Saturday, June 29, 2013

Väransby, June 2013

It's nice behind Bembole Shell

More new roads and new friends for this month's sub-24. At our regular meeting point in Bemböle, riders from Britain (2!), Switzerland and Russia shook hands and filled water bottles.

After a short ride to Espoon keskus railway station, riders from Finland, France and Britain (2!) joined the crew for a new route.

Finnish wilderness. Espoon keskus.

Rather than retracing our steps along Kuninkaantie, we opted for a ride southwards through Espoo's wooded central park, through some new and posh-looking suburbs, arriving at the Lansivayla bridge across the bay at Kivenlahti. From there, our way was rather confused by the building of golf course roads, although, on a brighter note, we did see some forest deer. Maps, GPS, friendly locals, and we were finally pushed in the right direction.

The end of the road

The reward for our hard work was Hirsalantie, a wonderful curvy Finnish countryside road with only the slightest of hills for added interest.What more do you want? Sheep? Strawberries?

When we finally arrived at Varansby, we found a perfect beach camping spot, The Beast and two tandem-riding adventurers (French and Australian). Along with copious amounts of comedy nudity, the refreshing swim and roaring fire gave us an enjoyable evening. At our busiest, we had eleven riders this month, but again family commitments led a couple home before the sausages were burnt. 

The traditional wheel-dip
No camping?

If I'm honest, they fell straight off

Vegetables. Cooked by girls.

T-shirt in honour of bike thieves

Everyone loves a tandem
The sound of light rain on our tents kept us all in bed until late on Saturday morning. A lightning quick break of camp and an ultra-leisurely breakfast put us on the road well within sub-24 limits. The rain stopped and our ride back along Hirsilantie was only disturbed by ridiculous numbers of locals driving into the city.
Rather than attempt negotiating golf courses or central parks, we headed straight towards the big city along Lansivayla, stopped only by red lights and tandem test-drives. Incidentally, in the hands of seasoned handlers, the tandem is terrifyingly fast downhill. It sounds like a truck, too.

Well, that's it for this month. Thanks to everyone. I thought it best not to include certain pictures for fear of alienating potential sub-24ers. Presumably the Facebook page will be rather less-well edited...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Go west!

Back to the western side of Helsinki region for this June edition of Sub24 Helsinki.

Update:  We've decided on Väransby for this month's sub-24... good facilities, an interestingly varied ride (if we don't get too lost negotiating our way through Espoo), and only 24 km from Bemböle. That's about two hours of slow riding with the promise of a refreshing swim, flat camping ground and a roaring fire.

Meeting at Bemböle Shell Station at 17:45. THIS FRIDAY!

See elsewhere on the blog for more details and comment or email with questions or problems.

As mentioned during our last trip in May, summer in the forests of Southern Finland means mosquitoes, and to avoid them as much as it is possible, heading to the seaside in the winds sounds like a reasonable idea.

Newcomers and regulars alike, check out our previous trips using the Destination tab of this blog to have an idea of the meeting places and timings, as quite likely these will be the same this time.

Lost in Sipoonkorpi

At the end of May, Finland switched suddenly to full summer weather, and it was under a great light that a strong team of 9 cyclists showed up at the farm of Haltiala.

The presence of a few newcomers from England, Finland and Tunisia (?) once again proves that the concept of Sub24 knows no border and is still attracting people.

After a long jaunt following Vantaanjoki and Keravanjoki with a few stops in search of food, a mandatory swimming stop would be done in the outdoor location of Kuusijärvi, Vantaa.

Enjoying the surprisingly warm waters, a few cyclists-turned-swimmers shared a swim with a family of ducks to embrace the spring nature.

Joined by Immi, the group would now count 10 people, if only for a short while as a few cyclist would return home the same day.

For the rest of us, the goal was a laavu and a fireplace to set the camp, nearby lake Bisajärvi. After pushing the bikes for a good 2 kilometers on small paths (remember Urja?), we all had to admit the laavu was no more. Indeed, asking a few close residents, it appeared that all the camping facilities of the area have been removed as the land on which they were located was now private. Our map from 2012 indicated otherwise…

Since there was no other option left, the first official camping place being more than 10 km away across forest paths, Olivier located a rock that would consist of our camp for the night. No fire that night, nor access to water, but the great food brought would make up for the disappointing turn of events: pulla, mustikka pie, strawberries… Fighting the armies of mosquitoes in full force, some tried the dubious technique of makkara grilling in the flames of a gaz stove, while pondering of the protein content of mosquitoes as everyone was swallowing them by the dozen.

After an uneventful night, Nick would leave us quickly to fulfill parenting tasks, and 5 of us were left for the morning breakfast. Mosquitoes all gone despite similar weather to last night, we enjoyed our time rather nicely, and made our way back to our respective homes by midday.

The thermometer that day would reach 27 degrees Celsius, to our greatest pleasure.

Thank you all for the good times cycling, swimming, and camping!