Author Topic: Riding brevets in Finland?  (Read 1168 times)

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Riding brevets in Finland?
« on: February 07, 2019, 02:42:22 pm »
I was idly looking for potential BRM 1000s this year that were easy for HK and I to get to (lots of choice in Europe but mostly before PBP) and didn't clash with brevets or suchlike already in our calendar. I quickly narrowed things down to two options, a Spanish 1000 from Alicante starting early October (decent weather and cheap flights) or a Finnish 1000 starting a week after PBP ends.

What is it like riding in Finland, particularly for a pure Anglophone? Are Finnish brevets barebones affairs with few options to get food, etc. along the way (carry lots) or is food available easily at convenience stores/ garages/ bars/ whatever?
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 03:46:37 pm »

Well it's the most sparsely populated country in Europe. If it's anything like cycling in the rest of Fenoscandia, then it's basically riding from gas station to gas station. In 10 days if cycling in fenoscandia last year I mostly are at gas stations, because every village was basically a gas station and some houses spread over a big area. I found only one restaurant (a pizzeria) outside of small towns. But all the gas stations did basically double as a kebab shop, and small supermarket, so you could get a hot meal at least...

Oh and in the summer months the mosquitoes are crazy...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 04:24:53 pm »
I have not been to Finland but the far north of Sweden is just as QG described.

Garage shops are well-stocked and mostly self-service so most goods are self-explanatory.

GF might be a challenge for HK.

Finnish is unlike Scandic languages, which aren't too hard on the English mind.

I think many folk have some understanding of simple English.

I found myself craving fresh fruit & veg after cycling for AGES on garage fare.

Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 05:41:07 pm »
I rode north to south through Finland last June as part of the Northcape-Tarifa Race and as has been said already, it's very sparsley populated.  Opportunities for re-supply are limited to small village stores/petrol stations.  On one particular day I passed a shop early in the morning and it was closed.  I did not come across anything else until I had ridden just over 130 miles!  But its a vast country and the southern parts around Helsinki and along the coast are obviously more densely populated with consequently more frequent opportunities to buy food etc.  I can't say the scenery was that stimulating either (lots and lots of trees!) and of course, it's an expensive Scandinavian country and be prepared to encounter some unsealed roads.  As you can probably guess, I'd choose the Alicante option.  That said, Finland is a great country, I enjoyed my ride and have fond memories of many encounters with Reindeer, a Moose and endless daylight (which takes some getting used to).

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 06:32:20 pm »
The daylight won't be endless in August, though I agree in June you need to remember to go to bed.

Though I've not been to Finland, I should imagine the lakes provide good breeding grounds for winged biting creatures...

Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 10:11:08 pm »
I've only ever been driven in Finland before (from Helsinki to Tampere / Nokia) but outside those cities it seemed pretty flat with endless forests and a huge amount of lakes (according to Wikipedia - "There are some 187,888 lakes in Finland larger than 500 square metres (5,400 sq ft). About 57,000 of them have an area larger than 10,000 square metres")

It was a wonderful place and the people I met were great, but it did seem very sparsely populated outside of the cities.

Btw - what was the Spanish 1000km ride in October?

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2019, 10:14:16 pm »
What do I know about the Spanish 1000? It shows up in ACP's BRM listing for Spain, organised by an Alicante bike club. That's it.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2019, 10:54:22 pm »
Found it thanks - they all look rather lovely

http://www.ciclismoenalicante.es/#BMR1000

Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2019, 07:23:34 am »
What do I know about the Spanish 1000? It shows up in ACP's BRM listing for Spain, organised by an Alicante bike club. That's it.

The Randonneurs NL treasurer participated last year and he was very satisfied.

I didn't do a brevet starting in Finland but one of the Russian brevets I did passed through Finland.
After the Russian/Finnish border I managed to suffer from a culture shock. Not because of the landscape, that hardly alters, but because of the people. Finns in this area do tend to hide themselves away from outsiders. Even if you adress them they sometimes don't even react. I ended up riding a long stretch without water because no one even reacted to my request for water, even if I did see a local.
Later on I heard that this area is even among Finns regarded as an area where people don't like to contact outsiders.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2019, 11:18:20 am »
What do I know about the Spanish 1000? It shows up in ACP's BRM listing for Spain, organised by an Alicante bike club. That's it.

