Of course, you want to complete your trip without any breakdowns and as little physical discomfort as possible. On this website, we won't go into the details around bicycle technology. There are good books and websites for that, but here you'll find some tips that may help to make cycling in Norway and Sweden a bit more comfortable. Some point may seem redundant to you, yet others might be something you haven't thought of yet.
A well-adjusted bicycle will prevent a lot of physical discomfort. A bicycle needs to fit like a glove. That doesn't mean that it merely rides nice, but also that the contact points like the saddle, handle bar and peddles are adjusted accordingly. The relative positions are determined by the lengths of the legs, back and arms. When those adjustments are made, the bicycle will automatically ride comfortably for longer hours. Not sure about the right adjustments? A visit to a bike fitter might be a good investment.
Broad tyres from 42 to around 50 mm are preferred because you travel over various kinds of roads. If you don't like wide tyres, 37 mm is the minimum. Be sure to choose durable tyres with protection against punctures. So now and then, you can check if it has still the right pressure.
The “right” pressure
Recommended pressure is stated on the sidewall of the tyre, but the right pressure varies with the road surface. Good paved roads = high pressure, gravel/dirt roads = lower pressure. I recommend you to test out a little different pressures to find the one that suits your style, speed and need for comfort.
In the past, plenty of hills and mountains are taken by bicycles without gears. Luckily these days there are plenty of options to make the ascending and descending a lot easier. A seven speed hub is the minimum, though.
A reaer view mirror is a convenient way to see up comming traffic from behind or keep tabs on your cycling partner behind you.
Also in Norway and Sweden, the e-bike is coming up more and more. Cycling with an electrical bicycle, is not a problem.
You do need to take the following into account:
- The e-bike may be designated as a motorized vehicle. So rules for motorized vehicles may also apply to electrical bicycles. See practical route info for details on that country.
- Concerning charging: As long as you won't go out camping in the wild, you won't run into any issues. It might be a good idea to plan ahead as far as sleeping is concerned. In the back of the guide, at 'Accommodaties', you'll find an overview of accommodations and their facilities. In most cases, electricity is available, but not always. It is recommended to call ahead to ask if it is possible or allowed to charge your bicycle.
- Underway, there are no charging stations*. On the other hand, you'll see every day at least one town or village with a café where you can ask permission to charge your bicycle while taking a break. Maybe even at a gas station, which are good for anything like: toilet, coffee/tea, emergency rations... and almost always have a bench outside to sit on.
In short: some preparations are in order. And maybe superfluous: always ask! They'll almost always say yes, unless it is not possible, but plugging into a socket somewhere without consent is not done.
* Personal note from the author: I never saw any charging stations for bicycles, but have to admit that I haven't looked for any, since I have no electrical bicycle.
Call for help: Have you cycled in Norway or Sweden on an electrical bicycle? Or do you plan to? Could you let me know what your experience was like? And if you encounter them on any of our routes, the locations of the charging stations are welcome (if possible in GPS format). These experiences and locations or charging stations will then be published on this site. Other cyclists are very much helped by this!
Water tight bicycle panniers are strongly recommended. They're heavy and expensive, but the investment pays dividends. Above all, they're easy to remove, which is easy when traveling with public transport, when traversing a staircase or narrow passages. If you don't have watertight panniers, put anything that needs to stay dry in a plastic bag. This also goes for panniers that have rain covers, since water that splashes up from the ground can often still reach the content of your pannier. Divide the weight over your rear en front panniers with a ration of 1/3rd front and 2/3rd in the rear. Preferably, the left and right side has the same weight.
- Make sure your bicycle is in a good condition
- You might opt for a bicycle repair workshop. This may teach you some basic skills for fixing various things that may brake which traveling like spokes, chains, breaks and lights.
- Bring spare small pare parts with you and some tools for things that you can fix yourself. You cal let yourself be inspired by the website of De Vakantiefietser.
- If you don't use your bicycle on a daily basis, then make a test ride with your bicycle loaded. It is an easy way to fix things that you might find while still at home, instead of finding out while traveling.
- Check before you go if:
- all the screws are fastened tight
- the tyres are inflated to the right pressure
- the lights work (for any tunnels or when riding in the dark)
- condition of wear of the brake pads (take a spare set with you)