I woke up at around 4a.m. this morning, some dew had been collected on our tent’s walls, it was still chilly outside and once Solo saw that I was awake he told me to go back to sleep as it was too early to get up. Well that was an advise I could not deny to take. So I cuddled back into my sleeping bag, since I had this time learned to put my clothes underneath it to give me some insulation I wasn’t freezing as much as I had when we first camped in Vikersund — that seemed like months ago now, and went back into the world of dreams. Until eventually being asked to hand over my cup and teabag, so that I could get the first tea of the day which Solo was preparing on his stove a few hours later.
Soon we were ready to pack our belongings into our pannier bags yet another time and break camp. Luckily the weather was on our side too — the sun shining already to a blue sky with some clouds over some mountains on the other side of the fjord. It looked like a perfect day for cycling toward Kristiansund.
But before leaving the camp I just had to spend some time taking some photos…
One of the almost surprising things when traveling with Solo, he’s the first one to tell me to stop cycling and to take some photos, never impatient, never hurrying me to finish, but always giving me as much time as I need to finish the photography, assisting me if necessary.
An early start in Molde
Before the clock turned 7:45a.m. we were back in the saddles of our bikes — as so often before with the first task of finding a place to have breakfast. We considered for a little while to ride back into town hoping to find a neat cafe for breakfast, but that would have meant adding more kilometers to the ride. This time our planned ride to Kristiansund did not seem to offer us a plan B to stop somewhere before Kristiansund and call it a day. So every extra kilometer we had to put into the day’s ride had to be justified somehow. The choice was clear, we had to find our breakfast somewhere along the route that we were traveling on and not somewhere behind us.
In those cases I was reasonably happy to find gas stations that also sell some food, it isn’t the food I would rely on when I am not traveling, but hey the idea of guessing that there might be a better place to have breakfast some kilometers ahead is not something that really keeps you going for a long ride. If there was and the gas stations food — a baguette for me — was not enough then we still had a chance to put in an extra stop.
So we soon were back on our bikes pedaling along the E39 before turning onto the 64. Now the 64 had after just a few clicks a tiny surprise for us. A tunnel some 3 kilometers ahead and a road to go around it adding a few more kilometers to our count of the day.
When I did all the research for this trip I also did some research on tunnels that we could or could not pass on bicycles. Sometimes those tunnels that we could not pass on bikes would have a road around them, sometimes we would be forced to take the bus or a completely different route. When we reached the junction I was uncertain if this was one of those tunnels that we could pass or if it was not.
So we had to decide between going those 3 kilometers and possibly having to cycle them back to where we were or rather taking the road around it in the first place. We decided for the latter option — and we did make a good decision, when I later looked it up it turned out that this was one of those tunnels that are closed for cyclists.
And the road around the tunnel was mostly in a valley without any steep climbs, if we had been hungry we could even have found a place to eat half way into it.
Soon we were back on the 64 continuing our northbound ride.
Taking it the long way or the short one?
At the junction where the 64 splits into the 663, 664 and 64 near Sylte we had to make another decision. We could, of course, stay northbound on the 64 and shorten our route significantly, or we could take the longer routes either all the way around the peninsula reaching Bud on the westbound 664 or taking the one in between and going north again on the 663. Since we were still good in time we decided to go on the smaller roads — the ones with the higher numbers — which now looked much better than the smaller roads we had pedaled along during our first days of our ride. So we had a chance to enjoy more of the coastal view as well.
Eventually, we decided to go for the longest option, taking the westbound 664 toward Bud and follow it north-east-bound from there toward Vevang, where we would eventually turn back onto the 64. Now fully exposed to the coastline we also were fully exposed to some chill wind coming against us. With a temperature of around 12˚C and the chilly wind, we soon stopped to put on more clothes.
At some point, we had to look out for an opportunity to fulfill some human needs and Solo told me to shout „Photo“ if I saw such an opportunity. Well, the next thing I spotted was an opportunity to take a photo instead, so I yelled „Photo“. He turned back and asked me what I had seen, so I told him that I wanted to take a photo…not to fulfill my human needs. 🙂
Atlantic Ocean Road
Lacking a cafe or some sort of warm building we had our lunch in a bus stop again. Getting out of the wind was much more important than the view which might have been offered in a different spot. Again our lunch was brief and easy…just some nuts and almonds and raisin rolls that I had bought, following my instincts, at the gas station earlier in the morning.
Getting back outside of our little shelter was a trial…but then we had some road ahead of us, so no chance for cowards, not now at least.
There is a reason I wanted to go on this route in the first place. Not only is it quite beautiful — even though not as spectacular maybe as some other places that I have seen — but it also is part of the well-known Atlanterhavsveien — the Atlantic Ocean Road, with some stunning bridges that I wanted to see for a long time.
I always believed that the bridges would not be legal for cyclists to cross on their bikes until I was proven wrong when I started my research for this trip. So now I was finally able to cycle this road for myself.
Yet the wind was still a bit strong, and I seriously wondered if it would be safe for us on our bike to cross the bridge. There was no shoulder on the road which we could have used to ride on, so we had to share the road with caravans and lorries. Solo decided he would try out first, if he could make it to the top of the bridge I would follow him, if he could not he would turn and we would have to find another option. Not that there would have been much of another option than pitching the tent in the wilderness and hoping for the wind to calm down later.
But yes, we both made it over the bridges safely and made it all the way to Kuholmen.
We found a little cafe to take some well-needed rest and have something to drink to refill our bodies.
To reach Kristiansund we would have to ride some more miles on the 64 before we had to get into a bus which would take us through the 6km long Atlanterhavsveientunnel from Bremsnes to Kristiansund. I knew we weren’t allowed to enter the tunnel with our bikes — I later found out that this was because the tunnel had a speed limit of 80km/h and was one of the main roads into Kristiansand with no shoulder for bikes to travel on — so I was looking out for a bus stop once we reached Bremsnes. I didn’t quite remember at the time that this was the village where we would have to get our bikes into a bus, but we were both worn out at the time and some instinct told me that we were close to our target. We found the bus stop and soon after the bus to Kristiansand arrived there too. Incredibly good timing. It turned out this was really the very last bus stop before the tunnel, so had we gone on, we would have met the sign telling us that bikes weren’t allowed in the tunnel.
A couple of weeks after we had passed the tunnel on the bus I read about some tourists who actually went through on their bikes. The tunnel is under video surveillance though, so they were soon discovered and the tunnel entries blocked for all other traffic. The cyclists were then guided through by the police.
Considering there was no sign near the bus stop that this was the last bus stop before the tunnel and that cyclists weren’t allowed to pass it on their bikes, I am actually not too surprised that someone attempted it. I don’t know if we would have made the same decision or if we would have gone back and rerouted our tour if we would have been in the same position as they were.
The bus ride was short and expensive with 180NOK per person (bike included), so we soon reached the other side of the tunnel and once I spotted the sign for the campground I made us leave the bus at the next stop.
Getting the bikes onto the bus was a challenge for Solo — he took care of the bikes while I paid our tickets — getting them off the bus wasn’t much easier. Having made it with all our stuff out of the bus we found the way to the campground where we would pitch tents for the night.
This time the campground came with a lovely little cafe where we had dinner — the yummiest burgers and fries I’ve ever had — which made up for the rather worn shower facilities. We had asked if there was a chance to do some clothes washing in the evening but were told that the washing machines weren’t working. Well a day more or less wouldn’t matter much.
After dinner we took a walk into town, believing it would be no more than the 20 minutes we were told…well it turned out to take us more like an hour to get into town. But at least we had a chance to check out the timetable for the ferry that we would have to take the next day.