Cycling to work in the rain

Yesterday the weather forecast said it would rain at 8am today, but not before that. So last night I went to bed very early and got up at 6 o’clock. When I headed out the rain already started, but it was not raining heavily. After some time it rained harder and I got all wet — the clothes are wet both inside and outside since I was sweating heavily. I thought it would take me longer time to get to work, but when I arrived it took me only one hour and ten minutes, even less time than yesterday!

I only wish I had brought another pair of socks since it became all wet because I was wearing sandals…

Cycling to work

I booked a flight to Warsaw one day after midsummer and discovered later no bus connection is available to the airport on that day. And after searching the cycling route to the airport I decided to cycle there this Saturday, since it’s just 22 km away. Last Saturday I started cycling again to get some exercise; I tried to find the airport but failed in the middle, I rode in the wrong direction for around 5 km without knowing that… Yesterday it was raining the whole day so it was not possible to cycle. To get more exercise I decided to go to work by bike — and to avoid too much exercise I chose the shorter route, for 7 km of which there’s no cycling path and I have to ride on Road/Highway 51. The road is under construction so the speed limit is around 50 kph — not too dangerous. There was not so much traffic, at least in my direction. And in 1h20m I arrived at Ericsson, saving 20 minutes compared to my previous route.

The previous weekend was also nice. On Friday I went to the best Chinese restaurant with my colleagues. The Peking Duck was quite nice and all of us loved it. I’ll probably go there again with other colleagues later on. On Saturday we had a grill party. The food was nice but the discussion was better. It seems that none of us is content with our current situation. I believe this is good, especially we are planning a change. On Sunday three of us had lunch and dinner again, again the discussion was great. It is nice to discuss with someone with the same technical background. Very fruitful weekend indeed.

Cycling from Espoo to Lapland

An overview of the whole route:

Route to Lapland

7.1 Sunny Temperature 28 – 42+ °C

Route: Otaniemi, Leppävaara, Vantaa via Route 145 and 140 to Kerava and Lahti, around 130 km

day1

Today is the first day of my trip to hunt Santa Clause (because I haven’t recieved any gifts from him for the last 24 years). We (me and my French friend Gaëtan) started at 8:30 in the morning. The weather was a bit hot: around 28 °C even in the morning. It was until we arrived at Leppävaara when I realized I forgot to bring my bottle and tooth brush with me. Since it was not good to go back and fetch them, I decided to ride on and buy the necessary stuff in
Lahti.

We went via a road close to Vantaa Airport, where we saw planes around 50 meters above us. There were fields full of rape flowers, astoundingly beautiful under the sunshine.

We stop at around 12:30 for lunch, about 75 km from my home. After lunch we rested a bit and restarted at 14:00. It was even hotter in the afternoon; the temperature reached more than 42 °C at 5 pm. There were some slopes when entering Lahti; some slopes as well in the city. One
cyclist encouraged us with a thumb up; while one guy in a car at Lahti downtown showed us his middle finger. I guess some Finns don’t like foreigners. We bought some food in Lahti and refilled our bottles at a bar next to a gas station. At around 6 pm we arrived at a lake and found a camping place among the trees. We put up the tent on a small road leading to a farm field and went to swim, because there were too many mosquitoes in the woods. Unfortunately the bottom of the lake is
covered my mud; but it was OK just near the shore. The temperature of the water is just perfect. So we washed ourselves and then had dinner. There were a lot of fish in the lake. Some of them have red wings and tails and they were standing with their heads down in the water.

It was around 8 pm when we tried to have a rest in the tent. However, it was too hot. The temperature was around 28 °C and the sun was still hanging in the sky baking the tent. Outside the tent it was not
so hot, but there were mosquitoes trying to kill us. I stayed in the tent and it was until an hour later when the temperature was comfortable. Besides the high temperature, the humidity was also high. It was difficult even to breathe. There were kids playing in the water and making a lot of noises till 11:00 pm. Finally I felt asleep after 12:30 am. It was not a good sleep. My sleeping bag kept me too warm and there were mosquitoes in the tent.

