Norway

Norway

The Shirt project wheels along! The next stage in the Journey is announced!

On June 14 2016 I shall set out from the Kirkenes Stadion (=stadium) home of Kirkenes IF in Kirkenes on the Russian border. The backbone of the journey will be a visit to all the clubs in the top three divisions of Norwegian football. The journey will take me down from Kirkenes to Bodø (the most northerly of the Tippeligaen clubs to Trondheim (RBK), Molde, Aalesund, Sogndal, Brann, Haugesund, Stavanger on to Kristiansand, Skien and then 1000 km loop inland before finishing with the clubs in the Oslo area. A journey of some 5000 km. Hopefully, I will finish at City Hall, Oslo in one piece on or before the 31st August. This is probably the toughest challenge to date as we are not talking the flatlands of the Netherlands or the fens in the East of England. No, I shall face the mountains and valleys of the west coast of Norway.

This trip is NOT for the faint-hearted!

Why Norway?

In the 1840s, Ivar Aasen from Ørsta, Sunnmøre travelled the length and breadth of Norway to collate the dialects and language usage of the country. He wanted to hear and annotate the language so that he could create a standarised pan-Norwegian language. This he realised was very different from the “official” Danish language spoken at that time.

Yes, I will also travel the length and breadth of Norway to find out what Norway is REALLY like in the early 21st century. This may or not be very different from the “official” view of Norway and/or foreigners’ perceptions. This is part of The Shirt project which started in 2009 when Porsgrunn’s favourite son Bjørn Heidenstrøm cycled from Oslo to South Africa to raise awareness for the United Nations’ High Commission for Refugees. It was continued by Steve in 2010 when he cycled to the 92 football clubs in the UK. (See www.theshirt2010.co.uk www.bjornheidenstrom.com)

We collect football shirts and Bjørn now has over 700 sewn together in to the largest shirt in the world!! The 2016 journey will be to raise awareness for the Norwegian Red Cross, Røde Kors.

Ivar Aasen was armed only with pen and paper for his studies. He did not have a 21 gear bicycle or the legendary Hurtigruten boats to get him from town to town, village to village and farm to farm. I will have daily video updates, as well as access to 4G and the internet. I will have audio recording BUT to get NEAR to the people I will be on my own with just my trusty bike for company. I will have no car and no back-up vehicle. The entire journey will be recorded on www.ThisIsNorway.info website.

So, who do I want to meet? I want to meet YOU, Mr or Mrs Norway. I want to talk to you about oil, trolls, Hurtigruten, Norwegian.com, football, skiing, and brunost. I want/need to meet oil-rig workers, Erasmus students, the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the loved and the lonely. I want to meet fishermen, hill farmers, Lapp nomads, asylum seekers and those living in the poorer quarters of the cities. I want to meet church-ministers and atheists, brain surgeons and tree surgeons – in short, the 5 million people who make up 21st-century Norway.

And who do I want to meet more specifically? I also want to meet some of the people who have put Norway on the world map. The heroes and survivors of Utøya, Drillo, Bjørn Heidenstrøm, Bjørn Kjos, Idar Vollvik, Petter Stordalen, Petter Northug, Erna Solberg, Jens Stoltenberg, Jane C. Owen and many more. It is invidious to name names but these people (and many, many, many more) would add much to my understanding of Norway 2014.

…and let us not forget football. The Shirt project is inexorably linked to football and Norwegian football touches every aspect of society. I will visit every club from the biggest teams in Tippaligaen to the most humble clubs of Oddsligaen – and all those in between.

I have no funding nor corporate sponsorship and want to finance the journey with the love and support of the Norwegian people and 5,000 individual sponsors all pledging 10 NOK (or 1 euro!). The aim is to collect 5,000 signatures on one shirt, which is the symbol of the journey. 5,000 signatures and 5,000 donations – one for every 1,000 Norwegians. This should give a good overview of “ThisIsNorway 2014”. I also wants 500 fans to sponsor a 10 km stretch which will be dedicated to their favourite club.

