The Sognefjellsvegen, Norway’s first national scenic route, is the highest pass (1434m) in Northern Europe and it has been voted « one of the most beautiful bike rides in the world » by The Guardian, amongst many publications. It made sense that we started sighting bike tourists on our way up from the Sogne Fjord. While we stopped at Turtagrø to chat with a threesome made up of an older couple from Jasper, Alberta and a young man from German, happy to rest and take our minds off the steep road we were climbing on, half a dozen loaded bikes whizzed past us. We had obviously reached some kind of funnel, a road so famous that people would come from far to cycle on it.

Les moutons sont arrivés dans leurs alpages d'été depuis plusieurs semaines. Myrkdalen, Hordaland.
Sheep arrived in their summer pastures several weeks ago and keep us entertained. Myrkdalen, Hordaland.

Getting use to Norway’s topography by now we weren’t surprised to find an undulating plateau at the top, with some frozen lakes and a dam, and lots of wind. By late afternoon we kept a firm grip on the handle bars and leaned our wide loads into the gale, glancing up sporadically at the spectacular views on the glaciers of Jotunheimen National Park, the country’s highest peaks. Cooking dinner and setting up camp turned into a battle against this invisible enemy, but our tent rose to the challenge and by morning it had slowed down a bit.

Bivouac en bordure du fjord Sogne, près de Luster. Hordaland.
Sogne Fjord campsite, near Luster. Hordaland.

Cyclists kept coming from the opposite direction, this time they were wearing neon lycra and were astride skinny bicycles with numbered plates. As we arrived at the Sognefjells mountain hut, fresh waffles with cream and jam were being distributed, riders filled up their water bottles, changed their clothes and stopped at the « pisse plass ». We had stumbled on the yearly Tour de Jotunheimen, a 430-kilometre race from Laerdal to Sogndal! « Bravo! Bravo! » we yelled from our saddles as the plateau broke and we started our descent in the valley below. As it turned out we had climbed from 0 to 1,400 metres a.s.l. on 25 kilometres of road and would go down from 1,400 to 400m in 50 kms! No wonder Sognefjellsvegen had felt like a one-way street!

KM 990k
Sognefellvegen just above Turtagrø. Hordaland.
Ça monte encore sur la Sognefellet. Hordaland.
Up the Sognefellet. Hordaland.
Participantrs du Tour de Sognefell se soulagent à la "piss-plasse" aux abords du sommet de la route. Opland.
Convenient and simple, isn’t it?

The UNESCO-designated Geiranger Fjord had four cruise ships floating on its deep-blue waters and half a dozen tour buses alternating at the visitor center. We came, we saw, we ate and showered and took the steep switchbacks out of there. From Valldal, children sold baskets of fresh strawberries on the side of the road, sweat soaked our cycling shorts and the striking Romsdal Alps appeared on the right. At the top of the pass we reached the famous Trollstigen, a serpentine mountain road with 11 hairpin bends. Our Surly Trolls were at home on this « trolls’ ladder » and we let them take the lead, wide-eyed and palpitating hearts, down some unerving right-hand turns.  

Campement tranquille par un samedi soir pluvieux devant la porte d'entrée de l'école de Bismo, dans la vallée de l'Otta. Opland.
Quiet campsite sheltered from the rain on Saturday night infront of Bismo school, in the Otta river valley. Opland.
Descente vers Geiranger. Møre og Romsdal.
The way down to Geiranger. Møre og Romsdal.
Janick se sort du bois des touristes et Geiranger. Møre og Romsdal.
Janick escaping from the hords at Geiranger. Møre og Romsdal.

And like that, we were out of the mountains and nearing the Atlantic coast. In Andalsnes teepee tents were set in the harbour for the Mountain Festival, people walked shirtless ice cream in hand or sipped beer on patios, our cyclocomputers marked 28 degres celsius in the shade, summer was definately upon Norway. Four kilometres from the city of Molde the road dissapeared under water in a closed-to-pedestrians-and-cyclists-tunnel, so we reached the city by bus. The first time we had taken the panniers off the bikes since Stavanger!

Fraises fraîches et géantes, bombardées au soleil de minuit, cherchent preneurs dans la vallée de Valldal. Møre og Romsdal.
Midnight Sun UV rays irradiated Valldal valley strawberries for sale on the side of the road. Møre og Romsdal.

Kristiansund is a city made of islands and soon there was another underwater tunnel, a 5-kilometre one with a toll booth this time. Rebeling a bit against the principle of having to pay 160 NOKs to enter a city, we tried hitchhiking and it wasn’t long before a friendly giant showed up with a trailer and ferried us and our gear accross. « Sorry about this situation », he said. « Please don’t write anything bad about my town ». How could we?

Belvdère de Trollstingen, l'échelle des trolls, l'une des réalisations architecturales intrigantes du projet des Routes touristiques nationales en Norvège. Møre og Romsdal.
Trollstigen viewpoint. Møre og Romsdal.
On the Atlantic Road, near Farstad. Møre og Romsdal.


Norway Beach! (BODØ, NORWAY – KM 1,395)
In training! (Odda, Norway - km 265)


  1. Love it! Great to see your progress North, we were wondering if you’d go to Trollstigen, great light for the road shot. We nearly camped in the same old-road place near Sognefjord but found it too early in the day. Also really like the school campsite. Hope the weather stays good for you.

  2. Amazing to see from the video how many other cyclists you passed on Trollstigen. And so many huge RVs on that narrow road!

  3. François Houde

    Nice pics, have a nice trip guys.

  4. FYI: Just noticed that there is a brand new firmware update for the K3; see this description and link to update:

    Don’t know if it’s practical to do on the road but it appears to offer some real performance updates to the camera body.

  5. Hi Steve! Thamks so much! We don’t hook the K3 to the computer too often…awesome!

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