Day 30 The best one-day bike ride in the world?

9 Jul

A day that was all about riding begins with more suffocating tunnels emerging into breath-taking scenery, before a thrilling ride up the snow road. A graceful cruise alongside the vivid, vibrant green Lustrafjord, before another ear-popping ride on impossibly steep, insanely twisty roads up into the clouds, icy rain and glaciers of the Sognefjellvegen. The landscape is another dose of pre-history, with a scattering of troll huts and the occasional house that looks like it was built by a Viking version of the flintstones. There’s a cycle race going on. The ones at the bottom are stripping off layers, bathed in sweat. The ones higher up are stopping to wrap up in waterproofs and thermals. I pass at least 200, easily more, and behind each group is a snail trail of cars, German motorhomes, and tour busses. Fortunately I’m going the other way and have the road to myself. Twice at view points I meet German tourists who live near the Nurburgring. Later, when stopping for an elk burger, I meet a German biking couple in need of an allen key, who are also from that area. In the camp site I meet a German girl who is from Wolfsburg, where I passed just a couple of weeks ago, and the spot I choose to pitch my tent turns out to be surrounded by Germans. The view and the ride over the Sognefjellvegen is enough to have me grinning like a fool and cheering inside my helmet. Over the top and the view opens out to reveal the GeraingerFjord, a cruise liner in the bay, another just getting under steam. Even after seeing fjords for a week, this one leaves me open-mouthed in awe. If you come to Norway, see this one above all else. The sun is shining, the town is heaving with tourists, the road is awesome, and after descending and passing through the town, the road climbs again up the Eagle’s Way, to give another spectacular vantage point and more ear-to-ear grin-inducing riding. A short ferry ride (more chats with more Germans), and the joyous riding continues up the Trollstigen. The geology has changed again, this time more fierce, angry looking. I’ve seen it all today. Postcard pretty fjords, alpine forested mountains, like the Rockies, flatter, agricultural countryside that you smell before you see, high mountain wildness that looks like Iceland with a road, glaciers, lakes, mountain streams, waterfalls, everything, and on a huge scale. Here on the Trollstigen it’s sharp peaks that look like teeth. The road seems to only be here for the entertainment of motorcyclists, but this one was built by prisoners of the Nazi war machine, so the isolated vantage points where I stop give me chance to pause and consider how lucky I am to be getting such enjoyment from a road that was created through so much suffering. I arrive in Andalsnes, to a perfect camp site under the gaze of a mountain tooth and right by the river. This ride, over the Snovegen, Sognefjellvegen, and Trollstigen, is a very strong contender for the world’s best one day motorcycle journey. I might turn back and do it all again tomorrow.