ISLAND HOPPING IN NORWAY
ISLAND HOPPING IN NORWAY
ISLAND HOPPING IN NORWAY
Øygarden, Sotra and Askøy – A New Take on Classic Norwegian Terrain
ISLAND HOPPING IN NORWAY
ISLAND HOPPING IN NORWAY
ISLAND HOPPING IN NORWAY
Øygarden, Sotra and Askøy – A New Take on Classic Norwegian Terrain

To be totally frank, Norway is a geographical gift from the gods! So when Veit Hammer, Sports Marketing Manager at Ceramic Speed, told us he was planning a trip to Norway, we started scheming. Having previously lived in Norway, Veit had a range of lesser known but totally jaw-dropping routes he'd been wanting to explore while taking on Norway's notoriously tough conditions. Though the weather stayed relatively tame, the ride itself was mental.

Words: Veit Hammer

Photography: Jens Herrndorff

Island Hopping in Norway

Bergen is the second largest urban center in Norway. With a population of roughly 275.000 inhabitants it's a rather small city among the European metropolises. However, what it lacks in size, it easily makes up for in challenging weather conditions. Over the course of a single year, Bergen sees nearly 245 days of rain. Surrounded by seven mountains, the city is the welcoming destination of the gulf stream, and it's the scenic gate to stunning fjords.

Bergen, Better Than Ever

It's been more than a decade since I moved away from Bergen. But for years, the city and its breathtaking backyard had been my home and playground. Since moving away, the time elapsed had turned it into a distant memory. A good one, though.

The awe-inspiring landscapes of Norway brought wave after wave of keen cyclists to the country – a few of whom turned their rides into some good reads. However, I felt one area was always missing from the Norway cycling narrative. This area is a string of islands west of Bergen.

Traveling to Norway during the UCI World Championships in the fall from CeramicSpeed’s headquarters in Denmark meant that we'd be able to not only bring the products we needed to look after our sponsored athletes that were set to shine, but also go on a little adventure of our own through an often overlooked but equally as incredible part of the country.

Sometimes, You Welcome The Cold

Arriving in Bergen, the cities scenic harbor with its series of wooden Hanseatic commercial buildings that line up alongside Vågen is a beautiful historical snapshot of the city in the height of its beauty.

The weather was damp. It was the type of homecoming I expected. Though it sounds odd, the wet and cold conditions were welcomed. To me, these conditions bring me back to an incredible period of time in Norway, one I rich with amazing life lessons I carry with me daily.

We left the city for the islands towards the West. The drive to Tjeldstø, where we had booked our accommodation for the week, took another hour. Along the drive, the skies started to clear up.

Absolutely Breathtaking

Øygarden, Sotra and Askøy encapsulate a perfect impression of Norway, in my opinion, with their coastal house architectures, their "fjells", moorlands and forests. The small and twisty roads that connect the islands turn into a lumpy belt that holds the area in place. Vast settlements turn into welcoming villages in small and confined yet truly remarkable spaces.

Norway Is Predictably Unpredictable

With the weather turning from clear to ominously cloudy, we were happy to be arriving at our place for the evening. As we stepped inside, almost perfectly on cue, the rain started pouring down.

I woke up early that morning. Unusually early, given the 12-hour travel from Denmark. With glimpses of light fighting their way through the clouds, I started to make the first round of coffees. After having breakfast and preparing our bikes, Dennis and I dressed up. With a big day ahead, we took our time getting ready.

Riding along the rugged coastlines of Western Norway, the weather can change by the hour. In this part of the world one just can't be too sure about the conditions. Especially not in late summer and early fall. With the rainclouds making room for the sun to come out, we decided to keep it safe when dressing and layered up.

One For The Books!

Askøy is surrounded by fjords. It's located between Sotra, and extends into the North Sea in a straight manner, from Bergen. And even though the island is becoming a more and more popular center of life, it has kept its natural charm with its wild romantic views on the west coast and its scenic landscapes on its eastern pendent.

