Biking 650 Kilometers Throughout Finland: A Bicycle Tour

by jpc_touring-bicycle

A number of months in the past, my buddy Rob (full title – Roberto LoRusso) determined he was going to fly from his house in Canada, together with his bicycle and a complete bunch of garments and tenting gear, and meet me in Helsinki, Finland for a week-long, 650-kilometer, self-supported bicycle tour. I had met Rob for the primary time on a guided bicycle tour in Switzerland, and final summer season we carried out a self-guided bicycle tour via France’s Loire Valley collectively. However this bike trip throughout Finland can be Rob’s first time ever conducting a self-supported bicycle tour the place he must carry all his personal gear, resolve on his route every day, make his personal meals, and safe lodging for himself every evening.

The plan from the start was for me to fulfill Rob in Helsinki, Finland after I accomplished my bike tour alongside the Danube River; my bike trip from Poznan to Gdansk; one other stretch of biking from Gdansk to Vilnius, Lithuania; a brief bike trip from Vilnius to Riga, Latvia; and a two-week-long, self-guided bicycle tour via Latvia and Estonia with an organization known as Metropolis Bike Ltd. After I did all that, I took an costly 42 Euro ferry boat from Tallinn, Estonia to Helsinki, Finland and met Rob in a small, studio condo within the heart of Helsinki, that we rented collectively from the AirBNB web site.

Rob arrived on the condo only a few hours after me. We have been fast to plug in our electronics and start prepping our bicycles for his or her time on the street.


After we obtained settled into out condo, Rob and I spent a while strolling round downtown Helsinki and took a number of pictures whereas we have been at it.












After a day of relaxation in Helsinki, we checked out of our small studio condo and rolled our loaded bicycles out onto the road. That is the place our bicycle tour started!

It took somewhat greater than an hour to get out of the city heart of Helsinki, however as soon as we did, we have been flying! I had hoped we might be capable of cowl no less than 80 kilometers throughout our first day on the street, however we ended up biking greater than 120 kilometers on that first day. I don’t know precisely how we did it – particularly as a result of we didn’t even depart the condo in Helsinki till near 11 AM.



We cycled so much throughout that first day, however we additionally took a couple of quick relaxation breaks as properly. Rob was nonetheless a bit drained from his lengthy flight from Canada… and I used to be a bit drained from the previous month-and-a-half of biking in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. I used my smartphone to point out Rob simply how far I had come during the last month-and-a-half… and the place I had slept every evening.




As we cycled, Rob and I started to rapidly uncover the names of Finland’s commonest markets and nook shops. We discovered how a lot issues value (so much – however not as a lot as I believed all of it can be) and the easiest way for us to mix obligations and journey collectively.


As a result of this was Rob’s first self-supported bicycle tour, I did a whole lot of speaking throughout our first day on the street. However I didn’t actually need to do this a lot to assist Rob alongside. He’s a super-strong bicycle owner and was well-equipped for our bike trip collectively.


That first evening, Rob and I arrange our tents in a small, abandoned farm discipline close to a lake. When the fog rolled in and it started to get darkish (after 11:30 PM), we crawled inside our tents and known as it a day.


On the grocery store the following morning, Rob and I met a person using a really distinctive motorbike, and stopped to talk with him for a couple of moments earlier than loading up our bicycles with contemporary meals and a complete lot of water.


We took a flawed flip at one level and ended up taking place a fairly forest street that ran parallel to the street we had deliberate on touring. The street was clean and coated with a skinny layer of gravel, so it made for some good biking. We even stopped at a big lake alongside the way in which and had lunch whereas darkish clouds shaped overhead and threatened us with rain for only a few minutes.


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Amazingly, we didn’t expertise greater than 60-seconds value of rain on our complete bike tour. The climate was good. It was about 80+ levels F most days… and about 55 F at evening.




