Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It was either this or cleaning the house

On Sunday we took our bikes and rode them to the shore.

It rained a bit, but we didn't mind. When you're kayaking you're surrounded by water anyway!

We were on our day trip for no more than eight hours altogether, but it felt like so much more. And at night we had no trouble falling asleep.


Pyöräilyn suurimpiin iloihin kuuluu uuden löytäminen.

Tämä uusi voi yhtä hyvin olla vain muutaman korttelin päässä kotoa tai sitten tuhansien kilometrien päässä. Etäisyydellä ei ole merkitystä, kokemus on sama.

Tällä kertaa olemassaolon onni löytyi Porvoon Humlan ja Holkenin mutaisilta poluilta.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Charting the road ahead

Whenever I have chosen to ride my bike to any given location for the first time, I have already made the trip many times ahead. I have climbed the hills, smelled the earth and felt the mud beneath my feet. I have measured the distances (in spectacularly inaccurate ways) and set camp at lakes I have never set my eyes on before. I have stood in the rain, and I have been tired.

I do all of this from the comfort of my own home. These journeys take place either from around the kitchen table or from the living room floor. All that is needed for me is to have a big map in front of my eyes. And as I am in no hurry, I can spend hours this way. There is something about maps that really excites my imagination. (I find it odd when I witness people observe maps with detachment and indifference!) For me the feeling is visceral. I do not employ a scientific method in planing these journeys, and unlike Kaisa, who finds comfort in knowing what *actually* is ahead, I relish the exact opposite of that – not knowing is what moves me. Scares me as well, mind you. I make no claims of being braver than I am.

Kaisa is the realist, I am the hopeless romantic. She relies on satellite imaging and state of the art cartography. She loves guidebooks, up to the point of being able to stand next to a sight, and rather than looking at the sight in front of her reads how others have experienced it.

Myself, I prefer maps dating from around the 1930's. Nothing too accurate, and certainly not contaminated by anything the modern world has to offer. I guess it's a form of nostalgia for a world I never experienced, if such a world ever even existed.

I dream, Kaisa accomplishes. Inexplicably this alliance works out for the best.


In the beginning of June we will take the train to Kajaani, and from there we will start pedaling toward Viena Karelia. Our aim is to explore the small villages and dirt roads for around a week. Reports to follow.


One of the most common misgivings people have about road bikes relates to their very narrow tires. Their fears are two fold – either you tip over more easily or you suffer through tons of punctures.

In our experience both of these fears are unfounded. And trust us, we have taken our road bikes through some rough terrain, be it the coarsest asphalt imaginable up in northern Norway, sharp gravel on the Ukrainian countryside or even muddy and wet Russian roads very much under construction.

Our trusted road bikes have always taken us where we wanted to go. Road bikes are generally built to last, and can take quite some punishing. When we started out as cycle tourers this is the main reason why we chose road bikes as our means of transportation. (Neither I or Kaisa are big on fixing bikes, and unlike some we enjoy cycling more than repairing bikes.) Also let's not forget that road bikes are a pleasure to ride and that they go really fast!

But please, do not take our word for all of this – go out and explore for yourself!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Aesthetic differences

You can tell a lot about a country by simply observing their aesthetic preferences. Many years ago we cycled to Nice down at the Mediterranean Sea. Here you can see a poster, showing how cycling is portrayed like over there. (Well, *was* portrayed, but you get the point.) 

The French quite clearly have a appreciation for the female form. Some might object to the blatant objectification of women for commercial purposes, but I am not here to pass judgement at this particular moment, but rather to study and learn.

This year we're going to Poland. And judging by their poster I honestly don't know what to expect. But I know that it will at least be interesting. Each to his own, right?

Variety is the spice of life!

How many bikes does one person need? Our answer is that it entirely depends on the person. For us, the correct answer seems to be N+1. It's like with shoes –  you don't go to the dance wearing wellingtons any more than you wear your finest sneakers when frolicking through muddy fields. 

Likewise you need a particular bike for a particular use. Because, let's face it, sometimes life takes you on to open roads with sunny skies and sometimes through dense dark woods. And neither of those are places where you would want to find yourself wearing stiletto heels! 

29" is the new 26"!

Ok, so as you might have gathered from reading the "where" section on this site our big bike trip will take us half way around the Baltic Sea. But as a small warm up we thought it would be cool to explore the countryside of Russian Carelia. If not for any other reason than to do something we hadn't done before.

When the good people at Nishiki heard about these plans, they very kindly provided us with sturdy 29" mountain bikes to make the journey more pleasant. Having been on roads like these with road bikes, this addition to our fleet is more than welcome!

This first mini adventure will take place in the beginning of June and we'll be sure to share with all of you the highlights. But first we need to do a few test runs to get better acquainted with these oddly bulky bikes. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dream of the West - Unelma Lännestä

In our youth we heard stories about the West. We heard about a place where the most beautiful women walk around in the shortest skirts, where the men drive the most exclusive automobiles. We learned about a world where shopshelves are abundant with luxury goods like soap and ketchup. In the West one is allowed to buy as much toilet paper as one desires.

For so long we dreamt of the West. We wanted nothing else than to experience its wonders first hand. Now that the borders have finally fallen we will be able to go. But in order to get there we need your help.


Nuoruudessamme saimme aina kuulla tarinoita Lännestä. Kuulimme kaupungeista, jossa kauneimmat naiset käyttävät lyhyttäkin lyhyempiä hameita ja paikoista, joissa rikkaat miehet ajavat huvikseen hienoilla autoilla. Kuulimme tavarataloista, joiden hyllyt notkuivat saippuan ja ketsupin kaltaisia ylellisyystarvikkeita. Saimme kuulla, että Lännessä jokainen saa vapaasti ostaa niin paljon vessapaperia kuin tahtoo.

Olemme haaveilleet Lännestä hyvin kauan. Harras toiveemme on ollut saada kokea itse kaikki nämä ihmeet. Nyt kun rajat ovat vihdoinkin auenneet voimme toteuttaa unelmamme. Mutta päästäksemme Länteen me tarvitsemme apuasi.