Hawkes Bay Winetasting on a Bike!

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Hawkes Bay and its surrounding areas has some of New Zealands most stable climate and is therefore an ideal place to grow wine grapes. Tour operators running wine tasting day trips are plentiful, but renting a bike will save you money which instead could be used for the two to ten dollar fees that most wineries charge for tastings of two to ten wines.
Full of ambitions I started my first tastings when the wineries opened at ten it the mornings, in hope that I over the two days would be able to visit all of Hawkes Bay’s 32 wineries.
On my first day I cycled to Te Moana Peak, down through Havelock North, across TukiTuki river and then from Haumoana into town. With a distance closer to a hundred kilometers I had visited ten wineries where most were open for tastings. Luckily I had someone picking me up afterwards, cooking me a good dinner and letting me retreat to my comfortable bed early in the evening.
With a small hangover and soreness in my bum and legs I started off with a ten am tasting close to Takapau, cycled from there through Fernhill and Puketapu into the city. About the same distance as the day before but this time visiting thirteen wineries. For the tastings I asked to only try the single grape red wines, where most of the wineries then dropped the tasting fees. When arriving in the city I visited the New Zealand wine center to learn about the history and process of wine making and try the virtual wine tasting. Both unfortunately and to my relief there were no-one working with the virtual wine tasting when I got there saving me the 25$ and probably a hangover the next morning.
In two days I covered most of the wineries and learned a whole lot about New Zealand wines. An absolute favorite of the wines would be the 2013 Marzemino, but I also especially enjoyed the 2013 Syrahs from the region. The most personal and friendly wine tastings were at Clearview Estate and Alpha Domus whereas the least were Elephant Hill and Trinity Hill.
The last couple of days have definitely made me want to do more tastings in the future and I will for sure try to do some when I am in Auckland next week or in Israel a couple of weeks after that.

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Downhill Biking in Norway and Sweden

“With its many mountains, Norway has got to be a great place for Downhill biking”

I am not sure if the guy I met in Brazil was telling me this or asking me this, but it was true. During this and last summer I have gotten to try out some of the many tracks you will find in Scandinavia, but with a littlebit of creativity you can also find tracks pretty much anywhere. The many long stairways in Bergen city center is one that I found pretty cool, and I have also seen people cycling down from the summit of Dalsnibben to the sea of the Geirangerfjord.

The summer ski resorts with dedicated tracks for downhill biking that I have tried are the following:

Oppdal Bike Park
Open: From May to October it is open on weekends, thursdays to sundays 11.00-17.00
Number of lifts: One gondola, Hovden, serving 7 slopes. There used to be a chairlift as well, Vangslia, but this was closed last year as new owners took over the resort
Getting there: From Trondheim by bus with “Nettbuss Nordfjord” takes two hours and  costs 188kr for a student and 125kr for a bike. From Trondheim by train with “NSB” takes two hours and costs 152kr for a student and 101kr for a bike.
Lift pass costs: 100kr for one ride with the gondola, 210kr for one day pass, 360 for a two day pass
Comment: Oppdal is a quiet little town where it is easy to pitch a tent where you want in the woods. The lifts are within biking distance of the city center, and are pretty quiet with just a few bikers, some sheeps and some tourists walking the trails. There is also a nice viewpoint on top with a restaurant and luggage storage. The slopes are varied, but some are a bit hard to reach now when the chairlift is not open, then you need to push your bike across to the other side of the mountain. The slope called “Superflytløypa” was definitely my favorite, going through the woods, with a few good jumps.

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Mount Ulriken, Bergen
Open: Open every day, but hours are depending on season: May-Oct 09.00-21.00 and Oct-Apr 09.00-21.00
Number of lifts: One gondola, “Perle&Bruse“.
Getting there: Just ride your bike fifteen minutes from Bergen City Center!
Lift pass costs: 90kr for one ride with the gondola, 150kr for round trip or two separate tripsDownhill Oppdal

Comment:  There is one dedicated downhill bike track, with quite unexpected jumps that can be hard to spot. I quite liked riding down the walking trail to Landås/Nattland, but there were no other cyclists in the tracks and places where carrying the bike was necessary.



Hanguren, Voss: 

Open: From June 7st to August 24th, it is open every day from 12.00-16.00
Number of lifts: One gondola, “Dinglo & Danglo/Hangursbanen“, and the chairlift in Bavallen for selected weekends.
Getting there: From Bergen by train with NSB takes 1h 10 mins and costs 138kr for a student
Lift pass costs: 100kr for one ride with the gondola, 210kr for one day pass
Comment: Voss is a town known for its extreme sports, and the slopes are well used by people who know their stuff! You can easily bike from the city center to the gondola or even pitch your tent on top of the lift.

 

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Åre Bike Park
Open: From June 6th until some time in the late summer
Number of lifts: Up to seven lifts can be open for the summer season. Most of them are open from 10.00-17.00

Getting there: From Trondheim by train with NSB/SJ takes 2h 40 mins and costs 166kr for a student
Lift pass costs: 275kr for one day pass (45,- for the card itself)
Comment: It is Scandinavias biggest and best. The red slopes have lots of jumps, especially “Uffes” and “Shimano” That go from the top. The red trail of “Finbanan” followed by “Kanonrøret” fun park can be run from the lower lifts and have some great jumps, drops and wall rides.

My next downhill adventure will go to..
Oslo Sommerpark Tryvann

Open: August 19th to October 13th, Wednesdays-Thursdays (15-20) / Saturdays and Sundays(10-18)
Number of lifts: 1 chairlift serving 6 slopes
Getting there: Take the number 1 tram from Oslo City Center, get off at Voksenkollen Station (second to last) and walk for ten minutes from there to Tryvann Tower. Ticket price is 20kr if you by it on beforehand or 30kr on board the tram.
Lift pass costs: 65kr for one ride and the day passes costs 235kr on weekdays and 260kr on weekends
Comment: I’ll definately bring my bike to Oslo next time I go, as the tracks here look fun!

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