I’ve made a quick trip to Oslo on business, and after arriving in the city before 7 am, it was time to check out what it’s like to bike around early Sunday morning. I elected to buy a season subscription to the bike share system (299 NOK is about $50 CDN), rather than renting on a day by day basis from local shop Viking Biking. Here is the bike station nearest my hotel.
After a quick launch of their app, it prompts me to take a specific bike by number. Each ride can span up to three hours which is very generous. The season runs from April to November.
Here is the bike. It has a Nexus 3 spd hub, and also 24″ Schwalbe Big Apple tires. As bike share bikes go, this one is pretty light. I can boost up the front wheel to mount curbs pretty easily on this one.
This is typical of one of the official bike lanes downtown. Note the wayfinding signs. At the same time, parts of the marked bike routes did not have obvious bike lane markings, and were more akin to the bikeways that you would find in Vancouver. Biking this early in the morning with limited car traffic was a pleasure.
One of the pages that I visited about biking in Oslo (apparently not this one) noted that the Akeselva river was a good route to follow. It has a beautiful multuse trail along parts of its length, but just because it’s along a river doesn’t mean that it’s flat. Fortunately I rode it in the downstream direction. This is a picture of a steep section: note the fairly substantial waferfall.
A little further down, another waterfall.
Another bridge, this time encouraging the practice of putting padlocks on it.
Right beside this point, I note a huge forest of bike racks, and some swanky buildings. Turns out it is the Oslo National Academy of the Arts.
Early in the morning, people are fishing down at the waterfront.
Lots of bike parking near the ferries.
I eventually make my way westward around the harbour to a swanky new neighbourhood called Tjuvholmen. Here is a waterfront promenade with cafes that haven’t opened yet. (note that it was not possible to find a cafe open before 9 on a Sunday morning, although I did ride by a bakery earlier in the ride).
Going as far as I could, I ended up just a little past the Astrup Fearnley Museum, and then water.
Lo and behold, I’m beside an outdoor bathing area, and there were already two hardy souls in the water around 8 am. I did check the water and it was surprisingly warm. I regret not bringing a swimsuit.
At this point, I do a quick check with the cycling app to see where the nearest station is. You can see that Google maps thinks I’m in the water.
Turns out that the nearest station is right beside the Nobel Peace Prize museum.
All you do to return a bike is lift up the front wheel slightly and engage a bracket just above the fork. You can take any open slot.
and now the app tells you that you’ve returned the bike.
To check one out again, you click “unlock bike” on a page associated with the nearest bike station.
Here is the prompt page that tells you which bike to take.
Now off further to the west along this bidirectional bike path to check out the Bygdøy neighbourhood which has a cluster of museums.
The huge amount of foot traffic is coming from that cruise ship.
I hope this is Norwegian for “share the road”
On my way to the Norwegian Folklore Museum, I’m directed onto this gravel path that is a nice green break from the city streets.
Eventually I got to some museums to see stuff like this:
I will note that the nearest bike station to the maritime museum is still a brisk 20 minute walk away, which is a bit disappointing, given that they are promoting biking in this area. In this respect, short term renters might be better opting for a rental bike with a bike lock, like these from Viking Biking, but bike share is cheaper on a per day basis for more than two days.
I saw these signs posted in the neighbourhood that seem to argue against further expansion of bike infrastructure in this corner of the city. (It turns out that the bike lanes appear to have been approved over some local opposition).
By now it’s mid afternoon, and when I get back to the same promenade that I shot earlier this morning, it looks like this:
and now people are having trouble finding open slots to park at the bike share station as well
and later that evening, I see the truck used to redistribute bikes.
Overall, it’s been a fun first day, made better of course by biking. The bikeshare system works well, although I wish that I could park anywhere (like Glasgow). Perhaps the best solution would have been to have a cheap cable lock so that you can park away from a bike share station for sub three hour periods. That would have given me a bit more flexibility moving around today.
The other thing I can recommend is the Oslo Pass. It gives you free admission to many museums, and free use of public transit as well. Very easy to get your money’s work in either a 24 or 48 hour period.
Update: a few more shots around town.
Here is a bike lane with speed bumps. I couldn’t help noticing that many cyclists avoided them by riding on the sidewalk.
Contraflow lane, Oslo style.
I really like the realism of the bike part of this sculpture.
Bike counter. Unfortunately, the display was multiplexed so you can’t see the numbers in this photo.
Dapper sells clothing, Brooks, and haircuts. Unfortunately, their bike shop around the corner was closed at the time.
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