Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Helsinki in December

I was planning to write a post about how miserable the weather is and how I only managed 6 km in half an hour riding on the muddy forest trails (I include the picture of my poor dirty bike anyway), but then this morning in the space of ten minutes, Espoo turned white. My ride to the gym on newly-fitted winter tyres this evening was exciting, not only because it confirmed that it is possible to travel safely at speed on snow and ice on a bicycle. Which means, at least theoretically, that I will be riding all winter for the sheer joy of it.

I am, however, unexpectedly acting as best man at a wedding in London on the next sub-24 weekend - that's loppiainen, Friday 6th January. It's a day off work, so perhaps an early start during daylight? Florian assured me that he will be riding so all that he needs is a friend to enjoy it with. See the comments below and Facebook for the details.

Merry Christmas, I looking forward to sub-24ing in 2012!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sub-24, Helsinki, December 2011. 
I was fantasizing about a snowy ride, but no. Instead, rain. 
Of course, rain is only troublesome if it makes you wet. 
Darkness, cold? 
Lights, clothes.

I'll say this now. Honestly, we were not that cold. With the right layers - it was five each - and some warm food and drink, we were just toasty. So, if you were put off by the coldness, don't worry. Come next month and you will see.

Our camping spot this time was Kattilajärvi, which looks from the map like it is on the edge of Nuuksio national park. Reachable by asphalt (80 %), not as far as Nuuksionpää but further than Pirttimäki, it seemed perfect. Searching for the grill in the dark was interesting, especially with the backdrop of the cosy camping centre across the water. Once we found the spot, gave up with the damp wood, lit the gas and started eating and drinking, all was well with the world. 

We slept right next to the grill place because finding flat camping ground in the dark is not that much fun. Perhaps the picture above gives an idea how dark it was. It also shows Florian's blue tent INSIDE the grill hut. Surely no one has ever tried that before?!

An early start back towards home still gave us the chance to get an idea what kind of place we had slept in. The first bits of ice had formed on the lake overnight, so we felt very adventurous riding home on the slippery roads as the dawn began to break.

I was home before 10 am, so this sub-24 was actually a sub-17. Thanks, Florian for waking up so early. And for bringing the gas. In the comments below, you will find an account of Florian's adventure after he left me.

So... see you next month, Friday 6th January - that's epiphany for those who know about those kind of things. The ride IS on and all we need is some company...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lee's enthusiasm, on the wane...

On the Friday before sub-24 Friday, I always look out of the window (obviously I am at home) and try to imagine the weather to expect in one week's time. Well, last Friday was dark, cold, windy, wet, and generally miserable.

Is that what we have to look forward to next week? There are some tough riders amongst us, I know. But who would rather go riding and camping instead of all the other nice options Finland offers us at this time of year - central heating, candles, glögi, warm embraces?

I'm also of the opinion that, despite being nice and protected in the Pirttimäki cabin, the damp firewood will make everything a bit more miserable.

So, to cut a long story short: Bemböle at 17:45. Then a couple of hours night ride to Nuuksio.

Or the candlelight and embraces thing.

Who's in?

(As an aside, I'm planning to go here before Christmas. If someone wants to join/instruct me, that would be nice...)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


So, hydrospinning. That's that then. It felt as silly as it looks. Pedaling to the music, waving our arms around, being shouted at by the sweet young lady. I won't be rushing back there, but I'm pleased I tried it. We look pretty happy in these photos - a few of us look VERY happy, actually. 

It was really good to see everyone (eleven in total: both Sub24ers and prospective Sub24ers) and I guess we're all looking forward to more Sub-24 escapades in the future. Friday 2nd December, anyone?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween special

Pitch black forests, spooky mist, an eerie moon. Three hardcore sub24ers enjoyed a different experience this Friday in the chilly darkness of Pirttimäki.

Bike lights and headlamps were enough to see us through the unlit kilometres to an old favourite camping place - now marked with its Finnish name, Sulalampi. The grilling cottage here should provide a bit more warmth than the wall-less open grills found elsewhere.

We were lucky it wasn't that cold because the damp wood was even more unwilling to burn than usual - we got more exercise blowing than riding. So to say. Just enough heat to warm some sausages was all we could manage. (Ouch.)

Outside it was dark and misty, inside is was dark and smoky. But the only truly weird thing was the arrival of hundreds of mosquitoes, which actually disappeared as eerily as they arrived. 

