Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sparker (aka "kick sleds")

There is a lovely and quaint method of winter transportation in Norway, and I'm not talking about skiing. These are not nearly as ubiquitous as skis, but everyday I see at least a few sparker, or kick sleds, being used to get around town on the not terribly well shoveled sidewalks. The sleds have a wooden seat and handle and two long metal runners. The runners have foot rests where you can stand and ride the sled once you get up enough speed, or balance on one side while you kick with your other foot. 

I usually see them being used by older women running errands, which makes sense: they provide great stability on icy sidewalks and a seat to accumulate packages. They are left outside of shops, sometimes locked, sometimes not. I've seen them left at bus stops, presumably waiting for a kid on their way back home. Occasionally we see notices in the paper for lost/stolen sparks. What is most entertaining is seeing a dozen of them parked outside a local school. (What would probably be even more entertaining is seeing what happens once school is out, and watching a couple dozen kids take off towards home on their sparks!)
Daily Commute

On Storgata in Lillehammer

Saturday errands

Trusting owner
They are not cheap, but then again, I'm in Norway, so that goes without saying.
The children's model is about $240 and the adult model about $265.

Erik and I are kicking ourselves (ha ha hah--totally did not intend that pun!) for not having bought two local sleds when they came up for sale on Norway's version of Craig's List/ebay, aka Luckily, we are able to borrow our landlord's spark for the winter, which has been great fun.


  1. Vi har til og med Spark VM ;)

  2. Awesome, Bente. Thanks for the link! Hilarious!

  3. I had never seen or heard of a spark before I came to I too have always had a "spark" post in the back of my mind. Really important to share with American readers back home. :)

    Did I mention I secretly want one of my own? But I am afraid at that point that I will really have become a bit too Norwegian for my American family's liking hehe. ;)

  4. That photo of your daughter on the spark is adorable! I agree with you about the practicality and fun of the spark. Coincidentally, my husband and I have been kicking (hahah) ourselves over not buying one or two during the summer, since it would be brilliant to use them to get into town. Ahh well, maybe next year.

    I just caught up with your recent posts and I want to express my sympathy about the trouble you're having getting the authorities here to recognize your education and work experience. That's really a shame and such a waste of your talent! I'm glad you got your appeal letter in and I wish you the best of luck with everything. If they turn you down again (yikes!), just think how your Norwegian will improve going through all of those training classes. :-) Fingers crossed for a positive response!!