So there we were, me and Mark having been on the road for 6 hours and we should have been nearing the port in Harwich and the meeting point but due to the ever present roadworks on the way out of Cornwall and then constant end to end tailbacks on the motorways afterwards we were less than half way there! Roll on getting over the channel and into Europe, you forget how wonderful it is riding over there until you’re faced with how full and boring our road network is. We were heading up to meet our fellow tourers for the Summer 2017 Norway trip and were both super excited.
Norway really is a country like no other to ride in, the tour takes us up via Holland, Germany and Denmark before sweeping up through Norway to the arctic circle and back down across Sweden, our riders were about to experience some of the finest scenery on earth and we couldn’t wait to share the adventure with them!
We arrived to lots of smiling faces ready for their trip, apologised for being a tad late and thought we would be the last ones there…. Turns out Barbara, who had come down from Scotland, had realised half way there she’d left her documents at home and had to get her son to run them down and meet her at scotch corner and then do a massive ride down to meet us. She turned up a few minutes after us thought even after all that, what a trooper.
We all retired to the bar once onboard after a spot of dolphin and whale spotting for some drinks to get to know one another before tucking in to some dinner and turning in for an early night ready for the off tomorrow!
Our first riding day was spend covering ground up through Holland, past windmills and through forests, stopping off for coffees and snacks on the way. Everyone got to grips with their satnavs and despite a few teething issues in and out of towns to begin with the day went off without a hitch.
Stephen raced us to the hotel followed soon after by Paul setting the tone for the tour where they would be sunning themselves in the bar by the time we got in most days! My bike developed a slightly worrying wobble and had to be taken to the nearest BMW dealer who diagnosed a bent rim, I limped on the the hotel and decided to get a second opinion the following day in Germany…
Our hotel laid on quite spread for us that evening and we even got our own little name plaque on the door to the restaurant, how nice!
I left the group again the following day to take the old girl into BMW and see what we could do about the wheel wobble and by all accounts they had great fun with our guide Mr Mark. Several ferries led them along our cross country route seeing the nicest bits of rural Germany before getting into our harbourside hotel for dinner.
Yours truly on the other hand after visiting two dealers ended up leaving the bike for investigation and riding away on a brand new loan GS for 19 days. Good ol BMW assistance, where would I be without it!
From Flensburg we continued up through Denmark, stopping off for some outrageously large portions of sausage and chips…I wasn’t the only one not to finish mine!
Another hotel stay livened up by some hilarity from Tony who one bottle of wine down struggled to find his bedroom, after looking in the kitchens he had to return to our group table for directions…there’s always one ;0)
The next morning we hopped on the ferry for the crossing over to Norway.
As soon as you get off on the otherside, you immediately see what all the fuss is about, the scenery really is superb and the first section of road is just bend after bend of biker heaven.
Mr Mark our fearsome tour guide kindly donated an air hawk seat pad to Simon this morning to test out and was lucky to get it back! If you haven’t tried one and you do some decent mileage on your bike then you haven’t lived. Say goodbye to biker’s arse forever!
Some walked into town for dinner this evening and the rest of us had a cracking steak dinner at the hotel. This was everyone’s first introduction to Norwegian prices however…ouch!
The following day we stopped by two waterfalls for pics and rode along our first proper fjords, pretty epic. We crossed bridges, undersea tunnels and carved around mile after mile of perfect road with glimpse of glaciers in the distance. This is what touring is all about.
Our stop for the next few nights was a hotel owned by a local wilderness survival expert and Belgian beer aficionado. We had a lovely evening playing pool and eating superb seafood while the group planned what to do on their rideout the next day.
In the morning we awoke to a perfect crisp Norwegian morning and stocked up on breakfast before splitting off to either visit the Flam railway, Hardangervidda, both or wander into town to relax and eat cakes! The views from the hotel balcony were pretty special this morning.
But the views from the top of our secret biker road were even better!
From here we journeyed ever northwards, riding through the longest road tunnel in the world (LED lit for your enjoyment.
Stopped for some ice creams
and completed the obligatory 3 ferry journeys. The final one of which is something a little different. Tourists on the cruise liners pay hundreds of euros for a trip up the fjords to Geiranger while we do it on a vehicle ferry and get the same views for a fraction on the cost.
We stayed in Geiranger for two nights to ride the Troll Ladder and Eagle’s road, both epic and the views from our hotel weren’t that bad either…
The weather the next day was a little soggy but the roads were still out of this world.
