A cycling trip with history in mind
The Bergen Railway opened in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1974 that Rallarvegen – the Navvy Road – opened up to cyclists. Nowadays, thousands of Norwegians and international tourists cycle the old works road between Haugastøl, Finse, Voss and Flåm every year.
The construction of the Bergen Railway between Oslo and Bergen in around 1900 is thought to have been one of the most challenging railway projects ever in Europe. Before they were able to start building the railway itself, they had to establish a works road for transporting materials into the mountains from Voss, Flåm and Geilo. This road, covering 120 kilometres in total, is the route we can cycle now. “Rallar” is an old Norwegian term for a travelling construction worker, usually Swedish or Norwegian – these were the people who built the road that ended up being named after them.
So cycling this route isn’t just a breathtaking look at nature, it’s also a trip through cultural history. Take the time to study some of the bridges and tunnels along the way. The Kleivabrua bridge at Kleivagjelet, between Hallingskeid and Myrdal, presented one of the biggest challenges on this railway project, and this beautiful stone bridge spanning 35 metres is a beautiful example of engineering.
Tip: Read The Bridge Builders by Jan Guillou before heading out on your cycling trip!