After finishing my week-long bicycle tour from Helsinki to Kajaani, Finland with my buddy Rob, I wanted a break. I had been touring for greater than two-and-a-half months at this level, with only a few relaxation days in between all my biking. So with a number of days to kill in Kajaani earlier than the beginning of my self-guided bicycle tour with Upitrek, I made a decision I used to be going to simply cling round city for a number of days, get some laptop work executed on the library, and camp within the close by forests.
After Rob left Kajaani and took the prepare again to Helsinki, I spent the whole following day by the river – simply exterior the town heart. I sat underneath a tree and labored on my laptop. It rained for a short while and there have been some pesky mosquitoes, however I did my greatest, working underneath the shade of a big pine tree.
Within the night I returned to the middle of Kajaani and bought some sweet-potato french fries from the restaurant that Rob and I had dined on the evening earlier than. This place had one of the best sweet-potato fries I’ve ever had in my total life!
After consuming, I wandered over to the library – simply to test it out and see if it might be a very good place to spend the next day, doing a little extra laptop work.
After I discovered the library and famous the posted opening hours, I laid my bicycle down on the grass simply exterior the constructing and started making some changes to my bicycle. For the earlier a number of days there had been a loud clicking sound coming from my bicycle’s backside bracket space and it was driving me insane. So I attempted my greatest to repair the issue with the restricted instruments I had on-hand, however I wasn’t getting very far. In desperation I started to bang on the facet of my bicycle with the palm of my hand, and that’s when, simply at that second, I used to be approached by two younger individuals out strolling their canine.
“Do you want assist?” the younger couple requested.
I attempted to inform them that I used to be okay, however the reality was, I did want some assist.
That’s when the tall, slender man spoke up and mentioned, “I’ve the instruments to repair that at my home. And I dwell simply down the road. Are you positive you don’t want any assist?”
I couldn’t resist the chance for help, so I mentioned “sure” and adopted the younger couple to their house, which was certainly, only a brief distance away.
Their names have been Perttu and Inka. They have been somewhat underneath 30 years of age and simply three months prior had bought their very first house collectively. On their property was not solely a small picket house, however a visitor home with a sauna and a work-shed/carport as effectively. Perttu took me into his shed virtually instantly and we started engaged on my bicycle. After a number of months of motorbike journey, there was rather a lot that wanted adjusting, cleansing, and taking care of.
Perttu took my backside bracket aside and after some investigation made the willpower that I most likely wanted a brand new backside bracket. I agreed. Nevertheless it was already fairly late within the day and the city’s solely bike store was already closed for the evening, so Inka and Perttu provided to place me up for the evening of their small guesthouse. I couldn’t have been extra happy! They gave me a bathe, let me sleep of their heat (mosquito-free) guesthouse, and within the morning Perttu took me on a motorcycle tour of the city earlier than escorting me to the native bike store so I might buy the brand new half that I wanted.
After shopping for a brand new backside bracket for my bicycle, Perttu and I returned to his house and we match the brand new half on my bicycle. However to each of our shock, the press noise that had been haunting me for the final a number of days was nonetheless there. The press wasn’t coming from my bicycle’s bottom-bracket as we had each assumed. It was coming from one in every of my pedals!
After switching out my pedals with a pair of outdated ones Perttu had laying round, the press noise immediately went away. The pedals had been making that horrible noise all alongside.
Once I informed Inka and Perttu that I used to be going to be taking part in a self-guided bicycle tour with an organization known as Upitrek in two day’s time, they instructed I stick with them for an additional two nights. Reluctant, however grateful, I mentioned sure.
Above is Perttu (on the left), Armi (the canine – within the heart), and Inka (on the proper). Under is the small guesthouse that Perttu and Inka let me keep in whereas I used to be with them in Kajaani.
Throughout my final day in Kajaani with Inka and Perttu, I went on a brief stroll with the couple and was given a tour round city by Perttu and his aunt.
We went to a small bakery the place they made conventional Finnish bread made with the tar that comes naturally out of bushes. The proprietor of the bakery even gave me a loaf of the bread at no cost, however I didn’t prefer it very a lot. As a vegetarian, I believed it tasted a bit an excessive amount of like meat.
Throughout my final evening with Inka and Perttu, I moved out of the guesthouse and moved all my issues into the couple’s basement in order that their buddy Annu, who was visiting from out of city, might keep within the guesthouse. I didn’t thoughts sleeping within the basement although. It was good and funky, and there have been, as soon as once more, no mosquitoes. 🙂
That evening Inka and Petru hosted a small, however fantastic feast on their patio. We ate stir-fry-style greens, potatoes, bread, and an entire lot extra.
Perttu cooked up some German-style sausages for himself and his different company.
I spent numerous time that evening talking with Inka’s buddy, Johanna, who had been to america on a number of totally different events.
