Just cruising

I've been on the cruise ship for nearly four days now, 12 to go.. Luckily my, and the ship's, schedule allows for me to go out riding for up to about three hours or so every day. That is, if I'm up to it on top of my 10-11 hours of work every day in combimation with lack of sleep from staying up way too late after finishing work at around 11.30 pm.

So far I've managed to go on a couple of rides, both in Stockholm. I've always enjoyed cycling in Stockholm more than in Helsinki. I guess it's partly because even the center of the Swedish capital is more bike friendly than its Finnish counterpart. But I also feel there's a difference in the attitude towards cyclists among motorists of the neighbouring countries. Sadly Finnish drivers, especially in downtown Helsinki (and my home Turku for that matter) are more likely to cut you off even though you have the right of way. In Stockholm, staying in the bike lane and signaling in time when negotiating a turn will almost always result in a safer ride.

Of course, I haven't got any hard evidence to support these claims. It's just my reaction to riding quite a lot in both cities. Tomorrow I'm planning on giving Helsinki another try, as there are enjoyable stretches of bike paths there as well.


22.6.2007: Four laps around Södermalm and a sweep through downtown along Kungsgatan. On my way back to the terminal I ended up being a tourist guide for a young Spanish couple looking to buy tickets to go to Finland.
51,13 km, 2h5m1s, 24,54 kmh avg, 57,3 kmh max.

24.6.2007: A lap and a half lap around Södermalm, then met up with a friend (mountainbiker) who showed me a new bike friendly route out of town. Broke my personal speed record on a bike.
26,50 km, 1h 8m 19s, 23,27 kmh avg, 61,5 kmh max.


Back in the saddle

Finally! Last night I, finally, got back on my bike again and went on my first club ride in over a month. Actually, I was so anxious that just after midnight the night before I went out on a short ride just by my self. The Finnish summer is great, even here in the south we only get twilight for the few hours the sun dips below the horizon. The fresh, cool air made the cycling even more enjoyable, and made me push a bit too hard during the first 10 km. After a while I came to my senses, slowed down a bit and just thoroughly enjoyed myself. After turning back home again I noticed I was picking up speed again, easily pulling 30 kmh on the flats. In town, as I was spinning down with just under 3 km to go, I bumped into a friend who was walking home in the same general direction. This gave me the opportunity to warm down, chatting away til our paths parted.

The club ride proved more of a challenge than I had expected. As is customary the speed of the chain gang increases as the season progresses, and having been away for over a full month obviously has made more of a dent in my fitness than I'd like to admit. I was also stupid enough to go out in front immediately as we pulled away from the rendezvous. After only about 5 km of headwinds did I fall back having already tired myself too much. After this the pace picked up even more and just before the only real hill, at the end of the first lap of our circuit I lost contact with the gang. Too much, too soon. I slowed down even more and decided I'll just pedal along til the gang catches up with me again. I ended up doing about 2/3 of a lap at my own pace, turning around and meeting up with the gang as they were already halfway through their third lap. Another rush at 35 kmh, tight cornering at times only centimeters away from the guy next to me and even a couple of appreciative smiles for not giving up just yet. It only lasted for about 3 km, though, as I was still unable to keep up. As the chain gang pulled away yet again, I headed home together with another guy who had also had enough for one night.

And now, for what any reader of this blog will have to eventually get used to, here a the stats.

night ride: 32,99 km, 1h22m6s, 24,11 kmh avg, 46,8 kmh max

club ride: 57,44 km, 2h15m30s, 25,43 kmh avg, 48,8 kmh max

It's going to take some hard work to get back in shape for my tour. But I'm more than eager to do what I can. Tomorrow I'm headed back to work on Viking Line m/s Mariella, and for the next couple of weeks I'll be riding almost every day in Helsinki and Stockholm. Hopefully this will give me the boost I need to pull my touring gear through half of Germany.


A month

It's been nearly a month since I last rode a bike. Getting hit by a car and spending my convalescence trying to keep up with an overly optimistic schedule has made a significant dent in my cycling routine. Luckily I wasn't too badly injured, and I wasn't out on my roadie when it happened. Still, up until this weekend my shoulder has told me that I should at least stay away from SPD pedals.

And now, as I figure I'm well enough to head out on a light training ride, I look out the window at low, grey clouds and the first heavy drops of a rain that looks like it will hang around for a while. Damn.

Oh well, guess I'll survive having to wait another couple of days. Germany's going to be a bitch, though, without enough kilometers in my legs in advance..