From spotting volcanic geysers in Iceland to hunting for the Northern Lights in Greenland, the countries of northern Europe have always held a special draw for travelers. It’s even more compelling for lovers of food and cycling, offering delicious gastronomy, hearty traditional dishes and ultra-rugged, scenic bike routes that will please any outdoor enthusiast. After years of competitive racing, world cup mountain biker Tobias Woggon set out on a journey to explore the region on his own terms and in his own time, discovering the best trails and best food along the way. 

“I have already seen a lot of the world, but unfortunately, during my active racing career, I didn’t have the time to really get involved with the countries and people when we traveled. So I started traveling without the pressure of racing and visiting countries and spending much more time with the locals,” Tobias told Lonely Planet.

With a special draw to the Nordic countries, Tobias felt the urge to return to learn more about the culture, as well as to take on the trials and tribulations that the severe conditions can throw up against an experienced cyclist. “The north has always fascinated me, the rough nature, the unpredictable weather and the peace. It always surprises you with challenges, you ride your bike against strong headwinds and instead of the planned 100km you only get 50. Or your gear system freezes on a ride in Greenland and have to completely disassemble and repair it,” Tobias said.

Eggplant Curry
Eggplant curry - one of Tobias' favourite trail meals © Philip Ruopp, Nordic Cycle, Gestalten 2020

With years of experience practicing mountain biking out in the open, Tobias has become adept at and passionate about creating meals that are practical, easy to make, and are good fuel for his body. The food culture of the Nordic countries was also a big draw for him, and he was eager to learn more about it as he journeyed through the region.

Those two interests – cycling and food – have been combined in a book called Nordic Cycle – Bicycle Adventures in the North that is due for release this year. As well as featuring some of the most treasured biking trails and terrains across the Nordic landscape, it contains over 20 recipes with step-by-step instructions that chef Markus Sämmer documented while on the road with Tobias.

Most of them pay homage to local cuisine across the north, with meat and vegan options. To track down authentic recipes the pair spoke with local chefs, producers and people from the food scene in each location. “The idea behind this is that we bring the taste of a country home and give the readers the chance to travel there, even if it is only for dinner. What fascinated me is how simple the cuisine in these countries often is. You don't always have to cook with the craziest ingredients. If you know what you are doing, then the ingredients for a dish grow not far from the stove,” Tobias said.

Nordic Cycle Cover
Readers can be inspired by the food and the nature © Philip Ruopp, Nordic Cycle, Gestalten 2020

Bike routes include the cool glaciers and fairytale-like snowy plains of Greenland and the mountainous trails of Faroe Islands, with the book containing illustrated maps and routes charted by Tobias. Throughout the journey Tobias traveled through Scotland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Kamchatka. More information is available at the official website.

Grilled Lobster Nordic Cycle
Grilled lobster with rustic bread and salad © Philip Ruopp, Nordic Cycle, Gestalten 2020

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