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Arctic Cycling

Winter cyclingWinter has finally begun to arrive properly here in Finland, giving a white Christmas and snowfalls over the last few days. Whereas it used to be very unusual for the country not to have a white Christmas, in a global warmed world you just never know.

The other day, determined to do some cycling through the Finnish winter I set off to cycle into Helsinki, a round trip of about 30km, and although it was below freezing, the forecast was for things to get warmer. Normally it's a nice, easy cycle along the coast but the sub-zero temperatures made it much tougher. Wearing five layers of clothes and a shemagh wrapped around my head and face I thought I'd be warm enough - if I'd worn anything else it would have been impossible to pedal. The shemagh really helped keep my face warm and drivers also seemed to give me a bit more space on the road for some reason. By the time I made it into town I tried to unclip my odometer and the whole piece of plastic just broke off as it had become so brittle with the cold.

Needless to say the weather forecast was wrong and by evening time, rather than it getting warmer, the temperature had dropped to -10c. I returned to my bike to find it covered in ice, the saddle frozen, and the water in my water bottle had turned to solid ice! There was no other choice, however, so I set off homewards through the arctic winter night. It was bitingly cold as I cycled, my back wheel spinning in the ice when I tried to climb a hill. The windchill from moving brought the temperature down even further and although I was wearing two pairs of gloves my fingers were numb and my eyelids felt sticky whenever I blinked as they tried to freeze together. I cycled on along the shore with ice forming on the sea as it froze over.

I was relieved to get back to the flat alive rather than being discovered in the springtime thaw but it felt good to feel alive rather than having just sat on a bus like a zombie. Though I might wait for a slightly warmer day before I go out cycling again.

Comments

May I recco'd this site to you for instructions on how to tie a Shemagh?
Yours etc
Sheikh yer Moni
pp HB

http://www.actiongear.com/agcatalog/shemagh.html

Yeah, thanks for that HB... though wrapping one properly might result in the black vans turning up for me!

Can you give me any tips or advice on a trip I am going to make from Stockholm to Copenhagen by bike in late May. Are there any sites that I must see?

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