7.2 Sunny/Cloudy/Overcast Temperature 28 – 42+ °C

Route: Lahti to Asikkala via Route 24 and Roads 3131 and 313, to Virtaa and Otamo via Road 314, to Sysmä via Road 410, to Luhanka via Road 612, to Putkilahti via Road 610, around 125 km

day2

We started again at
8:30 am today. It was as hot as yesterday. There was a field full of rape flowers again. The road began to be bumping. There were a lot of slopes since we were entering Middle-Finland (Keski-Suomi). There were a lot of lakes as well. On the way to Sysmä there was a part (around 5 km) of a road with water on both sides.

water-both-sides

We had lunch on a dock for motorboats near a gas station. There were lotus leaves and flowers on the water. Not surprisingly, the bottom of the water was also covered with mud. Gaëtan didn’t mind and swam in the water twice, once before lunch and once after. There were people driving there motorboats to the dock in order to refuel at the gas station. I noticed especially on old couple in their 50s. When the husband was refueling the tank, the wife stood on the dock and
watched her man with a constant smile on her face. They didn’t speak much but you could feel their love for each other. We rested a bit after lunch and started again a few minutes past two.

In the afternoon it was even hotter. Besides the high temperature, the slopes also made it difficult to cycle. When we were approaching Luhanka, the newly paved asphalt roads nearly melted and it was extremely difficult to move on. Anyway we had to because we have to buy food ahead in
Luhanka. Luckily we arrived at Luhanka 40 minutes before the shop closed (6:00 pm for Saturdays). The price was a bit expensive but we felt lucky to find one shop. The town was tiny: in Luhanka center there were one shop, two restaurants, one gas station, and a parking space for around 10 cars. When we were leaving, one guy in the restaurant waved goodbye and gave us a thumb up.

We had dinner somewhere beside Road 612 and moved on shortly, since there were mosquitoes. We did
another 10 km before we found a place to camp. We put up our tent beside a big lake and swam in it. The water was perfectly clean and the temperature was quite OK. It rained before we arrived at the place, as a result, almost no mosquitoes were found. When I was about to go into the tent, there was a motorbike fleet passing by on Road 610. There were almost 50 motorbikes. It seems that Finns are fond of noisy motorbikes.

7.3
Overcast/Rainy Temperature 15 – 25 °C

Route: Putkilahti to Korpilahti via Road 610 and Route E63, to Petäjävesi via Road 607 and Road 604, to Multia and Karstula via Route 58 (European Highway E18) , around 150 km

day3

The road became more bumping. There were a lot of slopes
and I reached my top speed in my biking career: around 60 km/h. We were diving more into the country side and around 20 km of Road 607 was not paved. This was the “take-me-home”-kinda country road. There was a lady walking her dogs with her apron on. There were a lot of sings warning uneven road. Gaëtan was half serious: “it’s funny that they don’t know what is flat”.

src=”images/stories/blog/BikeToLapland/uneven.png” alt=”uneven” width=”235″ height=”164″ />

We didn’t rest a bit after lunch because it was too cold. I was wearing my jacket and wasn’t sweating. We stopped at around 7:00 pm and put up the tent beside a field. It was so cold that we had dinner in the tent.

7.4 Overcast/Sunny Temperature 15 – 25 °C

Route: Karstula to Kivijärvi, Kinnula, Yli-Lesti Route 58 (European Highway E18), to Reisjärvi via Road 7594, to Sievi via Road 760, around 155 km

day4

It was still cold in the morning and I was wearing my jacket. We did around 85 km before lunch and arrived at Kinnula. This small city even has a small stadium
with less than 100 seats. Two high school girls were teaching a bunch of 5 year olds to play Finnish baseball. We had lunch watching them play and had a rest on the bench for half an hour after lunch. When we were about to leave, one girl came to talk with us. She told us there are roughly 1800 inhabitants in the city and they have a high school as well. Their high school has 55 students. She also told us Finnish baseball is more popular than football in Kinnula, when I asked why the seats
are arranged on the baseball field instead of the football field.