The feast didn’t finish till after one within the morning. The lengthy summer time solar in Finland signifies that the solar doesn’t set till simply earlier than midnight, so we have been in a position to proceed the social gathering till late into the night with out even realizing that it was so late.
The following morning, I wakened early, packed up my issues and mentioned goodbye to Inka and Peru – considering that I won’t ever see them once more. However as you will note in only a second, that isn’t how issues labored out.
I met Urpo, the proprietor of Upitrek excursions on the market within the heart of Kajaani after which I adopted him on his bicycle for about 10 kilometers again to his household house on the outskirts of the town. As soon as there, I used to be launched to his spouse and youngsters and given the main points for the self-guided bicycle tour that I used to be in regards to the undertake.
After the maps, particulars and paperwork had been sorted, Urpo rode with me for an additional hour or so earlier than ultimately saying goodbye and wishing me good-luck on the remainder of my trip.
It was tough for me to be again alone once more. I had loved biking with Rob throughout our bike tour from Helsinki to Kajaani and I felt like I had made buddies with Inka, Perttu and their buddies Annu and Johanna. Then I had met Urpo and his household. After which all of the sudden, I used to be on their lonesome once more… and I knew that I used to be going to be on their lonesome for fairly some time.
For sure, getting again into the rhythm of motorbike touring alone took a while. I used to be gradual and torpid at first. I didn’t actually wish to be using anymore. I needed a break. My physique and my thoughts have been drained. However I had dedicated to doing this bike tour with Upitrek, so I wanted to press on. And after a number of hours of biking, I started to get again into the groove.
Then, as soon as I made it to the town of Vuokatti, Finland, my pleasure for bike journey returned! Instantly I used to be in a stunning little ski resort city. Regardless that it was summertime, there have been individuals operating round city on cross-country curler skis and working towards their jumps on the large downhill ski leaping hill. There have been a number of lakes within the space, mountain bike trails and a pair totally different disc golf programs. This was my form of city! I used to be so blissful to be right here… and I didn’t wish to go away!
The very first thing I did in Vuokatti was climb as much as the highest of the ski resort and take some pictures of the encompassing space. This was my first time in Finland the place I used to be in a position to really look down on the panorama and see the forests from above. It was actually lovely.
After consuming lunch on the prime of the mountain, I checked into my lodge, which was located on the sting of the lake you see within the photograph behind me within the photograph above. This was my favourite lodging I had stayed in for months. The place was a cabin-like duplex with all the trendy conveniences. It had a full kitchen, TV, a beautiful again patio, and even a sauna. I used to be solely there for one evening, however I might have simply stayed for a complete month or extra if I had been allowed.
The following day I cycled greater than 70 kilometers from Vuokatti to close by Sotkamo after which on to the tiny city of Kuhmo, Finland. There was little or no in between these three small cities. Only a bunch of forests, lakes and swamps… however the roads have been nice for biking.
I finished in a small village and ate lunch on the sting of a lake, simply exterior a distant forest cemetery.
Then I cycled by the town of Kuhmo and checked in to a big, fashionable lodge located on the sting of Lake Lammasjärvi. This lodge was additionally very good and was positioned in a beautiful spot – close to the town heart, however even nearer to wild nature.
After being served a scrumptious 3-course meal within the lodge’s on-site restaurant, I took a protracted stroll across the close by lake – wandering out onto a slender strip of land that jets out into the middle of the Lammasjärvi Lake.
The following morning I wakened early, ate breakfast within the lodge, after which cycled a brief distance north to the tiny city of Lentiira.
In Lentiira I used to be met by a stout little girl who took me out into the forest and collectively we waited in a bear conceal for a number of lengthy hours, in hopes of seeing a bear or different pure wildlife. We didn’t see any bears, however I did see a wolverine, and I received it on video too! (Click on right here to look at the video).
Now that my bike tour with Upitrek was full, I needed to resolve what I used to be going to do with myself for the following 10 days. In that period of time I might simply have cycled the 800 or so kilometers again to Helsinki in time for my flight in a foreign country on the tenth of August… or I might merely cling round within the central Finland space, relaxation and get some much-needed laptop work completed. I’d then should pay the additional $115 USD to take the prepare again to Helsinki.
After days of wrestling it over, I made a decision to not cycle again to Helsinki (I had executed sufficient biking, I made a decision), however to hang around and revel in central Finland whereas sleeping within the forest, showering within the close by lakes, and dealing from the libraries I discovered alongside the way in which.
After making this necessary determination, my first process was to cycle again to the town of Kuhmo from my present location in Lentiira. Fortunately, this was only a brief two-hour bike trip. As soon as in Kuhmo, I discovered the town library after which made camp within the woods about 5 kilometers north of city. For the following 4 days I lived within the woods and cycled into the town heart to work from the library throughout the day, purchase groceries from the native grocery store within the night, after which both do some extra work or watch movies in my tent at evening. It was a pleasant method to dwell!
