If you have ever been on a cycling holiday, you will know what we are talking about. Everything feels so natural, everything is natural. So be it if your lactic acid or tender backside mean that you sometimes send a fleeting thought to your Volvo safely parked in your garage at home. Travelling in the nature rather than travelling beside it should be something different.
There are several areas in Trøndelag that offer wonderful adventures by bike. It really boils down to what you are looking for. There are equally as many different personalities among cyclists as there are among those who travel by other means. The most important thing is that you find the type of trip that provides the experiences you want.
Prepared trails right on your hotel doorstep, which may be combined with delicious meals and historical as well as urban experiences; we have that here in Trøndelag.
How about a big city with designated cycling paths that take care of the cyclists and give them ample room in the traffic? And which guides them in all directions to places they rarely or never would reach on foot, and by evening offers all the cultural activities and good restaurants you could possibly wish for; we have that too, here in Trøndelag.
Islands linked by bridges, which allows you to whiz mindlessly in the flat cultural landscape, while you take in the smell of sea, newly mown grass and freshly picked strawberries; yes, we even have that here in Trøndelag. And much, much more.
There are many reasons why Røros, the old mining town that is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is popular among cyclists. In recent years there has been a major effort to create marked cycling paths in the countryside surrounding the town centre. For many people, cycling for the sake of cycling or the sensory experience is more than enough. However, it adds an extra dimension to have a 300-year-old mine or a Falkberget Museum as a stop on your bike ride, as does reading up on why the countryside you are riding in looks like it does. Marked trails, information boards worth reading and majestic nature – three factors that should get the pedalling muscles to twitch in every cycling enthusiast, and which attracts cycling enthusiasts to Røros all summer long.
If you combine your cycling adventures with staying at, for instance, Røros Hotell, you will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy delicious meals in the restaurant, read your book by the open fireplace in the lounge in the evening or stroll the few hundred metres down to the Røros town centre where you have several bars, cafés and the like to choose between. You will need to take a few breaks from cycling during the day too because you can’t leave Røros without exploring the narrow streets and mysterious back buildings, which offer everything from cool cafés to fantastic arts and crafts.
Slightly different conditions await you in the region’s major city, Trondheim, which many refer to as a “cycling city”. While other cities come up with a brand or label then try to live up to it, Trondheim has approached things in reverse. Slowly but surely, cycling paths have been created from the various suburbs into the city centre and special bike lanes have been established in the city centre. Trondheim has become so cycle-friendly that people don’t have any choice but to call the city what it is, namely a cycling city. In winter, a specially designed machine drives around all the city’s cycling paths to ensure they are free from snow and ice. If you spot a local cycling past and ask them what is best about the cycling city of Trondheim, you will probably get answers like “the cycling route ‘Trondheim along the Waterfront’”, “close to Bymarka (the city’s huge recreational reserve) and off-road cycling”, “the network of paths from Heimdal to Ranheim”, “that we have gained a place in the traffic”, “the City Bike scheme” or “shopping i Midtbyen with the handlebars full of bags”.
The cycling route ‘Trondheim along the Waterfront’ is the latest measure to get the keen cyclists to ride even more. This route runs from the Royal Garden Hotel past Clarion Hotel & Congress and Rockheim music museum towards the suburb of Brattøra, through Skansen and Ila and past the Nidarosdomen Cathedral to the old town Bakklandet, the starting point for the world’s first bicycle lift. Officially it’s called a cyclocable and is known as ‘Trampe’. Trondheim has many good restaurants where you can reward yourself after exploring the city centre, Bymarka and preferably also the various suburbs on two wheels. If you are the type that easily impresses yourself and think you deserve another reward after dinner, it’s good to know that every single evening you can between several concerts, theatrical performances and other cultural events.
Rarely will your senses get more of a workout than when you are on an island off the coast of Trøndelag, as you watch the sun setting in the sea and the smell of the salty water reminds you of a beach holiday you had as a child. In the Åfjord on the Fosen peninsula, you will discover the islands of Stokkøya and Linesøya. If these two islands had been twins, they would certainly have been fraternal. While Stokkøya is hilly, has mountain caves and fishing lakes that you have to climb up, up and up more to reach, Linesøya is just as flat as Denmark and consists of grassy fields and woodlands. Bike-friendly, you ask? Yes, definitely, we respond.
A few years ago you still had to catch a ferry between the two islands, but a bridge has now been built so it’s easy to ride back and forth. The only big boat that passes close by now is much larger and is the Hurtigruten.
During the summer it even sails into the strait near Stokkøya and navigates under the huge Stokkøy Bridge. While Stokkøya is best known for the resort Stokkøya Sjøsenter, a gem located by Trøndelag’s finest sandy beach, Linesøya is most famous for its delicious strawberries. Stokkøya has won numerous awards, probably the most prestigious of which is its place on The Guardian’s list of the top 10 beach hotels in the world. Whether the strawberries on Linesøya have won any awards is unknown, but to state that they are among the very best in Norway is beyond any doubt. Just a short bike ride across to the mainland brings you to the village of Stoksund with its idyllic marina. If you take a short detour and continue out to Harbak, you can explore the huge cave Harbakhula, which is so big that it would fit the Nidarosdomen Cathedral in its opening. The hike to the cave makes a pleasant change from cycling and the view from the cave is formidable.
If you still have not had enough, there are more gems in store. On the island of Leka on the Namdal Coast in the far north of Trøndelag, you can experience unique geology. Have you heard that before? Well, when it comes to Leka, it’s actually correct. The rock that makes up most of the island is otherwise only found in North America. This fascinating geological history was one of the reasons that it 2010 the island was voted as Norway’s national geological monument. There is more to Leka’s exciting history than geology, such as the legend about the mountain formation Lekamøya and the famous eagle robbery. The walk around the island is about 30 km.
Further south on the Namdal Coast is the island Jøa, also known as the realm of Olav Duun. The island is well adapted for cycling with established cycle routes and information boards. If you fancy a break, you can even visit the childhood home of the famous Norwegian author. You can reach the island by ferry via Namsos.
On the peninsula of Inderøy at the head of the Trondheimsfjord, some tasty treats await you – literally. Along the stretch known as the Golden Route, you will find Norway’s densest collection of farm shops and small-scale food producers. You can buy ice cream, cheese, meat, bread and pastries directly from the producers. You will also find exciting knitwear and distinctive hand painted cake tins. The local cheesemaker Gangstad Gårdsysteri is well worth calling at. The farm shop sells their ice creams and cheeses, which are also served on the Hurtigruten. It’s hard to get a better stamp of quality than that. When it’s time to think about accommodation, you can choose between a modern fjord hotel and several small farm hotels.
The most important thing is not always where you ride, but how you ride. When you are riding in the nature, in many ways you have a commitment to be fully awake and take in everything around you. Rain, temperature and seasons all play important roles in creating the natural basis, but converting this from things and elements into something that actually gives an experience requires some effort from you too. The smells won’t be as intense unless you check. Likewise, you won’t see the summer flowers and insects along the path if you don’t look down.
Most of the time you will be focussing on the road and have both hands on the handlebars, so it’s important to have a few stops, relax and take some photos. It’s not until you are stand still that you hear all the sounds of nature. As for the photos, they are important too and will help you to share everything you have experienced along the way when you get home.