Welcome to the Viking Biking blog on all things biking in Oslo. We plan to just write a random collection of ideas ranging from winter biking with spiked tires to urban planning of better bike infrastructure to suggestions and ideas on hidden rides around the Oslo area. Just check below for our (nearly) monthly ruminations about the Oslo bike culture.
04 February 2021: our new location is official!
It is the day we have all been waiting for: Viking Biking & Hiking has officially found a new location. Following the Covid crisis, we had to downsize and we went from nearly 300 bikes to about 50. That also meant going from a large shop with plentiful storage to a smaller location. At the same time, we wanted our new location to have a few improvements: a car-free starting point, easier access to our entire bike fleet, and closer to the cruise ships. Mission accomplished!
Starting late May 2021, we will be operating from the ferry terminal for the DFDS boat. It is an overnight ferry connecting Oslo to Denmark, and on the side of the terminal is a great indoor storage area for our bikes. The ferry terminal offers public toilets and a little kiosk to buy snacks and drinks. The tour begins right on the edge of the Oslo Fjord, so we couldn't ask for anything better. In addition, the new location is an easy 15 minute walk from the Oslo Central Train Station, along the pedestrian harbor going past the amazing Opera.
All of our bike tours and bike rentals will start from our new location along Oslo's harbor. However, nature walks will begin at other points more convienent to those tours. For example, our popular "Oslo Nature Walk: Island Hopping", which departs in the summer every day at 12 noon, will meet near the local ferry boats which we use to get to the islands.
We are so excited. Covid has been a tough challenge for the industry, but with our new location ready to roll, we feel like it is only a few months until we can get up and running again. We can't wait to be on tour once more!!!
12 November 2020: the best outdoor sites to visit on a bike tour in Oslo
As mentioned in previous blog posts, bike tours are a perfect way to discover a city in a safe way during and after the Covid crisis. Oslo, one of the greenest cities in the world, has no shortage of great outdoor sites right in the heart of the city. Here is a list of a few of our favorite urban green spots that we visit during our various bike tours:
01 November 2020: bike tours in a post-Covid world
One trend that is expected to continue in travel, once the world starts traveling again, is the continued increase in outdoor tourism. Already pre-Covid, we saw a larger and larger percentage of tours taking place outside in an active setting: biking, hiking, boating, running, etc. All indicators point to that trend becoming even more prominent in 2021 and beyond.
That is why Viking Biking & Hiking is well positioned to come through this crisis. By pressing the pause button in 2020 and re-launching in spring 2021, we can come back stronger than ever with a focus on our most popular outdoor activities: Oslo Highlights bike tour, Island Hopping Oslo Nature Walk and private tours in and around Oslo. We are dropping some of our other initiatives which left us spread thin, in order to concentrate exclusively on outdoor tours in Oslo. This renewed focus on our core products is appropriate in the post-Covid world of travel, and it also allows us to do more of what we love: guide!
02 October 2020: Oslo's hub for outdoor tourism is born again
The Covid-19 crisis has been challening for many, perhaps especially for those of us who earn a living from international tourism. Viking Biking went through some very tough times this spring and summer, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A crisis often makes us question how we are doing things and find better solutions for the future, a lesson I learned when working for nearly 8 years with the International Red Cross. This crisis is no different.
I am therefore excited for what comes next, even if tourism's short-term future is unknown. This crisis has allowed me to resturcture the company to avoid the high overhead costs of previous years. Less space, fewer bikes and lower monthly costs means the company will be more flexible and able to adapt to whatever challenging situations Covid-19 throws at us in the next year or two. In 2021, Viking Biking & Hiking will re-launch, focusing on the products that we do best: guided bike tours and Oslo nature walks.
While bike rentals, bike repairs and our partner network helped Viking Biking grow into Oslo's best known company for outdoor tourism, those same services tied us down to a very large space (about 300 square meters!), long-term contracts and in general a risky business model for the Covid-19 reality that we live in. By streamlining, we can now focus on guided bike tours, both public an private, as well as our very popular "Island Hopping Oslo Nature Walk". These tours are perfect for the Covid-19 world, as they are outdoors and participants can easily maintain social distancing. Once tourism comes back, Viking Biking & Hiking will be ready to show customers this great city and its amazing nature in a safe and responsible way! So join us in 2021 as we rise from the ashes to offer some of the most popular outdoor tours in all of Oslo!
05 April 2019: First Aid Training at Viking Biking & Viking Hiking
Every year, Viking Biking staff undergo a specific bike related first aid training through the Norwegian Red Cross. This year's training will take place in May, and all staff are set to join except for two members who already fulfilled even more advanced training in wilderness first aid this spring. The training consists not only of standard first response techniques, but also simulations involving bike accidents, car crashes and other life-like situations. Safety on our tours is of the utmost importance and with this training, we are making sure to have our customers in safe hands while with Viking Biking & Viking Hiking.
07 December 2018: reflectors, lights and high visibility
Today's topic is one that everyone finds sexy and exciting: how to be more visible on your bike in the darker months of the year here in Oslo. Viking Biking has its own workshop, where we sell important safety features like reflectors and lights. In fact, under Norwegian law, every bike must have reflectors on the front and back as well as on the pedals, plus a white light on front and a red light on back. In addition, it is highly recommended to wear a high visibility reflector vest or band.
Days are short this time of year, with sunrise around 9:00 in the morning and sunset before 16:00 (4pm). If you are commuting to and from work in the Oslo area, being highly visible is of the utmost importance. All of our winter bikes for rent and used on our Oslo Winter Highlights Bike Tour of course are up to the legal standard, but if your own bike is not please stop in for a chat so we can give you advice on being a safe cyclist in the winter.
01 December 2018: winter biking
Winter biking in Oslo is a true Viking experience. The second substantial snow fall of the season occured last night, but that does not stop us here at Viking Biking. We have a fleet of winter bikes ready, which include Schwalbe spiked tires (more than 200 spikes per tire!). Walking can actually be hazardous in Oslo this time of year because it is so slippery, but biking with spikes is a surprisingly safe way to get around.
The city council of Oslo, encouraged by the local Green party, has made it a priority the last couple of years to plough the bike paths, in many cases before the roads. This action has in turn led to a huge increase in the number of locals choosing to bike year round, something we support greatly here at Viking Biking. So if you want to feel like a real local, join our daily Winter Highlights Bike Tour at 12:00 (Mondays-Saturdays) or rent a winter bike. When in the capital of Vikings, act like one :-)