As we all know, bike touring and travelling by bike have a history as long as the bicycle itself. This is a story of how I found my way to spending my spare time and vacations on two wheels and exploring new territories.
I’m Kaisa and I have the privilege of working with the awesome people at Pelago Bicycles. As a manager at Pelago's flagship store in Helsinki, Finland, I get to talk about bikes every day. It feels great to be able to help them figure out ways to use their bikes for different purposes. The best conversations are when I get to share my experiences of how to pack the bikes for trips or just for everyday commuting.
I have been cycling to my hobbies, school and work all my life but after moving to Helsinki over ten years ago my relationship with bicycles has grown to new levels. It was the fixie boom that made bikes mean much more than just a way of transportation. I found a bunch of new friends sharing the same interests and ambitions and owning more than just a one bike or riding throughout the year even in -20 degrees became normal.
My first bike trips were easy: just 50-60 kilometres per day on marked routes, water supplies around every corner, restaurants to choose from and sleeping places booked beforehand. But by making a little progress after every trip has taken me to level where I’m ok to go 100-150 kilometres a day and carry all necessities for multiple days with me while living completely outdoors.
In 2015 together with my boyfriend Toni we rode from Helsinki to Kuopio to say hello to his parents' new born puppies and in 2016 we flew to Tuscany to ride the routes of both Giro d’Italia and L’Eroica but mostly to enjoy the views, wines and food. In Italy we were able to have our bikes packed very lightly as there were lots of agriturismos – small 1 to 2 room countryside b&b’s. Later the same summer we fully packed the bikes and headed to Lofoten islands in northern Norway. On this trip we camped in wild and prepared all meals on fire or gas.
So, for every trip I have learned to take only the things I really need for the circumstances ahead. But somethings are always the same: you need to drink and want to shoot photos and you’ll need to have your bottle and camera ready. This is where the Restrap stem bag and tech bag have proven their place on my cockpit for every adventure. This summer we rode a week along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland and it was handy to be able to have sip of whiskey while riding in the rain and wind. During our 7-day bikepacking traverse through Estonia Toni had his dried fish snacks I’d say too close on his top tube bag.
The flights for my next adventure are already booked for this autumn: we’re going to ride 4 weeks along the Pacific Coast Highway in California with 2 of my friends Anna and Lotta. It will no doubt be yet another epic trip.