We changed our route to Road 7594 to Reisjärvi instead of following Route 58 to Lestijärvi since we thought that would be a shorter route. It was shorter, but Road 7594 was not paved. The road condition was better than Road 607 yesterday, but it was still a bit bumping. At some point my mattress fell off from my bike, fortunately a truck driver coming towards us saw it and notified Gaëtan with
gestures. Gaëtan didn’t know what the driver meant at first, but he followed back and found the mattress. I was lucky! We were in the country side but there were houses every half a kilometer. Most families have two cars and their houses are mostly made of wood. School buildings are made of concrete though.

Afraid of not being able to get to Sievi in time, we bought some food in Reisjärvi. They are paving roads with asphalt there, and there are people in the
intersections holding “STOP” signs in order to warn vehicles. We arrived at Sievi at around 8 pm and Gaëtan went to buy some more food. He was tired and didn’t want to go further. So we found a place to camp. When I stopped, I felt something on my legs. At first I thought it might be grass, so I moved my legs a bit. It was still there. I looked down and found around 20 mosquitoes on my legs and more were coming. We jumped onto the bikes again and stopped at another place.
There were still many mosquitoes. We were jumping while trying to get our mosquito protection spray. It was better after we had applied the spray. But it was really scaring to think about those crazy mosquitoes. They probably were able to kill someone!

Gaëtan said he was impressed because we were totally one day ahead of schedule and we were already close to Oulu.

7.5 Overcast/Sunny Temperature 25 – 35
°C

Route: Sievi to Ylivieska via Route 63, to Oulainen, Vihanti, and Liminka via Route 86, around 140 km

day5

We started at 8:00 in the morning and had lunch near a gas station in Vihanti. Route 86 was a bit dangerous since there were many cars and trucks on the road. They
generally ran somewhere 80 to 100 km/h. There were also many caravans in both direction to the north and the south. Maybe some people were heading for a vacation while others had finished their vacation. There were a lot of bus stops on every road. I almost ran over a squirrel, but it escaped from death by a 30 cm margin. However, there were usually dead squirrels, rabbits, or even birds on the road. Humans are a great thread to animals’ lives.

After lunch we had a
rest on the grass. It was sunny and warm and I fell asleep. I even had some dreams in my 30 minute sleep. We bought food in Liminka and planned to camp by the sea shore. However on our way we found a place indicating a swimming place in the other direction. Strangely, there were no lakes or rivers around. Gaëtan went there to figure what that was and came back very excited: “I found a paradise for camping!” I followed him there in Tupos and it turned out to be a swimming
pool. There was even artificial beach and a toilet! But when we arrived there were a lot of kids swimming there. We changed and jumped into the pool. I was too shy to take out my lotion to wash my body, but Gaëtan took his soap, went to the other side of the pool where no one was swimming, and washed himself and even his shirt.

tent

I wanted to wash
myself when no one was there. So I had dinner first. There were a lot of mosquitoes. In order to protect myself, I buried my legs in the sand. Gaëtan thought of something more novel: he had dinner standing in the water! Still there were mosquitoes trying to attack my arms and head. I killed around 50 mosquitoes in half an hour. I waited until almost everyone had left and the washed myself with lotion. It was already around 9 pm and it was a little cold.

style=”background-color: #ffff00;”>7.6 Overcast/Sunny/Cloudy/Rainy Temperature 25 – 35 °C

Route: Tupos to Oulu, Haukipudas, Ojakylä via Road 847, to Ii, Olhava, Simo via Highway 4/E8/E75, to Ranua via Road 924, around 160 km

day6

I woke up feeling uncomfortable in
my throat. We went through Oulu and it was difficult to find our way in the city. We went on Highway number 4 before Ojakylä. There was about 1 meter’s space left for us, but it was not safe since vehicles were running at 100 km/h.

highway

We entered Lapland from Simo and bought food there. After that we went on Road 924 towards Ranua. There
were not many people in Lapland. There was a part of the road where we biked more than 10 km without seeing any houses.

plane

There was a sign showing a plane that confused me. We were far away from any airports and I was like WTF when I saw the sign. After a while the road became extremely wide, to around 30 meters. Then I thought that they
might be building a new airport. (The Finnish sentence below the plane translates to “road will be closed shortly”)

airport

runway

We saw a triple rainbow at the “airport”, though in the
picture only two are apparent, the lower one is actually made up of two rainbows.

rainbow

We kept cycling because we are afraid of bears and wolves, since there were no people living by the road. We felt extremely tired when we finally found some houses. It started raining immediately after we got off our bikes.

