Cycling in Norway: A Real Adventure

The relatively modest distances between the city’s major
hubs and sights of interest make cycling a superb means of transport and a fine
way to explore the city. Using a bicycle to cover distances of up to 3-4
kilometres (2 miles) is frequently just as fast as, if not faster than, using
public transportation.

If you want to discover attractions, explore nature, or just
get a little exercise, Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim have a wide
selection of fine cycling rides and trips. It is especially a good alternative
Oslo residents. Depending on your wishes, you can choose from easy trips with
almost no inclines to laborious, difficult cross-country cycling in the hilly
countryside around Oslo. A visit to the museums at Bygdøy is an example of an
easygoing, splendid cycling trip.

Some of Oslo’s best features include the abundance of
touring options on car-free or only lightly trafficked roads, even in areas
near the city centre. Just seek and you will find many touring routes: along
the sea and rivers, around lakes and through parks and civilised countryside.

Cycling within Ring 2

Over the last decade, a great effort has been made to
improve cycling conditions, including in the centre of Oslo, and many places
have separate cycle tracks along the road or street or bicycle lanes on the
roadway itself, making two-wheeled transport a safer alternative.

Markveien, Torggata, Rådhusgata, Ullevålsveien and
Frognerstranda are examples of streets and roads that have been adapted for
bicycle traffic. Several intersections also have separate traffic lights for
cyclists. Pedestrian streets are also cycling alternatives, but here cyclists
are required to show consideration for pedestrians by cycling slowly.

The route north along Akerselva River is worth mentioning as
it is probably the finest car-free method of leaving the centre of Oslo.

Cycling in the forest

If longer, more demanding trips are preferred, you don’t
need to travel any further than Sognsvann Station (line 3, a 15-minute metro
ride from the city centre) before a wide variety of cycling opportunities on
gravel roads and trails are available. Here you will discover network of gravel
roads offering many miles of bicycling pleasure.

As an extra motivating factor for cycling in the
countryside, several forest inns (such as Ullevålsseter, Kikut and Rustadsaga)
serve coffee, pastries and other refreshments.

Other relevant points of departure for cycling through the
countryside include Grorud Station (line 5) and Ulsrud or Skullerud Station
(southbound line 3). You pay the price of a child’s ticket to convey your cycle
on Oslo’s tram system.

Photo: Yodod | This valley gives a route back towards the
coast and heads up over a pass through some amazing boulder fields

Map

A map always comes in handy, both while planning and making
a trip. A good map to start with is “Greater Oslo” (Stor-Oslo, scale
1:25,000, published by Cappelen) covering an area from Bjørndal in the south to
Frognerseteren in the north. The map shows useful features such as pedestrian
streets, tram lines, many hiking trails and cycling routes and the most
important sights of interest. Two other useful maps are “Nordmarka
sommer” (1:50,000) and “Østmarka”, (1:50,000), both published by
Statens kartverk.

A free cycling map of Oslo is also available at tourist
information offices or by visiting www.oslosykkelkart.no

Season

The length of Oslo’s cycling season varies, depending on how
much clothing you feel like putting on before you venture forth, but the
asphalt roads are usually clear and safe from about 1 April to 1 December.

In the Oslomarka countryside, the gravel roads are not
usually dry till the last half of May and trails are usually dry around 1 June.

Hiring bicycles

The simplest way to borrow a bicycle in Oslo is to use the
City Cycle Scheme (Oslo Bysykkel). By paying an annual subscription you get
access to many bicycle stands around the city and more than 1000 cycles that
can be borrowed for three hours at a time. A special electronic tourist card
can be rented for one day (for a deposit) at tourist information offices.
Season: Easter to roughly 1 December. www.oslobysykkel.no

If you prefer cycling in the hills surrounding Oslo, Ski
& Guide AS has good mountain bikes for hire at Voksenkollen metro station
in the summer season (May-September). www.ski-guide.no

The Forest Ride

Round Nøklevann and Ulsrudvann Lakes

Starting point: Take the tram to Bogerud Station (line 3),
about 20 minutes from the centre of Oslo. From there 1 km east to Rustadsaga
sportstue.

Distance:             11
km

Incline: 125 hm

Roadway:            gravel

The Round Nøklevann Lake route is one of the most popular in
Østmarka, and it’s easy to see why. The road is slightly rolling and varied and
affords fine views across the lake. Fine bathing areas are found in places like
Katissa and Bråten. Barely one kilometre north of here is Bremsrud rest area,
with a view of many of Nøklevann’s rock faces.

Please note that many hikers frequent this area at the weekend,
so please show consideration! If you prefer to cycle more or less undisturbed,
you should plan your ride in the early morning or late afternoon instead.

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