From Nesna village, a 9-kilometre ride will take you to Hamarøysand on the Ranfjord; 15 km takes you to Sjonfjellet. These are, in other words, short distances but nonetheless very scenic excursions for the keen cyclist. If you are eager, you can easily take a 50-kilometre round trip without encountering many bothersome hills – for instance to Strandlandet, or via Langset to Skogsøya island and back again. On the way, take a break at one of the many beaches and recreational areas.
“This is very rewarding as well as great training,” said Stig Ivan Nygård, after a journey on two wheels one bright summer day. “But if you really want a challenge, climb Rv17 to the viewpoint.”
Pål Vinje rides there frequently, as preparation for his bicycle races. “That’s great interval training. There are no hills at Birken, then you have a steady and steep ascent up Sjonfjellet; the last 5 km climbs 300 metres. I ride that repeatedly, with brief pauses, to build my strength and stamina.”
The Nesna archipelago
The islands of Nesna offer terrific cycling. Short rides through the lush landscapes are perfect for the whole family. In less than an hour, you can almost make a full circuit around the island of Hugla, although you might want to add a stop for a snack at the Huglen bakery.
On a sunny day, consider buying supplies at the Vikholmen grocery store before cycling to Nordsjøbukta, a beach on the western shore of Hugla. Make it an all-day outing.
The long island of Handnessøya is also perfect for day trips. Likewise the island of Tomma, which offers dramatic mountains, sheltered coves, beautiful beaches and small islets; it is a jewel any time of year. From the ferry quay to Finnvikdalen recreation area is a comfortable 18-km ride, a relaxed family excursion. If you want to reach the end of the road, that’s another 4 km and quite a rollercoaster ride. The route to Forsland on the eastern side of the island is more sheltered from the weather and the scenery more lush. Near the road’s end, consider taking the path up to Forslandsvannet lake and Tomskjevelen mountain.
For an off-road adventure, a mountain bike is best. There are plenty of farm roads, paths and trails to explore, and cycling will take you to many of Nesna’s popular hiking destinations. Be mindful, however, that you might have a rather steep climb before reaching flatter areas farther up the mountain. There are many trails that start at the foot of the mountains along Rv17, but few of them are suitable for bicycles. This means you may encounter boggy terrain and have to cross a creek or two, slowing your pace considerably. An easier way into the mountains is to follow the high-voltage lines from the sand pit at Herseth. From there you can also cycle towards Nesna, although it’s a roundabout route – and you might want to exercise caution when crossing the rifle range
An excursion up to Nesnakjølen is awesome both going and returning, but be prepared to walk your bike some stretches, and be very careful on some of the downhill when you come back. You can first cycle to the dam above the village and continue to the trail junction near “Kasse 2”. Alternatively you can head directly for the cairn at “Kasse 2”, but this will mean less cycling. From “Kasse 2” you can explore the mountain in either direction. However, finding the route down Sandnesaksla is difficult, so bring a map and do your research first.
One of the finest summit cycling adventures is Stokkatind (599 m) on the island of Handnesøya. Here you can cycle all the way to the top – provided you’re in excellent shape. But it’s a very satisfying excursion even if you do opt to walk your bike on some stretches, ascending or descending. Those who are interested in extreme adventure might consider Hugeløytind and Hammarøytind, but do note that a lot of those trails are unsuited for travelling on two wheels.
Bicycles are not only an excellent means of transport, but also a means to fitness and memorable adventures. The municipality has so much to offer. We invite you to explore!
Text and Photo: Halvor Hilmersen / Nesna