7.7 Sunny Temperature 25 – 35 °C

Route: Ranua to Rovaniemi via Road 924 and Route 78, around 110 km

day7

My mattress was not inflated when I woke up. But fortunately today was the last day for me. I was planning to give it to Gaëtan since
his broke down in the first day of our trip.

My knees were painful but I had to move on. On Road 924 we saw some animal standing in the middle of the road about 200 meters away from us. It was not afraid when a car was coming to it. Finally when the car was just 20 meters from it and was trying to slow down, it slowly jumped off road. We rode forward and found out it to be a reindeer. What was she doing in the middle of the road? Sun-bathing? It was not afraid of us at all. By the
side of Route 78 we also saw many reindeers.

When I was about 50 km from Rovaniemi, I started thinking why I was doing this (biking to Lapland) in the first place. This was my typical behavior. What did this week bring to me? Has all of this been meaningful? Then I became sad, just as every time when I think about what I have been doing. However, as I thought and thought, I realized that there might not be meaning for everything one do, at least for the moment when he’s
doing that. The point is to try to finish the things I have started in a graceful way, regardless they’re meaningful or not. It does not take much to finish something when it’s 99% done. All you need to do is to keep fooling/believing yourself as what you have been doing before. Maybe this is the most important lesson I’ve learnt during this trip.

rovaniemi

We did 90 km in the morning and arrived at the railway station of Rovaniemi before lunch. I bought the ticket and paid. Then I realized I didn’t ask for a student discount. So I showed the lady my student card and she gave me back 40 euros. Maybe I was just too tired or too excited.

We had lunch on the grass beside the railway station. Then I handed over my tent, tools, and Gaëtan’s bottle to him. We went to Santa Clause Village
together and took some pictures beside the Arctic Circle – Mission almost accomplished, except that I was too tired to hunt Santa Clause anymore; maybe next time! Gaëtan continued further north. Wish him luck.

arctic

The whole route.

Back on bike

I haven’t cycled much since my previous bicycle was stolen in Stockholm last year, which ruined my plan of cycling from Stockholm to Helsinki. Now I’m planning something similar: I’m cycling from Helsinki to Lappland — not so big deal compared with the previous plan, but still better than nothing.

In order to prepare for the journey, a French friend and I went to Porvoo, a small city around 50
km to the east of Helsinki. It started well, the weather was not perfect but except for the drizzling part it was all right. Then it started raining heavily and we got somewhere in Helsinki. After we were finally able to locate our position it turned out a part of the route was closed due to construction. Fortunately we managed to find out another path and rode all the way to the destination. In total the 60 km journey took us 4 hours, including the time wasted in Helsinki, not bad at
all.

My friend’s new raincoat was in pieces one hour after he put it on. This may be too obvious: it was made in China.

Immediately after we arrived at a park near the city center of Porvoo, a young lady approached me and said ‘moi’. I ‘moi’ed back and then she started speaking Finnish to me. She talked for around one minute and stopped, looking at me. I replied, “Anteeksi, en puhu suomea.” She seemed embarrassed and asked if I speak English. It turned out she was
writing an article about the park and wanted to know my opinion on it. I felt flattered (come on, a journalist was interviewing me :D) and complimented on the park. We talked a bit about the park and she asked our names and took some pictures of us. I couldn’t help to be excited when I thought of I’d appear on some newspapers or magazines — first time indeed.

