INTRO

 

We began our mountain biking adventures of the summer by packing up a van. It was fully loaded with bikes, equipment and all camping luxuries one could hope for. We had intended to drive around Finland and find spots where to go riding.

 

RECCE

Herajoki, Finland, 7.7.2013

This was a warm up day which ended up being pretty spectacular in the end. We started off messing about in the rocky trails around lake Herajärvi, and then rode over to lake Pielinen.

The trails were nice for the most part and the weather was perfect. True to our nature, we ventured into some off-off-road and ran out of trail, ending up pushing our bikes up overgrown forest. Still, it was Finnish summer at its best. After all the hard work we went for a swim in the long deserted beach of Pielinen. True bliss.

The Herajoki river ha a ford just before the beach. We took the opportunity to ride over it several times and managed to get some nice pics.

 

CIRCUS CIRCUIT

Koli, Finland, 8.7.2013

After the warm up day, we were eager to get some proper riding done. Unfortunately the weather had turned a little to the sour side, so we decided to warm up on gravel roads first before hitting the trails.

We rode to the Koli-Lieksa ferry and had some lunch at the restaurant in the harbour. It turned out that one of the people working there was a mountain bike fanatic, and he gave us some excellent route information in the Koli area.

We took off in improving weather and rode westward, going around Koli from the north. We found the beginning of the trail at the end of a small forest road. It looked pretty overgrown but we decided to take it anyway. Route finding was pretty tricky at times, but it was still good fun. Especially crossing an old pasture with waist high vegetation.

The Sikosalmi ferry was a new experience for me. I’ve been on a similar, but bigger, floats with a motorbike in Latvia, but never with a mountain bike.

After the ferry the terrain turned pretty technical and tricky. It was rocky with undulating elevation. I was really struggling and couldn’t wait for the section to end. Luckily it did and we cruised back to base.

 

 

FUNKY TRAILS

 Northern Koli, Finland, 9.7.2013

The final day in the Koli area. We went to have a look at the northern parts. The day turned out to be more of a gravel road day than anything else. The highlight ended up being a large sandpit on the way north.

I spotted a line down the steep face of the sandpit and decided to have a go at it. TKS-1 was in position to document my hour of glory.

The top section went without incident, but just before the end of the bottom section I ended up getting too much weight on the front wheel and went over the bars. TKS-1 is and evil shot and managed to photograph the whole thing. Equally fortunate was the fact that there was a loader on stand by to scrape me off the sand pit. Fortunately it was not needed.

 

 

TORASLAMPI CIRCUIT

Syöte, Finland, 12.7.2013

I was really impressed with how much effort the staff at Syöte have put into building their mountain biking trails. Not only are they well built but the trail markings are equally good. Mountain biking is still considered a bit of a dubious sport by the laggards who deem anything else than walking is the work of the devil. Unfortunately these laggards tend to have a lot of say in where you can and cannot ride. So I was pretty surprised to find these nice trails in place and developed.

 

THE FAR NORTH

Näkkälä, Finland, 14.7.

This was the northernmost location I had ever cycled in. We were high up in the Arctic and it seemed as if summer did not venture here. The scenery was excellent and the riding as good as it gets on gravel roads.
There was a fierce wind blowing and the waves on Lake Pöyrisjärvi, our destination, were high. On the way back we were met by several quads riding very fast to where we had just come from. At the car park we found several vehicles and staff of the rescue department. We found out that a fishing boat had capsized on the lake and two fishermen of a group of four were missing. Sadly, they had both drowned. The were locals from Näkkälä, so it was a heavy blow for the area.

 

Wet and wild

Levi, Finland, 16.7.

We took a day to ride the Levi downhill tracks. Weather was miserable with downpours, so I couldn’t carry a camera. I was amazed though, at how well this bike park was maintained. Especially since the rain just washed out the gravel from between the rocks. The guys working there must spend every day of the summer shoveling and raking.

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