Our second campsite was my private favourite. It was simply outdoors town of Joutsa, Finland – in a sandy space that was good for mosquito-free tenting. I discovered two cans of white beans on the native grocery store, so with no camp-stove, prepare dinner pot, or plates of any type, I cooked up among the finest rattling imply and veggie burritos I’ve had in months. Good Mexican meals is tough (perhaps even inconceivable) to search out in Europe. I haven’t discovered good Mexican meals but!






In Joutsa the following morning, Rob and I refilled our water bottles and meals provide earlier than as soon as once more hitting the street. Whereas Rob was within the grocery store and I used to be ready outdoors with the bicycles, I snapped this humorous photograph of a person on a motorbike feeding ice cream to a tiny canine.


I used to be afraid that biking throughout Finland is likely to be a bit boring – simply because there are such a lot of forests. However I discovered Finland to be far more scenic than I believed it could be.


Rob saved saying that the surroundings reminded him of the place he’s from in Ontario, Canada… and I imagine him. However I used to be more than happy with simply how a lot there was to take a look at and discover alongside the way in which every day.



At one level throughout our third day on the street, we climbed to the highest of a small hill… and from the highest we had a reasonably spectacular view of the lakes and forests beneath. I climbed as much as the highest of a steel road signal in an effort to snap this photograph of Rob on his bicycle.


And only a quick methods additional down the street, we stumbled throughout a whole lot of small sailboats and other people out having fun with the unbelievable summer season climate. We stopped on the bridge that crossed at Karkistensalmi and spent a number of minutes snapping pictures and watching the sailboats beneath.






It wasn’t lengthy after leaving the sailboats behind that my entrance derailleur cable snapped and I used to be unable to change gears. This was a significant downside, however we thought we would be capable of discover a new cable within the subsequent city – Jyvaskyla, Finland.

Sadly, we arrived in Jyvaskyla simply after 5 PM and all town’s bicycle outlets have been closed. We thought of staying on the town till morning, at which period I would be capable of buy a brand new derailleur cable. However it was a Saturday, and the next day was a Sunday. And each bike store on the town was closed on Sunday. So we wanted to discover a new derailleur cable instantly!

After greater than an hour of working round city looking for somebody who might assist us, we finally stumbled throughout a bicycle graveyard of kinds, the place outdated bicycles had been stacked up for recycling. Rob and I have been in a position to reduce a cable off one of many outdated bicycles and proceed on our approach. By this time it was getting late and we nonetheless had a methods to cycle for the day, so I put the cable in my pocket and deliberate on putting in it the next morning.

Then, an hour or so later, simply because it was about to get darkish, Rob and I rolled off the principle street and pitched our tents in a darkish, dense forest.


There have been a ton of ants and mosquitoes at this explicit campsite, so Rob and I arrange our separate tents as fast as we probably might and jumped inside. As soon as inside, we just about remained there till morning.



I awakened earlier than Rob the following morning (I feel this was the one time on the tour that this occurred), so I rapidly packed up my tent, gear and bicycle and made my approach out to the principle street. I discovered a parking pull-out and stopped there to restore the damaged derailleur cable on my bicycle. The restore was simple to make and solely took me about 20 minutes to finish. I might shift gears once more!

A short time after fixing my cable, Rob met me on the parking pull-out and we sat at a picnic desk to eat breakfast. This was when Rob found {that a} jar of cooking oil he was carrying in one in all his panniers had burst open and had soaked his garments, sneakers, and a bunch of different private gadgets. So Rob took a while to wash all his gear, and simply as he completed that, Rob realized that he had a flat tire on his bicycle!

Rob then tried to restore his flat tube, however in doing so, tore a gap within the facet of tire. We weren’t off to an excellent begin for the day! Fortunately, Rob was carrying a spare tire and three spare tubes. So Rob was finally in a position to restore the injury to his bicycle and we have been lastly on our approach. Lastly!


It was practically 12 PM by the point we obtained began that day… and we knew we had a protracted method to go. So we put our heads down and we cycled. I listened to music and RadioLab podcasts whereas I cycled every day. Rob often rode a brief distance behind me, however would often take the lead and display to me again and again simply how a lot quicker he’s than me on his bicycle. I couldn’t sustain with him!


