2014.08.06–09 Over Hardangervidda med sykkel og packraft0577b

Barely legal bikerafting

66 comments
Bikepacking, Packrafting

I try to tell my daughters to be aware of strangers on the internet. They kindly reminded me of that when I was heading out the door with my fatbike, the bare necessities of gear topped with that DSLR I never can make myself to leave behind. And they were absolutely right: I had never met Mr. Joe before. The writing and the photos on his blog as well as the occasional communication on Twitter indicated that he was a nice guy, though. I was wrong.

He turned out to be an extremely nice guy.

We fought it out with the holiday traffic on the tarmac for a while after we met at Haugastøl, climbed above the tree line, then turned our wheels south onto gravel and dirt. An old dream was about to be fulfilled: Crossing Europe’s largest mountain plateau by bike. Being a national park with Europe’s largest population of wild reindeers, we were only allowed to cycle on the tractor roads on the plateau. Two of them crossed from north to east almost completely. That is, if it wasn’t for those five–six kilometers in the center devoid of any path or track near the shores of one of Hardangerviddas larger lakes. No tractor roads meant no biking. That’s where the packrafts we were carrying on our bikes came into play.

The second day we inflated our packrafts, took to the water and linked the two northern and eastern tractor roads, this way possibly becoming the first to legally bike across Hardangervidda a couple of days later. It all turned out to be a stunning trip made even better by sharing it with Mr. Joe. That’s what you get from being utterly irresponsible on the internet.

On Hardangervidda.

On Hardangervidda.

Riding the last bit of gravel road before the tractor roads start.

Riding the last bit of gravel road before the tractor roads start.

The tractor roads varied from sopping wet …

The tractor roads varied from sopping wet …

… rocky …

… to rocky …

Mr. Joe was sporting a cool looking Salsa Mukluk fatbike in shiny black.

Mr. Joe was sporting a cool looking Salsa Mukluk fatbike in shiny black.

A yellow Surly Pugsley did the duties for yours truly. Please note the matching packraft and paddle.

A yellow Surly Pugsley did the duties for yours truly. Please note the matching packraft and paddle.

2014.08.06–09 Over Hardangervidda med sykkel og packraft0676b

Grit.

Dwarfed.

Dwarfed.

Late summer meant misty nights.

Late summer meant misty nights.

Linking the tractor roads with packrafts.

Linking the tractor roads with packrafts.

Descending.

Descending.

After the worst midge season in years, it was relaxing to share the company with only a handfull of mozzies.

After the worst midge season in years, it was relaxing to share the company with only a handfull of mozzies.

Cool gear: Revelate Designs Handle Bar Harness.

Cool gear: Revelate Designs Handle Bar Harness.

I had 147 km home from our final camp the last day …

I had 147 km home from our final camp the last day …

… and was lucky to draft behind a couple of German cycle tourists for a few kilometres. Thanks, guys!

… and was lucky to draft behind a couple of German cycle tourists for a few kilometres. Thanks, guys!

Stay tuned for ramblings on gear. And do drop by Mr. Joe and his great site Thunder in the night for another take on the trip.

Posted by

Outdoor magazine writer, author and photographer with a soft spot for biking and paddling.

66 thoughts on “Barely legal bikerafting”

    • Pleasure is on my side, Joe, I had a really great time🙂

      I hope you can forgive me for showing your sloppy seatpack to the world. I feel bad.

      Like

  1. Amazing write up and pictures. I have never bikepacked or packrafted, but those are two of the activities I want to get into next. I think your post has pushed me a little further committing. Thanks!

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    • Thanks a lot for your comment, Jarret, I really appreciate it. You can’t go wrong with either packrafting or bikepacking, that is, except getting addicted to it.

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  2. I also met Joe through the internet and he is definitely a very nice guy and one I hope to catch up with again at some stage. It was undoubtedly a great trip with some excellent photos, and I like the look of those bikes. Thanks

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  3. What a great adventure! I’ve never done this before, and I’m in hopes of doing so in the near future. Another one on the bucket list! c:

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  4. Reblogged this on The Nomad in Spirit and commented:
    Living vicariously through strangers on the net. When wanderlust strikes with a vengeance, and one is stuck among piles of textbooks and travel is out of the question, finds like this post are difficult not to share! Cannot wait to take off for an adventure of my own. Until then, there is always the internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Awesome stuff. Those fat bikes look great and real workhorses too. Did you see any herds of reindeer?

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    • Thanks, Jean. No reindeers on this trip, but on a solo bikepacking trip on the eastern part of Hardangervidda a couple of weeks ago, I was rewarded with a few sightings.

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  6. Looks like loads of fun. I’ve been seeing these fat bikes more lately and had wondered about the appeal of them. Now I see. May have to try one out myself.

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  7. Wow! what an inspirational post and an awesome looking experience! You have just inspired me to continue cycling and take things more off road in the future. Thanks for fuelling my dreams🙂

    Like

  8. Damn it I already have 3 bikes, I don’t need yet another reason to consider a fat bike. Your trip looked amazing, great photography! I’d not thought of combining rafting and biking before. One question: Where you have the comment on it being *too* rocky, why not drop some PSI and go for it? Over all spectacular!!

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    • We actually rode that ‘rocky’ section with ease. Mikkel just captured me as I walked my bike into a position where I could shoot a picture of Mikkel (which ended up on my blog).

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    • Thanks for commenting, glad you liked the photography! It reads “to rocky”, not “too rocky”. As Thunderinthenight writes, we rode those sections easily with the fatbikes. You are spot on about tire pressure, though, it makes a huge difference to let som air out.

      Like

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