A four day bicycle tour through the southern islands of Finland.
Ride report on EcoTrip 2000
Ride report on EcoTrip 2001
Ride report on EcoTrip 2002 Schweiz
is a short trip that has been organised each year for
the last four years by Olli Kuusisto of the Kaarina-Piikkiö
Open College. It is a fairly leisurely 250km ride through the
islands off the southwest coast of Finland. The ride is
four days long, and winds through some very picturesque
countryside. Most of the participants ride trikes or two-wheeled
recumbents; battery-assisted vehicles are also in evidence and
Olli takes his solar- and wind-powered boat. Anyone is welcome,
though - there are usually one or two people riding
perfectly ordinary diamond-frame bicycles.
The aim of the tour is to have fun and enjoy the ride; equally
important is to take a message to the people along the way that
transport doesn't have to involve petrol or high speeds. To this
latter end, several presentations are made along the way. This
year the message was accompanied by dancers and a classical septet.
But the bikes themselves are the biggest
attraction. From Jarmo Laine's "Perspirator", an enclosed
battery-assisted vehicle, to the famous
a front-wheel, lean-steering trike built by Esko Meriluoto, the
"exhibits" are a fascinating collection of lovingly built and
passionately ridden machines.
By no means all the machines are owner-built - many people come along
riding commercially available bikes.
Because some of the bikes are experimental, there is a support vehicle.
Most people carry the essentials on their bikes and put their overnight
stuff in the support vehicle.
Maybe useful notes
There is a terrific interactive map system for the Turku region at
You can zoom in and move around quite quickly.
For Finland in summer, you need:
- For the mosquito-ridden evenings:
- a long, light pair of pants, with elastic cuffs
- a long-armed light shirt, preferably with elastic cuffs
- THICK socks
- insect repellant if you think it will work
- For camping:
- you MUST have mosquito-proof netting between you and the
night air while you sleep or you will be eaten alive.
- you probably won't need a sleeping bag some nights, so take
along a light sheet as well - a silk sleeping bag liner is ideal
- For riding:
- sunburn cream. They only seem to sell Factor 8 in Finland, so take
along some decent Factor 25, 30 or 35.
- lightweight rain gear
- Apart from that you also need:
- at least one set of warm clothes. It can get quite cool once
the sun is gone. A set of light thermal underwear to augment
your usual clothes is probably enough, and takes very little
- a light jumper
If you are interested in future Eco-Trips
So far, Olli Kuusisto has organised all the Eco-Trips, ably
assisted by various friends and helpers. There is a
which should have contact details.
There has been some suggestion that the Eco-Trips should be held
in other countries, so if you want to organise one (or help
organise one) in your country, I'm sure Olli would love to hear
Preparing a trike for aircraft transport
I took a Windcheetah along for EcoTrip 2000, and a Greenspeed GTO for
My GTO has a Rohloff rear hub and a SpeedDrive front chainwheel, so I have no
oily, bendable derailleurs to worry about. The seat is integral, with no
cushions to fall off and the steering is underseat. The only preparation I
did for the GTO was to remove the nasty sharp pedals, remove the fragile bits
(bottle holders, mirrors, lights, cyclocomputer), and run the flag down into
Preparing the Windcheetah took longer. It
survived four loads and four unloads in this state. It takes about 15
minutes to half an hour to do this and the same to get the trike back
into a ridable state. Some of these steps need the appropriate tools,
Some people recommend lowering the tyre pressure. The theory is
that the bike is exposed to very low air pressure at 10,000
metres altitude, and the tyres might explode. However, the
baggage hold is pressurised in most aircraft, so this step seems
- remove the left-hand pedal, carry in luggage
- turn right-hand pedal in, resting above front stem
- turn left-hand crank back 180 degrees
- remove flagpole, tape along underside of frame
- remove seat cushions, strap to luggage rack
- remove front and rear lights, carry in luggage
- remove cyclecomputer and sensor, carry in luggage
- use an elastic strap across the seat and looped once around the
joystick to hold it centred and flat to the seat. Also keeps the
wheels centred, and may help stop the handlers from using the
joystick as a handle.
- take an airport cycle-bag and baggage tape (the airport
will give these to you if you ask). Cut 50cm off one end of the bag
and wrap the chainwheels/pedals, taping everything well. Put a
thickness of plastic between the right pedal and the stem.
- cut a further 30cm off the bag and wrap the joystick assembly
- empty any water bottles you may have, and tape the bottles into
- attach a sign "NO HANDLE" to the base of the joystick
- attach a sign "LIFT HERE" to the luggage rack
Last update: 16 September 2001, Karl Auer