Friday, July 9, 2010

Hot riding

I had two days of vacation planned while the children were still in kindergarten. The plan was to do a long and fairly hard ride from Turku to Pyhäjärvi, sleep somewhere there, and ride back a slightly different route. It would have meant something around 10 h of riding each day, excluding breaks. However, due to the abundance of mosquitoes and the heat (up to 27°C), I figured it would be quite horrible to ride in the dense forest and along the bogs. Sleeping in a bivy bag is not that much fun either, because of the mosquitoes. I just sold my Hilleberg Akto tent and ordered a Tarptent Double Rainbow, so I currently have no suitable tent either. I came up with a different more relaxed plan, and the resulting trip is described below.

I took the 6:38 train from Turku to Karis/Karjaa. Nowadays the trains only take three bikes per train, a lot less than 15 years ago.

At 7:45 I started from Karis/Karjaa and after just about 20 minutes I was forced to do some bushwacking to arrive at a trail marked on the map. One thousand mosquitoes kept me company.

After some serious bushwacking I arrived at the trail, which was a slight disappointment. More bushwacking ahead.

Finally some rideable trail, which led to Lomsjö.

After some nice riding on nice trails, I took a gravel road and then took a shortcut through the forest and found myself without a rideable trail again. From time to time there was something rideable, like below. The mosquitoes, gadflys, and some angry bees did make it interesting, though.

Some local flora.

Some local fauna.

After a short ride on gravel roads like the one below, the real trails started here.

Since this was to be a more relaxed tour I rode into the town centre of Ekenäs/Tammisaari (which is actually can be done on the trails of the sand ridge leading into the town) for some food. This was not the best Chinese restaurant I have been in. After the food I drank a cup of coffee with my brother who just arrived.

This way the two hottest hours of the day passed. After this I continued westwards, with a quick detour on some of the Västerby trails.


Västerby Storträsk

Ryssbacken, "The Russian hill", probably called so because of this grave. A Russian Major Dergatjov was killed in the battle of Vitsand a few kilometers from this place during the Crimean war. Now this is a long way from the Crimean peninsula, but since Finland was part of Russia at that time, the war was felt here as well.

Ice cold and fresh spring water in Källviken.

Enjoying a cup of good French roast coffee, made with a French style coffee press, the only luxury item I brought with me.

More war memories, this time from the war 70 gears ago.

This was supposed to stop the Sovjet tanks.

Easy riding on Nicklundsberget.


Trying to find a route to Högholmen in Tvärminne. The trails were going through a military exercise zone, going though which would be highly illegal and possibly dangerous as well, since they are currently shooting with sharp rounds there.

I could not find a good route and ended up doing some really hardcore bushwacking for 45 minutes. It was so depressing that I forgot to take any pictures.

Almost at my destination.

Finally, Högholmen after 12 hours (8 hours of actual riding) and 81 km. Högholmen is a small nature reserve. Using a tent is not allowed there, but I figured sleeping in a bivy bag without leaving any trace of my visit would be ok.

Dinner. A real lightpacker eats with his tire lever.

Some chocolate as dessert.

I went to sleep maybe around 22:40. My plan was that this somewhat exposed place would be open to the wind and the place very dry anyway, so there should be no problem with mosquitoes. I only noticed a few ones, so the cunning plan worked.

Once again, I overslept and woke around 6:44. It was a beautiful morning.

Morning porridge.

On the move again at 7:30. Because of my late start I had to revise my plans and rode straight to Källviken to refill my water supply.

Is this sign really necessary? The road is hardly visible anymore.

Arrived at the Västerby trails. Långträsket.

Grabbskog Storträsk


Easy riding.

I arrived in Ekenäs/Tammisaari around 11:00 and went to my brothers place to take a shower. After that I enjoyed a pizza and took the train back home. Riding time today was only 3 h and 32 km.

More pictures are found here.

A short video of the trip.


  1. Incredible looking adventure, and great report!

  2. Very nice photos and report!

    Re: Mosquitos, that is in my opinion the best solution to get rid of mosquitos, pitch in a windy site to get rid of them, that is also the most lightweight option ;)

  3. Thanks. Hendrik, I got rid of mosquitoes in just that way this time, but it does restrict the possible sleeping places.

  4. The sign is for the chain not the road.
    Extremely nice report and photos.