Friday, May 19, 2017

Winter Cycling

We visited the 5. Nationaler Radverkehrskongress (5th National Cycling Conference) in Mannheim recently and both of us went to the forum on Cycle Tourism. Three of the four lectures were discussing fairly conventional aspects of e-bike touring and MTB activities by representatives of tourist information offices. One lecture was interesting though we could not work out beforehand what it was about: "Saisonverlängerung durch Winterfahrradtourismus" ("Lengthening the season through winter cycling.") It turned out there is a winter biking scene which is based in places where one gets snowy, frosty winters rather than the wet, dark, soggy seasons we in the Rhineland experience between December and February. Typical places are Minneapolis (MN), Montreal (PQ), St. Petersburg and Oulu (Finland). Our speaker, Pekka Tahkola came from the latter city. The activity is divided into two main areas:
  • Utility Cycling: Check for more information. This group is more interested in keeping roads cleared and getting to work than exciting days out on the fells. 
Winter Urban Cycling © Pekka Tahkola

  • Nature and Open Spaces: Most of the trails are made by grooming the trails by snow mobiles pulling a groomer. Thus most of these groomed trails are rideable for people of all ages. They are enjoyable to ride at slower speeds while enjoying nature, and are easy to ride for people with absolutely no experience of mountain biking. Of course it depends to a certain extent on weather conditions. Snow biking is often easier and safer than walking and is a great way to see the national park. Pekka has guided many people over 70 years old on the trails and there's definitely no danger of face plants. Then again, if one wishes to have more exciting and snow-diving experiences, there are trails for the young at heart too.

    Getting close to wildlife ©Pekka Tahkola

    Feeding a Siberian Jay © Pekka Tahkola

    By March the days are long and sunny © Pekka Tahkola

    Check out , and for a bicycle hotel in Syöte National Park, or

    Pekka as a cycling coordinator  is a good man to contact if you fancy trying this activity: pekka(dot)tahkola(at)navico(dot)fi. Unfortunately the parent Navico website appears to be written only in Finnish, which is not an easy language to read, but an email to him will get you sufficient information.

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