FAT BIKING IN FINLAND
AUTHOR: SANDRA HAZELDON
I’ve never had an urge to buy or try a fat bike even though they seem to be really popular in the UK. However when a friend suggested a trip to Finland riding fat bikes and I looked at the itinerary I didn’t need any persuading, I was sold. This was going to be riding a fat bike in the conditions they were designed for - snow!!
The only date we could both make was in March and a week after I returned from a ski holiday. The ski holiday was also in Finland but I was quite happy to go back for another week and it was a different area anyway; luckily my boss is very understanding.
Another friend decided to join us so we all booked; the trip was run by Exodus, a company I’ve travelled with a few times. Our guide was Henri Suopanki from Basecamp Oulanka and he was superb, really knowledgeable about the area, a good rider and very organised.
We flew from Manchester airport to Helsinki then had an internal flight to Kuusamo and from there a transfer to Basecamp at Oulanka National Park and then on to a logging lodge where we spent most of the trip. The lodge is great, very well insulated and warm with hot showers and a sauna. We also spent two nights at a remote lodge beside a frozen river at the Russian border. It’s in a real wilderness area with no electricity or running water but has candles for lighting and a wood burning stove so was very warm and cosy.
The fat bikes were great fun to ride in the snow along singletrack prepared by a skidoo - you can’t ride on unprepared snow as you sink into it, as we found out if we got off the bikes and stepped to the side of the trail: it was thigh deep! A few people took their own bikes but most of us hired them from Basecamp, the hire was free as part of the holiday.
I took most of my own clothes to ride in but everything is provided so I didn’t need to. I just felt happier wearing what I knew I was comfortable riding in: thermal knickers, leggings and top, thin fleece top, windproof trousers and jacket, beanie and helmet. I wore the gloves and boots provided though as they were perfect for the cold conditions. Very similar to ski wear but I didn’t need a ski jacket or trousers as it gets very warm pedalling in the snow. I carried extra layers for when we stopped: another fleece and a nano puff jacket.
The whole trip was one big highlight but if I had to pick just a few things to mention they would be the Northern Lights which we saw most nights, the sauna at the lodge by the Russian border from which we walked through the snow down to the frozen river to be doused with freezing cold water straight from the river, the scenery and the food.
I usually use Snowcard insurance but I’ve got free travel insurance with my Nationwide bank account and I’d added skiing to it for my ski holiday and it didn’t cost anymore to add the fat biking.
(these are not commercially sponsored links & we have no affiliation with these companies at the time of writing; please be sure to research well known review sites for current customer experiences)