The Hordaland 1994 ride
450 km (approx)
I did not have a camera back then, I am afraid. So no pictures from that tour. But click on the button below to open up Google Maps.
Enter "Sogndal" in the search field & Google Earth for xtra pictures
Part two of the big bikeride in 1994 which followed three-four days after completing the Sogndal ride. I had been resting my sore lungs and limbs in the good care of my grandparents before I set off again on this bikeride. A bikeride that was meant to take me all the way back to Oslo again. But more about that later...
I was very eager to get back on my bike again after this long rest. My grandparents was not too happy to see me leave though. I left early that morning for a ride I knew was going to be hard. The first twenty kilometers took me down the valley to Sogndal for the bikeride out the fjord. Sognefjorden is one of the longest fjords in the world. I had never been past Balestrand and this area was new too me. The first fifty km was pretty familiar to me though. I had done this ride the opposite way back in 1990. I met some rain here past Leikanger on this pretty flat ride out to Hella, the ferry port. An eventless ride where I paced myself. I reached Hella and the ten minutes long ferry ride over to Draksvik. The crossings was fine and I arrived at Draksvik for the short ride around the wild Esefjorden, a subsidiary of Sognefjorden. I arrived in Balestrand where I briefly stopped before I continued my ride out the fjord. The landscape became a bit wilder and the road a lot more undulating. In particular past Kvamsoy where I had to negotiate a 150 meters above sea level hillclimb before some more undulating bikeriding followed. But the views really compensated for all the hard bikeriding and I was feeling good. The sun too made an appearance and was warming me up a lot. I was anxious though for the big challenge of the day; the seven kilometers long Hoyanger tunnel. I reached the start of this tunnel and had no choice but to ride through it. It is off course off limits for cyclists, but I could not care. I left the fjord in sunshine. There was hardly any traffic here and the ride was pretty easy. A bit of a climb from the start at almost sea level up to about 100 meters above sea level was the only small problem. It was also well lit and had some km markings in it. I reappeared again in heavy rain at the end of the tunnel in the small town of Høyanger. My grandmother was actually born here. This is a small town built on heavy industries and it was surrounded by vertical mountains. When cycling down the high street, I also got a puncture and spent the next half an hour repairing the bike before I headed out on the road again towards Vadheim. Some more tunnels and some undulating roads followed before the rain stopped at Kyrkjebø. The scenery was excellent though and I was really glad I did this bikeride. Some more hills and tunnels followed before I reached
Vadheim. I was very pleased with this and rang my mother to tell here I was alive. Somewhat surprised with that, she wished me a good continued ride. The ride out to Lavik took me through some more tunnels and over the biggest hill of the day, a hard 200 meters high hillclimb in a glorius late evening sunshine before I reached the campsite at Lavik after one of the best bikerides of my life. A bikeride I would love to do again.
I packed down my tent early that morning for the two km long ride out to Lavik and the fifty minutes long ferry over to Ytre Oppedal. In hindsight, I should had continued the bikeride 30 km further out to Rysjedalsvika and then crossed the fjord to Rutledal. Something I would recommend everyone to do now instead of taking the ferry to Ytre Oppedal. Anyway...... I arrived in Ytre Oppedal and headed in the fjord to Instefjorden through a long tunnel and then some flat road along the fjord. At the head of this fjord, a big climb to over 300 meters above sea level awaited me. A long and boring climb which ended up at a lake and a tunnel. I bypassed the tunnel down on the old road marked as FV379. The ride down to the fjord, Mastrafjorden and to the next ferry was pretty undulating and boring. Not a good ride. In particular when I arrived at the ferry at Duesund and found out it had ceased to be. I was told to go on the RV 570 road to Sløvåg, 20 km further west again. The next ferry was leaving in just about an hour's time. I was not pleased ! But I had no choice. A sprint followed on mostly not too hilly roads. I reached the ferry with some minutes to spare and swore never to do this route again.
I was now so far off the original route I had planned that I had no idea where I was heading. Quick map reading followed and I got my bearings right again on this twenty minutes long ferry crossing.
