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Norway’s Appealing climbs

While on a photography trip in Norway, I observed the many roads with perfectly smooth pavement, and wondered at the complete lack of cyclists on them, as virtually all the roads are pothole-free, and, excluding the major ones, carry very little traffic. Normally the weather is much cooler (up to 10° C) in late September, so that might help explain it. The main problem in Norway for cycling is tunnels—the longest of which is 26 kilometers (16 miles). Cyclists are forbidden to ride through tunnels, so advance planning for some destinations is required. Norway has very strict traffic laws against speeding, including lots of electronic monitoring (even average speed), so this should help make it more cyclist-friendly.

There are many very appealing climbs. But the odd thing about these climbs, unlike those in California’s Sierra, is that most of them top out at around 1000 meters—about 3000 feet. The vegetation looks like high-altitude vegetation, but something doesn’t seem right—breathing is easy, not much different from sea level!

The famous grade shown below (Trollstigen, or “The Troll’s Ladder”) includes a dramatic waterfall towards the top. Norwegians are fond of their trolls, and in this area a number of landmarks have suitable names reflecting that. Only the lower part of the ascent is shown below, but all of it is a perfect grade for cycling (7-8%).

Once at the top, the various visitors have made their origins known:

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