Cycling Through a Pandemic is a project sharing the stories and perspectives of cyclists from ten countries around the world, who embarked on journeys in their home countries during the pandemic. This is Henna Palosaari's story.
Tour de Fin is a Collection of the routes I used on my bikepacking trip around Finland in the summer of 2020. After years abroad, I was back in my home country and my calendar was cleared because of COVID, so I decided it was finally time to explore Finland properly. I bought my very first gravel bike and bike bags and started this unforgettable 40 day and over 4,800 kilometre (3,000 mile) solo adventure around Finland.
To start, I followed the Finnish coastline down south enjoying the long summer evenings by the Baltic Sea. Another great thing about the seaside is that there’s way less mosquitoes than inland, where there can be plenty in the summertime. After following the coastline I started making my way up to the north through the Finnish Lakeland. Finland is known as the land of thousands of lakes, 188,000 to be specific, so there’s no lack of perfect picturesque camping spots in this area. There's also plenty of gas stations, grocery stores and cafés until this point of the tour so it wasn’t necessary to carry that much food or water with me.
The east of Finland and Lapland are one of the least populated areas in Finland, but what they lack in number of people and services they make up with scenery. Sunsets over the fells and reindeer along the road, it’s impossible not to love the serene beauty of the Finnish Lapland. Mosquitoes and blackflies do keep you company though, so I recommend bringing taking good mosquito repellant with you or simply enjoy your dinner inside your tent. In Lapland, you need to plan your food little better, since the distances are longer between shops but there’s plenty of little fell rivers you can fill your water bottles from.
I had only made a rough plan of the route before the trip, thus most of the planning was always done the night before ride. Thankfully there’s a good phone network in Finland in most places except the bigger wilderness areas. The best part of bikepacking in Finland is that we have freedom to roam, which means you can basically set up your tent wherever you want and there’s more than plenty of rural areas to explore! Remember though that in national parks and conservation areas, you are allowed to camp only on designated camp spots. And don’t forget to try at least one korvapuusti (cinnamon bun) and karjalanpiirakka (karelian pie) on your trip, they are so yummy!
Kiitos ja tervetuloa Suomeen, moi moi!
Thank you and welcome to Finland, bye bye!
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
The Finnish coast is just too pretty not to go check all the capes! There were some fun smaller countryside roads today and another beautiful beach to finish the day at.
Storsand is an conservation area so camping is not allowed on the beach, but only in the forest in designated spots.
Today's ride was mix of some more boring roads and perfect countryside roads. One even went through an old meteorite field! But still my favorite part was the camp spots, as I had no expectations for this and oh boy what a perfect spot it was!
I had my first flat tire fo the trip and fixing it in the rain was no fun. Luckily a sweet lady stopped and offered me some strawberries so I could find a camping spot to hold the rain and fix my bike. Also I really needed a day off already...
For the first part of the day I followed again the coastal route. I had great lunch at Gammelbyhouse before finishing the day to Finland's southernmost town -Hanko. The tracking turned off at some point but I recommend riding to Hanko through Öby.
The Saimaa area is stunning and especially Punkaharju. The Harjutie is a narrow road that goes between two lakes and it is an absolute must road to ride on a bike. I will never forget the feeling of riding it in the evening light.
Sometimes you loose sometimes you win. Today choosing the smaller gravel roads was maybe not the right call, as the roads were in pretty bad shape which made the riding pretty hard and eventually also got a flat tire. But same time wouldn't have gotten to have spend lunch break at Iso-Valkeinen if I…
Bike Touring Collection by TOUR Magazin
Bike Touring Collection by NORTH STAR PEDALING
Bike Touring Collection by Amy
Bike Touring Collection by Simon Rosmolen