Bike City Trondheim

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Cycle sign in Trondheim

For a country buried under snow and ice for several months of the year, Norway has a surprising love of cycling. That's what I thought before moving to Trondheim. Here, I realise it's more than just a love, it's an obsession.

Trondheim is bike city!

I can't walk the three minutes to my local Bunnpris without seeing at least one cyclist; often many more. I'm passed by a ton of them on my morning walk to the gym, whether I take the cycle path or the road. There's cycle paths everywhere, and I don't mean just a section of the road. There's an entire network of purpose-built cycleways covering the city, mapped out and signposted.

Cycle paths in Trondheim

The infrastructure really is impressive. There's a decent network in Oslo, but the convenience and ease of the bike tracks here is something I haven't seen anywhere else that I've lived. I'm sure other European cities rival Trondheim's cycling infrastructure, but bearing in mind Trondheim lies at 63.25 degrees north and suffers from interesting weather, it's all the more remarkable.

There's a bike rental scheme in the town centre. It's a much smaller program than in Oslo, but as every Trondheim resident seems to own a bike, it doesn't matter so much! If you're visiting Trondheim for a few days or longer, this is a great option to get around the compact centre.

Trondheim Bikes for Hire

The bicycle lift

No post about cycling in Trondheim would be anything like complete without mentioning the bicycle lift. It's transported more than 220,000 bikes up a steep hill in the historical Bakklandet area of Trondheim since its opening 15 years ago.

Curious about what a bicycle lift looks like? Here you go:

Trondheim bicycle lift

Trondheim locals love the lift: ask anyone what to see while you're here and I guarantee this will come up in conversation! While I'm not sure it's all that amazing, it is a very unique part of Trondheim's charm!

I've been infected

It didn't take long. After just a few weeks of living in Trondheim, I've bought a bike!

It makes sense for me. Economically, because I'm saving NOK 620 on a monthly bus pass, but also for my health, as I'm cycling up and down some of Trondheim's steep hills. Okay, hands up, I'm cycling down them, and doing my very best to cycle up them.

Give me time – and I'll be zipping around like a local 😉

Cyclist on Bakklandet

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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4 thoughts on “Bike City Trondheim”

  1. Hey, David. I have to say that your blog has been a VERY important knowledge base for me !
    There’s a fairly good chance I’ll be moving to Trondheim in a few months. I will be taking a management position in a renowned engineering company and by doing so do you think it is acceptable to ride a bike to/from work ? Do people in general see it as normal or is it more of a student / young adult thing ?
    I could easily afford a car but in my home country I gave up car owning a long time…

    Maybe we could also meet for some beers in the Microbrewery. I’m one of the founders of the biggest homebrewing association in Brazil so beer is a big part of my life…

    Have a good one !

  2. I think the cycling network in Oslo has probably overtaken Trondheim and car calming measures are in full force. The only issue there is negotiating the trams. Personally, I don’t find Trondheim a pleasure to cycle due to the extensive suburban sprawl and equal love for the motor car (which is prioritised, despite complaints about restricted parking in Fjordgata). Even the smaller roads have a busy trafficy vibe. In Midtbyen, I’m always struck by how every junction has a bunch of turns and consequently how long it takes to cross major roads as a pedestrian. Miljøpakken are no doubt doing their best to knit the city together, but my experience (after cycling extensively in London) is it requires a lot of dismounting and use of pavements. I’ve just tried to make sense of the winter network (https://kart.trondheim.kommune.no/map/forsterket_vinterdrift_sykkel/) and some routes don’t make sense in the winter due to how steep some hills are. I tend to use back streets and switchbacks. I also find drivers aren’t that used to cyclists. I had one driver almost run me over turning at a bridge, even though I was in the cycle trap at the front. It will take a long time in terms of critical mass to get Tronder folk to give up their cars… Yes, the cycle network is there, but to me it’s still mostly symbolic.


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