From Geiranger we set our sights on the Atlantic road the following day and our island hotel (a highlight of the trip for many), speedboat ride on the way out and viking ship on the way back, you don’t get this on any regular biking holiday!
Tony was so pleased he treated himself to carpaccio of whale and spontaneously grew a head of hair!
After riding the Atlantic Road again in reverse we continued up into North Norway proper towards the Arctic Circle…
From our hotel base in Mo I Rana we rode up to the Arctic Circle Discovery Centre as well as the Arctic Raceway and our Magellan Guide sweetalked the owner into letting us go for a spin, we even managed to get the drone up there and get some corking footage of the group racing around. How cool is that!
Bidding a teary farewell to Norway we crossed over into Sweden for the beginning of the route back down south. Fjords and ferries gave way to pine forests and cheaper beers much to everyone’s delight! Our hotel that night laid on a Mexican all you can eat taco evening which went down a storm.
The next day on arriving into our two night stop by the lake our guide went off in search of birthday cake as we knew it was Leigh’s birthday and wanted to surprise her…
There was a classic American car rally going on while we were there:
Some of us rested up and explored the local town the next day, others took the volcano crater rideout (and some even managed to find snow leopards and polar bears… you know who you are!). We all met up for a big birthday Chinese that night and celebrated with Leigh and Andy in style.
As we headed further south into Sweden the scenery changed yet again to lakes and forests all interposed with regular stops for coffee and nibbles, we even stopped at the aptly named Nybblebaren…how could we not!
The following morning we awoke to find that two of the bikes had sprung fork oil leaks, another had blown a fuse and was overheating and my rental bike had decided to leak all its final drive oil out! The beauty of having your guide on hand is that with some swift calls and a few trips to local mechanics we were all back on the road quick sharp and heading towards Denmark.
Some of the group decided to brave the bridge from Copenhagen while the rest sunned themselves on the ferry across instead
We treated Anna Marie and Simon to a bottle of plonk on the ferry, they thought they’d kept their wedding anniversary on the down-low but nothing gets past a Magellan guide!
Once back into Germany I headed off to collect my bike with BMW having finally found the cause of the problem to be two misshapen tyres and rejoined the group that night for our final evening together on the ferry home.
As we met up for drinks in the bar on the return ferry to harwich we were all reminiscing about what an amazing trip it had been. There were familiar faces on the tour as well as some new riders but by the end it felt like we’d all know each other for years.
After their tours with us in Croatia and Ireland last year the brothers Fletcher were back on their Ducati and Triumph to rip up the Norwegian twisties. Tony pushed his RT1200 further than he thought possible to keep up with the Fletchers and Stephen was cool as a cucumber on his VFR throughout.
Barbara had been on a trip to Norway with another company a few years back and was disappointed with how long their days were and wanted to come back to really see the scenery and places we rode through as opposed to pushing out big 300 mils plus days and she wasn’t disappointed!
Andrew and Leigh had such a good time in Spain last year they signed up for Norway, they took the Goat Herding ribbing in their stride and showed up many much bigger bikes!
Maurice, Stuart and Adrian (the three musketeers) had a cracking trip and could often be seen riding in a phalanx on the Pan, Trophy and Explorer through the stunning scenery as the days went on. Legends.
Jeannie flew all the way over from the states and was taught some traditional British slang (not all of it clean!) by the rest of the troops, we’re sure she’ll be back next year.
Paul unleashed his inner Steve McQueen and was easily the coolest biker in Norway on his BMW R9T.
Simon and Anna Marie just passed their tests, bought 2 bikes and booked the trip 2 weeks before we left, you’d have thought they had been riding all their lives by the end of the tour. Nothing helps you progress more than 21 days of epic riding in the company of new friends.
Stuart could be seen (if you could catch him!) singing along to Coldplay with the biggest smile on his face all the way up to the Arctic circle.
Riders on this trip had traveled all over the world on their bikes, from the USA, to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and more and everyone agreed that Norway was like nowhere they had ever been before and they couldn’t wait to go back.
A trip escorted by a Magellan guide following from the rear in case people got stuck or lost works a treat. The tour pack you get beforehand is so comprehensive (some might say its a little OCD) and the option of riding in small groups or solo means you have total flexibility to ride at your own pace always knowing there is a guide on hand to help if you need.
If you’ve ever wanted to do a trip with a bit of a difference, ride in amongst scenery that will take your breath away, eat phenomenal seafood, cruise up fjords, ride hidden roads, see glaciers or just tell your mates that you’ve ridden to the Arctic circle then what are you waiting for, get yourself booked onto the next one!