Packing for Norway

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I don’t think I titled my previous announcement post very well, as lots of people are wondering why I keep tweeting about Norway. Well, in a few days’ time I’ll be in Oslo, preparing to leave the city for a month of ice-biking in rural Scandinavia.

Unfortunately I’m still relatively poor, having not found much income from post-Ride Earth media yet. Book-writing and filmmaking are financial catch-22’s — you rarely know if you’ll be able to sell the product until you’ve finished making it (unless you’re lucky enough to have got an advance from a publisher). So, as I can’t afford to buy into the world of high-performance, high-price-tag winter clothing, I’ll see how I get on with my old skiing kit. It’s worked for numerous short trips and a season of ski-guiding in the Alps, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t work well for cycling in the snow and ice — both being relatively low-exertion but long-duration activities. Everything else I’ll hunt down on eBay and in TK Maxx — a surprisingly good source of cheap outdoor clothing.

I can expect the inland temperature to remain well below zero throughout February, getting down to ‑10°C or lower on particularly nippy days, lower still at altitude, and down to ‑20°C or ‑25°C during the nights. It’s going to take some getting used to, and that of course is part of the appeal of this trip. But I’m pretty confident in my Mountain Equipment Iceline sleeping bag and Exped Downmat 7 Pump sleeping pad for the nights. A few fleeces, hats and Buffs for the riding, plus an extra set of dry thermals for the night-time, and I expect I’ll be toasty.

Extrawheel have sent a prototype trailer to test out, and Schwalbe are supplying a set of their Ice Spiker Pro tyres. I have a feeling I may well be glad of them. So, with my kit still splayed all over the floor in my parents’ conservatory, it’s time I started packing…

Schwalbe bicycle tyres, Extrawheel single-wheel trailers

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6 responses to “Packing for Norway”

  1. Mark Panya Wienands avatar
    Mark Panya Wienands

    Hi Tom,

    Having failed miserably in Iceland March (just 2 months ago) from only 10 days of cycling, 280km covered out of the 1300 km ring road to circle Iceland, I need to rethink my gear considerably. You can view my album here on Flickr:

    Inspired by you and Alastair, I attempted a solo winter cycling. Coming from a hot tropical country (Thailand), I have never done winter cycling, nor backpacking in the winter to say the least. I had few but critical mistakes. First thing was choosing a country as windy as hell as Iceland, mostly headwinds, and having a short timeframe to complete it (30 days). I was bogged down so much from blizzard conditions and hurricane force winds that I was unable to peddle at all, nor walk in it to say the least.

    Mentally I was prepared though and I was soo excited before, during and after. But then I pulled out, and called it quits wasting so much money put into this trip. Secondly my gear were flawed in so many ways. I’m wondering if you can help me with this:

    1) My hiking boots were not warm enough and my digits were constantly numb and in pain most of the time and it was not even THAT cold (-10 to ‑2 C). What type of boots did you wore on your winter cycle tour?
    2) My mitts were the only waterproofing gloves I had, and they were cumbersome. I kept on taking them off, and soon my inner liner gloves started to get wet. I was frustrated so much that I felt uncomfortable with the entire trip. What is your recommended layering system for this?
    3) How do you kept your gear charged? And what laptop did you brought for your trip? I brought my Macbook Air, but soon the cold got it behaving in weird ways showing discolouration, horizontal lines and unresponsiveness to the touchpad.
    4) My snacks were rock hard solid. This was my biggest oversight and I went hungry for 2 days at one point.
    5) I’m currently looking into the idea of having a trailer instead of front panniers. They look like they could hold more and ease the ride a bit.
    6) Coming from you, would you ever consider doing Iceland? Or am I biting too much that I can chew. Am I better off doing Norway, a similar journey to yours?

    Would appreciate it so much if you could help me with any tips or encouragement even. I’m looking to fix my mistakes and attempt another winter tour in Iceland next year.

  2. All I could say is, what are you thinking? Ah, Tom, the adventure never ends 🙂 One would’ve thought that during the coldest, most depressing month of the year (February), a trip down south is in order — not north! But who are we kidding? Anyone else would’ve gone south, but not Tom 🙂 I love your new blog and look forward to following you along in your journey as I live through yet-another work-filled day in Yerevan…

    1. And I look forward to meeting up for a haykakan surch or two in March 😉

  3. Mardmakarm avatar

    Now Extrawheel has arrived to Thailand, gotta thanks to your Ride Earth that give a chance to us for using a nice trailer like this. 😀

  4. Lars Erik Sira avatar
    Lars Erik Sira

    Welcome to Norway! Exiting to hear someone planning a cycle trip up here in wintertime. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions. Maybe I can answer. And please stop for lunch or a visit if you pass Trondheim. Best regards from Norway

    1. Thank you Lars — I’ve sent an email!

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