Test riding our bikes

by Andrew Stein

We arrive in Voss from Bergen via train with a lot of daylight left, especially with sunset around 11pm.  We explore the town for a bit and caffeinate ourselves to fight the jetlag at a nice local coffee shop.  With coffee now in our system, we can start to figure out what the rest of the day should bring – some combination of trying out our new rental bikes that we’ll be using as our main transportation over the next week, taking a quick hike, and finding food for dinner.

We research some nearby ride routes, and find one that circumnavigates the lake right in front of the hotel.  The distance is modest, the elevation reasonable, and the temperature perfect, so we set off in a counter-clockwise direction.  We quickly learn of some unexpected challenges, so good thing for the test ride so we can be better mentally prepared for tomorrow.

The main challenge is the weight of the clunker – I mean bicycle.  Without exaggeration the bike weighs 50+ pounds without any additional snacks, jackets or cameras.  Turns out that cycling up hills with an extra 50 (maybe 60 or 70) pounds isn’t so nice on our muscles and our knees.  The road is beautiful and the views even more so, but my right knee is already quite soar and our muscles tired.  Luckily, I can raise the bike seat more and buy myself a simple brace in town – two easy, quick fixes.

Although it’s clear that we’ve been spoiled by nice, light road bikes with clip-in pedals and seamless gear shifting back home, these bikes won’t stop us.  The distances are all manageable and more importantly, the landscape is wonderfully distracting.  We are looking forward to getting back on the road in the morning.