It was a chilly morning. Without rain. Just wet roads. Setting out from Tjeldstø the route for the day was a proper one, clocking in at around 100 kms and 2,000m of climbing. From Øygarden to Askøy, the hills on the islands sum up. It was one for the books!

Leaving The Main Road Behind Us

Leaving our home for the week we crossed the first of a dozen of bridges on our way to Askøy after less than 5 kilometers. In fact, we could already spot it when we clipped in. The road spray set softly on our feet as we started to pedal. The mood was positive.

Øygarden presented itself from its best possible side. Dressed in red, white and yellow the vast beauty of the small wooden cottages along the coast turned into road marks. Fishing is a big thing in Norway and living by the sea certainly has its impact on the way people build houses here. Up north, the villages are small but come packed with an essential character. It’s a quiet part of the world. There are not many cars or people around and the the only bigger mall can be found in Rong.

Rongøyna is one of the bigger islands that sum up Øygarden. A strikingly bent bridge connects the island with Toftøyna and Misje, the most Southern island of the archipelago. From here it takes only few minutes to touch ground on Sotra. We have a slight tailwind working with us, which is picking up as we roll into Ågotnes. The village is one of the islands commercial centers and known for being a main supply base for the oil industry.

Taking a slight right hand turn we leave the main road behind us. The tarmac ahead of us is dry and narrow. We have set our sights on Syltøyna, a small island on the Atlantic coastline. The island is a mere 10 kilometers south of Ågotnes and known for its twisty roads. They don't disappoint.

Steep And Succinct

The topography on Sotra is much hillier than the one on Øygarden. And while the climbs are short, their gradients are challenging. The climb into Straume is a fine example. It keeps dragging and just doesn't ease up. However, there's something good about it as the slow speed prepares for the different character the ride will take from here for a while.

Coming closer to Bergen, there are a lot more houses and commercial centers to be found in Straume, the last village before the iconic Sotra bridge. The bridge connects Sotra with the mainland and is only 5 kilometers away from the one that links to Askøy.

Askøy doesn't offer too many small roads. That said, it's not the most crowded place either. Heading towards Ask, the course reached its highest point just outside Florvåg. A short climb with a maximum gradient of just into the double digits. From there on, the road delivered a slight bend before turning North, all the way to the very tip of the Askevatnet lake.

Soaking up the soft landscapes next to Askevatnet, a short downpour added to the fun. We made the right choice when we got ready that morning. The wind settled a little while later together with the rain. Drifting away in the movement, the sound of speed at heart, we moved on. Unshattered. Unfazed. There to experience the change.

Norway, You've Got Me

We wanted to end our ride with a view to where we started and took the road towards Hetlevik, a small fishing village situated on the Western side of the island with small roads and houses that are as close to each other as it gets out here. It felt amazing to be back in Norway, snaking my way through old memories on familiar roads and while also seeking out new routes and creating new memories for the years to come.

When people refer to Norway, they most likely refer to the vast beauty of the fjord coast. This trip to Bergen and our lesser known ride through the western islands was filled with breathtaking moments. It goes to show that there's always something new to see no matter how familiar you are with the location.

This story's author, Veit Hammer, heads up CeramicSpeed's Sports Marketing. The Danish ceramic bearings and component specialist is a sponsor to numerous WorldTour teams and athletes. Together with his colleague Dennis Jehs Løh, the companies Tech and Team Support, he travels to races not only to support and activate their sponsorships, but also to put CeramicSpeed's products through their paces.

