Visit one of the world’s most mountainous countries and discover unheard biking opportunities.
It seems logical that you should have to endure hours of agony climbing the Norwegian mountains before you can enjoy the fun of freeride mountain biking or racing downhill.
More and more ski resorts in the Norwegian mountainside allow adrenaline-seeking mountain bikers to use their lifts during summer, to contend with downhill runs of varying levels of difficulty.
Many people see this as a form of extreme sport, and believe us – it can be just that, with challenging terrain and inventive track designs with a mixture of natural and manmade obstacles. However, there are courses for children as young as seven years old as well.
You could bring your own full-suspension or hardtail bike, or you could rent a dedicated downhill bike and all the equipment you need. Many freeride and downhill venues are situated close to other sports facilities, for example skateparks, high rope courses, via ferrata climbing areas or kayak rentals.
And don´t forget to wear your helmet.
Kristoffer Kippernes is the editor-in-chief at Norway’s major cycling magazine terrengsykkel.no. He welcomes visitors to mingle on the publication’s web forum, which has become a hub for the two-wheeled community. Here are his top 5 “playground” tips for freeride and downhill cyclists.
Norway’s premier bike park is internationally recognized, with trails of World Cup standard. Bikers have access to a comfortable and quick gondola cable car, a wide range of equipment for hire, and the Skavlen restaurant, which has a separate section for those who bring their own food.
At the top of the lush Gudbrandsdalen valley, a 20-minute drive north of the Olympic city of Lillehammer.
Cyclists of all skill levels. The park satisfies the most demanding bikers.
Norway’s second most important freeride (downhill) area, with an enjoyable balance between natural and man-made trails. The bike park is situated in the winter park, with an express lift that takes you to the top.
In Drammen, less than an hour’s drive from Oslo.
Cyclists of all skill levels. The park is especially suitable for families.
Low-key but fun trails in hilly forest terrain. An uphill car shuttle compensates for the lack of a lift.
In Hallingdal, among Eastern Norway’s major valleys.
Enthusiasts with some experience who come for the fun.
A small-scale freeride/downhill bike park with ambitions. Experts from other bike parks help out to improve the cycling facilities. Cyclists have access to the country’s shortest ski lift.
Kristiansand, the southernmost part of Norway.
Experienced downhill bikers.
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Manners and common sense on the trail
Having great trails to ride on is not a right, but a privilege. The Norwegian Organization for Mountain Biking (NOTS) urges everyone to be considerate of the trails and ski trails. Here are the most important guidelines for trail-wit.
Norwegian philosophy is very much that conservation is everyone's responsibility. Enjoying nature and the outdoors is considered a national pastime, and this is reflected in our attitude towards the preservation and use of the wilderness.
Whether it's hiking in the mountains or biking an idyllic forest road, Norwegians try to leave as small a footprint as possible. Leave it as you would like to find it is the mantra, regardless of whether you are a guest in the landscape or a small fishing village.
Quality of life is what it is all about, not only now, but for the time to come as well. It's about recognizing that everybody else are just as important as ourselves, and taking steps to implement that thought in all aspects of life. It's not easy, nor is it quickly done. But it is definitely worth it.
You are in Norway, therefore no reason to stay indoors. Here are some fun things to do, whether you're visiting the coast, the mountains or somewhere in between.
Whether you want a challenging slog up a mountain top or a gentle trip between pretty small towns, the varied landscape in Norway will provide you with a suitable challenge.
Pedaling atop a mountain ridge, rushing through tight single-track forest trails or just taking your mountain bike out into open country gives an unheard sense of freedom.
Are you an experienced cyclist, determined to see Norway with its many fjords and mountains from the seat of your bicycle? In that case, the national cycle routes may be just the thing for you.