If you have been once in Finlnad you may also know the song “Olen Suomalainen”?
(Well, if you don´t know the song listen it below!)
It’s a kind of Finnish unofficial anthem, but somehow regarded more proudly than the official one.
If you translate the song, then you see how Finnish people is strong, determined, and resilient.
Well, I don’t doubt they are, but…
…what’s happening with all that strength when it’s about cycling?
Why nobody in Helsinki is able to pedal if is not summer time?
It seems that both institutions and citizens forget about the magic two-wheeled machine most of the year, when is not too warm.
Finland, the country that had been described as the happiest land, with the strongest folk, becames a desert of snow and lazy people in the winter, where cyclists have no rights, the bike lanes are left totally abbandoned. This is true at least for Helsinki.
Is it impossibile to cycle in the winter in Finland?
No. It’s actually easier than using a car, walking or even taking a bus.
BIKE VS CAR
If you use a bicycle, you don´t have to remove huge amounts of snow from it, as it happens with cars; you don´t have to warm up the engine, you don´t have to defrost the windows, you don´t have to worry for parking space under snow.
BIKE VS WALKING
If you have the right tires on your bike—and there is an actual acceptable bike lane—it may be less slipery than walking. You would warm up yourself cycling. And, if you don´t want to risk to sweat, you could get an electric bicycle.
BIKE VS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
With the bicycle you don´t have to freeze at the bus stop waiting for the bus, when you don´t move, you feel the cold even more and the time passes more slowly.
If you have the right bicycle, you may be even faster than a bus and could get straight from point A to B.
These above are just my simple considerations. These are some comparations that come straight to my mind, without even doing too much research about the topic.
However, if you do want to do a research about how easy is to cycle in the winter (with the right gear and the right biycle), just do it! I am sure that you will find more reasons why to use a bicycle in the winter.
I really can´t hope anything else than a wake up in Helsinki´s institution and residents. Let´s have a look at the cool–not too far–neighour Denmark: Copenhagen.
A cold winter day I was in Kafa-x—a wonderful place to do activism in Copenhagen—, having dinner when a sweet short haired person, holding croissants and cakes on a plate, was talking to the crowd, asking whom would have joined him to go to bring those croissants to the people in street.
This scene was one of the most beautiful, interesting, and kind actions I have ever witnessed.
I didn´t go with him, neither I have seen anyone else going with him that night. I was so surprised by his act that I was speechless.
He was a lonely, legendary hero on a bicycle, with croissant and love as the strongest weapons. His flag was the rainbow flag, which included all colors and all the elements.
This action of bringing some snacks and humanity to those who are in the most vulnerable situation is what I have chosen to dedicate my life to:
He inspired hundreds and hundreds of people—if not thousands—his energy can be felt by all of us and we will never believe that he doesn´t exist anymore, I don´t believe it now and I will hardly change my mind in the future.
Alone, he went to talk to sellers in markets around Copenhagen explaining to them that there is something wrong in throwing away food while there are many that could get great benefit from it.
His reasoning was the philosophy of the abundance: if we share resources, we have fewer people hungry, the fewer people are hungry and the less they are keen to commit crimes.
He managed to get agreements for the donation of tons and tons of food.
For this trip I needed normally to do some changes to the bicycle, three gears may be not enough to go 5.190 meters uphill, but I will challenge myself and still be with three gears! Pushing the bicycle up the mountains.
Komoot and Gmaps will be my main information source, I will not use the internet, so I have to rely only on offline maps.
This time I have more gear with me: full-body reflectors, fisherman rain-coat & solar-powered batteries; however, I have just a few pieces of clothing to fit all the stuff and the bigger sleeping bag, cause now the temperature will be a bit colder on the mountains.
Click on the pic to open the details of the tour
TBILISI – YEREVAN CYCLING DIARY Personal feelings and some useful Trip notes for bicycle travelers.
Main points about the trip
I felt Safe all the time,
There are many water springs on the way, in both countries,
The folk is hospitable & they like Europeans, Georgians and Armenian are similar, even though they have some contrasts between each other, Cold on the mountains in the nights,
The month of October has great weather for cycling (not too cold, not too hot), Not too much traffic and cars keep space when they were passing me, being really polite.
Ready for departure
Daily cyclo diary
TBILISI – KVEMO TELETI 30KM
It’s late when I realize that I don’t have a sleeping pad.
I had to throw away a battery in the standard trash cause in Georgia there is no recycling going on.
Gas stations don’t have air for tires.
No one friendly met on the way, expect a fruit seller and a tire shop owner.
I get some pain in the left leg, I don’t enjoy too much going on the mountains with a three gears city bike.
Testing the solar panels, they seem to work great, I already project to make some permanent installation.
I went to sleep early, I got asleep soon but in the night many thoughts came to my mind. It’s so hard to get empty.
