Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Ultralight bikepacking through Norway

By Matt Tomlinson
19, Oct, 2017

The Alpkit team ultralight backpacking through the valleys and fjords of Norway on the Sonder Colibri (working, apparently)

We’re heading north from Oslo airport, three hours into a five hour drive, crammed into what feels like a much smaller car than we originally booked. The landscape is pretty impressive, the idyllic Scandinavian houses are indeed a novelty to look at, but at the moment it’s not the mind-blowing backdrop we had been daydreaming about…

Left at the next lights, over the bridge and we’re there. All of a sudden in the midst of the scenery we had pictured as we dreamt up our cycling adventure on the new Sonder Colibri back at Alpkit HQ. Right in the heart of the land of the fjords, the midnight sun and, of course, trolls.

It’s not so much the Alpine gut-busting 14 km climbs that we sought, more like those rolling valley roads that weave between the fjords. Sure we had earmarked a number of climbs to tick off, including the 10km long Trollstigen route, but the main objective of this adventure was to simply load the bags, clip in, and pedal. We wanted to explore those quiet roads that tourist coaches wouldn’t even consider, get away from cruise liners and novelty troll shops, we were after the kind of roads you wouldn’t find on google.

This was home for the night before we took to bivvying under the stars

Åndalsnes (Trollstigen)

After arriving at our picture-postcard Scandinavian cabin, complete with rooftop garden, we decided that we’d rest our travel-weary legs and tackle the Trollstigen climb early the following morning - strategically rising early to beat the daily influx of tourist coaches awkwardly making their way up the eleven exposed hairpins that lead to the summit.

Maybe it’s a British thing, but it was 7pm, it was a Saturday and we’d spent about twelve hours in transit. We fancied a beer. An important life lesson was learnt in the supermarket as we fell victim to Norway’s strict alcohol laws. We’d researched the roads, the climate, even the best overnight bivvy spots, but not the cut off point for buying a beer on a Saturday: lesson learned.

Nothing like a rolling valley warm up before hitting the steep section

The following morning, after several rounds of ‘adventure coffee’ (Coffee made using any means necessary when not provided with the usual coffee making apparatus - in our case this involved a frying pan and a large sieve), we headed out of the cabin and straight onto the infamous Trollstigen climb. An undulant valley road warmed the legs before the hairpins, where each turn revealed an even more remarkable view back down the valley as we climbed towards the summit.

One of the 11 switchbacks that make up the infamous Trollstigen climb

Over the top and on we went. We passed the handful of early-bird campervans that had stopped to enjoy the cafe and gift shop, and continued further north in search of the fjord passes we had spent the previous few weeks musing.

Taking in the view (and a well earned paused for breath)


Whilst the Trollstigen delivered a test for the legs, Eresfjord supplied those quiet fjord passes and the remote valley villages we had been looking for. More importantly there wasn’t a novelty troll shop to be found.

Fjord hopping through the incredible landscape of Eresfjord

The roads around Eresfjord were so good that we must have ridden around three or four fjords before realising that we hadn't stopped to take any photos nor set our GPS running. By modern standards this meant that our ride never happened. But then again, whether the virtual world knew it or not, we were there and we were riding some of the best roads in the world; that was all that mattered.

"Let's just have 5 minutes"

... Five minutes later

Despite the temptation to just keep on riding all day, we eventually stopped by a bucolic and remote church to refuel for the last leg of the day. From the church we could see the road snake up the mountainside and out of the valley via a chalk-laden climb that had played host to the professional peloton during a past edition of the Tour of Norway - an satisfying and challenging end to an otherwise relaxing day of exploring some of the best tarmac that any of us had ever seen.

The climb out of the valley, a regular feature of the Tour of Norway

The Atlantic Ocean Road

After a night under the stars, a welcome long, rolling morning’s ride lead us to the last stop of our trip: the Atlantic Ocean Road. With the ocean on both sides, it’s as if this road was tailor-made for a Top Gear photoshoot. If Eresfjord was Norway’s remote undiscovered countryside, our time on the Atlantic Road felt more akin to the hustle and bustle of an urban city, not a short stretch of tarmac winding between villages only a few hours from the Arctic Circle…

A rare moment on the Atlantic Ocean Road

The reality of the Atlantic Ocean Road. Still, it's an interesting place to ride!

