Monday, October 01, 2012

Mountain biking in Komio

It started with a tweet. Peter from Yeti Rides noted he had found an interesting blog: another Finnish fat bike aficionado who has started blogging in English about trips in Finland. The blog "Duckboards are evil" is great - nice pictures and written with an engaging and lighthearted style; for example: "our unofficially and unintentionally slightly homoeroticaly named duo Metsäveljet was in it's full line up." Metsäveljet means "forest brothers", but the phrase may well have more direct cultural connotations about what the brotherhood of the forest might be getting up to out there in those dark endless woods than my Finnish is up to understanding. Anyway, from my point of the view, one of the best things is that Mr Duckboards-are-evil is Helsinki based, which means his local stomping grounds are mine, so the blog immediately provided me with some new ideas and inspiration to get out.

A view from a hill top, a surprisingly rare thing in wooded Finland.
As you head north from Helsinki up the motorway towards Tampere, the geography of the country to the west changes. Sand is central to this, meaning quite specific local flora and a certain feel to the woods that is specific to the sandy ground. This area known as Hämeen järvilylänkö or the Häme Lake Uplands, isn't really uplands in the way a Brit would understand the word, but it is a pretty wild area with some interesting geography, the after-effects of major glaciation. I've been up that way before with the family for some hiking at the beautiful Torronsuo national park, one of the biggest mires - or swamps - in the country. We also went rock climbing at one of the more esoteric Finnish crags I've been to, the amusingly named Nakkivuori, near Somero. But Duckboards-are-evil sent me to the nature reserve of Komio, for some excellent trail riding. I've been biking a lot - I've recently bought a cyclocross bike (more of which at a later date); but mainly road biking. It was nice to get out my mountain bike and throw it around a bit. The trails there are superb for mountain biking, mainly 'flowy' single track, hardly anyone on them and traversing a geography of "rugged eskers [that] form a characteristic feature for the gorgeous landscape along with sunny and shadowy slope-side forests, clear watered ponds and vast bogs". The eskers form short, but very steep ridges and the trails going up and down them provide challenging riding. The paths going along the tops of them are just wonderful. One helpful by-product of the sandy-esker geography is that despite the huge amounts of rain we've been having recently the trails were well drained and not really very muddy at all.

A lake
I had left a bit late, so only got to ride for a couple of hours - nevertheless its the best riding I've done in ages and reminded me of just how much pure fun mountain biking can be. Thanks very much to Mr. D-A-E for the inspiration/information and keep on blogging.

As slippy as wet ice, these duckboards really were rather evil.
Here's a film I was inspired to make. As I don't have a GoPro or similar, I sort of tied my little Lumix to the handle bars with its mini-bendy tripod. The results were predictably shaky and silly, but I'm not really expecting an Oscar. It does give some idea of how much fun it is though!

1 comment:

Peikko said...

Thanks for mentioning mate. I'm as happy as surprised that dae blog was actually of some help for you. Happy ridings!