XXX -Bicycling Through Finland, Third Cycle
Previously on our on-going series: Bicycling through Finland … you know what? Fuck it, just get on with the chase. Did I ever tell you how lovely it is to just chill, out in the big wide world? Meanwhile near Kemi, Finland...
There was this sea right next to our tent, how neat. When you're boiling, just hop into the sea.
“I bet you could walk to Sweden if you tried, haha!”
“Oh, absolutely! We actually thought about the same thing.”
“The ground is constantly rising at the pace of 9 millimeters per year.”
“Soon the Gulf of Bothnia is no more.”
“Where are you from?”
“We’re from Austria.”
“That reminds me of something! I’ve been meaning to ask a native English speaker...”
“Oh, we’re no native speakers!”
“But you’re from.. Right! I misheard ‘Australia’. My bad!”
Soon afterwards father went back to the kitchen where he belongs and I remained there for nearly a half an hour just speaking with this elderly Austrian couple about languages, dialects, traveling and our journeys. Time sure flies.
You gotta love holidays.
Day eight. August 1st, Wednesday:
People prefer different lifestyles. Life is all about different habits. I never got around eating breakfast, ever. Whenever I ate something before heading to school as a kid, I wouldn’t have the appetite left for eating anything during lunch. Usually it was just me eating crispbread and struggling through main course. That must be the origin of my lack of appetite in the morning that continues to this day. Something about breakfast just doesn’t click with me.
So yeah… That said, right now breakfast is mandatory. First thing in the morning! ..After taking down our tent, showering and dressing up, of course. Let me tell you, it doesn’t make it a hell of a lot easier. You don’t want to eat, your body doesn’t want to eat, but you know that it’s going to backfire if you don’t, so chop chop! Do it upside down or while juggling, for all I care. Just do it, eat!
If I ever reached parenthood, I'd probably feel sorry for the kid.
Today I reached the halfway. First time seeing Jyväskylä signs. Feels unimaginably bizarre to cover such distances with a bicycle. If I could, I would go down the road every moment I can. Alas, that brings difficulties with our campsite reservations. If there's 100 kilometers in between two campsites, it's no use going further than that until next day. However, I have something to look forward to. Tomorrow is the last lengthy day (over 120 kilometers), so I have about 310 kilometers to ride to get there, starting today.
Fun fact: Near the end, I came across the longest uninterrupted road of Finland. It's 11 kilometers long and took a full 25 minutes for me to reach the other end at near full speed. You see the end but you ain't getting' nowhere.
Half jokingly I say:
“You know, if I had the wits, I'd go ride some more right now.”
“Fine by me. If you feel like it, go ahead. I'll come pick you up when you're done.”
Half joke became zero joke. After one and half hours, I'd gotten far enough to stash my bicycle in some trench to carry on where I left off, tomorrow. That's something like 30 kilometers off tomorrow's burden. I must've looked like a maniac because the whole time, I was laughing like crazy. Also dropped my phone once, but that remains a secret.
Statistics of the day:
-Left at 7:20 and finished at 21:15.
-Journey length of 13 hours and 55 minutes,
of which 8 hours and 25 minutes were riding.
-Clocked a total of 174 kilometers and skipped none.
-Reached the Center point of Finland.
-Went to sleep feeling like a man who did a shit-ton of exercise.
Day nine. August 2nd, Thursday:
Woke up at 6AM like usual. Got through our usual routines and drove to retrieve my bike from her hiding spot. After today, it's just the short days. Days like 100 and 70 kilometers. After I'm done with this, I'll switch to longboarding for the rest of the summer, ugh...
As usual, sun was shining and it steadily drained my energy levels. Funniest thing, there was this …
What was it? What is this funny memory I'm so desperately trying to unfold..? Huh. Must've slipped my mind.
You know, stuff like that happens when you wait long enough. It's been four months since the 2nd of August. Details are starting to get foggy. Writer's fatigue is a bitch. There's not really that much to tell. Perhaps there's too much to tell, to be fair. I dunno.
Father also wrote about this journey on his blog and he stumbled across a similar struggle – he wrote it like a diary. And we know diaries don't make for a good public read. Unless you're someone famous (or a controversial figure), no one's going to be interested in your day-to-day life. I love writing because I get to be experimental and express myself in a new way everytime. These kind of entries are the exact reason why I've ceased all my efforts in the past. Routine is boring.
After this long day, we've arrived to our destination. The long day's are gone. Just four more days to go. I can do it, I must.
Thoughts of today:
- One day I thought that riding 20 kilometers was huge. These huge distances are setting new standards. Can't say that 50 kilometers is that impressive anymore.
- People tend to take a before-after photo of themselves in midst of fitness programs. Too bad I didn't. My collarbones never stood out so clearly.
- This thunder has been chasing us for a couple days now. Atmospheric.
- These past days have been really gentle in terms of altitude shifting. Got to go easy on my poor legs for once.
Statistics of the day:
-Left at 7:35 and finished at 16:45.
-Journey length of 9 hours and 10 minutes,
of which 6 hours and 40 minutes were riding.
-Clocked a total of 140 kilometers and skipped none.
-No more overwhelming days!
-Went to sleep feeling like the king of the world.
Day ten. August 3rd, Friday:
- My mother forgot what I was in and decided to schedule change of mobile operators yesterday. I would collect my new card not sooner than our next destination, which means we're again without communication connectivity.
