Is there room for downhill mountain biking in Tromsø?
So where does one go to find a good downhill mountain biking group around these parts? This was the question Alida Midtbø asked herself when she moved to Tromsø last year. Unfortunately, answering that question was difficult. Midtbø found that although Tromsø has a lot of great mountains there was not an official downhill mountain biking group at UiT or in the community of Tromsø.
But it was more difficult for Midtbø to get her mountain biking kicks than just finding a group of riders to go with. “The fjellheisen (the lift taking people to the top of the mountain on the mainland) costs 170 kroner per trip,” says Midtbø. At the moment there are no deals available. “If go biking I want to go up and down at least three times in a day.” Midtbø is hopeful that her new group will be able to strike up a deal with the fjellheisen.
Taking matters into her own hands
Midtbø is interested in creating a working relationship with fjellhesien– similarly to the paragliding club, who has an established relationship with the lift. She hopes that the group may be able to offer dugnad (if you don’t know what this means, ask a Norwegian to explain it to you…) to the lift in exchange for some kind of package deal, and states that this might help with promoting the sport in Tromsø.
Midtbø anticipates that there may be a lack of enthusiasm around the idea of downhill biking, especially in terms of using the fjellheisen, due to tourism. She admits that it might be a little bit difficult to get used to sharing the lift with a bunch of muddy, sweaty, mountain bikers.
Midtbø looks forward to introducing the sport here and generating some enthusiasm. After all, she comes from Voss, a town which hosts the largest extreme sports gathering in the world every July. Her hometown lift is more than friendly to mountain bikers. “In Voss its all about sports,” states Midtbø. “There are lots of mountains and lots of tracks, and people there like us.”
But there is no reason why Tromsø couldn’t learn to love mountain bikers. Like Voss, Tromsø is filled with outdoor enthusiasts, and mountains. Tourism is important too, but maybe after a while the fjellhesien would accept that allowing a bunch of muddy bikers into the lift every once in a while doesn’t squash tourism, and in fact promotes Tromsø’s reputation as an athletic, outdoor-sport oriented city.
Visions of biking in Tromsø
Midtbø hopes there might be some others interested in a group of this nature. She wants to gather students with the same interest (who are willing to participate in dugnad). Goals of the group would include arraigning weekend trips to Narvik, which has a biker-friendly lift, raising money for further trips, and sharing biking locations with one another. Other trips will likely include Levi, in Finland (a 6 hour drive, and worth every kilometer, assures Midtbø ) and the Norwegian town of Malselv, which will hopefully have a biker friendly lift built by 2013. “New people, new ideas, new locations, maybe some competitions…” Midtbø says of the potential club.
Midtbø has presented the idea of a downhill mountain biking group to the TSI board, and became an official trimgruppa. Midtbø hopes that establishing the group as a member of the TSI family will provide a base to promot the sport in Tromsø and give students an opportunity to gather and ride.
To learn more about downhill moutain biking or to join Midtbø in some fun on bikes, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find the group on Facebook: Tromsø Downhill Mountain Biking.
Join the TDMB group at Driv to watch the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on TV (details regarding date and time to be announced – check the facebook page or email Midtbø for more info)
terrengsykkel.no – maps, forum, lots of good info
Tromsø Freeride on facebook: another biking site interested in promoting the biking community