Norwegians are very active people. Their love of nature and the great outdoors is clear to see. Recreational activities such as hiking and skiing are extremely popular and everyone I know owns a pair of hiking boots and a set of skis. Bikepacking or bike touring, on the other hand, is still in a relatively exploratory stage. Will more Norwegians add shoes with cleats to their outdoor collection? We hope so, but only time will tell!
Below we introduce the ones that have. The trailblazers of the Norwegian bikepacking scene. They have scouted out new routes, explored new areas, experimented with bike setups, and rewrote the rule book when it comes to cycling in this great country. Their vast experience and knowledge are at the core of this website. Recreational cycling is evolving like never before. Our job is to lead that evolution.
Bjørn is a bikepacker who dabbles in ultra-cycling. Last year he rode the self-supported NorthCape 4000km race finishing in just 11 days! During the pandemic, Bjørn raced 3400km around Norway and finished second. In 2023 he’s heading to Belgium for the Transcontinental race.
Living in Trondheim, Bjørn knows he’s spoilt for choice when it comes to adventure. Fjords, forests, gravel, and mountains are all on his doorstep. He can basically do it all in one ride. Bjørn is always on the lookout for new roads to ride and test out. He enjoys the planning part of his adventures just as much as he loves riding them. Marking the spots on the map, and connecting the route is part of the fun.
In the winter of 2023, Bjørn decided to cycle up to Nordkapp (the top of Europe) from his hometown of Trondheim. It took him just 10 days! His Viking blood runs deep! We look forward to sharing some of his favorite routes with you!
Karen grew up amongst the forests and lakes on the countryside in southern Finland, however soon found herself bored of the flatlands and curious about what the world had to offer. After a few years of living the simple van life in the European Alps, she’s now settled down in Norway. The endless mountains and nature provide all the possibilities to keep snowboarding, biking, and adventuring in general.
Biking for Karen means exploring and adventuring, and that addictive flowy feeling of spinning wheels. Whether on a singletrack with her mountain bike, or on a long gravelroad whilst bikepacking – the joy of finding a new area, a good berm or her favourite mushrooms by the trail is the best. She’s a big fan of maps to find new paths from, heading out for seemingly impossible or type 2 fun missions, and youtubes’ endless “How to fix..” videos. She’s not a fan of full lycra suits, trips that are too planned, or long paved stretches.
If there was one message related to bikepacking Karen would want people to hear is that one doesn’t need to be the most techy, the most prepared or fit to go on an adventure. Getting started and getting out is the most important thing. One can get a really long way with the bike and bags one has, a sense of curiosity, some common sense and youtube.
Originally from the UK, Ian has been fortunate enough to live and bikepack in several countries. He now lives in Oslo with his Norwegian wife and young family. He completed his first bike touring adventure at the age of 7 and has loved the open road ever since. His definition of a good time is a long day in the saddle, off the beaten path, trying to reach the day´s destination before nightfall.
Ian has ridden extensively on many remote gravel sections on the eastern side of the country. He has shared with us some lesser-known forest trails that are wonderful to explore alone or in a group. When Ian is not riding, his day job includes running and managing one of Oslo´s busiest bicycle repair workshops, called Paahjul. It is situated in the very heart of Bjørvika, the city´s newest neighborhood and social meeting place.
If Ian wrote a book about his bikepacking adventures it would be called “Monasteries and brothels (and other places I have slept)”. Ian´s decades of experience in bike touring/packing, along with his extensive mechanical knowledge add a great deal of value to Cycle Norway and our members.
Eirik grew up in the picturesque town of Risør, on Norway’s south coast. Everybody called him ‘Sykkel Eirik’ (Bike Eirik) as he was never off his bike. When other kids his age bought mopeds or got their first cars, Eirik preferred to invest in atop-end mountain bike. He was considered the ‘strange kid’ for not fitting in. But that decision allowed Eirik to develop excellent bike handling skills that have given him decades of enjoyment on two wheels. He also learned at an early age how to fix, maintain and update bikes. He’s still a techie at heart and finds great joy in optimizing his bike setup for bikepacking.
Matthew, the founder, met Eirik by chance waiting for a train in Oslo. They were both going on solo weekend adventures in the mountains. In Norway, it’s not too common to find a cyclist heading off alone for a bikepacking weekend. They connected straight away and it wasn’t long before they planned an epic route together. Eirik remarks “it feels good to have a friend that you can actually ask to join when you get a crazy idea!”
As Eirik gets older there will be fewer KOMs to achieve. He believes bikepacking is the perfect activity to keep the cycling passion alive. His father is 77 years old and is an inspiration, still exploring and enjoying Norway by bike. Eirik hopes he will be doing the same at that age.
Eirik is from the pretty coastal town of Stavanger where he spent his youth and early adult life as a skateboarder. He competed in the US and other countries and was considered one of Norway’s best. His love of riding bikes began around 5 years ago. It’s surprising what skills can be transferred from a skateboard to a bike! Eirik explains riding came about as a way to discover new places and roads both near and far from home.
In early 2020 Eirik embarked on an epic bike journey from Norway to Nepal. He reached Prague before Covid 19 closed all borders. The scramble to get home was quite eventful involving several trains, a boat journey and even carrying his bike over a fenced border crossing!
When he got back his focus shifted to exploring regions closer to home and ideally accessible by train. This is when one of Norway’s best and least-known gravel routes was born. The 320km Agder Divide is Eirik’s ultimate route. The work he’s done to plan, ride and document this is commendable, to say the least! The county of Agder is located in the south of Norway. It’s a vast region covered by forests and sparsely populated outside the coastal area. Eirik’s route is just a taste of what you can do while riding a bike in this area. I’m sure he will be scouting more gravel routes in this forgotten part of Norway. We’ll keep you informed!
Hans Flensted-Jensen is a passionate cyclist from Denmark who moved to Norway in 2013. He has been cycling since he was 15 years old on and off as life permits. Hans founded Oslo Dawn Patrol in 2018, which is an open social ride in Oslo in the early hours of the morning, taking place all year round, providing a unique social community for cyclists at all levels.
Although Hans rode competitively as a teenager, he has been riding for recreation, health, and adventure for the past decade and more. He enjoys exploring the natural beauty of Norway, particularly the gravel roads in Nordmarka outside Oslo, as well as road cycling on the west coast of Norway. He is not the one doing the long unsupported bikepacking trips, but rather goes out exploring on day trips – both from Oslo and around Norway.
Matthew, the British cyclist who got a little too obsessed with cycling Norway! His bikepacking life began in 2018. Day rides on a road bike were becoming less fulfilling. The road further afield was calling! Matthew remembers his first bikepacking trip like it was yesterday. Hitting the road with a tent, knowing the great unknown awaits, is a special feeling. And that feeling has never left him. Thirty thousand kilometers of bikepacking later and Cycle Norway was born.
The most challenging part of bikepacking in Norway is not the usual suspects, such as wind, rain, or long tunnels. It’s the complete lack of knowledge and understanding of where, when, and how to cycle in this country. Matthew regularly hears stories of people pushing their bikes for kilometers over snow, riding dangerous roads with impassible tunnels, or freezing on mountain passes with inadequate gear. Indeed, Matthew will be the first to put his hand up and say he’s done all this. But not anymore, and he hopes if you use this website correctly, you’ll have a safer and more enjoyable journey across this remarkable country that cries out to be cycled.