With increasing frequency road cycling is getting referred to as “the new golf” in different media outlets. To some extend it is true. Cycling appeals to that same middle-aged well-off demographic as golf has become more accessible. Also cycling is gaining popularity fast just like golf did in the 90s. Part of me cringes at the thought of being part of a fad or a victic of a clever marketing ploy. On the other hand who cares. Cycling is healthy and a great way to spend excess free time. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking it would cool to produce some Cicli Chinarello gear. T-shirt, a cycling cap, jersey and a buff came first to mind. I played a little bit with a graphics program and came up with the design below. The dragon is by Hydro74. The colors might still change, but let me know if you are interested.
For now I’m just scoping for demand and will decide later whether to pursue this avenue or not. I think the price would be around 40€ for a t-shirt, caps for 10€ and bandana 20€. Jerseys should be significantly more expensive, but more on those later. Shipping globally can be arranged. Payment by PayPal.
Cycling is one of those hobbies where there is really no limit to the amount of money you can spend on it. There will always be upgrades as companies are continuously developing enticing new products. Falling into the trap of new and improved, but short lived standards will force you into a vicious upgrade cycle. On the other hand if you have the will power there are ways to get started and continue your hobby without selling a kidney or robbing a bank. In addition to no-name products other cheap skate tactics include buying second hand and trading up. Most important strategy is separating wheat from the chaff ie. recognizing industry trends that have actual longetivity.
There is something really quintessentially scandinavian about spending the mid-summer solstice hidden as far in the woods as possible. To make the transition from office drone to a child of the nature more tangible I made part of the trip by bike. Shortcuts through gritty gravel roads and riding in the rain have a wonderful cleansing effect on your soul. When you finally warm up your toes in the sauna you feel like a born again man.
Finland is the land of thousand lakes so to document the road trip I tried to take a picture anytime I rode over a bridge. Sometimes judging from the number of lakes and rivers in my pictures it feels like I might enjoy paddling or rowing more than cycling. I have given it some thought, but I don’t think I’m ready to give up cycling quite yet. However I think I might put these longer rides on hold and concentrate on shorter more intensive rides.
Vättern Rundan 2014 took place last weekend. My training had gone pretty much as planned, but as the event started getting close the usual jitters kicked-in. I started getting worried about what to wear, how the travel arrangements would work out and how the home front would cope. Things took a turn for the worse as I got sick less than week before the event. For a few days it seemed like the only option would be to forfeit defeat and stay home. In the end despite all the odds stacked against me I managed to pull it off. It sure wasn’t pretty or fast, but I did finish.
Vättern Rundan is approaching fast. Currently the start is in 11 days. The good thing is I think I have prepared physically as well as I possible could. Riding 350km in April and 650km in May puts me well over the recommended 1000km. I have also ridden two trips over 200km so I know what it is like riding tired and in the cold. Unfortunately I don’t have experience riding in a group in the dark and I need to sort out what to pack. Once I make sure the bike is in good shape I think I will be as ready as I will ever be. The last week and half I will spend resting and sorting out the details. Continue reading
On Saturday I rode from Helsinki to Tampere. As the crow flies the distance between these two towns is just 170km. With little planning I managed to extend the route to a 204km long squiggly path on the map. I planned for some control stops in advance so that I could qualify for a 200km brevet. I gathered receipts along the way so that my feat can be acknowledged by the Audax Club Parisien. Continue reading
I deliberately set the cycling season goals high and now I’m afraid I have bitten more that I can chew. Last year I remember being a little bit intimated by my goals, but this year I’m seriously starting to doubt soundness of my judgement. It is easy to get discouraged by comparing yourself to others and your audacious goals can become your enemy. I don’t think there are any magic tricks so I just try to do my own thing. In the end you eat an elephant spoonful at a time.
Rest of the family headed out to a remote light house so I was left home alone for the weekend. Instead of spending the time worrying I spent the whole weekend fully submerged in the local cycling subculture. Saturday I rode the 10th annual Hki-Porvoo-Hki ride and then on Sunday I sold some of the excess gear in a community swap-meet. Weather was pretty spectacular, but I liked the atmosphere most. It was great meeting new people and touching base with familiar faces.
One of the key take-aways from this weekend was that we have an excellent vibrant “underground” cycling scene here in Helsinki. Much of the buzz is down to just a few active individuals that have been at it for years now. I have lot of respect for these guys and girls organizing events and producing small runs of shirts/caps/etc. I guess you could compare this underground volunteer work to running a cycling club, but without the stuck up, competition charged atmosphere. As a relevant new-comer attending to these freebie events I feel little bit guilty, but I console myself with the thought that each community also needs participants and at least I write about my experiences.
I spent the best part of Easter in Tampere. Since the weather was supposed to be nice I brought along my vintage Bianchi. The plan was to ride around the lake Pyhäjärvi following the Pyhäjärven maisemareitti route. This turned out to be a great idea as you can see from the pics below. I loved the gravel grinding along recreational paths and especially the short single-track sections were great. I give two thumbs up and recommend the route.