Riding North: Norway has it all for bikers

We speak to Claus Lazik, a motorcycle tour guide with Ayers Adventure.

Recently, Norway has become the destination of choice for the motorcycle tourist looking for wild nature, challenging twisties and an escape from the every day. The country seems to offer just about everything a rider is looking for and with virtual round-the-clock sun during the summer months mean that you can ride as long as you want. We speak to Claus Lazik a motorcycle tour guide with Ayers Adventures and who has ridden his bikes on seven continents and this year will lead two tours to North Cape and back to Oslo.

Motorcycle tour guide was not the first choice of job for Claus, and like many, he started out on a different path before eventually coming to do something he was passionate about as a career. 

“I was a geographer first,” he says. “I studied geography, then I had a quite boring job for a while but I was looking for something else. I was at a motorcycle show in Germany and I just wandered into the section that was for all the motorcycle tours and it caught my interest. I had always been into motorcycles and when I looked at the requirements -being a good rider, logistics, social skills, organisational skills, I checked all the boxes, so I started on this journey and pretty quickly it become my career.”

Sandnessjoen-Trondheim

For anyone dreaming about turning their passion for riding motorcycles into a career as a motorcycle tour guide, they should remember that it’s not all about riding bikes. There’s a whole job in the background so that others can ride their bikes. 

“You’re not on the bike all the time,” says Claus. “You have to organise everything for the riders in the background, so you’re often on the road in a van, transporting luggage or people. You are booking accommodation, checking the routes, doing all the work in the background so that the riders don’t have to think about it. If you’re doing a good job they won’t really notice what you do.”

“People underestimate the social side of the job. You have to be able to get on with everyone, every different type of person and you have to knit the group together, make them all get along with each other. It takes a lot of energy, but also it takes a lot of experience. Of course, you have to be socially inclined naturally but it’s not always easy to get the energy of the group right.”

While Claus is in charge of touring North and South America, as well as Japan, he tours Europe a lot. One of the hottest destination for riders now is Norway, which Claus is doing twice this summer. 

“There are some incredible scenic routes.
You don’t come to Norway to ride on the highway for days.”

“We do two different tours of Norway,” he says. “The Midnight Sun Tour – we start in Oslo and head north, mostly along the coast. The southern coastal part is spectacular – Gudvangen and Tronfheim, then northwards, trying not to spend too much time inland, because there are too many mosquitos.”

Norway has the right to roam, which means you can walk on private land and pitch your tent anywhere you like, which is part of the appeal for many who travel there. Claus prefers to sleep in a proper bed when he’s on the move and Norway offers plenty of options for accommodation from simple converted barns to fancy hotels. 

“We don’t camp with Ayres Adventures,” says Claus. “We stay in upmarket overnight accommodation. There are many different kinds from upscale hotels to converted traditional barns that were used by the rowers and the fishermen back in the old times. There’s also some types that come from the traditional Sámi people’s dwellings that have been converted”.

Every country presents different challenges to motorcycle tourism, depending on the economy, the roads, fuel and repair considerations, and much more. Norway seems to be a perfect destination in that it presents all the right difficulties and challenges, yet the benefits of being a rich and highly developed European nation are very much in evidence. Being so far North on the continent presents unique planning thanks to the environment. 

“The main challenge would be the weather,” says Claus. “It’s coastal so very changeable. It’s quite stable in the south but when you get up to North Cape it can be challenging. A lot of wind and rain, snow and hail, you can get it all in the one day and weather fronts can move in with no warning. But the roads are good, they are designed for riding in the winter so they have that good traction. There are some incredible scenic routes and the roads have lots of twists in them, steep uphills and downhills, but all of that is exactly why we’re there! You don’t come to Norway to ride on the highway for days.”

“There is a particular risk of meeting wildlife on the roads when riding remote locations and that’s always something to be mindful of. You don’t want to come off your bike due to a chance encounter with a caribou.”

“Reindeers can be a problem in Norway,” says Claus. “They are privately owned but they freely roam everywhere, and you don’t see them because they are perfectly camouflaged against the rocks on the side of the road. You always have to be on the lookout for them, because they are quite dumb. I’ve even seen them in tunnels, they have these alarms that sound when they enter the tunnels to shelter from the rain and is supposed scare them out of the tunnels, but I’ve seen them in tunnels and had to ride past them.”

Norway as a destination for motorbike riders is seriously growing What ever the draw, people want to escape the monotony of every day and make a break for a destination that is wild and free. Norway fits the bill at the moment.

“This year there has been a lot of interest in Norway,” says Claus. “So much so, that we couldn’t fit everyone in on just one tour. So what we decided to do was organise one Midnight Sun tour from Oslo to North Cape and to do a second tour in reverse from North Cape down.”

Maybe it’s a bit late to be planning a tour to North Cape for this summer but if you are planning to do it next year, it’s best if you get in early with Ayers Adventures to avoid disappointment. If you’re stuck for a Christmas present for the motorbike rider in your life, you can always give them the gift of Norway…

“For us it’s best if people book tours with us at around Christmas time for the following year”, says Claus. “That gives us plenty of time to get everything organised and it also allows to get to the best places early.”

The BMIC would like to thank Claus Lazik of Ayers Adventures for inspiring a spirit of adventure. If you would like to know more about Ayers Adventures, please visit their website which was the source of all the incredible images we have featured in our article, taken from the Europe – Norwegian Midnight Sun Tour.