- Apparently they're constructing a new highway, so it's a bit of a mess in here. The first time a sign guided me to a separate road, which later joined back with the main route.
- The next time, there was no sign so I went on straight ahead. Took about two kilometers 'til I got that feeling like I don't belong. Next thing I know, I'm riding on a fucking highway! That shit's illegal and I have to find a way out, fast.
- With no proper guidance and lack of mobile navigation, I was utterly screwed. With extreme luck (and some common sense of direction) I found myself on the right track.
- The next person I encountered, I asked for a phone to call my father. Basically all I had to tell him was “this route sucked and I was lost and fucked.” Take it as you will.
- Have I ever told you how much I love these goddamn hills. Yeah, they're back like never before.
- After taking some indecent assumptions, I found myself going in the wrong direction. Nothing major, but slowed my progress. Replaced them with some slightly better assumptions and finally got to the campsite.
- Literally after two minutes of me getting there, this intense rain started pouring hell upon us all. Just two minutes later...
- This place had a public sauna everyday, which was an appreciated bonus indeed.
- There was no lake of any sort. In order to cool down from sauna, I went outside to stand in the rain. I can still feel the sensation.
- We drank and we drank. In the common room sofa we sank. We didn't really drink that much, to be honest.
- We got to tell some people about what we're doing. Some were impressed, some were a little less.
- As expected, our tent failed to keep the water outside. Father insisted on sleeping in the car, but reason for doing so, I lacked. Puddles were drained and moisture wiped away with towels. That's what they're for, right?
- It's a luxury to sleep alone in the tent after so long.
Statistics of the day:
-Left at 9:30 and finished at 15:45.
-Journey length of 6 hours and 15 minutes,
of which 5 hours were riding.
-Clocked a total of 93 kilometers and skipped none.
-Gained confidence to state that I've ridden on a highway.
-Went to sleep feeling relaxed.. and nearly sober.
Day eleven. August 4th, Saturday:
If there's something to learn from all this, it's that the passage of time really is dependant on the eyes of the beholder. “Oh, how time flies” is a frequent woe that you keep hearing wherever you go. Sure, it's been more than a year since I started this blog. Where did the time go? On the other hand, what about the time spent? Surely there's lots and lots of things you tend to forget the moment you utter the expression “Oh, how time flies”. Even so, the more reason to make your precious time count. Who knows, maybe someday you'll be able to trade “Oh, how time flies” with “Ah, the time spent”.
One day I left the borders of Norway, it's been a hundred days since. Hundred days filled with safe routine. Wake up, morning duties, bicycling, campsite duties and rest. Rinse and repeat. It's a new lifestyle, one full of contentment. I feel like shit every single day but I feel like I have a mission. A purpose.
It hasn't been one hundred days, barely the fraction of it. Ah, the times spent. Do meaningful things and you'll find time passing at a calmer pace. If you're unable to do that for one reason or another, just do things out of the ordinary. Take a different route to work, try new foods, communicate with new people, anything.
Ever use philosophical pondering to figure out things? Why is it so that you're able to remember the day in the life when you traveled by local bus to work and there was a man who had a mohawk the height of your arm? Then again, when prompted about any other day of that specific week, you can't describe one detail. I ponder these types of questions fairly often. Namely, if you forget, were you conscious in the first place? Getting side-tracked with all this “last-thursdayism” here, pardon my tendencies.
Imagine a stack of transparencies on top of each other. You see the surface on the other side, right? Now, imagine there an image of each commute trip you made on those transparencies, what do you see? Probably a huge mess of stacked photos. The basic figures of the people and the landscape are overlapped dozens (if not hundreds, thousands) of times in there. These are the things you see every day. You wouldn't select individual days from this pile, because they're overlapping with each other. You wouldn't know how, honestly. This is how memory works, it ditches any irrelevant information.
Now, look into the pile once again and really dig in. See all those translucent details hidden in there? For example, that person seems to be wearing a mohawk the size of your arm. Is that the guy I mentioned before? You see, he's out of the normal picture and can be seen sticking out in your stack of transparencies. Even now, you wouldn't probably be able to tell when that happened, but you remember it happened nonetheless.
Moral of the story: Fall into the norm and you're in for a world of mediocrity. Oh, how time flies.
Statistics of the day:
-Never left and never finished.
Part 4 of 5 in the on-going series: Bicycling through Finland.
What you should listen to right now to feel me; Beyond – Daft Punk
Let me share a poem with you.
Lament for shorter fellows:
We’re bros from separate hoes.
But he a man who never grows.
When looking at ’im looks like one bows.
He a man shorter than your average Joes.
Hand ain’t dealt right, and it shows.
He knows, these first world woes.
But he upset now, there he goes.
I lipread him saying ”man, this shit blows”.
But we too far apart, we’re like elbows.
Maybe everything be better once it snows.
Just kidding, we live in the warmth of Mexico’s.
One day he's taller, vast like a liar's nose.
Middle of the night, writing poems I chose.
A pal heard my tale, he was sold.
This kind of stuff just never gets old.
But ”Don’t be calling our mamas hoes” he told.
That rough, but sometimes you gotta be bold.
He went all ”man it’s cold, it disgusts me like mold.”
I didn’t expect him to scold. Maybe that, too, was foretold.
Heard him saying ”cards are dealt, dice are rolled.”
I gotta say, his argument slick, brighter than gold.
Gettin’ real tired, better put this on hold.
There rang a response, ”me too man, in my sheets I’ll fold.”
November 29th, 2018