Cycle Touring Norway


Notes on Cycling Norway

Viking church
Viking church

I had never been to Norway nor anywhere in Scandinavia before June 2013. This post is a summary of what I learn along the way in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Hopefully, my notes will give potential cycling visitors a heads up on cycling in Norway.

Cost. This country might be one of the most beautiful but it is also a very expensive country to visit. A coke costs about $5 and a beer costs $11-$12 bucks. A basic low budget meal starts at around $30 and that’s for pasta. So how do you visit Norway without going bankrupt?

In the summertime, most tourists are exploring the country by either cruise ship or RV. The cruisers are on a package price and are eating their meals on their ship. The other popular mode of travel is RVing. Loads of RVs ferry up from Germany and the Netherlands. They RV/car camp and buy their food in local groceries, using hotels or restaurants only occasionally. They still need to buy fuel which I calculated being approximately $10 per gallon for unleaded gasoline (diesel is slightly less). But if you are a cyclist you can forget that expense but you do need to pay for ferries. My route required 24 ferry crossings and the average cost was $6 a ride times 24 crossings; that’s $144, which isn’t too bad for Norway.

Camping. So if you’re not sleeping on a cruise ship, you’re with the car campers or cyclists in private campgrounds; which cost around $15 to $30 per night plus $2 bucks for your hot water shower token. This camping cost is very similar to other european countries. Every Norwegian town has at least one campground, plus you will find additional ones at tourist destinations. Some campgrounds are only farmer’s fields with a WC and a showering building, others have their own community kitchens or campground cafes. One even had a ski area. If the weather is bad, you can upgrade from a tent site to a cabin; and enjoy drying-out with some cabin heating and the luxury of a full kitchen.

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Cycle Touring Pack

REI Flash Pack
REI Flash Pack

Tested a new pack I purchased at REI. It is called a Flash Pack made for climbing but I am trying it for cycle touring too. It is a super light-weight pack that can be cinched tighter by adding a 5 foot piece of shock cord threaded through the two gear loop chains (thanx to Erik Werner for this tip). When clinched up, the pack is tube-shaped, doesn’t flop around, and hides behind your spine without being a wind drag while riding. When un-clinched, the pack is large enough to haul a couple of days of groceries back to your campsite. The other modification I would make is to cut off the waist belt, the extra straps are not needed as the pack has a pretty good shoulder straps system. The Flash can also hold a hydration bag.
I am hoping to use this pack on multi-day, self-support cycling tours along with a trunk bag over my bike’s rear wheel. If the pack is turned-inside-out, it becomes a stuff bag. I think I can carry about 2-2.5 pounds in this pack without being cumbersome or noticeable on your back while riding. When not cycling, it folds up very flat and is not bulky to store. I can also use it for climbing or on Euro ferratas days. The best thing about the REI Flash pack is it only costs $29!