A tour around Mjøsa, the biggest lake in Norway
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 "Oslo" in the search field & Google Earth for xtra pictures
I was flat broke the summer of 1992, having lost my job. But I still wanted to do a cycling tour after the previous three summers on the bike. Any tours towards the west coast or the north of Norway was therefore not possible. So I was looking for an inexpensive tour in the inland of Norway with no travels to a start off point. So I got a donation from my dear mother who knew too well what such cycling tours meant to me. A tour around Mjøsa, the biggest lake in Norway, was soon chosen as my desired tour. I did some training and went for a three and a half day tour.
I was living with my parents during the summer, but I still had access to my small twelve square meters flat in Sogn Studentby, a student dormitory in Oslo. I cannot remember why I started the tour from this flat with a sleepover the night before. But it is a perfect start off point so I guess that is why I did this. This tour was planned to be a three and a half day long tour so the start off was around 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
I started the tour in the sunny afternoon and headed over some small, sharp climbs towards the main road north out of Oslo towards Gjelleraasen. The road climbed steady up to this small hill. I then took the small road down a hill towards Lillestrøm and then a steadily climbing road up to Skedsmokorset where I joined the RV 120 road at the border to Ullensaker Municipality.
The road was going up and down where it crossed rivers coming down from the west. It was not particular funny cycling where I climbed and descended without finding much of a rhythm. I soon arrived at Gardermoen Airport after a very steep climb up from the bottom of a valley. Back in 1992, this airport was a small regional airport and not the big airport it is today. The traffic was therefore OK.
I joined RV 35 just before Gardermoen and took this road towards Hurdalsjøen (a lake). The road to the beginning of Hurdalsjøen was dead flat and then fell down towards this lake. The cycling along this lake to Hurdal was also flat and pretty funny, with some small funny hills just to make the cycling more interesting. I liked those 25 km along this lake.
Just after the small village of Hurdal, the road started to climb towards the big hill between Hurdalsjøen and Mjøsa. The climb was not too steep. But I still chose to walk it. I reached the approx. 570 meters above sea level top of this pass late in the evening and pitched up my tent after some excellent cycling that night.
The day started with taking down my tent and waking up the following morning. Yes, in that order. I was pretty drowsy. I soon woke up due to the pretty dangerous road down from this hill through a canyon. I almost collided head on with a small tree which had fallen over the road during the night. Despite of the road being both wet and slippery, I managed to stop my bike. That woke me up. I also cleared the road and continued down the road to Minnesund at Mjøsa where I crossed a big river called Vorma. I took a breakfast here on chocolate and youghurt before I continued up the east coast of Mjøsa. There was some rain in the air. For the first kilometres, I followed the very busy main road between Oslo and Trondheim. But the cycle road soon left the main road and went down to the water's edge. This is the old road and there was no traffic on it. Heaven ! After 25 km, I reached Tangen where I left Mjøsa for the small hill-climb over Stange to Hamar. The road was pretty good up this rather flat climb over Stange. I still remember this road with a lot of fondness. The road followed some farmlands and forests. I was soon on the top of this small hill and went down through Stange towards the city of Hamar . Just before I reached Hamar, I stopped at the Viking Ship olympic arena . I had never been in Hamar before so I stopped for a while. Getting out of Hamar also seemed to be a problem. A small climb out of Hamar towards a concert hall and then a dirt track towards Brumunddal solved the problem. But I hope there are some better cycling roads towards north these days because the dirt track was not good for my bike and gave me a nasty repair bill the day after.
After some climbs and descents, I entered the Brumunddal village. I did some minor repairs with my inadequate set of tools before I continued up a pretty long and big hill towards Moelv. The hillclimb was funny going in the evening and I also remember this climb with a lot of fondness. The descent to this village was pretty hairy though. The main road crosses the lake at this village and left a pretty good road with no traffic to me and my bike. I needed this empty road because there was some very steep hills before
Lillehammer and the end of Mjøsa. This village had been awarded the Olympic games some years before and was gearing up this event 18 months after I was there. I was soaking up the pre-Olympic games atmosphere in the evening sun before I left Lillehammer, crossed the river and went to the west side of Mjøsa after 15 hours and 120 km on the saddle. I pitched up my tent with a view over to Lillehammer from the other side of Mjøsa.
I woke up early in the morning to a glorious day in the saddle and I felt fine. I had no food though and my bike needed a repair due to some missing and broken spokes in on the back wheel. So I took down the tent and set off the 50 km to Gjøvik along Mjøsa. This is a main road, but thankfully there was some cycle roads too. Some of it took me up some hills above the lake. But that was fine for me. After around two hours of cycling, I reached Gjøvik and a cycle repair shop who replaced the broken and missing spokes. I also got some food.
My plans was originally to continue for 50 more km and then pitch up my tent for a run down another lake again. But this was midday and it was far ahead schedule. So I decided to go for Oslo, 140 km away. That meant a total distance of 190 km that day, a new personal record and unknown territory. There was also a 600 meters above sea level hill between Gjøvik and Oslo plus two minor hills too. That was challenge and I was also feeling fine. I therefore went for it.
The climb up from Gjøvik alongside Hunnselva to Raufoss was pretty steep, but still very rewarding. I soon reached Eina, where I got lost for some minutes, and the lake of Einafjorden.
The road became pretty flat alongside this lake. But I had some nasty side-wind and it became a big problem when I was trying to speed up towards the end of this lake. I was almost thrown down a ditch at the end of this lake by the wind.
The end of this lake was the start of the pretty hard climb up to the top of the hill. But I soon reached the hill and the hairy descent down along the old disused road to the valley floor at Brandbu. Having survived this descent, I followed the road road again up the valley past Jaren and Roa towards the head of the valley and the small hillclimb up to Grua. It was now the afternoon and I was feeling fine. But I was glad to reach Roa. A small break where I regained my breath followed before I raced down the valley I previously only had climbed up (see the Nordmarka tour ). The descent to the lake at Harestua was pretty easy. So was the road alongside it too. I was now heading down the pretty flat valley towards Nittedal. I was also pretty exhausted when I passed Nittedal .
30 km further down and started the climb up to Gjelleraasen again. The climb was pretty steep and I was exhausted. But I survived and I sprinted down the road to my overnight sleep at Sogn Studentby. 190 km in one day was a new personal record. I was both happy and exhausted.
This tour is one of the better tours in the East of Norway. Maybe it is the best tour in the Oslo area. The hills was OK and not too big. The traffic not too bad back in 1992. I still think this road is passable and even better these days. This is one of the tours I wish I could do again. I also wish I could find the pictures again. I did not take many and the picture quality is dubious at best. But I still remember this tour with a lot of fondness.
This tour is highly recommended.