Thursday, December 6, 2012

Independence Day

Today Finland celebrates 95 years as an independent nation. The turmoil in Russia during the Bolshevik revolution gave Finland the needed opportunity and Parliament of Finland declared Finland's independence on 6 December 1917. After that a very violent civil war followed, with the Whites fighting against the socialistic Reds (in reality it was a lot more complex than non-socialist versus socialists). With a little assistance from Germany the Whites won over the Reds, who were assisted by Russian troops. The wounds from the traumatic civil war healed slowly and it took a new war to finally reunite the people of Finland. In 1939 the Soviet Union attacked Finland in the Winter War, which lasted a few months. A forced and fragile peace followed until the Continuation War started in 1941. It lasted until September 1944, when a temporary Armistice was signed. Finland kept its independence at a great cost. The total losses on the Finnish side was around 63000 dead or missing against 265000 on the Soviet side. The Finns fought hard enough against the numerically superior Red Army that the price for conquering Finland would have become too high for the Soviet Union. There were of course a whole lot of additional details, including Germany fighting on the Finnish side, but that is the topic for another history lesson.

The Finland of today stands in gratitude to my grandfather's generation, who sacrificed their youth, and in many cases lives, defending Finland. Still, Finland's independence has been a success story by all measures and this has mainly been due to the resourcefulness of the Finnish people, since Finland doesn't have particularly many natural riches.

And now to the Independence Day ride. The winter started a week ago and I've now winterized the fatbike, see the ThingLink stuff on the following picture.

I put flat pedals, freshly bought from Foxcomp, on the bike, since my old Shimano MW-81 winter SPD shoes are nowadays good to only a little below freezing. I think the shoes have shrunk, and my post-frostbite toes are no longer as warm as before. A pair of Keen Summit County winter boots with space for liner socks and thick wools socks should keep my feet warm in temperatures down to about -25C. -30C is probably too much for trips lasting several days, though. A pair of gaiters keeps the snow out of the boots.

Big Fat Larry 4.7" tires on 82 mm Holy Rolling Darryl rims. A lot wider that my 3.8" Larry tires on 47 mm TrialTech rims for summer use.

The fatter tires on the 82 mm rims needed some modifications to the drive line to avoid chain rubbing when in the lightest gear. The rear cassette was modified by removing the second smallest cog and putting a spacer between the hub and the cassette, essentially moving the cassette a few mm outwards.

Around 3 mm of clearance between the chain and the tires, which should suffice.

The Salsa Anything cage makes it possible to put a 5 liter bag with gear on the fork.

I was the first one out this morning. There are only a few centimeters of snow in the dense forest and 12-15 cm in open places.

Not much snow yet, but it makes for a very graphical landscape.

This time I was out for pure fun, and a coffee breaks increases the enjoyment a lot.

At its best, the winter is a very nice time of the year. And there are no mosquitoes.

That's it for now.

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