TIPS FOR LONG-DISTANCE CYCLING
• Bring enough water. On hot summer days, it’s really important to drink enough. If you’re doing long routes, it might be a good idea to bring some kind of sports drink also.
• Protection is key. Never ride without a helmet or glasses. Also remember the sun cream. It’s easy to burn yourself on the saddle. Be sure to wear sun cream and apply it properly frequently.
• Don’t forget to eat. When cycling for hours, you use a lot of energy, but if the route is flat enough and you have a good bike, you might not notice it - until it's too late. Always bring something to eat with you, whether it’s raisins and nuts, energy gels or snack bars. Sweets work too and salmiakki for those who are truly brave enough. And don’t forget to stop for an ice cream!
• Get yourself a good pair of cycling shorts. If you wonder why, go on a two-hour ride with regular shorts – you’ll know then! Many cyclists swear by bib shorts which come with straps for more comfort.
Alexander Spicer, a British Master’s Degree student at the University of Turku, is passionate about road cycling. He bought his first road bike four years ago and has since been cycling around Europe, from Belgium to Holland and Germany – and now in Finland.
"I find cycling in Finland very, very, very nice. This is one of the best countries for cycling. You have cycling paths everywhere and they are not bad paths either", Spicer praises.
He recently bought a new bike for himself, a pre-owned high-quality bike from his Finnish boss. After the bike upgrade cycling has been even more of an enjoyment.
"It’s a great way to discover South West Finland. I’ve cycled to Masku, Rymättylä, Parainen and Nauvo, to name a few. Ruissalo is a nice destination too if you like nature and swimming."
The health benefits of cycling
Other than discovering the wonders of the Turku area, Spicer cycles for its health benefits. He finds regular, long-distance cycling is helping him to sleep better too.
"The more I cycle the better I sleep. I used to wake at 3 am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Now I might go to bed at 9 pm and sleep until 6 am. It also lets me work better and I feel more settled. I have more time to focus and my work both in and out of university is of a higher quality when I cycle more", he explains.
Spicer’s next cycling plan is to pack his bike on a train and bring it to Oulu, where a friend of his lives.
"I’m a bit worried about the hills up there. I come from the part of England where there are no hills", he laughs.
"I’m also planning to do the Small Archipelago Trail by bike in August", he adds.
Alex’s top cycling routes in the Turku area
A really nice little place in the archipelago. Great views and mostly very good cycling paths. Have a break at the Sattmark Café (right after the Sattmark bridge), which was built in the 1700s and was originally used as a boatman croft. There you can find a nice selection of Finnish pastries – or have a lunch in the bistro next to the café. Cool yourself down in the sea; there’s a little beach below the café area.
Length to Sattmark and back to Turku: ~ 65 km
Little Lieto Loop
The "LLL" is a very nice introductory ride with a great spot to stop off at and enjoy a true Finnish tradition, frisbee golf! This is available in Lieto (and all around the Turku area) for free - however, you will need your own frisbees. You'll find the frisbee golf course near Lietohalli (Urheilutie 2).
Lenght to Lieto and back to Turku: ~ 30 km
Tour de Kakskerta
The “Tour de Kakskerta" is a standard route for many road cyclists in Turku. This route goes around the islands of Kakskerta and Hirvensalo. If you wish to have a dip in the sea, Brinkhall and Ekvalla beaches are perfect for that. And if you're thirsty for some cultural experiences, go see Brinkhall Manor, which can trace its history back to the 16th century.
Length: ~ 50 km
Masku and/or Naantali
Masku is a great place to cycle to if you want to go swimming somewhere other than in the sea. There are beaches formed in the rubble holes filled with clean ground water. The locals call the beaches “Maskus’s Riviera”. If you want to keep going, cycle all the way down to Naantali. There you can find nice beaches by the sea, really nice cafés and restaurants and – if you're up for it – Moomin World!
Distances: Turku-Masku-Turku ~ 32 km
Turku-Masku-Naantali-Turku ~ 50 km
Turku-Naantali-Turku ~ 35 km
No bike of your own? Don't worry, you can rent a bike in Turku - probably not road bikes though. If you are new to long-distance cycling, you may also cheat a little and rent an eBike.