After lunch we spent half an hour visiting the old town. There’s not much to note down, except that I met an American
in the church and he speaks Chinese. Around 1:30 we got on our bikes again and headed back. It was much more difficult since we were riding too fast in the morning and felt tired once we got on the bike. Headwind made it harder. But I was motivated by a cyclist on the road. He stopped us asking the road to Porvoo. I gave him my map and asked where he was from. He said he was from Hanko and had been riding for 20 hours… How crazy was that? Anyway it took us more than 5 hours to get
back. And I couldn’t feel my ass after I arrived at home…

It was really quite an experience. We survived the rain, unfamiliar route, headwind and physical exhaustion. In the following weeks I’d do more exercises, if I want to survive the 1000 km journey.

PS. Porvoo is quite, as anyone would expect for a city with a population of 35,000 (source: the journalist).

porvoo

热心的芬兰人

今天骑车去Ikea时完全没有用GPS,因为之前在Tourist Center拿了一份非常详细的户外运动地图,而且沿路给骑行者的路标也十分详细。所以我就信心十足的出发了,骑到路口的时候再拿出地图来计划路线。

当我在一个十字路口看地图的时候,一个遛着狗的女士对我说了一句芬兰语,当她看到我脸上的茫然后马上换成英语问我是不是迷路了。我说有一点点,本来我只是想知道自己现在在什么地方的,她只给我看了之后又问我要去哪儿,我说去宜家,然后她又在地图上只给我看,说有这两条路线,一条需要翻山,另一条可能平坦一点。我说翻山可能有意思一点儿吧,她说是这样,然后又详细的告诉我该怎么走,从哪儿过马路,穿过一个桥洞,再沿着医院的方向走……热情的都让我有些不好意思了。我谢过她,继续前进。

在另一个十字路口,我又拿出地图辨认路线。这时一个中年大叔从我身边骑了过去,骑过去之后他停下来,问我要去哪儿,我说去宜家。然后大叔就掉过头并对我说,跟我来吧!我很诧异的问他,你也去那儿吗?他说本来不是的,但是我就住在那附近,我可以带你去。于是我就跟着大叔走,一路上大叔给我介绍这是学校,这是他父母朋友的家,这是很受欢迎的咖啡厅……路上遇到骑着车的小学生,大叔也用芬兰语叮嘱一番,似乎是让小朋友们注意安全。骑了大概二十分钟才到,一路翻山越岭,大叔还不停的给我介绍这个地方,把我感动的一塌糊涂。

以前听同学说芬兰人比瑞典人纯朴,今天算是体会到这一点了,至少在瑞典,你不张口的话应该不会有人主动上来问你需不需要帮助的。

P.S. 这里的郊区真的很美,以后有机会要多去城市周边转转。

计划泡汤

很不幸的,今天自行车被偷了,而且是在我刚买完帐篷之后。原本打算骑车去赫尔辛基的,或者至少骑到芬兰境内,然后从Kemi坐火车去赫尔辛基。本来打算买了帐篷后明天就骑到Uppsala,演习一下,不过看来完成不了了。

奇怪的是,当我看到车不在我原先停放的位置后,我脑袋里除了闪过一个“Fuck”之外,没有其他任何的情绪。虽然损失了两千多大洋,虽然才骑了一个礼拜,虽然买了很多修车工具,虽然花了很长时间来修理和调试,虽然买了去Haparanda的自行车路线地图,虽然骑行计划已经有了些许眉目,但是意识到车被盗之后我却没有任何感觉。

也许是麻木了吧,对这个世界的丑恶,对贪婪的人性,我都已经习以为常,有时候我甚至会在顺利的时候怀疑事情的走向是否过于顺畅,仿佛不发生一点什么反而不正常似地。对所有自己拥有的东西,也没有什么眷顾,这些身外之物,似乎最初就不属于我。不再去追求那些花里胡哨的物件,不再为失去的东西惋惜懊恼。我就这样麻木的,平静的呼入一腔口气,又平静的将它呼出,仿佛什么事情都没有发生一样。

生活这样平淡的进行,我不再为胜利欢呼,不再为失败沮丧,不管是得是失,都那样心如止水。没有欢欣鼓舞的沿途,没有值得憧憬的前路。一个人走在四通八达的交通网上,在苍茫的原野下愈显卑微。

