The third largest city in Norway, Trondheim is known for its steep hills and bike friendly atmosphere and facilities. Located in a stunningly beautiful part of the world, Trondheim is a university town that has a lot to offer visitors, particularly with outdoor activities. Many places of interest in Trondheim can easily be reached on a bike, including the Nidaros Cathedral, the wharf houses, and Kristiansten Fortress. Around 18 percent of the population in Trondheim uses a bike and there are a number of cycle lanes all over the city, which promotes its environmental status heavily.
Trondheim has a public bike hire scheme where 125 cycles are available for rental using an electronic release card, which is obtained from the tourist office. Subscriptions are available to Trondheim residents and valid for a year and allow the user to unlock a bike from any rack in Trondheim, use it and return it when finished. There are also special tourist rates that also require a deposit. The city bikes can be used for three hours at a time and bike racks are closed at night. There are also other places in Trondheim to hire a bike for a longer period of time as well as mountain bikes for off road cycling. Like many European cities, Trondheim has trams, which can be hazardous to cyclists, and it is best to cross the rails at a sharp angle. Visitors should also be aware that most bikes in Norway have a back pedal braking system and not hand brakes, which they will need to familiarise themselves with before cycling on hills. If visitors plan to cycle long distances in Norway, there are a lot of remote areas and therefore there needs to be some careful organisation around carrying equipment and food supplies. In Trondheim, there are a number of cycling groups that hold events such as tours and races.
Cycling in Trondheim is most notably associated with the Trampe, the world’s only bike lift, which acts just as a ski lift and pulls cyclists up the hilly Brubakken. This has led to many more people taking up cycling in Trondheim and is something all cyclists should try just once whilst in the city. It is only open in summer due to the winter weather conditions, but is a great way to see more of this beautiful part of the city and to explore the terrain and views from the top of the hill. A footplate at the side of the hill pushes cyclists up the steep slopes.
One of the scenic cycle routes to consider in Trondheim is the coastal trail that eventually leads to North Cape. Cyclists can do all or part of the route. This trail leads from the magnificent Trondheim Fjord out to Steinkjer. By following National Cycle Route one, cyclists can ride from Afjord to Argard, which is between Steinkjer and Namsos, with views across the archipelago of the Namdalen coastline. At Namsos there are a number of options for cyclists, and one is to catch a boat to the island of Joa where there are some good bike riding trails. Another is to follow the RV17 to the coast road Kystriksveien to the fishing village of Abelvaer where there is a beach.
Just outside Trondheim there is an excellent cycle trail at the Bymarka Recreation Centre, taking in some very scenic lake and forest terrain over the 17 mile route. This is suited to mountain bikes and is aimed at moderate levels of ability. Trondheim is also the start of the historic Pilgrim’s route from the city, arriving 5200 km later in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Part of this trail can also be cycled from the southern aspect of Trondheim. The city is also the starting point for another classic route from Trondheim to Oslo and visitors can participate in all or part of the 400 km trail, which takes in some of the spectacular fjord scenery in Norway as well as the countryside.
Trondheim, despite its hills, is a city with a different perspective on cycling and has a surprising amount to offer. With many campsites and hotels in the area a cycling trip to this historic city and surrounding area is well worth considering.
(Image by eirikref on Flickr)