Think of any obscure form of motorised transport and I’m pretty sure we saw it on the Atlantic Road that day. We shared the road with everything from double-decker tourist coaches to oddball motorbikes, although we cherished a few ‘road to ourselves’ moments along the route.

Rain check?

Since returning from our cycling trip around the fjords, we’ve noticed a huge amount of coverage and exposure of Norway’s reputation as a world class cycling location, culminating in the Bergen Road World Championships this year.

In our humble opinion, this reputation has been more than earned and the Sonder Colibri is the ideal bike for the job. Immaculate roads, phenomenal landscapes, and a series of small yet vibrant communities makes it a must for all cyclists, (especially if you avoid the novelty troll shops and make a beeline for the valley roads of Eresfjord!).

Scroll down for a few more photos from the trip...

Road snacks were limited to what we could carry in bike bags...

...and what we could find the many local cafes along the route

Job done!

We even managed to find a beer in the end!

  • Google+

In pictures


Share your thoughts about this article.

Same as stan

Hi, could you share some of your route?

Stan Tollerton
Sonder in the Fiords

Hi can you give me your route details please as i would love to do the ride is possible.......

Daring Deeds

No Sleep Till Sunday
Throwback to Strathpuffer 2018
Sunrise on Pico del Teide
Anna Wells climbs Spain's highest mountain
Testing New Frontiers
Join us for a spin in the Peak District
Second City Divide Part 2
Did they make it to Glasgow?
Second City Divide Part 1
Alpkiteer Steve Bate takes on the Second City Divide
Adventure Training at Alpkit
Proper training in the outdoors
The Frog Whitton
The UK's ultimate swim-cycle challenge
Katie Tunn’s love letter to her gear
A few of her favourite things

More from Deeds


Sonder Winter Gravel Series
Keep your legs moving over winter with Sonder
800 Mile Great North Trail Opens
New off-road cycle route
Mel Nicholls’ Handcycle Britain World Record Attempt
Follow Mel on her LEJOG World Record Attempt
Sonder Storybook 2019 Comp Now Open
Release your inner Dervla Murphy
Nat Spring: 40 Day Wellbeing Challenge
Nat Spring's journey to recovery
Pedalling the Parks
1600-mile cycle ride across the UK’s National Parks
Alpkit Keswick Official Opening
Yippee! It's officially official... We're open!
So what is adventure?
A question of adventure

More from News


New Sonder Transmitter: Q&A with Neil Sutton
We catch Sonder Bike Guru Neil to quiz him about the new Transmitter
The Squalline Story
Developing our new run/ride showerproof shell
Gripping Developments In Gloves
A whole new glove range: the inside story
New UK Made Bikepacking Bag Range
UK-made bike luggage shifts up a cog
Sonder Evol: Q&A with Bike Guru Neil
Sonder's new 140mm trail bike
The low-down on Polygiene™
Wear more, wash less: you can't get simpler than that!
Designing the Argonaut Jacket
Creating premium performance without the price-tag
Branching out with the Rando Bikepacking Bag Range
New welded bike luggage

More from Develop


Bivvying Top Tips and Kit List
Bivvy Essentials: What to take bivvying
Wild Camping Tips and Kit List
The guide to getting it right when camping out
6 Ways to Pitch a Tarp
Tarp techniques for camping from the AK Tarpologists
The Highland Trail 550 2019
Stu Taylor returns to the Highland Trail
Long Distance Bikepacking: Highland Trail 550 Packing List
Pete McNeil tells us how to pack for endurance bikepacking events
Dirty Reiver 2019
Our staff rides for the 2019 Reiver 200
Surviving 24hr bike races - Strathpuffer
Surviving 24 hours on a bike in northern Scotland
Layering up for Cycling
Our new Rhythm range, and how to layer for a ride

More from Spotlight


More from Kudos

Be the first to hear about our newest products and promotions

Join AlpCol's Espresso newsletter for that hit of Go Nice Places, Do Good Things Greatness


By adding your email you consent to our terms and conditions