Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Rail bike adventure in Flekkefjord

Adam from Visit Sørlandet took his family to Flekkefjord for some adventure cycling.

You know the old movies where people are on a railway line on some sort of platform with a handle they move up and down to get speed? I used to see that in old Western Movies. Well, you can find a similar sort of thing in Flekkefjord.

Locally it is called Dresin sykling which translates to Rail Biking. There is about 20 rail bikes that are based in the city centre of Flekkefjord on an old railway track.

The track itself is not used by trains. The last train trip along the tracks was in 1990 for a New Years Eve celebration. Since then, it has become a tourist attraction where anyone can hire a rail bike. 

You need to be over 16 years of age to hire one and when you do you will receive a map, helmet, reflective vest, a little basket to put everything in and some torches. Why a torch you ask? 

Because there are 17 tunnels, the longest being 1.12 kilometres long. It is pitch black and cold in the tunnels, so a torch is a must.

(I noticed here that the tracks were made during the German occupation in World War 2. This section of track was made in 1941)

Anyway, I went there with my wife and 3 crazy little boys. They could not wait to get started.

We met the railway manager Carl Hjoren and he gave us the rules and a run down of the track. He is a very nice and friendly man who knows all about the railway track's history. The do's and dont's and what to expect. 

The journey is a total of 17 kilometres, but you can do it at your own pace and stop along the way. The start times are usually 1200 and 1600. At a slow pace, you can finish the journey in about 3 hours.

We used 2 bikes. My wife was on one with Jet who is 8 and Indy who is 3. I went on the other with Levi who is 7. Ours was a tandem bike so he could also use the peddles.

(As the picture suggests, check out the map...)

Going through the first tunnel, you instantly feel the cold. I guess the outside temperature was 20 degrees celcius and inside the tunnel was about 10 degrees. It was pitch black, and so we made use of the torches.

One thing you need to know is that it is up hill most of the way to Sira. It is not a steep climb, but rather a gradual one. You really notice this on the way back. It is quite easy.

We stopped a few times along the way to take some pictures and enjoy the scenery. 

You pass by rivers on both sides and then a large fjord. At some points during the trip, there are very steep cliffs and you can see almost straight down. You also go over small bridges and it is a fantastic experience. 

We stopped at the water tower that was used to fill the train tanks with water and had something to eat before going on.

It is an experience for everyone, both young and old. It is great exercise but it is fun at the same time so you really do not think about it as being difficult.

Some advice for families, take food and drinks with you. The kids will get hungry and thirsty. If it is hot, also take sunscreen.

For those fitness buffs, it is a great few hours workout if you want to do it at a constant 15kmh. Enjoy the scenery and experience whilst exercising.

There are signs everywhere with speed warnings not to go over 15kmh. This is very important especially around corners because it can get wobbly. There are also some points where you will pass over roads, so you need to be extra careful with cars and pedestrian traffic.

At the end of the adventure, we were all very happy and appreciated doing something different.


Here is a link to a website with more information about rail bike adventure in Flekkefjord.


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