Someplace alongside our route that day we stopped in a tiny lakeside city for lunch, and after recognizing a abandoned swimming gap, we each determined to leap in and take a fast bathtub. After three full days with out a correct washing, it felt nice to leap into that chilly water.


Within the metropolis of Viitasaari, Finland, Rob and I ended to eat pizza at a neighborhood pizza restaurant. Rob beloved the pizza he ordered and I believed my vegetarian pie was too skinny and terribly undercooked. However it stuffed us each up. Sadly, it stuffed up Rob a bit an excessive amount of. After biking about 3 kilometers out of city, we needed to flip again and discover a restroom for Rob to make use of instantly. A nook fuel station did the trick… and we have been quickly on our approach once more.


We didn’t get far outdoors of Viitasaari earlier than we discovered a spot within the forest to arrange our tents for the evening. It was a heat evening, with loads of mosquitoes swarming round our campsite, so we arrange our tents rapidly after which spent the night on our smartphones and/or speaking forwards and backwards to at least one one other between our tents.


Once I requested Rob to pose for a photograph, he refused to get out of his tent (the place the mosquitoes would chew him), so for only a cut up second he caught his head out of the zipper… and I snapped this pic. Haha!



After having accomplished 4 days of biking, we have been properly forward of schedule, however we nonetheless had over 200 kilometers to go earlier than reaching Kajaani, Finland, the place Rob’s bike tour would finally come to an finish. So on our fifth day of biking collectively, Rob and I coated greater than 130 kilometers. Fortunately, the climate was nice, the street was flat, and the wind was totally on our facet.


I powered myself via the bike tour with ice cream, granola, yogurt, oranges, bananas and the occasional veggie sandwiche.


Then, throughout our final evening of tenting, we pitched our tents about 150 meters off the street, in a dry forest space the place the whole lot was coated in a thick layer of moss. With few mosquitoes within the space, Rob and I each loved this campground fairly a bit.





Whereas Rob and I have been touring collectively, we have been each utilizing completely different photo voltaic merchandise to maintain our smartphones charged. The photograph beneath reveals my Voltaic Fuse 6 Watt Photo voltaic Charger hanging from a tree. This charger often sits, bungee corded to the rear rack of my bicycle when I’m biking every day. However after I attain camp every evening I often hold it up or lean it towards my tent in an try and get just a bit extra juice out of the out there daylight.


Throughout our final day of biking collectively in Finland, Rob and I cycled a brief 90 kilometers into town of Kajaani, Finland. Like our earlier 5 days on the street, the climate was fantastic, the street was flat, and we have been having fun with ourselves. It was sizzling… and someplace alongside the way in which, I jumped right into a lake to chill off.


Once we reached Kajaani, we went straight to the prepare station to purchase Rob a ticket for him and his bicycle again to Helsinki. As soon as his ticket was secured, we then went to a close-by resort and booked ourselves a room for the evening – 78 Euros. Ouch! However it positive was good to have the ability to shave, take a bathe, and sleep in a snug mattress.

To have fun the tip of our bike trip collectively, Rob and I went out to eat dinner at a neighborhood cafe/restaurant. Rob ordered salmon and I purchased a 16 Euro veggie burger, which got here with an avocado/pineapple salad (which was actually good), and the perfect sweet-potato fries I’ve ever had. The truly veggie burger was actually gross. It was nearly solely tofu… and I hate tofu.


Earlier than going again to our resort, Rob and I took one final photograph collectively on the sting of the lake in Kajaani, Finland. Our bicycle tour was a hit and we each completed the tour safely and in good spirits.


Keep tuned for the following installment of my bicycle touring adventures in Finland. In only a few days I’ll be conducting a 4-night self-guided bicycle tour throughout a small part of Finland with a neighborhood tour firm known as Upitrek.


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Biking 650 Kilometers Throughout Finland: A Bicycle Tour  
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