If you'd like to check out the equipment used during our time in Norway:

  • UFO Drip - UFO Drip is the world’s first chain coating. It is a liquid, easy applicable product, which hardens into a completely dry coating to protect the chain from road spray, rain etc., while generating lowest possible friction chain lube can.
  • OSPW System, Bottom Bracket, Headset - CeramicSpeed bearings are the heart of all CeramicSpeed components. They reduce friction, improve power transfer and make for an increased longevity.
  • MAAP Surface Jacket - This performance oriented rain jacket is fully waterproof and windproof, while offering a snug fit and breathability.
  • MAAP Chaos All Weather Jacket - Perhaps the best choice for harsh conditions. The jacket is fully windproof, repels water and is stretchable enough to keep one aero when it counts.
  • MAAP Base Thermal Bib - This bib keeps the core protected when the temperature drops, due to the use of lightweight thermal materials.

ISLAND HOPPING IN NORWAY

Øygarden, Sotra and Askøy – A New Take on Classic Norwegian Terrain

To be totally frank, Norway is a geographical gift from the gods! So when Veit Hammer, Sports Marketing Manager at Ceramic Speed, told us he was planning a trip to Norway, we started scheming. Having previously lived in Norway, Veit had a range of lesser known but totally jaw-dropping routes he'd been wanting to explore while taking on Norway's notoriously tough conditions. Though the weather stayed relatively tame, the ride itself was mental.

ISLAND HOPPING IN NORWAY

Bergen is the second largest urban center in Norway. With a population of roughly 275.000 inhabitants it's a rather small city among the European metropolises. However, what it lacks in size, it easily makes up for in challenging weather conditions. Over the course of a single year, Bergen sees nearly 245 days of rain. Surrounded by seven mountains, the city is the welcoming destination of the gulf stream, and it's the scenic gate to stunning fjords.

BERGEN, BETTER THAN EVER

It's been more than a decade since I moved away from Bergen. But for years, the city and its breathtaking backyard had been my home and playground. Since moving away, the time elapsed had turned it into a distant memory. A good one, though.

The awe-inspiring landscapes of Norway brought wave after wave of keen cyclists to the country – a few of whom turned their rides into some good reads. However, I felt one area was always missing from the Norway cycling narrative. This area is a string of islands west of Bergen.

Traveling to Norway during the UCI World Championships in the fall from CeramicSpeed’s headquarters in Denmark meant that we'd be able to not only bring the products we needed to look after our sponsored athletes that were set to shine, but also go on a little adventure of our own through an often overlooked but equally as incredible part of the country.

SOMETIMES, YOU WELCOME THE COLD

Arriving in Bergen, the cities scenic harbor with its series of wooden Hanseatic commercial buildings that line up alongside Vågen is a beautiful historical snapshot of the city in the height of its beauty.

The weather was damp. It was the type of homecoming I expected. Though it sounds odd, the wet and cold conditions were welcomed. To me, these conditions bring me back to an incredible period of time in Norway, one I rich with amazing life lessons I carry with me daily.

We left the city for the islands towards the West. The drive to Tjeldstø, where we had booked our accommodation for the week, took another hour. Along the drive, the skies started to clear up.

ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING

Øygarden, Sotra and Askøy encapsulate a perfect impression of Norway, in my opinion, with their coastal house architectures, their "fjells", moorlands and forests. The small and twisty roads that connect the islands turn into a lumpy belt that holds the area in place. Vast settlements turn into welcoming villages in small and confined yet truly remarkable spaces.

NORWAY IS PREDICTABLY UNPREDICTABLE

With the weather turning from clear to ominously cloudy, we were happy to be arriving at our place for the evening. As we stepped inside, almost perfectly on cue, the rain started pouring down.

I woke up early that morning. Unusually early, given the 12-hour travel from Denmark. With glimpses of light fighting their way through the clouds, I started to make the first round of coffees. After having breakfast and preparing our bikes, Dennis and I dressed up. With a big day ahead, we took our time getting ready.

Riding along the rugged coastlines of Western Norway, the weather can change by the hour. In this part of the world one just can't be too sure about the conditions. Especially not in late summer and early fall. With the rainclouds making room for the sun to come out, we decided to keep it safe when dressing and layered up.

