BBC’s Top Gear were not the only ones to head to Norway in search of the ultimate solution to snow chaos. Last week Cycling Weekly’s intrepid test team headed to icy climes of Risor, near Oslo.
Predicted temperatures of a possible minus 20 degrees meant kit bags packed to the gunnels with every warm, thermal bit of kit we could find. Actually we got lucky – it was only minus 17 when we arrived, but compared to the mild, damp conditions we left behind in the UK, it was enough to take our breath away – literally.
We all started coughing as the backs of our throats were freeze dried by the night air as we shoved our bike bag laden trolleys out of the airport terminal.
Our cross bikes were already fitted with studded ice-tyres, from Schwalbe and Continental and our fingers were crossed they would make the difference, to keep us upright, particularly with the notion of riding across the frozen fjords on the cards, organised by our hosts for the week – Norway Direct.
One and a half metre thick ice should be enough to make sure we stayed dry but none of us had ridden ice tyres before, let alone anything as far out as this, so emotions were a mix of excitement and apprehension, maybe even a little trepidation.
Driving to home for the week, Norwegien Wood, a remote cabin tucked away in the woods near Gjovdal, we were already getting a taste of things to come. Roads were wall to wall sheet ice, a bobsleigh run for cars, with snow banks from the daily ploughing piled high either side.
Once again the discussion turned to tyres. How would they cope? We had left the office with the brief of finding an epic route to ride but would we even be able to stay upright?
It was pitch dark by the time we arrived but thanks to USE Exposure lights we were more than prepared for that too, so following the true stereotype of Brits abroad, it was ‘tally ho’ and straight in at the deep end.
How did it go? Down the deep snow covered drive into a fast left-hander onto the compacted snow – giggling and laughing we were shocked and surprised to find we’d all stayed upright. Far from skating around like Bambi on ice we were actually able to ride with confidence.
So, it appears that 240 tiny metal studs makes one heck of a difference. Ice-tyres really do work. So much so, I think we instantly blew the lid on the most convenient excuse not to go into the office when it snows.
Ice-tyres were an absolute revelation and you can be sure that all of us at CW towers will be stocking up ready for next winter. Look out for the full test in the autumn.
For further details of the cabin visit www.norwaydirect.com
Aust Agder Blad newspaper report on CW in Norway