Trollstigen: The trolls' path and Norway's most famous pass. A mythical road opened in 1936 connecting Åndalsnes in Rauma and the village of Valldal and one which attracts thousands of cyclists, drivers and sightseers every year. The question is, “what will it be like to ride this road at night and what equipment do you need?”
Moonlight manufactures some of the world’s brightest lamps for cycling, skiing, caving and more. Using the GoPro style mount, the lamps can be attached almost anywhere. As this was our first ride at night we decided to go for the Bright As Day 4000 lamp, to give us the maximum brightness. This was a discovery ride to find our best setup.
Having a peak power of 4000 lumens is a huge amount of effective brightness and will allow us to ride at speed and through technical sections with confidence. It also has 4 dimming settings, so we can preserve battery life/duration during the climb/times when we don’t need all 4000 lumens.
My friend Paul setup:
It’s time to go, we ride from the town of Åndalsnes with the sun setting behind us. I’ve never ridden a road climb at night, and the legend is that Trolls live in isolated rocks or caves. For centuries communities used to ring church bells to keep them away, and this climb is named the Trolls Path. Hopefully, our bright lights will keep them away!
We ride past the information centre riding on a straight path towards the main event. A wall of granite with no less than 11 switchbacks elevates you from the valley floor. In total, we will climb 743m in 8.9km with the majority of the elevation gained in just 7km.
We ride through the first switchback to the second, which seemingly raises us into the sky.
The thundering noise of the Stigfossen Waterfall which is 240m high, we can hear it, but we can’t see it yet. Riding at night heightened your senses and added an extra air of excitement and anticipation. What is around the next corner? Only time will tell.
So epic! The light refracted with the mist being thrown up in the air from the waterfall. Pretty crazy to be honest but push on we must. A tightly compact section of switchbacks slingshotting us up the mountain, the gradients over 10%.
So far, we’ve been using our lights on setting two (1000 lumens) and were amazed at how bright it was. This wasn’t even the brightest setting and many times brighter than most road lamps. Paul had the Bright As Day 2000 on his head too, which looked like a great combo. The road flooded with light, and the lamp on his helmet provided additional brightness exactly where he was looking.
We reach the summit. The visitor centre is shrouded in darkness. No moon, no lights just us seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Very surreal, and with the temperatures just above freezing we started our descent. The full 4000 lumens!
I have to admit, I was unsure how I’d feel about letting my bike run down a 10% gradient with switchbacks at night. Even during the day with speeds over 60 km/hr, you have to pay attention. But those doubts weren’t even there. I rode my bike like I would during the day. Such was the brightness and the confidence to see what lay ahead.
The descent went by in a flash, and was one of the most exhilarating descents I’ve done. The feeling that you shouldn’t be able to ride that fast at night and with such heightened senses.
No trolls seen! And back over the bridge into Åndalsnes. The first climb and first night ride was complete. Can’t wait to go to Mt Baldy, California. A climb which has been on my radar for years.
Words and Photos by: Daniel Hughes
To read more about our lights:
| Moonlight Bright as Day 3000 (primary on bike lamp)
| Moonlight Bright As Day 2000 (Helmet mounted lamp)
About Epic Cols
Founded by Daniel Hughes, this is a project dedicated to finding and capturing the greatest places on earth to cycle, ride, drive or just to be.