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By Ernst Poulsen, October 13th, 1996.
Reprinted with permission from issue 25/96 the Bicycle News Agency © Visit the BNA-homepage for information on your free subscription:

Norway is not only the land of fjords and fjell. It is also the land of tunnels.

Planning a long bicycle tour in this beautiful country may be just as difficult as planning a military operation. Overlook one single tunnel - and you are headed for disaster: a detour of 25-100 km before you reach the destination which was initially only 4 km away.

To help cyclists the Norwegian Road Departement has published a free booklet which lists all major tunnels, and indicates whether or not cycling is allowed. Furthermore the guide lets you know if the tunnels have lights and ventilation. Tunnels without lights do demand a bicycle with an excellent lighting system (usually dynamo).

Unfortunately the brochure adds to the exagerated fear of tunnels. Cycling through even 7 or 9 kilometer well-lit tunnels is not really that bad. As there is much less traffic in Norway than in other countries, you'll often meet only a handful of cars.

And often the alternative to breaking the law is waiting for a bus (which may show up tomorrow), hitching a ride with a van, or riding 100 kilometers extra. In fact, some of the most beautiful fjords may only be reached by car or ferry.

Although the Norwegian State Road Departement (Statens Vegvesen) should get proper credit for publishing the brochure, it is a pity that the headings and foreword have not been translated into English and German. This would make the brochure much more useful. One can also hope that the next edition is equiped with some large scale maps. The present list of road numbers is rather difficult to use.

Another wish for the future would be, that the Norwegians would open all the tunnels which have lights to cyclists. Cyclists who prefer to stay on the outside - or ride 100 km extra, may do so.

In the long run one could hope, that the Norwegians in the future would build their tunnels in such a way, that the emergency sidewalks would be two meters wide - instead of just one meter. That would leave room enough for a specific bike path. A very safe sollution.

For now you may want to know that of the 545 tunnels listed in the guide, 191 are closed (officially) to cyclists.


"Tunnelguide for syklister" (p riksvegene i Norge) is free and available from Statens Vegvesen. In Norway just dial the "Vegmeldingstjenesten": phone: 175.

The brochure is also available from (be prepared to pay postage):

Syklistenes Landsforening