Hi, fellow hammockers! Amok is proud to announce that we are launching a blog. The sole purpose is to present hammock stories that hopefully will inspire you to get out more, on adventures both big and small. We plan to provide you with stories on a regular basis. Most our posts will be coming from people we collaborate with, and find inspiring ourselves.
Here and there we might even write something ourselves, but except from Terje Valen Høihjelle, none of us are especially gifted at writing inspiring posts or taking pictures. Still, we will certainly try our best.
We will let Terje take it from here!
By Terje Valen Høihjelle
Do you want to spend your holiday in Norway and experience its vast and unique nature, from a hammock?
Then bring your bike, maybe a friend, and clear off four weeks in your calendar. Vilde Vik and Kristoffer Søyland from Norway did it last summer, and shared their experiences with me. I am meeting our riders for lunch near Gaularfjellet, Sogn og Fjordane county.
When I get there, I am greeted by two laughing and smiling individuals wearing sunglasses, helmets and yellow jackets. Vilde and Kristoffer have already been on their bikes for a few hours, and are still supposed to climb several hundred vertical meters to the top of Gaularfjellet mountain road, before descending the narrow turns towards Sognefjorden, Norway's longest fjord. They are biking to support the Norwegian Cancer Association, in memory of their friend Ruben, who died of cancer in 2015. Their expedition is called “On Wheels for Ruben”, and they have received tons of support. Additionally, they have enjoyed the company of co-riders on short distances along the way.
I Join them as they descend from Gaularfjellet to Sognefjorden. From here we go by ferry to the other side. I help them set up camp at the waterfront, overlooking the fjord. In the distance a big cruise ship is headed out, as I ask them why they are bringing both a tent and hammocks:
Vilde - "Well, there are not many trees in Finnmark and northern Troms, and it was very cold, so we slept in the tent the first weeks. When there were more solid trees and warmer temperatures, we dropped off one layer of wool clothing and picked up the hammocks."
Kristoffer - "A hammock is very comfortable to sleep in, and you can hang a lot of your clothes up to dry, which is more challenging in a tent. Also, you’re more out in nature because you are not sealed inside a tent wall, and can actually see the nature around you."
"It’s very difficult to pick out one from all the beautiful places we have been, but we would like to go back to Senja."
You have been riding for a few weeks now, so how are you folks doing? They look at each other and laugh, before they reply:
Vilde and Kristoffer- "Well, we get inside this bubble, where routines consist of eating, sleeping and riding. It feels nice to have a simple routine."
What would you like to share with others who might dream of riding a bike trough Norway?
Vilde - "That its special to experience Norway and its nature from the bicycle. You use all your senses; different smells, humidity, temperature changes, – it is impossible to have the same feeling in the solitude of a car, you are simply more in touch with the elements riding a bike. Additionally, the tempo is slow which gives you the opportunity to really take in the scenery."
Kristoffer. "It's really marvelous to see Norway from the bicycle. Even though you do not have time to experience all the places for long, you get a good "teaser" on places you would like to go back to."
Is there a certain place you would like to go back? They both think for a while, before they agree:
Vilde and Kristoffer - "It’s very difficult to pick out one from all the beautiful places we have been, but we would like to go back to Senja. Due to the foggy weather, we didn’t get to experience the breath-taking contrast between tall mountains and the ocean right underneath."
They agree that you don’t have to be an experienced biker or athlete to do this. In their opinion you can get in shape on the road. Kristoffer is an experienced cyclist, but Vilde hadn’t been cycling that much before. She did however prepare herself by attending spinning sessions. Additionally, both recommend that you test your bicycle properly before embarking on a long journey.
We eat and talk for a while before I move on with my questions:
What was your most positive experience on this journey?
Vilde - "The day off at the spa hotel in Førde, hehe! No, but it was very nice from Andøya and further south. The nice weather we experienced in Lofoten and all the way down the Helgeland coast stands out as a positive experience. We had a particularly nice campsite at Nesna, there we got up on a pile by the road, overlooking the sea and the midnight sun."
Kristoffer - "I think the entire Helgeland coast was amazing to ride along. We had such nice weather and could ride for miles on end."
Did you experience any tough times?
Kristoffer - "Vilde had trouble with her bike in Kolvereid, and had to try to get help from the locals without any luck. I ended up cycling alone from Kolvereid to Namsos, while Vilde had to take a bus."
Vilde - "The bad and cold weather we experienced in Troms and Finnmark, was tough."
The night is starts to sneak into the camp.
It is time to leave, and return our bike riders to their hammocks. After all, they still have a week left in their bubble; riding, eating and sleeping.
Learn basic bike repairing up front, such as hose replacement, hose lapping, change and adjust brake pads and adjust gear. Then you are not dependent on going to a bicycle shop, and it's great to do it yourself.
(…you can get in shape on the road. Kristoffer is an experienced cyclist, but Vilde hadn’t been cycling that much before. She did however prepare herself by attending spinning sessions.
They used road bikes with racer handle bars. Additionally, the bikes were equipped with mud guards, luggage boards and 2 bicycle bags each at the back and front of the bike.