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Across Norway with the kids

In 2013, my family and I decided it was time to try something new after completing our book project on family outdoor life.

Keep hikes with kids short, we used to say. Use your neighbourhood. Adventure awaits just around the corner, so keep it simple. And so we did for a long time. Used our neighbourhood with the kids. Went on short, or reasonably short trips. Kept it simple.

But what happens if we cut the umbilical cord to our safe, everyday family life for more than just a handful of days? Can we learn something about ourselves, about our family, living like battery hens with a paper thin film of polyamide as a framework for our life, day after day, for a week, for a month; in rain, in sun, in snow and cold? An experiment was born: We decided to cross Norway. Four times. On bikes. In canoes. Skiing. And on foot.

The bike ride started out in the Trysil area on the eastern side of Norway, criss-crossing through a mosaic of bogs, small lakes and pine forests, aiming to bike as much as possible on dirt roads and tractor roads on our way westwards.

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At times, it was hard to tell whether we were riding on a tractor road or a field of grass.

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The Surly Ogre was a great bike, carrying food and water for three people, a tent, a couple of sleeping bags, dads clothes and, not to forget, camera equipment. With good carrying capasatiy, we opted for bread for breakfast and lunch, giving the usual porridge and ryvita a rest.

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Taking good care of those pedalling feet.

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Saying hello to the local flora and fauna.

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Following a section of the Birkebeiner track

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Makeshift mud guard.

2013.06.25–07.11 Norge på tvers på sykkel515 Long day.

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Still som energy  left.

2013.06.25–07.11 Norge på tvers på sykkel496Riding along Åsta valley in the Lillehammer mountains.

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Where did the toothbrushes go?

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After climbing over the Lillehammer mountains, we descended into the Gudbransdalen valley, getting a glimpse of the mountain ranges in the west we would ride into a couple of days later .

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A lapse of illness forces us to stay a couple of days at Skeikampen Resort, before we decide to continue.

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Just an old farm house.

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Few things beats getting water from a cold mountain stream …

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… unless you get the opportunity to get your feet wet.

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A last push before climbing Jotunheimvegen.

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We weren’t the only ones riding in the mountains.

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We decide to let our dry bread rest in our panniers and fuel our afternoon ride with pancakes instead.
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Another long day.

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Deep into the Valdres Valley.

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Horses, sheep, goats and cattle, the girls rarely missed an opportunity to say hello.

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The old kings road had turned into a field of flowers.

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Our assistant Kaninka points out that the last descent into Årdal will be rather steep. We followed the old road, seen as a white stripe from the lower right corner, along the mountain face and down a huge number of hairpin bends towards Årdal.

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The old road to the small town Øvre Årdal, our final destination.

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8 Comments

  1. Wow, thank you so much for your nice comment, Mike, I really appreciated that! I used to do duathlons and the occasional triathlon back in the nineties, but enjoy riding off road these days.

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    • That’s great to hear, Joachim, thanks for commenting! We didn’t record the trip, but if I can recall correctly, I made a route after the trip using online maps. I am a bit busy the next few days, but will look for it next week.

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  2. Mikkel,
    This is so great. Have been looking at pictures of Norway all day and sort of impulsively decided I will head up there late summer for a bikepacking adventure. So glad to see I can use this site as a resource to start planning. Did the GDMBR last summer and am in need of a similar experience. Will be keeping up to date on the site. Happy riding!
    Cam

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    • Thanks, Cameron, great to hear. The GDMBR sounds really awesome. Don’t hesitate to ask if there’s anything I can help with.

      Happy wheels,
      Mikkel

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  3. Hey Mikkel,

    I am planning on touring Scotland, Norway and Scandanavia generally this year and am wondering just how much dirt road touring I would be able to find. Deciding whether to put slicks or knobbly tyres on my ECR is the biggest dilemma for planning my trip at the moment!

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    • You have a lot of possibilities for off-road riding in Norway, as well as gravel grinding. The ECR sounds nice. I think I would recommend you to go nobby. You can ride tarmac with anything, but will have more fun on the rough stuff with decent tires.

      Best regards,
      Mikkel

      Like

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