Tunnel Etiquette

We interrupt this bike trip to bring you… another tunnel. We’ve cycled through far more long tunnels in three days than we have in all our years of bike touring. Yesterday alone we cycled more than 5 kilometers underground. But it’s a welcome disruption, given the alternative! And we’ve mastered the art of navigating these dark caverns.

First – turn on blinky lights. I have them on my bike, front and rear. And atop my helmet.

Second – Replace sunglasses with regular clear glasses.

Third – Put on headlamp. Oops, I forgot to put it in my panniers…

Fourth – Hit the button to illuminate the sign. “Cyclists in Tunnel”

Fifth – Start pedaling and hope for low traffic. Watch out for the pillars that often mark the edge of the road.

Not all tunnels are created equal. Some are wide, well lit and have good pavement. Others not so much. One tunnel started out fairly bright but degraded to near darkness in the middle. This one was a lot darker than it appears, due to Rich’s flash. But you get the idea.

Our longest tunnel was 2.2k long. One was a constant incline for 1.2k. Anther was downhill all the way. But seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is always a relief!

When there is no sign to warn motorists of our presence, they provide reflector vests for cyclists. There is a receptacle that looks like a post box at each end of the tunnel, to pick up and return the vests. The size XL swamps my body but I wear it anyway. I have a vested interest in staying alive.

Although the whole purpose of tunnels is to avoid going over the mountain pass, it often requires a decent climb, perhaps even involving switchbacks, to reach the entrance. But the payoff is in the views en route. After a grueling ascent, we reached this unique roadside viewpoint, with a 44-meter long curvy platform for ogling the fjord down below. we weren’t the only cyclists stopping there for the view. And the rest.

Not all scenery involves tunnels. I rather enjoyed scrambling over the rocks to get closer to the Devil’s Teeth.

Today we did the unthinkable. We skipped a tunnel and a bridge in favor of the old road over the pass and around the fjord. Even Rich agreed it was well worth the extra effort.

Next time we’re likely to return to our senses and mind our manners, as we pedal through the tunnel.

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