Norway: Grey and Glittering

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

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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.

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