eating homemade fish pie whilst playing board games next to the roaring fire that heated the house. No central heating round these parts!
The next morning we woke for breakfast which was the classic mountain biker staple of porridge oats and jam to yet another stunning view. The weather must have been on our side, as I’m sure it wasn’t supposed to be this warm in September in Norway. Klara told us…
‘You Should Never Turn Down The Chance To Go Swimming’
Taking a dip in the freezing cold fjords didn’t sound appealing. It took mine and Jonny’s breath away. However, the feeling afterwards made my entire body come alive! A shock to the system.
‘So where are we riding today Will?’
Straight to the point, he raised his arm and pointed to the mountain peak that stood tall right outside the kitchen window. ‘There’ he said. What looked like a stone’s throw away was actually a 60 minute trip to the bottom of the trail we were about to hike up and come hurtling back down on two wheels.
On our way up, we passed endless streams of walkers on their way back down. ‘Are you going to ride down THIS?’ was what most said in shock and awe. Maybe they’d never seen a bunch of loonies hiking up the mountains with bikes on their shoulders before?
4 Hours Later We Reached The Summit!
WOW. Was my first reaction. Looking back down the trail we’d just come up (and would soon be rocketing back down), you can only stop and take it all in. Everything seems to stand still. Not a breath of wind or sound to be heard.
Just flat moon like rocks, endless fjords and cascading mountains. The pictures don’t do this place justice! Honestly, you have to see it to believe it.
But We Weren’t Here To Just ‘hike’ Up Mountains And Admire The Views. Hell No!
The singletrack back to base was what we were here to conquer. Technical trails that had your bike near vertical was some of the most challenging terrain I’ve ridden my bike on. Some parts I had to get off and walk – which is unusual.
The near vert trail mellowed out and the steep turned to fast paced flow. Up, down, left, right over moguls, threading the needle between tight twisty trees was something I always love when out riding. It had a real mix of everything.
The occasional laugh of excitement or sigh of relief after a near miss made for the good times!
The Best Part About Riding…
Yeah, the trails are adrenaline packed but for me, the most fulfilling part of riding bikes is getting to the bottom of a trail and everyone is just amped! Stoked, smiling and sharing their stories of how they nearly died or railed a corner at warp speed.
Norway is now a place clearly planted on my world radar map to head back to and explore on a much deeper level. We only scratched the surface.
The plans for the future are to head much further north towards the Arctic Circle, hopefully in search of even better trails and sightings of the Northern Lights. If you’re thinking of heading over to Norway anytime soon, check out anyexcusetoride.com and speak to Will.
But for now, It’s time to head back home and plan the next Wolfpack adventure.
You Can Follow My Journey Here: