Our suggestion is that you read from the bottom to the top, because that is the order in which we wrote these. But you can of course do as you please, since linear time is just a convenient fiction we humans have made up!
The Tour of the Five Lighthouses, Finland, 2023, 6 weeks
The first word that comes to mind when thinking back on this trip is fun!
What else could it be?
Paddling from one lighthouse to the next with friends, sleeping on whatever small island that happened to be there at the end of the day and eating food cooked on a small camp stove. Not to forget the amount of kayaking we did in-between.
Then imagine six full weeks of this.
Now that we are back home we are admittedly a bit worse for wear, scruffy and smelly as always after any real adventure. As well as moderately sunburned from the neck up and below our wrists. The paddlers tan so to speak.
Our life vests and drysuits have been faded by a sun that almost refused to set and our merino shirts have a couple of more holes in them compared to how they looked when set sail.
And for those curious: Yes, we made it to all five lighthouses: Säbbskär, Kylmäpihlaja, Enskär, Lågskär and Utö. So much fun!
Cycling to Åbo / Finland / 2022 / 222 km
Meaning is not born out of distance but from experience. A 4000 kilometer ride is not in an by itself more important than a 400 kilometer ride, or even a 40 kilometer ride.
This is a point all too often missed and equally as often misunderstood. It is all too easy to paint pictures of heroes traversing over great lengths of land while forgetting that it is the inner journey that always is the truly significant one.
Absolutely nothing is gained even if we circle the entire span of the earth, should we do so with our eyes shut and our minds closed. It is only when we open up and begin listening to all that nature is telling us that our voyages become more than mere distractions from boredom.
The pilgrimage we made to Åbo to the festival held in celebration of Govardhana is no real feat if measured in miles. But to do so would be missing out on the journey’s true significance. One needs to connect the dots.
Cycling the Northeast / Canada and USA / 2022 / 4880 km
Labrador is nicknamed “The Big Land”, which might seem a bit strange, as it in fact is not such a big piece of land when compared for instance to the neighbouring Quebec. But for one who goes there the meaning will soon become apparent. Labrador is big because there is ample room for everyone there.
The spring leading to our great Canadian journey had been all too busy for us, filled with work, the building of a massive exhibition, and the publishing and releasing of a new book. When all of this was finally over we were exhausted, our minds capable of little more than reacting to the problems that constantly seemed to demand our attention.
Only as we cycled along the Trans-Labrador Highway we found our peace. There was nothing but the two of us and the wide open road. Our thoughts were once again able to soar free!
Creativity can never prosper under duress – it needs room to flourish. For anyone caught in a rut, please be advised: Such space can be found on the desolate roads of the Labrador. But only if you can handle the black flies that share the land with you. After all, they were there first, like it or not.
Cycling to Mont Ventoux / France / 2021 / 350 km
Seeing a photograph of Mont Ventoux will invariably create an impression on a cyclist. The very moment she first lays her eyes on this exceptional mountain she instinctively knows that one day she too will have to ride up that moonlike landscape.
So strong is the call of the mountain that despite the harsh nature and unwelcoming demeanour a cyclist has no option but to answer it.
But even for those who dare approach Ventoux, success is not guaranteed. Tellingly the French philosopher Roland Barthes and cycling enthusiast once described the mountain as “a god of Evil, to which sacrifices must be made. It never forgives weakness and extracts an unfair tribute of suffering.”
For a vaisnava hindu the aforementioned quote will without fail bring to mind a verse Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu penned, wherein experiencing divine ecstasy he calls out to his beloved Krishna exclaiming “He may embrace me, or he may torment me and break my heart; he is free to do whatever he likes, for he alone is the Lord of my life!”
Success on the Ventoux is never guaranteed, nor is a favourable outcome. But for the cyclist no other options exist than to continue ascending, however painful it might be. No other option exists. No other option exists. No other option exists.
That is the reason why on one particularly cold autumn day the Mouse and the Duck stood facing the giant. They had come here to make their sacrifice to the Giant of Provence.
Cycling along Cote d'Azur / France / 2021 / 450 km
At the height of the pandemic we, like so many others, felt trapped. And as anyone in the know will tell you, there is no telling what a trapped animal is capable of doing.
These two animals decided it was time for yet another trip.
But there were a couple of issues with our plan.
The curfew set by the French government demanded that everyone stay indoors after 6 PM. And if one was outdoors, one was mandated to wear a mask.
Luckily both restriction posed no real problems for the two of us.
First of all the mask mandate was not applicable for those engage in “sports”. And even if Mr Duck refuses to view cycling as a sport he was willing to make an exception this one time. Considering the greater good and all that.
As for the curfew, well, the sun set at around the same time it fell.
So we rode our bikes during the days, and sought accommodation when the lights began to grow dimmer.
During our week on the road we saw a lighthouse, many white horses, and best of all hundreds of pink flamingoes!
Cycling in the Saimaa region / Finland / 2021 / 1 000 km
Kaisa was hired to participate in a team working to improve the accessibility of nature trails in Eastern Finland, and what better way to approach the task than to ride our bikes there and test the services first hand?
As many of the locations were still very much under development and scattered around a vast area of space this made up for a substantial tour of Karelia for the two of us taking us crossing the area West to East and North to South.
We rode along the shores of Lake Pielinen and Lake Saimaa as well as an array of smaller bodies of water, camping out by the shores in our small tent. And sure enough we encountered some very nice services along the way. As the principles of the curb effect predicts these benefitted even a most able Duck as well.
Case in point, a cool boat ride for wheelchair users and cyclist alike that took us from Kyläniemi to Sarviniemi!
Paddling to Digskär / Finland / 2021 / 2 days
If we have learned anything form romantic comedies, and believe us we have, we know that while sometimes one has to travel far to experience something special and other times the thing one is looking for is right in the backyard.
With this in mind the Mouse and the Duck set out for a weekend outing, with the tiniest of lighthouses as their goal. Luckily this particular lighthouse happened to be located just a couple of nautical miles from the family summer cottage. Mr Duck had gone there as a small duckling, so he knew that Kaisa too would appreciate it place.
As usual, Mr Duck was not mistaken. Kaisa did love the silly little lighthouse, the beautiful stone carvings made on the rocks by bored fishers, the wide open vistas in any direction. Mr Duck, being a mermaid at heart, even took a nice little dip in the sea.
And really, what’s not to love about a small island all for yourself and getting to sleep over in an actual lighthouse?
What was slightly less fun was the paddling back from the island, as the waters had grown most restless. But as usual, that is another story for another time.
Paddling around the Åland islands / Finland / 2021 / 24 days
Mr Duck promised himself that he would not become obsessed, but there is little a duck can do when the power of imagination takes control. The lighthouse, far beyond the visible horizon, became the sole thing that mattered for him. In the duck’s mind the lighthouse grew not so much in size as it did in meaning. It was a goal to be attained. He needed to reach it.
Of all virtues patience might be the most difficult to master. But the sea pays little attention to the plans of mere mortals, and the waves kept us ashore for three days and three nights. Only on the afternoon of the third day did a small window open up. This was our chance!
Five hours later the Mouse was paddling slower than expected. This was bad for two reasons. One, the sun had already begun to set, and two, the forecast predicted heavier winds once it did. But the Mouse was not feeling well.
The swell on which she ever so gently rocked caused her to feel nauseous. A feeling that quickly drained her power reserves. With no land in sight save for the lighthouse ahead of us we had no option but to keep going, hoping for some relief along the way.
Paddling ahead of the Mouse the Duck suddenly heard some strange noises. Thinking it might be a seal that had come to spy on us he turned his head, only to see the Mouse paying her tribute to Neptune. Meaning in plain language that she was throwing up all over the deck of her boat.
Once done, she swiftly scooped some seawater, rinsed her mouth and the deck of her ship, and smiling proclaimed that she was now ready to continue. Apparently sacrifices need be made before being allowed to set foot on the island we had set our sights on.
How we managed from there onward is another story for another time.
Cycling in Lapland / Finland & Norway / 2020 / 1 000 km
As the pandemic raged on most trips abroad became impossible. With one notable exception for us Finns – the border to Norway was still open! This gave us the final push to go and further explore the land along the Arctic Ocean, a land that we had had the smallest of sample of during our first tour.
For those who have not yet experienced Northern Norway it suffices to say that it is (A) exceedingly beautiful and dramatic and (B) the weather conditions are harsher than a shave with a rusty razor.
On one particularly horrendous day of rain and bitter cold we happened to pedal by a small sign that advertised a museum of the Sea Sami people, which was interesting enough in itself. But what made the sign all the more attractive to us was that it also advertised a small cabin for rent!
And as much as we always hunger for education we were at this point mostly craving some relief from the elements.
The cabin itself was not much more than a foyer for the adjacent sauna but that worked just fine for us. It gave us a place to both dry up and warm up. So half an hour later you could find Mr. Duck sitting in the small sauna slowly thawing and eating his much deserved as well as desired sandwich.
Oh, and the museum was as awesome as one can expect from a museum built by an eclectic collector fancying anything from traditional garments to old biscuit tins. Highly recommended, five stars!
Paddling around the Åland islands / Finland / 2020 / 17 days
“I have to keep this boat from capsizing!”
These were the primary thoughts of Mr. Duck as he and Ms. Mouse left the safe haven of Utö. The thoughts were this time not born so much out of a concern for personal well being and safety as out of the potential embarrassment rolling over would incur. Mr. Duck dared not turn around to look, but he assumed that the kids who came to bid them farewell were still on the shore observing them. “Good grief!” he thought to himself!
The sea in front of of them looked much bigger and wetter than it had when he had been reading the chart at home by the kitchen table. “Nothing to do but keep going!” Mr Duck told Kaisa, even though the thought of heading out toward the wide open horizon was petrifying.
One paddle stroke after the next, and soon both adventureres began finding a comfortable pace, the kayaks turning from death traps to what they in reality had always been, seaworthy vessels capable of much more than their captains.
Cycling from Alaska to California / USA & Canada / 2019 / 4 800 km
Arguably the greatest literary achievement in the Western canon is Carl Barks’s take on Uncle Scrooge in the story called North of Yukon.
In this tale we find Uncle Scrooge traversing the Alaskan wilderness with his beloved lead sled-dog Barko. The reason for the venture is to procure a receipt proving that Scrooge McDuck is in fact the legal proprietor of his vast fortune. A receipt initially lost due to deceit.
In a pivotal moment of the story Uncle Scrooge needs to decide whether to go for the aforementioned receipt or to save his beloved Barko who has fallen into icy river waters. Rarely if ever has the victory of love over material possession been portrayed as beautifully in writing.
Anyone who does not get misty-eyed when reading this novel has a heart of stone. And anyone who does not desire to visit the places depicted is most unfortunate.
And there you have it: The reason we found ourselves cycling through Alaska and Yukon in the summer of 2019.
Paddling from the White Sea to the Baltic Sea / Russia / 2018 / 47 days
Some of the most interesting things in life are born out of mistakes. This particular trip serves as a most fitting example.
Mr. Duck’s brother had told him about another interesting place worth visiting, but when he looked for it on the map he made an error and ended up in White Karelia. Not deterred by such a small mishap he noted something very interesting: In theory it would be possible to paddle from the White Sea all the way to St Petersburg through an array of locks, lakes, rivers and canals.
Now those that know Mr. Duck, know that he doesn’t really excel in any field. A most mediocre individual, one could say, without being too wrong. But this duck has one talent that makes up for all of his inadequacies – he is an expert in convincing others that they need to participate in his crazy ideas.
And wouldn’t you know, a week after hatching the plan he had amassed a crew of six to play their parts in this peculiar performance.
How it all went down is something you can read about in the travel journal called ”Russian Diaries” that Kaisa kept during the voyage.
Cycling the Tizi n’ Test / Morocco / 2018 / 600 km
There wasn’t supposed to be any rain, but of course someone forgot to let the clouds know this. And with the rain the entire dirt road turned into the most sticky clay imaginable. First our wheels began sliding, then stopped turning altogether. We had to stop.
Assessing the situation we noted that everything was covered in red earth. In some places laid on thickly, in other places as mere decoration. While the wheels of our bikes were at this point cemented, the so-called road was still most slippery.
So slippery in fact, that behind a bend a bus has slid across the road, and was now blocking traffic in both directions. It was apparent that the vehicle would not be moving any time soon.
Seeing this as an opportunity, we pushed our bikes past the bus (there was a gap big enough for a cyclist to pass through!) and found some twigs by the side of the road. With the help of these twigs we scraped the mud of our bikes and pushed them until the surface of the road was hard enough to ride.
The misfortune of the bus was thus a blessing for us for now we had the entire road for ourselves.
One day later we crossed the Tizi n’ Test pass.
Paddling in Eastern Greenland / Greenland / 2017 / 8 days
People tend to laugh at Mr. Duck’s slightly neurotic tendency of never discarding anything.
This time such behaviour really paid off, as he found some old shares in an almost forgotten folder up in the attic. With the money made from selling the newly rediscovered stock the Mouse and the Duck would finally be able to realise a dream of theirs – kayaking in the waters of Greenland.
Finding the stock was not the end of Mr. Duck’s good fortune. The other good fortune came in the form of an old school friend called Roope. Roope, a real outdoors person if there ever was one, also happens to be a wilderness guide, and not only that but also one who organised trips to remote places. Like Greenland.
After a more exiting than usual flight over from Reykjavik we landed in Kulusuk. The airport was exceptionally small, and in the place oaf a conveyor belt a tractor brought our gear to the other side of the terminal building. The kayaks, about a hundred meters from the airstrip, were awaiting us, and we promptly began loading them.
From here we would spend some nine days exploring this most peculiar of places.
Oh, and one more thing worth mentioning:
Mr Duck, having learned that the icebergs floating around came from the glaciers and were therefore made of fresh water, made sure to test this claim by licking one of them. Sure enough, no salt!
Cyclling on the Lofoten / Finland & Norway / 2017 / 1 600 km
Stopping at a small cafe along the way to warm up we happened upon another bike traveler. He had made his way through Norway along the coast and shared some wild stories of his adventures along the way. Many involving freezing and being soaking wet. We knew where he was coming from.
He also shared with us some sage advise about the importance of choosing you travel companions carefully. A point we wholeheartedly agree with!
A person new to bike travel might think that the most important aspect of a successful journey is dependent on the perfect bike, but even a lesser bike will do as long as the person(s) you are riding with are of compatible temperament. We’ve had trips almost ruined by fellow riders, who were a poor match.
At such moments the best course of action is to part ways. As painful as such an action might be, doing nothing will only serve to prolong an unsatisfactory tour.
So what qualities do we hold in high regard then? Here’s a short list for your benefit:
(2) A positive attitude
(3) The ability to endure discomfort
(4) Common courtesy
As for Lofoten, well, stunningly beautiful roads, but a little too crowded with cars for our taste. Still, witnessing the spectacular scenery we conceded that we should one day return there with our kayaks.
Paddling to Utö / Finland / 2017 / 11 days
There are people who are content staying where they are, and then there are those always wondering about what lies beyond the horizon. It should come as no surprise that the two of us belong to the latter group, but what might come as a surprise that this was not always the case for Kaisa.
Indeed, Kaisa learned to be an explorer, as she did not want to be one of those wives who wait at home while their husbands have all the fun. At times it was a bit of a steep learning curve for her, especially when it came to adventures out at sea. You see, Kaisa had grown up inland and had been told about the dangers of the sea. Camping was another thing Kaisa was most dubious about, having had some less than successful experiences with leaky tents in the mid-80’s.
It has been said that being brave does not mean you are not scared, but doing things regardless. With this as her mantra Kaisa set sail from Brändö in Helsinki along with Jonne, Miika and Mr. Duck. The goal? An island far beyond the horizon.
To learn more about this voyage and the art project born out of it, hop over to:
Cycling from New York to San Francisco / USA / 2016 / 6 300 km
On occasion we had visited New York City and when we got married we made it a point to see San Francisco. For the longest time it felt like this was enough.
But almost imperceptibly a feeling of wonder crept upon us as time passed and we grew older. Yes, we knew what both coasts looked like, but what lay in-between them?
To answer this nagging question we hopped on our bikes in June of 2016 and began pedalling. We set off from the Big Apple and did not stop before we hit the Pacific Ocean. Three months and thirteen states is what it took for us to gain the understanding we sought.
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and California, we passed through, one state after the other.
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge we knew first-hand how varied and rich the land was and how unusual and wonderful its inhabitants were.
Paddling in White Carelia / Russia / 2015 / 10 days
Both Kaisa and Christoffer agreed that the bicycle is not the best tool to explore White Karelia. This knowledge was as hard won as it was accurate. The roads were not built for anything short of a four wheel drive.
From this realisation it was a fairly short jump to the understanding that water was the way to go.
The waterways might well have been the smarter option, but that didn’t make the voyage exactly a walk in the park.
Don’t get us wrong, riding along the rivers made for some very interesting kayaking. This was perhaps best exemplified by Kaisa, who while riding through some rapids hit a rock, jumped over it with hands high in the air (something any paddler will tell you is wrong in all imaginable ways!) and somehow miraculously managed to stay upright throughout the entire process.
Easy and fun are usually not the synonymous, and kayaking in Russia is excellent proof of this.
Cycling in the Nordic countries / Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway / 2015 / 2 600 km
Few people on the Northern hemisphere tend to think about snow in the middle of summer, but then again most people on the Northern hemisphere are not Icelanders.
As the small island had made such a profound impact during our previous visit upon us we yearned to once again lay our feet on its volcanic grounds. This time we would however combine this visit with a tour of all the other Nordic countries as well.
So we rode our bikes through Sweden, took a ferry to Denmark and after cycling there for a day we boarded another ferry that would take us via the Faroe Islands to Seydisfjordur in Eastern Iceland. That is where we rode on roads surrounded by vast snow-covered plains on both sides. The infamous Icelandic wind also made its appearance, to our dismay.
So unsurprisingly we once again found ourselves cold, wet, and somewhat miserable. And once again the hot pools of Iceland saved us!
Cycling in Japan / Japan / 2014 / 2000 km
On one of the small Islands that make up the Shimanami Kaido route we ended up pitching our tents in a parking lot on the outskirts of the village after a long day on our bikes. Upon learning that there were cyclists staying in their space the occupants became upset.
Their indignation was, however, not born out of opposition to us staying on their property. Quite the opposite, in fact. You see, the locals felt that it would be all too uncomfortable for us to sleep on the hard paved surface. Soon one of them came to us with the keys to her car in her hand, offering them to us, as she thought that we would be more comfortable sleeping in it than in our tents.
It took some convincing, but in the end she accepted that we in fact were quite content sleeping in our tents. None the less we were awestruck – who in their right mind would hand over there car keys to complete strangers? As we pondered this question another local came up to us and made us an offer we could not refuse: The opportunity to wash ourselves in the bath tub of their home! No cyclist will pass on such an opportunity.
That night we went to sleep smelling like roses!
There may well be a cultural barrier as well as a language barrier between the Japanese and us Finnish cyclists, but kindness is a universal language, and one we were fortunate enough to be the recipients of one night somewhere in Southern Japan!
Cycling around the Baltic Sea / Germany, Poland, Denmark & Sweden / 2013 / 2 200 km
Say what you say about Danes and how they are the most laid-back type of people imaginable, they are nonetheless quite serious when it comes to cycling. This means no horseplay while riding, one stays in one’s own lane and one moves in the pace of the trafic.
Should you ride a one way path in the wrong direction will really make them lose their marbles.
We should know, as this is exactly what we did.
In our defence we were out on the most emptly rural bikepath one could imagine, with no other person in sight. Except for one very angry cyclist, who did not hesitate to rebuke us for failing to follow procedure.
Our second line of defence centered around the argument that we were unaware of such a rule was met with a disapproving frown.
Lesson learned, Danes, lesson learned!
Cycling in White Carelia / Russia / 2013 / 600 km
Some trips, while fun in and of themselves, end up serving as inspiration for more daring future journeys. Such was the case with our bike tour of White Karelia on the Russian side of the border. The roads were… interesting to say the least, and the camping spots left something to be desired when it came to cleanliness.
Despite these shortcomings we agreed that the area was well worth revisiting. A view enhanced during discussions with Taito Malinen, a local with decades of experience of outdoor life. The river by which his house lay had also been his place of work, and one could say that along blood water flowed in his veins as well.
In fact one of our most cherished memories from this particular bike trip is of Taito taking us to the Paanajärvi village with the small boat he built himself. During this ride we understood that the waterways were the way to experience this land. (And no, we are not writing this because the ease of that particular leg of the journey!)
Three years later we ended up returning to these waters and you can read about our adventures that time in one of the pieces above.
Cycling to Odessa / Baltic countries, Poland & Ukraine / 2012 / 3 300 km
Few places have gained as strong a notoriety as the stairs in Sergei Eisenstein’s movie Battleship Potemkin. So naturally we needed to see the stairs for ourselves.
This time the road took us through countries that in our childhood had been barred from visitation, if not by law then by prejudice. Today the old borders still stand, but are no longer covered in barbed wire but rather adorned with signs welcoming tourists of all creeds.
In Estonia we slept in the yard of a small family farm, invited by the lady of the house, who just so happened to be milking their cow as we rode by. In Latvia we enjoyed the art nouveau architecture of Riga, and in Lithuania we stood in awe facing the Hill of Crosses. Poland provided us with the best strawberries summer can offer, and Ukraine served us one absurdity after the other, bringing great joy to weary the cyclist.
As ever so often, the goal, as wondrous as it might have been, proved to pale in comparison to the experiences had during the journey to them.
Cycling in Costa Rica / Costa Rica / 2011 / 700 km
A shortcut can become something of a detour if the road one has planned on riding is flooded. Which is exactly what happened to us on the Puntarenas peninsula in Western Costa Rica.
At the time this was a bit of a bummer, but a lesson one is quick to learn on the road is that any setbacks usually become the best stories.
That was however of little consolation when we were pushing our bikes on a path that can only be called a road with the most generous of intentions, all while the scorching sun did its best to incinerate our pale skins. Big, loose rocks combined with endless amounts of dusty sand which tried to pass of as gravel rolled under our feet when we inched our way towards paved surfaces.
But as low as the lows were, that is how high we felt (both figuratively as well as literally) rolling into the Madhuvan Hindu temple grounds up in the mountains.
The monastics were unsurprisingly tremendously surprised to see us, as unannounced guests in this remote place are far from commonplace, but quickly overcame their feelings of being overwhelmed and made for most hospitable arrangements regarding our accommodation.
Their kindness and the warmth of welcome combined with the fact that the rough road that took us to them was the same one we would have to traverse in the opposite direction made us stay at Madhuvan for a period much longer than initially planned. A decision we never questioned or thought twice about.
Cycling to Murmansk / Russia / 2011 / 2 000 km
If you ask which of our many voyages is our favourite you will find us struggling to provide you with an answer. But should you ask which one was the worst Kaisa will eagerly exclaim “the one to Murmansk!”
Suffice to say it was a challenging trip in more ways than one, but I am not quite as harsh in my judgement as my better half.
Yes, we faced a number of adverse conditions, in most part related to the weather but also to road conditions and to a slightly lesser degree the wrong type of equipment. But as anyone will happily tell you, life is not always a dance on roses. A valuable lesson to be learned, if you are, as Kaisa claims me to be, “delusionally optimistic”.
Having spent close to month in rural Russia seeing the abundant shelves packed with an array of the most colorful fruit in a Norwegian supermarket up in Kirkenes almost brought tears to our eyes. Deprivation leads to appreciation.
Then there is the fact that few accomplishments give you better bragging rights than having slept under a bridge crossing the M18 in Russia!
Cycling around Iceland / Iceland / 2010 / 1 400 km
Anyone schooled in Greek mythology knows well that hubris inevitably leads to humiliation. Thus it should come as no surprise that when we arrived as big time bike travellers to Iceland this was exactly what the country had in store for us.
You might think you know a thing or two about wind, but let us tell you, you do not know wind until you have experienced the wind that has had thousands of miles of time to pick up speed before hitting this little rock of an island in the Northern Atlantic!
To this you do well in adding ice-cold fog and/or heavy rain. Not so proud now, are we?
Fortunately swift justice came with equally benevolent mercy. You see, the Icelanders are well aware that their beloved country might not always be the most hospitable to us hairless apes. That is why they have in a display of infinite wisdom harnessed the abundant geothermal energy to create bathing houses all over the place.
It is with the deep conviction that can only be born out of experience state that these pools of what felt like boiling hot water saved us after many a long and cold day on our bikes. But ride we did, day in and day out, completing in the end what we set out to do – ride the one road that circles around the entire island (aptly called Road Number 1!).
Rolling into Reykjavik we had learned the lesson nature set out to teach us: Out on the roads we are merely guests, and should as such behave accordingly. There is no place for pride among bike travellers.
(During our ride we met many cyclists from all over the world, some from Germany, some from Italy, and some from Sweden, but not a single one from Iceland. They know the elements too well.)
Cycling to the Mediterranean Sea / Sweden, Germany & France / 2008 / 3 000 km
Counterintuitively enough both the Mouse and the Duck prefer warm weather over cold and light over darkness. Which is why it at times is a bit difficult for them to live so far up North.
That is the reason why we on the second of our big adventures decided on heading southward. After a month of cycling and the crossing of three countries (Sweden, Germany and France respectively) we laid our eyes on the emerald-coloured waters of the Mediterranean. With that it was time for a celebratory swim!
Not to be outdone by her husband this time even Kaisa agreed to take a dip. A rare occurrence indeed! And one that would not be repeated for some time, as Kaisa is quite wary of natural waters. Perhaps she just got caught up in the spirit of the Riviera?
(The story of the entire ride can be read in our book “Tour d’Europe”, published in 2010.)
Cycling to the Arctic Ocean / Finland & Norway / 2007 / 1 700 km
Most people are aware of the “Butterfly Effect”, yet surprisingly few know about the at least as important “Duck Effect”. It is when a Duck (Leka) has a crazy idea that he wants to swim in the Arctic Ocean, and convinces the Mouse (Kaisa) that the rational way to fulfil this dream is to ride there on bikes. Kaisa being just the right amount of crazy agreed to the plan without a second thought.
Neither of us had any background in sports, much less so in endurance sports. But as the tortoise eventually beat the hare, so too did the two of us make it all the way to Mehamn, a small village by the Arctic Ocean in Northern Norway. All it took was riding our bikes day in and day out, until we hit the sea.
From seemingly insignificant ideas entire worlds can be born and seemingly small successes breed confidence as well as a desire to go even further. We know it sounds made up, but this is exactly how the seed that would bloom into countless more adventures first found itself fertile soil.
And that is what the “Duck Effect” is all about!