Days 8-9 - Estonia to Finland

03/09/2016

I got to a campsite near Tallinn in Estonia the previous night. I was trying to get as close to Tallinn as I could so that I could take the ferry to Helsinki in the morning. Once I woke up, packed my tent and headed to the ferry terminal. I didn’t check ferry times beforehand and only just missed one. Next ferry to Helsinki was in an hour and a half.

It was quite a relaxed day as I spent all morning waiting for ferry and on the ferry. Only spent the afternoon on the bike.

Finally arrived in Finland:

I didn’t spend much time in Helsinki as I was tight with time if I wanted to make Nordkapp on this trip. I still didn’t think I would actually get to Nordkapp at this point, I just wanted to get as far north as I could. The next stop was Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna.

It was starting getting late, but I wanted to get as far north as I could before it got dark. Ended up at a campsite in Hussonmäki near Kuopio for the night. It was already dark when I got there and barrier was down. I was trying to see if there is a way to get in and I would pay in the morning, but someone came out and let me in. I put my tent up with torch in my mouth (should have took head torch with me, would be much easier), and went to sleep. 

04/09/2016

I have done nearly 1000 miles since I last cleaned and lubed the chain so I thought it would probably be a good idea to do this before I leave the campsite. Lifted the swingarm using jack stand and started cleaning the chain. I knew that there was something wrong with my chain – I have noticed a really bad slack and tight spot when I was still in Poland, 1000 miles ago but I couldn’t see why. Now I found why – there was a break in one of the rollers:

broken chain

But as I was tight with time and well, I’ve already done 1000 miles with chain like that, surely can manage another few thousand miles…? I decided to get going as if I never noticed it and see if I break down or not. If it breaks completely I will figure something out.

This was the route I did that day:

Kuopio – Oulu – Rovaniemi

Spent most of the day just riding north. At some point in the afternoon sat nav told me to turn right. I wasn’t sure about it as there was a lot of gravel but I thought it would maybe be like that just for a small bit. I decided to go for it and if it gets too bad I can always turn back and find another way. What I was getting more worried about though was my fuel level. I was nearly on reserve and still had about 70 miles to go to Rovaniemi. 

Gravel soon turned into bigger stones. Bike was hard to control, front end felt very loose on these stones and I didn’t have steering damper. I stopped and started thinking what my options were. If I keep going – I don’t know how long road would be like that for. If I turn back I would need to find another way north and I will probably run out of petrol. I was already on reserve and I didn’t see any petrol station since I took this ‘right turn’. Plus turning bike round would not be easy – it was hard to keep going straight, never mind trying to turn. There was no chance I could push it on the stones – bike was heavy (220kg) plus the weight of the luggage. I decided to keep going. Road was like that for about 20 miles:

simoniemi roadworks

Finally it turned into tarmac again. My sat nav normally shows any petrol stations within 50 miles range, but it wasn’t showing any. Shortly after I got back on tarmac petrol station appeared on the screen – 50 miles to go. I knew I wouldn’t make it, I just hoped there would be some petrol station that maybe isn’t marked on my sat nav. But there was none until I got to Rovaniemi. I kept my speed down to try and save as much fuel as I could. That was the furthest I ever went on reserve. 

Rovaniemi:

Having filled up I was now calm and glad that I have made it and didn’t run out of petrol in the middle of nowhere.

I only had about 1 hour of daylight left. I was not far away from the famous Santa Claus village which also marks start of the Arctic Circle – it was only 5 or 10 minutes away so went there next.

As it was September and it was getting late, there was not much going on in the Santa Claus village. I checked my phone to find the nearest campsite as sun was going down. There was a campsite in Rovaniemi which would mean having to turn 5 miles back, or another campsite 30 miles north. Since I was tight with time I chose to go 30 miles north.

I don’t normally carry much cash with me and was normally paying for fuel etc by card. I only had about 10 euro in cash left and some loose change. When I got to the campsite the only way to pay was by cash. I was about 1 euro short but they let me stay. I have changed this habit of not carrying much cash and now I try to carry a bit more with me (still not a lot though), just enough to pay for campsites, fuel etc in case there is no option to pay by card. Actually in my most recent trips I was trying to pay mostly by cash to avoid bank fees of using my card abroad.

I didn’t take many videos at this point yet so here’s quick trailer of the whole trip:


4 Comments

Gary Morton · October 7, 2018 at 10:34 pm

Another tremendous trip, bravo! Guess there was no trouble with the chain? Thanks for sharing, enjoyed it.

    cbr_roxy · October 7, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Chain has lasted me another 2 or 3 thousand miles. It was getting worse, it was jerking badly but I just kept going. When I was on the way back I met a group of Norwegian bikes at the petrol station who noticed the noise coming from my chain and offered to replace it as they had spare chain – I will be writing about it later. Thanks.

Marco · November 13, 2018 at 1:39 pm

You are so amazing! what a life riding a bike around the world.

John Aleknavage · December 12, 2018 at 4:17 am

Fantastic! Great video and photos.

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