Riding Options: Several Variances but these are the main two
Haugastøl-Flåm: 80km (50mi)
Haugastøl-Voss: 108km (67mi)
Time of Year: July to September
The most popular cycle route in Norway. Up until recently this year, this cycle route was not possible. About a week before I was to do it, the first group of cyclists successfully made it through. Seeing this, I knew I could do it even though some slow going and tough parts may be present. Between Finse and Hallingsdale 21km (13mi), there were excessive amount of snow which made this section unrideable and previously impassible.
Well, since I usually have to be different, and the way my route lined up, I was to ride the Rallarvegen ‘backwards’. Most people ride the route from Finse down to Flam, or Haugastøl to Flam. This makes the trip a lot easier as it is mostly all downhill. But me, I was riding from Voss to Haugastøl (108km 65mi) and continuing on to Geilo.
After getting caught talking to a fellow cycle tourist for over an hour (great conversation), I was on my way around 11am. My route had a little detour set up which included a climb up and over a pass before dropping onto the Rallarvegen route. This was worth it and paid off with some good riding scenery.
I was soon realizing why not many people road the route this way, it was all uphill! For the past 4 hours I had been climbing on pavement until it finally changed to dirt road. For the time being, I was happy about the change and continued on to Upsete where the only option is to catch a 5 min train ride through the tunnel to Myrdal. Just another one of Norway’s long and unrideable tunnels.
Well that was a fun ride and I was off pedaling again heading on up through the mountains. It was a ton of climbing, but boy was I loving it as the weather was amazing! Arriving just outside Hallingsdale, the first camping spot I found didn’t work as swarms of bugs were trying to eat me alive. Packing everything back up, I headed down the road a little further where I came across two other guys (from New York) setting up camp and asked to join. They gladly accepted me and we had a prime camping spot right on the edge of the water. It was awesome to meet some other bikepackers from the states.
In the morning I woke up to some blistering cold weather. I needed to get moving to warm up, so loading up the bike I said goodbye to my new friends and another day began. They were doing the ‘normal’ route and were headed in the opposite direction otherwise it would’ve been fun to join them. Before long, the snow started. It was going to be a four hour trudge on and off the bike through patches of snow. I couldn’t complain much though as it was another sunny day in Norway! So many people passed me heading the opposite direction (on rented bikes) and I swear I was the only one heading up hill. There was a lot of snow and to top it off, a head wind beat against me the entire time. But still I was enjoying every second of this journey.
Reaching Finse, not only had I arrived at the highest point (1,222m/4,010ft) but there was no more snow the rest of the way. Walking into the cafe, the teller graciously replenished my water supply. This time it was downhill and boy was I grateful after spending the last day and a half climbing up hill! The route continued to follow the railroad line and eventually came to Haugastøl where the tires met back up with pavement. From here on out it was the road to the finish in Geilo!
What a great adventure! It was a hard climb heading from Voss to Finse but it was definitely worth it. The scenery along the way was breath taking and this is a ride I would gladly do again. For some reason heading in the opposite direction was quite enjoyable or maybe I’m just sick and sadistic enjoying the upwards struggle. Either way it provided ample opportunities to meet and talk to new people along the way. No wonder this is the most popular bicycle route in Norway!