The ferry passed the oil refinery at Mongstad before it arrived in Leirvaag. The next 50 km bikeride was pretty easy through some forests and alongside farmfields on a not particular hilly road (RV 57). I have few memories of this bikeride. I arrived at the five minutes long ferry crossing at Knarvik (now replaced by a bridge) and crossed over to the outskirts of Bergen. A nice bikeride through Bergen followed before I found the campsite at Hordalandshallen after a very eventful day on the bike.
Another sunny day was awaiting me when I woke up again. I packed my tent down again and climbed up the heavy traffic plagued E39 towards the hill between Bergen and Os. A hopeless narrow road where me and my bike caused lenghty ques. But I had nowhere else to go so I cracked on with my business. The ride down the other side was more enjoyable though. In Os, I took the road out to the busy ferry port Halhjem for the one hour long ferry crossing to Sandvikvaag at Stord. After the climb up from this ferry port, I took the scenic and no traffic road RV 545 down to the next ferry port for the next ferry. With this in mind, I kept a good tempo across this island. This road was very scenic and one of the highlights of the tour. I passed several villages before I ended up in the, back then, busy ferry port of Skjersholmane. I had plenty of time left for the ferry so I took a long dinner here. The ferry crossing to Utbjoa was nice and I disembarked in Utbjoa for the pretty good climb and then bikeride in the hills high above the fjord with a nice descent down to the fjord and the crossroad in Ølen again. I took the busy E134 for some kilometers before I took the RV 514 over the small hill to Sandeid. I met some other cyclists here and had my first ever bottle of energy drink. A drink that had a great, positive effect on me because I was keeping a good tempo on the hard climbs past Vikedal, where the other cyclists dropped off to the local campsite. I continued to the campsite at Ølmedalsvatnet as I had to reach a ferry the day after. I was very happy after this day on the bike with not particular hard bikeriding.
I woke up again to a new great day. Again, I packed down my tent and continued towards Ropeid and the ferry over to Sand. The bikeride up to Ropeid was pretty undulating and I was glad to see the end of the fjord and the small hill over to Ropeid. I arrived with plenty of time to the ferry. The ten minutes crossing was OK and I arrived in the small village called Sand. I knew this day was going to be a pretty hairy day with plenty of narrow tunnels. After the first thirty kilometers up the river to Suldalsvatnet, my worst fears came into fruition. The first and longest tunnel was pitch dark and my bikelight was not effective. I still have nightmares about the next hour or so.... 18 years afterwards. I had never been so scared before. I was glad to be out on the other side at Hylen. The road then climbed up to some more dark tunnels. I negotiated the first one. But the roadsurface was really bad and I lost control over the bike in the second or third tunnel. The result was an accident where my front wheel was badly bent and not repairable. Neither was my head. I had got a concussion and only the helmet had saved my life. I walked the bike to the end of the tunnel and was picked up by a bus one hour later. I was brought up to Røldal where an ambulance picked me up for the short drive over to Odda Hospital. I was in the hospital overnight where my head was checked out before I took the bus to Drammen (near Oslo) again. My bike was later sent by bus back to Drammen where I picked it up. That's how this bikeride ended.
My plans for that day was to climb the mountain from Røldal to Haukelifjellet. For Day 5 and 6, I was meant to cross Telemark back to Drammen again. A very boring ride, I noticed from the bus. The accident ended well and I was very lucky. But I would like to warn everyone about the RV13 from Sand to Røldal. Don't do it on a bike. The many long tunnels is still pitch black.
…. and so ended my many long bikerides in Norway....
My final really big bikeride in Norway which I had to abort after finishing all the best parts of it. Something I am not sad about. The bikeride until the accident, bar the final 20 kilometers had been great. I would be more than happy to do it again, but with the end in Stavanger. Due to subsea tunnels replacing ferries, this is probably a difficult task though. But I would love to do the Sognefjorden ride again though and this time to the end, 30 km past Lavik. The rest is OK. I still remember the best times on this bikeride and unfortunate, the crash itself which ended it.