A dream: to be on the road with the motorcycle in winter north of the Arctic Circle
Emanuele Nizza set off from Italy to Norway in winter on his BMW R1250 GS to fulfill his dream of riding a motorcycle in winter once further north than the Arctic Circle border. Here is his story:
The passion for motorcycles was born from an early age, it has always seemed to me the best way to discover things and broaden my horizons, to see what was beyond.
The passion for winter travel is much more recent: it was born in 2015 when I participated for the first time at the Elefantentreffen, the mythical winter meeting that takes place in the Black Forest in Germany. Since then, I have participated every year until the stop for Covid-19.
In 2019, I therefore decided to go to Norway, it was my first time in winter and I participated in another even more extreme rally, the Kristall Rally. This overwhelming desire to push me further north took shape, a desire that resounded within me like the sound of a drum.
These are the assumptions that prompted me to organize this trip to the Lofoten Islands beyond the Arctic Circle: a journey, a challenge, something crazy, many would say!
Preparing for such a trip embrace many aspects, from practical and logistical to emotional and psychological. The choice of tires, the nails to apply on them for driving on ice, technical clothing for the cold, the sleeping bag and the tent in case of need for extreme temperatures is very important.
The recovery of the equipment took about a couple of months, thanks also to the collaboration of the sponsors and friends who work in the business.
It's time for the departure, adrenaline is high. I literally eat the first 1000 km, I want to get north as soon as possible; the goal is Lofoten, so in two days I'm already in Stockholm. Temperatures are almost pleasant, not too different from our full winter in Italy, going from -3 to +5 degrees.
After Stockholm, it starts to snow heavily; it's night and I decide to find shelter in the characteristic Scandinavian houses. The next day, the snow is abundant, and I decide to mount the studded tires and test myself with this new driving style.
The first kilometers go by fast, I understand how to ride and the behavior of the bike, I adjust the suspension of my BMW which seems to float on the snow as if it were sand. It's amazing how fast you can ride on ice with the correct set-up and equipment! The braking is quite different, however, which becomes almost impossible by simply using the levers; it is necessary to foresee the situations and use the engine brake.
The strong emotions and the real cold begin: we must leave Sweden and enter Norway from Umeå (Sweden) to Mo i rana (Norway).
About 500 km where the temperature will remain constant between -20 and -25 degrees, both day and night, a condition that puts a strain on both the body and the mind for the amount of hours driving.
I stop for one night in Storuman, where I stay in a hotel whose owner, a guy who sees us arrive at 10pm, looks at us curiously and then confides to us that in 25 years he had never seen motorcycles in winter.
The journey continues with a short pit stop in Mo i Rana. I have to get to Bodo, 200 km away, to get the ferry to the Lofoten islands, and, at night with poor visibility, the snow and the freezing cold are very hard and seem endless. I grit my teeth, but unfortunately I reach the embark late; luckily I find another ferry that leaves at 1 am. After 3 hours of crossing, here are finally the long-dreamed Lofoten islands!
The joy is immense, we cover a few kilometers despite being at night. I realize, however, that finding a hotel at that time is impossible: here the tent and the sleeping bag come to my rescue, which prove to be perfect for the polar climate. Up to this point, all the equipment has proved to be up to the harsh climate: without adequate technical preparation, such a trip would have been impossible.
The next day, the adrenaline is high, I can't wait to get started and finally travel the dream roads and landscapes that this fantastic location has to offer.
We take the road to Å from Moskenes to then go up to Reine. The landscape is surreal, my eyes are filled with joy and pleasure, it is indescribable how it feels to be in front of the beauty that nature can offer. Every effort, every doubt and all the suffering to get here have been paid off in an instant.
Small fishermen's houses alternate with snow-capped mountains surrounded by the North Sea. The temperatures here are also milder, ranging from -5 to +6 in the hottest hours, although the wind and humidity are felt heavely, making any operation with bare hands, such as taking a photo, very difficult.
We cross the characteristic bridges that connect the various Lofoten islands. The city of Svolvær is the oldest in the Arctic Circle and dates back to the Viking era. It is a magical and incredibly beautiful place: my dream was to see it at its maximum splendor, in winter covered with snow on the coldest days of the year. I fulfilled my dream, and it was fantastic, even way above my expectations.
On the way back, we retrace the road in reverse; days of extreme cold and ice await us, endless roads that cross snow-covered woods and then open into expanses of pure and pristine white.
Retracing the same roads I did on the outward journey but at different times of the day gives new sensations and is like finding yourself in a new, different place.
I traveled 7200 km in 10 days to reach Lofoten in the coldest days of the year, I realized one of my dreams.
This kind of trip was a challenge with myself and with nature, it required a lot of power and resistance both physical and above all mental. Added to this is the effort of riding a motorcycle for many hours, even if for me this aspect is a pleasure, the maximum expression of freedom and the desire to discover the world.
I would like to thank Touratech Italia for supporting me in this adventure, both humanly in the choice of the technical materials to be used and precisely for the quality of the latter!