Thor Hushovd is considered the greatest Norwegian cyclist of all time. Among his merits are winning The UCI Road World Championship and several stages of the Tour de France. Here, he takes a rare break to talk about his preferred road rides in Norwegian nature.
How much do you look at nature when you’re cycling?
“A lot. I like how it gives me the opportunity to reach totally new places. I am a curious guy who takes great pleasure in anticipating what type of landscape I will discover around the next bend. Luckily, I am capable of staying extremely focused on my cycling while enjoying sights along the road”, says Hushovd, who also stresses the importance of being well prepared.
“In Norway, there are sometimes long distances between services. But that’s part of the charm and makes the trip all the more rewarding. A combination of good planning and local expertise is the key to eating and sleeping well at the end of the day.”
How do Norwegian cycling routes measure up to Europe’s more famous courses?
“Cycling here is rewarding, thanks to the fact that Norwegian nature is raw, powerful, and untouched”, Hushovd explains. “I like to ride in my native area, the southernmost parts of Norway, which has numerous islands, peninsulas, rocks, reefs, and other natural wonders. Further west, in Fjord Norway, cyclists can enjoy dramatically deep fjords surrounded by mighty mountains and the scenic Atlantic Road. In Northern Norway, I recommend the various stages of the Arctic Race of Norway, the world’s northernmost bike race.”
How accommodating are Norwegians?
“In the countryside of Norway, you can ring almost any doorbell for help, and coffee will be served immediately.” Hushovd points out that most Norwegians have a welcoming attitude towards cyclists, since this type of transportation has become a rising trend in Norway.
Any ultimate advice for cycle enthusiasts who visit Norway?
“First and foremost, cycling should be fun. In Norway, there are many opportunities to have a good time when planning ahead. After all, most cyclists are performing on a hobby level.”
When will you bring your family with you on the road?
“Well, my eldest child just learned to handle a bicycle without stabilizers, so I believe there will be many opportunities for us to cycle Norway in the near future.”
From Sirdal in the southwest
“My personal favourite and a refreshingly different and scenic ride across the mountains in Southern Norway”, Hushovd says.
Suleskarvegen is the highest road connection in the southwest and takes you from Suleskar in Sirdal to Brokke in Setesdal, across the mountains to Dalen in Telemark, before it ends up in the village Høydalsmo.
Fjord Norway north of Bergen
“My second favourite is both stunning and world-famous. An exciting contrast between high and low roads.”
The Fjord Coast lies just north of Bergen, as far west as you can get in Norway. Here you can take your bike island hopping on low traffic roads all the way out to the sea. On the mainland, you can combine cycling with cultural experiences such as the Millstone park in Hyllestad and the poet Jacob Sande’s house in Dale. In Bremanger, you can climb Europe’s tallest sea cliff Mount Hornelen, which offers an absolutely stunning panoramic view! And in July every year, you can join Scandinavia’s largest festival for traditional and world music in Førde.
Helgeland in Northern Norway
“Here, the map of Norway gets narrow and the routes are close to the sea. Beauty appears around every corner.”
Bike the beautiful Kystriksveien coastal road on the Helgeland coast. You can bring the two-wheeler on ferries and speedboats out to islands like the World Heritage archipelago of Vega. If you want to make sure that you don’t miss any of the highlights along the route – like the famous Mount Torghatten, the Svartisen glacier, or the Petter Dass museum – invest in a cycle package.
Nordland in Northern Norway
“Enjoying the exoticism and various nature of these islands is certainly a favourite of mine.”
If you want to explore Lofoten, a hot tip is to avoid the peak season in July. The Norwegian Scenic Route Lofoten runs through the entire archipelago, with plenty of side roads if you want to venture off the beaten track. The islands are also known for their many fishing villages, where you can rent a fisherman’s cabin for a night or three. Tour guides are available.
Northwest in Fjord Norway
“Here you are occasionally surrounded by the sea on both sides of the road.”
There is a reason why The Atlantic Road in the Northwest has been voted the most beautiful bike ride in Norway. Eight bridges that cross exotic islands, islets and reefs connect Averøy to the mainland. Stop by Hustadvika – one of Norway’s most exposed areas! You can start your trip in either Kristiansund or Molde.
Get tour cycling expert Øyvind Wold’s best tips on how to plan and pack for your cycling trip!
When cycling on the roads in Norway, the same rules and road signs apply to you as to cars and other vehicles:
• Keep to the right.
• Give way to those coming from your right.
• Don’t drink and bike.
You may cycle on the pavement, but adapt your speed.
You may not cycle on motorways and dual carriageways.
Only children under the age of 10 may be carried as passengers.
Always wear a helmet when cycling. A high visibility vest is a good idea, especially on busy roads.
• white or yellow light in the front
• red light in the back
• red reflector in the rear
• white or yellow reflectors on the pedals
• two brakes that work independently
• bicycle bell