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Gravel Cycling in Norway

words by Paul Errington, photography by Eventyet.cc 

Norway riding in the winter is a far different experience to that in the summer, you may think an obvious statement but coming from the UK it is only levels of rain that differentiate riding conditions. When fellow XPDTN3 rider Marcel and I came to experience Norway’s winter riding temperatures were always in the minus and staying upright was only possible due to the many studs in our tires.

At the time I couldn’t imagine the gravel trails which lay below the layers of snow being ridden in glorious sunshine, but this exactly what happened when I went to Norway for Det Store Eventyret, The Great Adventure

The event is an exercise in escaping to the countryside, riding out to a camp where we would stay for a few nights enjoying great food, fine company, and amazing riding. Our routes were not known only given to us each morning though we were always presented with options on how much adversity we wanted. The amazing views came as quickly as our wheels turned on the fast gravel and pristine tarmac we rode.

The outlined plan was simple. We would use the first afternoon to ride out the event camp at a solar observatory (who knew such a thing existed). The next day a full day of riding with a planned lunch stop. The final day was the return to Oslo.

If the lake traversing trails and idyllic farmsteads we rode past wasn’t inspiring enough joy then the fine cuisine by Velochef Henrik Orre on offer at each meal certainly did. This wasn’t just an event this was an EVENT!

One of those moments in life you look back on fondly and savor the small details. The experience on offer here was second to none. At each meal I would look around the large tent we dined in and savor why we were here, what had brought us to this point.

Cycling isn’t simply just the action of transporting yourself from point A to point B it is a connection … a connection with the landscapes we ride, the people we meet, our means of even defining ourselves as people. When we as passionate cyclists gather with a defined purpose in such inspiring surrounds then the result is spectacular… no face was without a smile, few moments were unbroken by laughter.

Each ride I found myself with differing riders in the varied groups. Purposefully opting to take the most casual option available to allow a more sociable riding experience. We mostly utilized the extensive gravel forest road network connecting them using the infrequently trafficked tarmac roads.

However, every now and then our course creators would throw us a curveball in the shape of some gnarled rooty singletrack deep into the forest. Often it was just on the cusp of being rideable only when afforded the greatest level of concentration with a touch of luck … sometimes though walking was the only answer to save an unplanned dismount.

The final ride back to Oslo I opted for the sharper end amongst could company from The Service Course. The pace was best described as friendly with occasional and intense bouts of suffering.

Good-natured but competitive riding that is sporadic and short-lived but huge amounts of fun. This is what the 3T Exploro thrives on, content to cover ground at any pace but most capable at elevating its efficiency at any moment.

Should you want to experience the best riding Oslo can offer then stay tuned to Det Store Eventyret and be sure that you sign up early.

PRACTICAL INFO

Norway has to be one of the easiest places I have visited with a bike. Arriving at the OSLO airport a convenient shuttle train takes you to the center of Oslo. From the city center, a whole host of riding opportunities are available.

Perhaps wait until the new Service Course Oslo is open so to have some great food and bike shop options.
Be mindful of national holidays as accommodation becomes near impossible to find forcing you to get very creative with your ideas.

Location: Oslo, Norway

Stages: 3

Distance: 215 km

Ascent: 3.170 +m

Best Time: As you probably saw on our latest winter trip to Norway, riding in powder and -15º degrees is not easy. Riding in Spring-Summer makes the trip less hardcore but more enjoyable…

Terrain: Easy gravel terrain with a few technical short sections.

Tires: We swear by our WTB Byways or Ventures, 650×47 being a very nice size for all-around gravel.

Gearing: The 10-42 cassette is a lifesaver we use on most of our trips, and get a 42 or 44 in the TORNO crankset if you want to race in the front, or a 36 if just riding along for the scenery.

What to wear: We used the complete PEDALED ODYSSEY collection, bib shorts and jersey, and brought one of the Merino Baselayers. The weather was, well, kind of Viking, so we ended up needing our rain Jacket also from PEdaled, in this case, the VESPER Jacket.  The new BUFF Windproof tubular definitely kept us warm during the coldest hours of the day. The PACK BIKE cycling caps are super lightweight and packable, but in this occasion it also helped getting the rain out of our eyes.

 

All the event info at www.eventyret.cc

 

XPDTN3 

 

 

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