Norway: Grey and Glittering

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A heady first film by Joe Cruz capturing a summer bikepacking trip from Sweden through Norway to Oslo… plus, background details on its making.

Words, photos, and film by Joe Cruz

This is from a summer 2015 bikepacking trip on Fat Bikes with Mikkel Soya Bølstad, Runar Baatevik, and Joe Newton. We started in Sweden and then rode through Norway to Oslo. In total we covered 850k—I get it wrong in the narration—along hiking trails, ski tracks, gravel roads and sometimes just overland. This film is 25 min, and rated ‘mature’ due to my foul language.

Better do it now than postponing it ’til you get old and then something suddenly happens … and then you never got to do that.” – Mikkel Soya Bølstad

I had never made a film before, nor did I much want to. We go to places to be immersed in the landscape and the meditation of pedaling, to be with people and history and with our travel companions. I didn’t want the distraction of staging a shot, or the absurd spectacle of trying to “do over” a moment that was originally spontaneous, unexpected, authentic. So I had thought that the single video camera mounted on my bars would be just a recorder of tiny amusements for my future self, like distractedly doodling to capture a fleeting feeling.

Bikepacking Norway, Grey and Glittering Film

  • Bikepacking Norway, Grey and Glittering Film
  • Bikepacking Norway, Grey and Glittering Film

My attitude changed when I went back months later to the full memory cards. Somehow those hours of moving sketches—the result of turning on the camera for a few minutes at a time here and there—implied a story, even if they didn’t tell it. I learned and then tinkered with editing for too long, I found an arc that meant something to me, and I aimed to capture faithfully the tone of our three weeks. The images are for me of movement, quiet hours in wind, rain and cold, inevitable joking, honesty and fatigue. Sometimes sunshine. There wasn’t anything heroic or dramatic and I didn’t try to manufacture philosophy where there wasn’t any. We were four friends riding bicycles in a beautiful place.

As far as equipment, it was as simple as it could be: one GoPro3 for video and sound, edited using iMovie.

Many thanks to Norwegian composer Kjell Marcussen and Duo Oktava for permission to use their music.


  • Sean Lally

    How about those hipbelts? They really do help with the load and reduce fatigue. Enjoying this so far! :^)

  • Kristoffer NRJ

    Which bike is that yellow one?

  • Joe Cruz

    Kristoffer—The yellow bike is Mikkel’s Pugsley. Notable departures from standard builds are that he runs a single ring up front with a classic Middleburn crank, and he had 100mm rims to give his Nates a wide footprint. I, for one, was jealous. Thanks for checking out the video.

  • Sean Parchem

    Joe, loved the film. It gets to the heart of bikepacking. You just never know what your journey will completely entail or how it will be remembered. It catches the spirit of getting outside on your bike. I’m glad it was a “low fi” film and not over produced. Thanks for sharing.

  • Joe Cruz

    Thanks so much for watching and for your kind words, Sean. I really appreciate it.

  • Weckfors Discovery

    Great film. Looks like you picked some nice trails. I must say that summer in Norway can be really good. It is not only rain.

  • craigharlow

    Are you aware of any organizations that lead and outfit bikepacking trips in Norway?

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