Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Catching up: Eco Trip 2008 - Day 1

I can't begin to tell you about recent events without first bringing you up to date with where I left off. The first thing I should comment on is the Eco Trip I participated in.

For the first time (hopefully not the last!) I participated in the annual cyclists' Eco Trip (nowadays known as Lowride). The plan was to meet in Hämeenlinna on the Thursday morning and then ride to our base at Pappilanniemi, Sääksmäki (N61° 11.250 E024° 03.813). From there we would do day trips to various places.

I decided to take the train to H'linna, and went to book my seat a week before the trip.

I knew I would have to book a place for the trike too, but I didn't expect I would have to reserve 2 places for it! They thought it was so wide that it would be too tight if there were three cycles in the bike space!

When I arrived at the station in good time for my train, there was the same lady in the ticket office, so I popped in to say hello and that "now it begins". She was able to check and see that the remaining bicycle space was reserved! I might have guessed it would be another recumbent rider heading for the Eco Trip (but I didn't!). It turned out to be Markku, who was sitting immediately behind me on the journey, so we were able to chat a bit!

When we arrived at the meeting point (a big roomy car park not far from the station) there were already a lot of participants getting their cycles ready and more were arriving. Many were just standing around chatting and comparing machines. Five Russians arrived by car with their upright bikes on the roof, which they unloaded and started putting together. Theirs were the only uprights in the whole group of around 30 participants.

Eventually on no prearranged signal some riders just took off, and were on their way, while the rest of us hurried to follow them, with the result that from the word go (which nobody gave!) we were a very stretched out bunch. I particularly wanted to keep the guy in front of me in my sights, as I was unsure of the route. I soon found myself riding with another trike enthusiast, Mårten, whose machine was also made in England, but by a different manufacturer from mine. We found ourselves on the east side of the lake, with a good view of Hämeenlinna castle on the other side. Passing through Aulanko we continued via Hattula to Iittala, where we were scheduled to stop for refreshments. On the way I was able to find 2 railway station caches and one 0 km cache.

A beer and a sandwich (or was it coffee?) did wonders, and again the fast riders took off without as much as a 'See you there'! After some time (not many hours!) we rolled into Pappilanniemi and found our rooms. I ended up sharing with Mårten which was good because we had more in common than I would have had with many of the others on two wheels. I've no idea how many kilometres we did that first day, nor do I remember how long it took us to do the ride, but it was nothing too tiring.