Get prepared for the Geopark cycle tour

Careful planning and preparation are an important part of a cycle tour and a prerequisite for a successful trip.

Take care of safety issues

Involve the whole group, including the children, in the planning of the cycle tour from the beginning and consider also safety issues. Tell your loved ones about your itinerary and be sure to keep them informed of any changes to the plans and the achievement of your goals during the trip.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Jämijärvi

While cycling, prefer colorful clothing, which improves your visibility and promotes road safety. A cycling helmet effectively protects your head if an accident occurs. The law requires the use of lights at dusk and in the dark. The lights also enhance your visibility during the day. Follow good cycling practices and traffic rules.

Download the 112 Suomi mobile app to your phone which helps rescuers to find you quickly when needed. Don’t forget your phone charger! Pack the medication with you for a few extra days in case your plans change and your trip lengthens. Bring with you also basic first aid supplies: gauze, patches, wound cleanser, painkiller and balm for abrasions. Also take sunlotion with you.

You can’t pre prepared for everything, but think about possible problem situations and solutions to them in advance. Pre-conceived operating models make the decision making faster and increase security. Once the issues are resolved quickly, you can continue your journey as planned.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

Preparedness and anticipation increase security

Equipment and gear

A bicycle suitable for the specific bike tour is the cornerstone of the equipment. The route’s type determines the type of the bike. A commuter bike, for example, is good enough for road use, a mountain bike is recommended for off-road driving.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

The bike must be compliant, functional and equipped for the purpose. Functional inspections and maintenance should not be neglected, as they have a close connection to road safety. A bike that is regularly serviced and repaired if necessary is also reliable.

A well-maintained bike is a prerequisite for a successful trip. Have your bike serviced by yourself or by a professional. It is a good idea to test the functionality of the bike a few times after maintenance. Problems and faults on the bike are possible, but ocuur rarely during a trip of few hundred kilometers. A well-maintained bike will usually work properly if you don’t crash.

Take with you atleast the cyclist’s multi-purpose wrench, tire plastics and pump. It’s a good idea to buy an inner tube that fits your bike in advance. It is often more sensible to change a tire than to patch it. The most common fault of bikes is a flat tire. Can you fix a tire?

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Hyyppä Valley

A chain connector and derailleur hanger as well as a few spokes that fits one’s bike should be especially in the mountainbikers’ backpacks. These parts are wheel specific. When broken, they are fairly easy to replace if a chain breaker and spoke tools are available.

The bike can be eqquipped with various bags and racks for carrying luggage. A wheeled luggage cart can also be used. It is a good idea to protect the equipment from getting wet, regardless of the mode of transport. Also consider the option of a service truck or transporting equipment using a transportation service.

Full camping equipment including the tent and other gear to stay overnight outside takes up a large portion of the bike’s carrying capacity. In the summer time, however, you can handle with a small amount of equipment. Staying in cottages, hotels, etc. will lighten the load and save space for other gear.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Punainen tupa

Special attention should be paid to loading the bicycle, as unstable loads affect negatively to the driveability. The bicycle, loaded as lightly and firmly as possible, promotes driving safety and the driver’s endurance.

Test the compatibility of the equipment and the bicycle in advance. Take an experimental day trip from your home. You may also want to test your tent and camping gear in your backyard in advance. This is the time to add or remove accessories if needed.

In addition to the bike and the helmet, you can expand the list of equipment as you wish. Padded cycling pants are an obvious part of a cycling outfit for many. Cycling shoes and lock pedals are familiar to mountain bikers, but are also used by other cyclists.

Otherwise, the clothing is chosen according to the weather. Several cloth layers work best in cool weather. Rain gear should always be included in the paggage. Cagoules and other accessories that can be packed in a small space are available for cyclists.

Photo: Joonas Vinnari, Lauhanvuori National Park

Good equipment increases the comfort

A bike tour with children

On a family cycling tour, the age and endurance of the children must be taken into account. Cycling is an energy consuming physical exercise. Have regular meals and snacks to avoid huge hunger and low levels of energy. Take enough water and other drinkiks with you and keep some energy supplies readily available. When tired and hungry, the risk of mistakes and accidents increases.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Karvia

Review the traffic rules and the principles of safe bicycling before the bicycle trip with the children. Interesting places to visit and see along the journey motivates the kids to continue forward. Avoid too long day trips and be ready to make small changes to your plans if necessary.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Karvia

Cycling with children on children's terms

Plan your route

On the Geopark’s cycling routes, the terrain is gentle and the elevation differences are usually moderate. Steep hills are rare. Municipal centers and villages, as well as less populated landscapes and nature, alternate along the routes. There is a lot to see and experience during the bicycle trip, so it’s good to take plenty of time for the cycling and the stops in the sites.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Hyyppä Valley

The main route consists of three partly overlapping routes, which follow mainly quiet roads. You can choose individual routes or cycle through them all as a continuous loop. The distance traveled per one day can be, for example, 30-60 km, in which case the daily driving time is about 2-4 hours. On individual route loops, you could stay for 3-5 days. It takes easily take a week to get around the entire route along the outerlines.

Each Geopark municipality also has shorter local routes that you can cycle separately oruse as alternative routes as part of a longer bike tour. There are also easy mountain bike trails, some of which run on gravel roads.

There are reataurant and accommodation services in the area that support cycling tourism. It is also advisable to deviate from the routes to services and destinations located a little further away. Think about your accommodation carefully and contact the companies in advance.

The services located in the centres of the municipalities, such as groceries and specialty stores, as well as a pharmacy, are availabel along the routes daily. By arranging the periods of cycling as well as visiting the sites and dining approprietly during your days, you can focus on enjoying the whole experience.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Nummijärvi Camping

While cycling, you’re on the jorney from the very start. Actually the bicycle trip starts with its planning. You don’t always have to travel far to relax and experience adventures. Leave the hurry behind and focus on gathering good memories and experiences. In cycling, being on the road is more important than reaching the destination.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto/ Tarinakuva, Katikankanjoni, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Text: Jari Hernesniemi 

Further reading:

Pyöräliitto: Pyöräilijän liikennesäännöt (in Finnish)

The Finnish Center for Cycling Tourism: Bikeland.fi

Suomen Latu: Maastopyöräilijän etiketti (in Finnish) 

Metsähallitus: Pyöräretken suunnittelu (in Finnish) 

Seikkailijattaret: Retkipyöräilyn ABC: Vinkit ensimmäiseen pidempään pyöräreissuun (in Finnish) 

Photo: Mirja Koivisto/ Tarinakuva, Katikankanjoni, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Main photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

Other photos: Terttu Hermansson

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Welcome to a memorable bike tour to the Geopark!