The Randonneurs NL treasurer participated last year and he was very satisfied.

I didn't do a brevet starting in Finland but one of the Russian brevets I did passed through Finland.
After the Russian/Finnish border I managed to suffer from a culture shock. Not because of the landscape, that hardly alters, but because of the people. Finns in this area do tend to hide themselves away from outsiders. Even if you adress them they sometimes don't even react. I ended up riding a long stretch without water because no one even reacted to my request for water, even if I did see a local.
Later on I heard that this area is even among Finns regarded as an area where people don't like to contact outsiders.

Fortunately there is a lot of water around. I carried a Sawyer Mini water filter, and some Oasis puritabs, so even if I was long stretches from civilisation, I was able to get safe drinking water.

In Sweden most gas stations have a tap outside, but the handle is missing. You can buy one from various sources, which allows you to use the tap outside of opening hours, or if you're unlucky enough to get one of the unstaffed gas stations. Was worth carrying the handle thing on my trip.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2019, 04:17:51 pm »
I have never cycled in Finland but I thoroughly enjoyed The Cyclist Who Went Out In The Cold by Tim Moore, who cycled 6,000 miles from the most Northerly town in Finland to the Black Sea along the line of the Iron Curtain using an East German two geared shopping bike. He started in March and discovered that there is plenty of snow in Finland at that time of year.

Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2019, 12:31:21 pm »
What is it like riding in Finland, particularly for a pure Anglophone? Are Finnish brevets barebones affairs with few options to get food, etc. along the way (carry lots) or is food available easily at convenience stores/ garages/ bars/ whatever?

An opinion from a not pure Anglophone (A Finn). Depends on where you are riding in Finland. There are many good indoor break (garages/"traffic station" with restaurant and shop etc.) alternatives in southern Finland. And there are 24H stations along the major highways. 24h traffic stations have been reduced and have been changed to be open 6 am-10pm / 6am-12pm.
I live in the Kuopio region (Eastern Finland) and ride mainly there. There is basically one 24-hour traffic station in every direction there with 150 km radius. The longest distance between indoor break is thus 100-130km during night ride. Up north there less open places even in daytime.

And almost every town have some kind of boozer that is open daily at least to 10pm and weekends 12pm - 2am.

More information https://www.abcasemat.fi/en https://www.teboil.fi/en/stations/ https://www.neste.fi/asemat https://www.st1.fi/asemahaku Twitter: @AlwaysTooFar and @RandonneursFi Facebook: Randonneurs Finland

Mr Spooner has ridden some/many times in Finland. He should know, too.  8)
Long rides - always too far

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2019, 03:37:00 pm »
Thanks for the information but I think HK would prefer Spanish temperatures to Finland's mosquitoes if we decide to do a 1000 BRM this year alongside PBP Randoneur and Paris-Tourmalet 1000 UAF.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2019, 08:52:12 am »
Before you make a decision based on temperature may I point out that in summer Finland will be hot - certainly a lot warmer than England. After all, the sun is up for at least 20 hours a day! My experience of riding in Finland is limited to the area around Helsinki, which will be atypical, but I've ridden much more extensively in Sweden, Estonia and northern Russia. Temperatures during the day would be in the 30s reducing to the mid 20s at night. One obvious point is to carry lots of water - you will be drinking regularly and there are limited opportunities for replenishment.

Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2019, 11:42:38 am »
Right! My last summer B600 (only brevet) in July. Temperature varied from daytime 34C to early morning 6C.
Long rides - always too far

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2019, 12:04:14 pm »
I appreciate folk trying to convince me of the delights of Finland but early October Alicante is likely to have a lower max temp and a higher min temp than Finland in summer, along with fewer mosquitoes and cheaper travel costs. HK reacts particularly badly to small flying things biting her.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: Riding brevets in Finland?
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2019, 09:43:53 am »
You'll be most likely riding on your own through endless forests and not a soul in sight for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours......

Would HK cope ?