Norway? Some friends marvelled at our choice for Kalf’s AW 17 photoshoot, with a sense of jealousy rather than surprise. More recently, the country has grown to be one of cycling’s bucket list destinations but clearly that’s not the only reason why we chose it: dramatic mountain roads, jaw-dropping fjords, moss-lined forests, majestic waterfalls, ancient wooden churches, trolls – the magic of this place really reflected our mood and excitement about the new collection.
With a tight schedule to capture the range, we were thankful our photographer had done the ground work of researching potential routes and places in great detail long before booking and the area in and around Bergen was to become our playground for the next few days.
Of course, you never know how these things map out but the shoot was centred around conquering dramatic mountain roads, some time spent exploring the colourful, Hanseatic city of Bergen – on and off the bike – as well as around the rustic wooden lodge we stayed in the Nordheimsund area, which in itself became the perfect backdrop for capturing pre-ride butterflies and post ride foolishness.
The prospect of riding up a theatrical mountain road, which would lead up to a glacier – and, as we later discovered, an all-year skiing resort – was more than enough to get everyone out of bed by 5.30am on the first morning.
By 7am we were already waiting for the first ferry to cross one of the omnipresent fjords in the area.
By 7pm we had already shot over 2000 photos, the scenery, the riding and the kit were everything we could have hoped for.
The evening was spent back at the lodge, stretching our legs in front of the fire, making pizza and sampling beer from the local supermarket. ‘That must be about 50p per sip..’ but quietly celebrating that sense of achievement was priceless.
With rain on the horizon for the next day we decided to stay low and exploring Bergen sounded like the perfect plan.
The city seemed more compact than we had thought but was all the more beautiful for that. Usually keen to avoid overly touristy spots, we couldn’t help but feel drawn to the old quay, the Tyskebryggen, literally ‘German dock’ with its iconic red and yellow wooden buildings. But in fact, the entire city was lined with magical little lanes, some forming a welcome cyclist’s labyrinth, others winding and steep, presenting stunning views across the city.
How about an off-the-bike day? Indeed, some of us needed convincing but we had waterfalls, ancient wooden churches and woodland trolls do the talking.
A quick spin just before dawn after all (some really can’t get enough!) and another evening was spent winding down in the lodge as well as taking stock of our footage so far. A quiet evening until the topic turned to pro racing and how to wear your cycling cap…’more luft?’..which had us all in stitches.
With just half a day left before we had to pack up the bikes again and make our way back to the airport, this last day was the perfect opportunity to explore the gravel lanes just outside our accommodation. While most were found to lead nowhere, one uncovered an 8-foot-tall troll statue somebody had decided to place right in front of their home but perhaps that’s normal.
A few weeks on, back in the studio and sifting through several thousands of images, we really couldn’t have hoped for a more suitable backdrop to tell the story of our first autumn/winter collection.
Norway, a land so stunning with people so friendly that overpriced coffees suddenly seem OK.