July 7th to 11th I was visiting my grandparents’ in Central Finland.. by motorcycle of course, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about this! One-way distance from my starting point there is about 420km.
Troubles with packing
I took this same trip last year too, but then I was riding with my dad and my brother (they drove a car). Anyways, last year I didn’t have think about all the stuff I was taking with me because I could just put all of it in their car and I would only have to carry my backbag. This year I had to think carefully what to take with me and how would all of it fit into my small 18 L soft tail bag. Luckily I was going to my grandparents’ place so I didn’t have to worry about any sheets, sleeping bags, towels etc. because they would have them ready for me. I just had to pack a few days’ clothes.
My biggest concern was what riding gear should I wear. I would wear my Sweep all-weather textile outfit of course, but I didn’t know whether I would need the removable warm liner or not. In Finland you never know how the weather will be like… If it starts to rain it might get really cold. For example last year when taking this same trip, I had to ride 100km in the rain and I got really cold so I had to wear the warm liner. Weather forecast looked so good that I left out my pants’ warm liner, but packed the jacket’s warm liner with me.
Turned out that the weather was good, I mean really good. It hasn’t been this good weather in ages. So I didn’t need the warm liner and neither did I need the water membrane which I had packed too. Better safe than sorry, right?
I managed to get my tiny tail bag all stuffed up, but I everything fit there just fine. The reason I don’t have a larger bag system on my bike is that I don’t know if I’m going to take any longer trips on bike. Or at least I’m not making them anytime soon because I have no riding company and I wouldn’t want to go alone. This kind of soft tail bag was a cheap option to get started with something. Usually I just use a backbag, but that was out of the question since my back starts to hurt if I ride any longer with it.
428km in 6 hours
7th of July I started my journey early in the morning.. okay not that early, but I took off at 9AM. It was a work-day (for everyone else) meaning there wouldn’t probably be much traffic on the way.
The distance was 428 kilometers and I managed to drive it in 6 hours. I took two bigger breaks to fuel (in both of the stops) and to have lunch (in one of the stops). Beside the two bigger stops I took smaller breaks sometimes. The first 2 hours was almost nothing to me, but after that I had to start stretching my legs while driving etc. because my body started to wear out because of all of that sitting. I think the body position on this bike is rather good, but still I’m not used to sitting on it nonstop for too long.
It was very windy when I was riding to Central Finland. Most of the time I had to ride 80-90km/h even though the limit was 100km/h. Just because the wind was so heavy. Usually the 100km/h is a good travelling speed for me. I don’t have any windshield on my bike. Windshield or not it wouldn’t have helped because it was blowing from the sides.
I rode only on the main roads. The distance is long enough just the way it is so I didn’t feel like stepping out from the main road because it would only make the trip longer. Maybe if I rode with someone that knew some cool places to visit on the way, I could get adventurous, but not when I’m all by myself.
The bike worked well all the way. Before the trip I checked tire pressures and liquid levels and of course lubed the chain. Other than that I didn’t have to do anything. I trust my Honda that it doesn’t break in the middle of this kind of longer trip.
… and another 428km back to home
Of course I had to ride back home too. I came the same road back. The weather was better on my way back home or at least it wasn’t as windy. It took the same 6 hours and I think that it’s the best I can do for this distance.
Now I’ve proven to myself that I can make this trip alone. Just have to think about the better bag system for my bike. Though it feels irrelevant to buy such a system because I don’t know if I’m going to buy a new bike or not when I’m upgrading my driving license next summer. Maybe I wait until then and see what happens…
I’m probably going to take this same trip again next year. Hopefully I have somebody drive with me then!