ONE FOR THE BOOKS!

Askøy is surrounded by fjords. It's located between Sotra, and extends into the North Sea in a straight manner, from Bergen. And even though the island is becoming a more and more popular center of life, it has kept its natural charm with its wild romantic views on the west coast and its scenic landscapes on its eastern pendent.

It was a chilly morning. Without rain. Just wet roads. Setting out from Tjeldstø the route for the day was a proper one, clocking in at around 100 kms and 2,000m of climbing. From Øygarden to Askøy, the hills on the islands sum up. It was one for the books!

LEAVING THE MAIN ROAD BEHIND US

Leaving our home for the week we crossed the first of a dozen of bridges on our way to Askøy after less than 5 kilometers. In fact, we could already spot it when we clipped in. The road spray set softly on our feet as we started to pedal. The mood was positive.

Øygarden presented itself from its best possible side. Dressed in red, white and yellow the vast beauty of the small wooden cottages along the coast turned into road marks. Fishing is a big thing in Norway and living by the sea certainly has its impact on the way people build houses here. Up north, the villages are small but come packed with an essential character. It’s a quiet part of the world. There are not many cars or people around and the the only bigger mall can be found in Rong.

Rongøyna is one of the bigger islands that sum up Øygarden. A strikingly bent bridge connects the island with Toftøyna and Misje, the most Southern island of the archipelago. From here it takes only few minutes to touch ground on Sotra. We have a slight tailwind working with us, which is picking up as we roll into Ågotnes. The village is one of the islands commercial centers and known for being a main supply base for the oil industry.

Taking a slight right hand turn we leave the main road behind us. The tarmac ahead of us is dry and narrow. We have set our sights on Syltøyna, a small island on the Atlantic coastline. The island is a mere 10 kilometers south of Ågotnes and known for its twisty roads. They don't disappoint.

STEEP AND SUCCINCT

The topography on Sotra is much hillier than the one on Øygarden. And while the climbs are short, their gradients are challenging. The climb into Straume is a fine example. It keeps dragging and just doesn't ease up. However, there's something good about it as the slow speed prepares for the different character the ride will take from here for a while.

Coming closer to Bergen, there are a lot more houses and commercial centers to be found in Straume, the last village before the iconic Sotra bridge. The bridge connects Sotra with the mainland and is only 5 kilometers away from the one that links to Askøy.

Askøy doesn't offer too many small roads. That said, it's not the most crowded place either. Heading towards Ask, the course reached its highest point just outside Florvåg. A short climb with a maximum gradient of just into the double digits. From there on, the road delivered a slight bend before turning North, all the way to the very tip of the Askevatnet lake.

Soaking up the soft landscapes next to Askevatnet, a short downpour added to the fun. We made the right choice when we got ready that morning. The wind settled a little while later together with the rain. Drifting away in the movement, the sound of speed at heart, we moved on. Unshattered. Unfazed. There to experience the change.

NORWAY, YOU'VE GOT ME

We wanted to end our ride with a view to where we started and took the road towards Hetlevik, a small fishing village situated on the Western side of the island with small roads and houses that are as close to each other as it gets out here. It felt amazing to be back in Norway, snaking my way through old memories on familiar roads and while also seeking out new routes and creating new memories for the years to come.

When people refer to Norway, they most likely refer to the vast beauty of the fjord coast. This trip to Bergen and our lesser known ride through the western islands was filled with breathtaking moments. It goes to show that there's always something new to see no matter how familiar you are with the location.

This story's author, Veit Hammer, heads up CeramicSpeed's Sports Marketing. The Danish ceramic bearings and component specialist is a sponsor to numerous WorldTour teams and athletes. Together with his colleague Dennis Jehs Løh, the companies Tech and Team Support, he travels to races not only to support and activate their sponsorships, but also to put CeramicSpeed's products through their paces.