On the weekend, the library was closed, so I used the time to interrupt camp in Kuhmo and cycle the lengthy 70+ kilometers again to the town of Sotkamo, which I had handed by briefly days earlier than on my self-guided bicycle tour with Upitrek.
As soon as I arrived in Sotkamo, I spent a number of hours biking across the metropolis in an try to discover a place to arrange camp for the following a number of nights. I ultimately settled on a reasonably uncovered forest campsite, only a few meters from the street. Regardless that passing automobiles might spot my campsite in the event that they have been actually paying consideration, I doubted only a few individuals would have the ability to see my inexperienced tent by the forest of bushes and underbrush. Most individuals simply aren’t that conscious of their environment. The pictures beneath present my idyllic campsite within the woods simply north of Sotkamo, Finland.
Once I cycled into the town every day to work from the native library, I would go away my small Voltaic Fuse 6 Watt photo voltaic panel out within the solar in an try to cost up one of many two spare batteries I’m carrying with me. The opposite battery I’d take with me to the library and cost up through an obtainable electrical outlet.
And sure, I’m nonetheless carrying my ping-pong paddle with me. I acquired some fascinating feedback about this after I posted my gear record earlier this yr… and although I’ve solely used the paddle as soon as since leaving Poznan, Poland (the place I used to be taking ping-pong classes at a neighborhood faculty), however the paddle is extremely light-weight and I nonetheless plan on utilizing it quite a bit as soon as I make it to Taiwan. On a facet word – sneakers make wonderful cup holders when you’re tenting. 🙂
For the final two months I’ve been carrying a duplicate of my large 412-page e book, The Bicycle Touring Blueprint, in my panniers. The e book is huge and heavy, so after I arrived in Sotkamo, I made a decision to lastly go away the e book behind. I donated it to the native library in hopes of inspiring a neighborhood teen, maybe, of attempting a brief or long-distance bike tour for him or herself.
If you’re occupied with studying conduct your very personal bicycle touring adventures, you should definitely decide up a duplicate of The Bicycle Touring Blueprint for your self. It’s obtainable now at www.bicycletouringbook.com.
Whereas working in Sotkamo, I’d cycle into the town heart within the morning, work all day lengthy on the library, get some meals on the grocery store after the library closed, after which cycle north of the town to a close-by lake, the place I’d then soar into the water and bathe. After drenching each my physique and my garments within the water, I’d sit on the pier and dry out as greatest I might earlier than biking again to my tent within the forest. It was an effective way to go my time in central Finland… and I might have simply saved up this routine for a number of weeks on finish.
The time ultimately got here, nonetheless, for me to make my means again to Kajaani. As a result of I made a decision to not cycle again to Helsinki, I wanted to return to Kajaani so I might take the prepare from there again to Finland’s capital metropolis.
Earlier than returning to Kajaani, nonetheless, I despatched a message to Perttu and Inka, letting them know that I’d be returning to their beautiful little city. As gracious hosts and extremely variety individuals, they invited me to stick with them for 2 extra nights earlier than I jumped on the prepare and made my means south to Helsinki.
So, because the solar set on the sixth of August, I cycled into the middle of Kajaani and made my method to Perttu and Inka’s house.
The next day I labored on my laptop whereas Perttu and Inka have been at work, after which within the night, Inka ready a scrumptious meal, which we ate collectively out on the couple’s patio.
After dinner, Perttu launched me to a Finnish throwing recreation known as Molkky, the place you throw a heavy, picket dowel at twelve picket markers, attempting to be the primary particular person to attain a good 50 factors. I gained the sport… however I’ve a sense Inka and Pertu have been letting me win. haha!
I went to mattress early that evening and wakened at 5 am the following morning in preparation for the morning prepare again to Helsinki. After packing up my bicycle with all of my earthly possessions, I cycled a brief distance throughout the Kajaani metropolis heart and boarded the capital-bound prepare. About 6 hours later I used to be again in Helsinki!
Again in Helsinki, I had made preparations to stick with a buddy of a Bicycle Touring Professional reader named Silja. Silja and her vital different gave me a key to their house and let me come and go as I please, whereas I ran in regards to the metropolis looking for a motorcycle field, mailing tape, and every thing else I would wish for my flight to Dublin, Eire on the tenth of August.
I used to be capable of finding a motorcycle field at a neighborhood bike store throughout my first evening again in Helsinki, and I used to be in a position to safe each an extra cardboard bike field and a roll of mailing tape on the next day.
After two nights of relaxation at Silja’s home, I walked my bicycle and my two giant cardboard bins to a close-by bus station, packed up my bicycle and all my belongings inside the 2 cardboard bins I had collected, after which took a bus to the airport. A couple of hours later I used to be within the air and on my method to Dublin, Eire.
The primary three months of my European bicycle tour have been over… and the second main leg of my bike tour (by Eire, the Isle of Man and the UK) was about to start!