My other challenge is to learn Norwegian. I have set myself the challenge of speaking conversational Norwegian by the end of the journey!

Let’s see if learning Norwegian is the toughest part – or will it be 120 days on the road in the sun and rain, snow (?) and storms.

If you have any ideas I’d love to hear from you.

PS: My second “Why?” “Ja, jeg elsker dette landet” (In English: “Yes, I love this country”) is a play on “Ja, vi elsker dette landet” (In English: “Yes, we love this country”), the Norwegian national anthem. Obviously, there is also a deeper significance in that Bjørn is a Norwegian and the very first push on the pedal was from Oslo in July 2009 and that he is a Norwegian citizen. The photo shows the Shirt in 2011 The Shirt at City Hall, Oslo after Bjørn had cycled the length of Norway!

Here is a good page in English with details of all the Tippeliga clubs en route. The Adeccoliga clubs are here.

TheShirtOslo

16 Responses to “Norway”

  • JP:

    Go STEVE !

  • Another great initiative by you Steve! You have done a lot, and now you start again!
    Great effort and I look forward to seeing your trip on all digital platforms!
    Good luck and I wish you tailwind and new friends to help you forward in every fjord and on every mountain in Norway.

    Bjorn Heidenstrøm
    http://www.theshirt.no

  • Good luck Steve.
    a fabulous undertaking and I wish you all the best with trying to cycle, take photos, video, blog, eat, drink, follow directions, keeping your balance and moving your legs, which trying to breath, all at the same time!
    Good luck with trying to learn conversational Norwegian too.
    A big undertaking but you an inspiration to others that might be younger and fitter but not as dedicated. However, after reading about your trip and your dedication, maybe you will spur them into action.

  • Steve and his trusty 2 wheel friend continues his journey and this time in the great country of Norway.

    Good luck Steve and have a great time, life is for living and you are living well.

    Regards
    Pete
    http://www.1000Milejourneys.com

  • Wish I had the guts to come with you! Best of luck with it.

  • You never do things by half measures! The might of the Costa Women crew will be shouting for you on your trip – can’t wait to read the status updates. Travel well and enjoy the view!

  • Don’t try this at home! I am impressed. Norway is not the Norfolk Broads. This beautiful country should have a National Geographic magazine all of its own.
    The mountain passes, steep gradients, awesome valleys and sheer loneliness will add to the take the breath away moments. The size of Britain add one-third with a population half the size of London’s. You will travel many a mile under all kinds of conditions without seeing a soul.
    That takes courage that would weaken the most stalwart hearts. Good luck to you. Michael Walsh. Journalist and Broadcaster.

  • I think you’re absolutely mad, but then again, if there is anybody who can do this, it’ll be you. Wishing you good luck, good health, good weather, a good bike and lots of pizza and coffee 😉
    Angelika

  • Laura Johnson:

    All the best Steve. What a fantastic challenge and for a great cause x

  • Steve ,if anyone can undertake such a mammoth task and achieve it is you.

    I wish you every success and will be following you (virtually) and supporting in any way I can

    Lykke til min venn

  • looks like serious stuff waiting for you… have fun 😀

  • Looking forward to the match, Kirkenes IF (KIF) – Sørøy/Glimt this summer. Maybe I will join you. And good luck with your cycling through the Norwegian country. Hope you will stop by Pasvik valley.
    Kanskje du får se Pasvik bjørnen 😉
    God reise, Steve.

  • This is so cool, I wish I was in Norway right now to support you and listen to your nice stories…however you know you have our support from Spain…Du är fantastisk man som gör detta inte bara för dig, men för Norge…Du är helt otrolig och vi vet att du kommer klara det!! Lycka till och ta hand om dig!! //Jätte kram

  • Hei Steve, DU er GAL (in a good way) 🙂 Håper du får en FANTASTISK tur igjennom Norge…og at vi sees snart! Lykke til!!!!

  • All the best – when we challenge your mind and body – we rise the knight, always! My hearth is with you, go Steve!

  • Best of luck Steve…great idea!

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