Touring by Temple - Northbound

Tim and Julia, who go by @tjadventuring on Instagram, recently headed off into the sunset on their Temples for a taste of life on the road. Here, Tim gives us some of the highlights.

This summer Julia and I both graduated from uni, so to celebrate we loaded our Temple bikes with luggage and set off on a cycle tour of Northern Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltics. What followed was 4 months of brilliant cycling, gorgeous scenery and a few near misses around 12 fascinating countries. The bikes handled everything we threw at them, from steep rocky off-road climbs to fast tarmac descents and certainly made the trip less stressful and a lot more fun. One particular experience that stands out from the trip was cycling the Rallarvegen in Norway.

The Rallarvegen is an 82km off-road cycle route across central Norway from Haugastøl in the mountains to Flåm on the coast. It starts at 1000m above sea level, climbs to 1350m and then finishes at 0m, so it’s not exactly flat. As with most of our trip we didn’t quite plan all the details of the Rallarvegen, indeed we only decided to cycle North West from Oslo towards the Rallarvegen as opposed to south along the coast as we had intended when we were leaving our campsite that morning. Due to this last minute route change we had little real idea of what the Rallarvegen was like or quite how rough the terrain was. A smooth gravel track it was not. We were faced with short sharp climbs followed by rough descents covered with loose rocks, all past breathtaking scenery of glaciers, waterfalls and endless mountains.

It is possible to do the whole of the Rallarvegen in one day, but we decided to split it in two. We reached the high point of the route before setting up camp for the night - sleeping at 1300m above sea level next to a glacier is an experience we won’t soon forget, even if it was rather cold! Our first day on the Rallarvegen had been tough but highly enjoyable, with nothing really pushing the limits of us or our bikes. The second day, however, was different. As soon as we started we hit a downhill section with large loose rocks littering the path, which left us struggling for grip. This was later followed by the 21 hairpin bends down to Flåm, which was a real test of the brakes and our skill. Luckily our bikes were perfect for the task and never felt out of their depth, and whilst some of the mountain bikes may have been faster on the rough stuff as soon as the track got a bit smoother we were flying along.

Cycling the Rallarvegen was a real high point of our trip (both figuratively and literally) and showed us just how much fun you can have on heavily-laden touring bikes. Whilst our whole route wasn’t on these sort of tracks we still had a great time exploring a vast range of varied terrain, countries and cities on our Temples this summer and are already planning the next trip.

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