Author: Mikkel Soya

Riding the Femundløpet dogsled trail

Got a silly idea earlier this year and rode 200 km on the tail of the Femundløpet dog sled race. Started more or less as the final musher rushed into Røros. Wind drifts, close to gale force winds at times on the second day and then three times foot bath going through the ice. Yup, I sure got to feel the love of the mountains. Waking up to ten centimetres of fresh snow, then pushing, tumbling and stumbling through to meet up with Mikhail Itkin, who rode with me on the second half of the trip. Luckily, things turned to the better and we enjoyed blissful riding in the mountains on our way to our goal in Røros. This was to be Mikhails first winter bikepacking trip, but that didn’t stop him from riding solo almost 500 km along the course of the dog sled race Finnmarksløpet later this year. What a guy. If you have access to the Norwegian A-magasinet, you can read more about our trip there.

Diving in.

Snowriding misfits

There’s a saying that Norwegians are born with skis on their legs. Before you start to wonder about the hip width of Norwegian women, I better tell you that it’s just a saying. A myth. That’s not to say that Norwegians doesn’t take cross country skiing seriously. They do. Like it’s religion. And the worst kind of sacrilege you can commit is, you guessed it, to mess with their ski tracks. With clockwork regularity, each winter, you will find newspaper articles about despairing track preparers or cross country skiers who are on the edge of a breakdown because of people walking in the tracks or dogs relieving themselves on the freshly groomed corduroy. The war continues in the comment section on online articles. It’s not pretty. The last couple of years, a new destructor of ski tracks has revealed itself. A bike monstrosity with huge tires. The fatbike. Stories fuelled by aspiring light headed fatbikers with too much pressure in their tires for the soft, newly prepared ski tracks has overshadowed the usual suspects of pedestrians and …

Barely legal bikerafting

I tell my daughters to beware of strangers on the internet. They delighted in reminding me of this as I kissed my family goodbye and headed out the door with my fatbike, loaded only with essential gear and that DSLR I never can bring myself to leave behind. They were absolutely right: I had never met Mr. Joe before. I live in a slightly posh area of town in a not so posh house. I stubbornly refuse to conform, and I haven’t yet convinced myself that I need a drivers licence. In this part of Norway, people without one have either been speeding or drink-driving. It makes for fun conversations. Read the full story on Sidetracked.com and head over to Joe’s blog Thunder In he Night to read his account of the trip.

A microadventure with an aftertaste

I was supposed to have been bikepacking last weekend. Or was it the weekend before that? It was at certainly not the weekend three weeks ago, because that weekend I had planned another trip. Which didn’t materialise either. With work piling up, the last few weeks are all a hazy mess. I need this ride. But what I can remember, though, is that whichever weekend it was, I ended up de-packing and putting all the gear in a small pile in the hall. On hold. My better half is the kind of person who doesn’t like piles in the hall. Well, to be honest, I don’t really like piles in the hall myself, but this was my pile, and that’s of course a rather different story. So here I am, zooming in and out of cupboards and chests of drawers. My detective work eventually bear fruit, and finally, I roll into the fading daylight with a bike packed for a little trip in my local forest. I have anticipated this for a long time: Going …

A fat summit attempt

We have been waiting for it for a long time. Snow crust. And when it finally arrives, we are stuck with everyday life, stuck until the sun starts melting it away and all seems lost. Or is it? A forecast promising a few cold nights fuels our optimism. A few days after, we’re on our way, Håkon and I, on a winter summit attempt. By bike. It’s late before we manage to get above the tree line and to the foot of the mountain. The snow is not very cooperative, to say the least. The crust gives way more or less nonstop and we have to push our bikes. All. The. Time. Worn out after riding from the springlike conditions down in town and up to the receding winter landscape 750 meters higher up, the last kilometers on rotten snow fills us with doubt regarding whether it is possible to scale the mountain or not. The thought of another 450 meters of vertical climbing to the summit stops us in our tracks. Instead, we settle for camp, hoping …

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 …