沉寂的生命纵然无人喝彩,也会照样不卑不亢的抵达终点;而那些轶事传闻,只是墓碑上简练的铭文,有朝一日也会被岁月轻轻抹掉。

逆风,逆行

不管什么时候骑车,总感觉路边的花花草草会向我鞠躬。考虑到我本人没有花草通吃的魅力,又经过一番苦思冥想之后得出结论:不管我什么时候骑车,我总是逆风而行。也有可能是顺风的时候省力,不会去考虑为什么可以骑得这么快的问题。嗯,当我以45公里的时速骑行时,我是决计不会考虑为什么的,我考虑的可能是能不能再快一点。

昨天去市中心了,结果一进城就迷路了,中间还有一次在自行车道上逆行了。我一直以为自行车不存在逆行的问题,结果昨天就傻傻的被卡在了路中间,看着前面冲过来的车流,只好灰溜溜掉头逃命。唉,第一次进城就土了一把。

今天平生第一次补胎。中午回来时还没发现车胎爆了,等到下午准备出去时发现后胎一点气都没有。只好卸下车轮,撬开外胎,把内胎抠出来后检查破在什么地方。掏出工具,打磨车胎,涂上胶水,贴上补丁,充气检查。然后装好内外胎和车轮,顺利骑到了Barkarby在Jula买了新内胎。明天再检查一下,看看今天的补胎成果咋样。万一不行就换新轮胎。

轻车熟路

昨天修了车之后好多了,前拨链器能正常变速,下坡的时候速度可以更快了。听着耳边呼呼的风声,看着前面的路一点点消失有一点点出现,这种感觉不错。

今天去学校没有用GPS,路上也没有迷路,回来的时候还抄了近道。下午又去了趟Barkarby,仍然没有用GPS,去的时候虽然绕了点儿,但回来的时候异常顺利。

买了码表、前灯、水壶等物,还买了把长的螺丝刀和尖嘴钳,以后就算链条卡住了也不会怕了。

近况

掐指一算又有一周没有更新博客了,不是自己太懒,最近也算不上特别忙,原因是我有了新的让我释放精力的事情:骑车。

上周买了辆自行车,二手的旅行车,27速。车还行,可是原来的主人保养得不太好。第一天我买了车之后从绿线下面一个叫Bandhagen的地铁站,通过手机里GPS的帮助,费尽周折骑到了Kista。中间链条卡了两次,第一次是我刚骑了不到200米时,变速没变成,链条到卡在了两片牙盘中间。幸好附近有住户,我找一位大哥借了螺丝刀,将链条撬了出来。骑行十多公里之后,我再次试图使用前拨链器,不幸的是链条再一次卡住了。这次更悲剧,因为我当时在一片大森林里面,而GPS显示离我家还有4千米。在多次尝试将链条拔出来而都已失败告终之后,我推着车些许沮丧的往前走。

走了大概不到一千米,看到有位卡车司机在一个类似于采石场的地方洗车。于是我上前找他借了螺丝刀,在他的帮助下把链条弄出来了。一路骑行到家无话。

第二天下午骑车去了主校区,去的时候花了大约一个小时,中间迷路了15分钟左右,虽然我仍然是拿着GPS……回来的时候穿过了一大片墓地,很大一片,里面有各种各样的墓碑,大的小的,方的椭圆的,还有刚挖的坟墓。当然,这也是GPS干的好事。穿出来之后又一次迷路了,因为GPS让我横穿高速公路,我怕死,没敢过,在附近绕了半个多小时,终于找到了回家的路。等我在森林里面骑行的时候,天差不多已经黑了。特别是森林里面都是树,都看不到天。

后来又骑车到了IKEA附近,在Jula买了修车工具。回来之后连续修了两天的车,昨天差不多已经修好了的,不幸的是今天下午链条再次卡在了牙盘之间。于是我又修了一下午加一晚上,似乎我修车的时间比我骑车的时间都要长。

一个插曲,晚上出去试车时突然有只有些像狗友有些像鹿不过没角的奇怪动物从离我20米的地方横穿过车道,吓得我一大跳。

最近虽然比较累,但至少每天在做事。不似前些日子那么空虚无聊,不用去想那些不着边际的问题,这种感觉不错。

以上。