Sleepy riders went into warm sleeping bags to get ready for the new day. Apart from being disturbed by mice eating Lee's chocolate and pooing in Lee's helmet, the cabin proved good enough to sleep in for Hubert.
If it weren't for the damp wood, this cottage could see some serious sub24 action this winter. Willing riders will have to come up with a better plan for December.

For now, we're looking forward to seeing everyone for Hydrospinning...

p.s. Can you explain the river? And the toxic sewage?!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


So, I had to put my bike lights on at 5 pm yesterday. That has some bearing on the trip this Friday- which I know everyone is keen to attend. Obviously, going along lit cycle paths is not such a challenge, but riding in the forest and putting up tents in the dark is not everyone's idea of fun, especially if the weather gods add some cold and wet to proceedings.

I, however, am still keen to go. First Friday of the month - sub-24!

To cut down on uncertainties, maybe we should go into Pirttimäki again and aim for the camping sites where we have been before. The  grilling cabin would be good if it's cold, but there are other options close-by if that place is already occupied. There's some nice new signposts in Pirttimäki, so we shouldn't be able to get lost. Even in the dark...

5:30 at Bemböle then, okay?

Usual equipment should be enough and I'll bring a trangia in case we need it. Just don't forget your bike lights, torches and headlamps.

Finally, apologies for the short notice of the post, I've been in bed for a week with flu. Which means I need lots of fresh air and exercise this weekend...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Christmas came early

IMPORTANT: nothing interesting is happening this Saturday 22nd October as previously promised. Unless, that is, you yourself have an interesting life outside sub-24.

There will be NO pikkujoulu party this Saturday.

However, we will be having a private hyrdrospinning lesson in English at 14:30 on Saturday 12th Novermber at Mäkelänrinne swimming hall. 50m pool, nice saunas... and bars close by, it should be a good evening.

14:30 is a touch early, but maybe a swim after, some relaxing in the steam room and saunas (and the 8 degree cold pool), there's a nice cafe overlooking the pool which some say serves the best munkki in Helsinki. Then what? The velodrome is just around the corner, I'll call them and see if we can get a tour. The city is a short tram ride away. Some games of pool, a spot of dinner, cocktails and then... the walk of shame to the taxi queue.

See you on the 12th, if not before.

(this is for X)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Christmas is nearly here...

Well, it seems like we've got a pikkujoulu party this weekend. Or maybe not. I'm waiting to hear about hydrospinning - which we are all keen to try, right? But if we can't get that booked before Christmas, then we'd better do something nice this Saturday. Is anyone coming? Ideas, please.

The next sub-24 should be on Friday 4th November. We're not on winter holiday yet. Tents, lean-to, cabin? We were talking about Rastila at some point? Or adventure...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sub 24 is good for you...

...most of the time!

Unfortunately yesterday things didn't quite go to plan. It all started beautifully. The autumn sunshine and colours were stunning and the road to Porkkala is a perfect cycling road!


We then arrived on the Porkkala dirt track and were nearly at the camping spot when Zuzanna fell awkwardly. I started to think all may not be good when she wouldn't answer my "are you ok?" questions. When I got next to her she pointed to her left arm. It was twisted the wrong way. Ouch.

The good thing was there were three of us to handle the situation and we handled it well. Lee called the ambulance, while Dima and I stayed with her. Everyone stayed in control and she was doing remarkably well given the situation. She responded to jokes and seemed calm. It was pretty cold by then though and the wait for the ambulance seemed to take an age. In actual fact it was barely more than 20 mins, great stuff considering where we were. 

They performed emergency care, before embarking her and I into an ambulance to the hospital all the way in Helsinki. The fact that her main concern was that she needed to pee shows she could have felt worse! Eventually we got to the hospital and the scan revealed a nasty double fracture of the forearm. She wasn't surprised. I was!

They consolidated the arm in a safe position into a cast and will operate her on Tuesday. So we got to go home for the night, via the 24-hour pharmacy to pick up some real strong meds!

Overall she really feels fortunate that things weren't worse. The rest of her body's fine, the nerves and veins in her arm are unharmed, no internal bleeding, and she has very supportive friends all around her. She kept saying how nice the ride was up to that point and how she wants to come back there as soon as she's better!

Thank you to Dima, Lee and Xavier who took good care of our stuff once we were gone and got it back to us so soon the next day! I hope you managed to enjoy yourselves despite the circumstances.

Speedy recovery Suzie!