Cemetery. Both Armenians & Georgians have a heavy worship for dead people
KVEMO TELETI – MARNEULI 46 km (tot 76)
Cold in the night
Freedom feeling in the morning
Disgusting smell of exhaust gas from cars
I buy a one-year-expired sweet from a small shop
Hygiene issues: while the seller serves the customer the food falls on the ground, then the seller put it aside, but does not trash it, after five minutes the food is back on the shelf; several shops did this.
Cool kids in the street with bicycles cycle with me.
Car accident, yet another.
Horse with a small lace between legs and neck.
A local asks me what’s my religion, I reply: ” the bicycle” and everything circular.
A fruit which I have never seen before attracts my attention: it’s green, hard, as big as an orange, smelling a bit like a citrus fruit, it has spiral patterns on the skin, and I don’t manage to open it.
In the night there is a mix of different sounds:
Music, like a folk festival
Dogs, many of them, barking
Train, slow and as noisy as a drill machine.
My back hurts.
I manage to get car’s attention with all that reflectors
MARNUELI – SHNOGH (ARMENIA) 34km (tot 110)
It rains, so I stay in the tent and play some harmonica.
Cows licking my bicycle.
All Custom guards are eating while checking my documents.
Friendly custom control.
Arrived in Armenia.
The streets are a bit worse here than in Georgia.
The Armenians I crossed look similar to each other; many men have flat dark hair going on the forehead, a mix between Dracula and Calimero. Several Armenians I have seen have gold teeth, I am not sure if it is a symbol of wealth.
The night was cold. Many animals were roaming around the tent; for sure groups of dogs, some kind of foxes making an acute sound, and maybe even wolves, or maybe they were just dogs. I have heard animal’s sounds that I have never heard before, some kind of sad dogs group crying, even though they could have been other animals too.
I have heard another scary sound, like an army with many tanks, moving slowly next to me; then I realize is just an Armenian train. Same happens for the trucks on the road. Two similar slow metallic sounds.
In the morning my tent is still wet due to the dew. I pack anyway.
Camping in the fields
SHNOG – DSEGH 80km (tot 156)
Many cars in panne in the street.
Indiana Jone’s bridges.
Abandoned cable car hanging on the cable on top of the village.
High voltage electricity wires about 2 5 meters from the ground.
I didn’t meet any attractive Armenian woman or girl yet
A bicycle traveler crosses my way, he doesn’t even smile to me.
Surrounded by dogs around the tent.
I get sick, maybe the food (kebab or fish), maybe the water, maybe just influenza; my belly, muscles, and head are painful, I vomit four times.
Locals are extremely friendly
DSEGH – VANADZOR 20km (tot 176)
Today I am fasting
The sun is high in the sky and I am still in the tent, sick.
I have finished all the three bottles of water.
My solar panels don’t seem to charge the battery
I try to get some motivation and energy to pack and leave :
I need water,
It’s hot in the tent,
There is too much noise from cars here,
And, if I arrive soon to Yerevan, I will probably meet a cool girl there.
I start to cycle even if I am sick.
Armenian drivers behave with cyclists as Italian drivers behave with girls: they annoy you by using the horn for no reason.
The way is uphill, I have to push the bicycle; nevertheless, there is a positive thing: Yerevan is not like Rome, where ALL the streets bring you there, for Yerevan there is only one street and not even much traffic.
Luckily the road has been flattened, however, there is no protection net for rocks falling from the mountain.
I struggle to find a place to set up the tent, finally, I camp near an abandoned industrial site, full of trash in the grass, as often happens in this trip.
The mist is the enemy number one
VANADZOR – SPITAK 38km (tot 214)
Today there is a lot of mist.
Regardless of the fact that this location is a bit grotesque and full of trash, I didn’t get disturbed by vehicles or dogs, so I had a good rest.
I still feel a little weak, but I have positive mental energy, probably I will fast today too.
When I look at the map in the mornings, I see there is a long way to go, nevertheless, as I start cycling, I regularly get surprised of myself about how far you can get just with a bicycle.
Even though I still feel sick, by cycling I feel better.
Thinking of my mother, I wonder if she had ever had big traveling adventures.
All cars have dark windows, even the front ones.
Smelly, polluting, and extremely dark smoke comes from the exhaust pipe of the majority of the vehicles.
It’s incredible how many car’s tire shops there are in Armenia.
Two men invite me to a warehouse where I meet Saro, the manager. He is really kind and speaks English, I get invited to eat with them but I am still not feeling good with my stomach, so I prefer not to eat.
Mountains are all around me, they seem made of velvet.
The silence and quietness of traveling by bicycle are priceless.
I am about fasting today too, but finally, I eat some grapes.
It seems that between Armenians and Georgians there are not great relationships.
I have to climb mountains again and my back hurts.
The night is freezing cold, I absolutely need a warmer sleep bag and extra clothes.
Someone comes to visit me in the tent during the night, I don’t understand if he needs help or is offering me some.
A kind man came to offer his help while I was repairing the bicycle
SPITAK – APARAN 33 km (tot 247)
This is the third day of fasting.
Many birds roam around my tent.
I have a flat tire.
A kind man offers me tea, accommodation, and little help to repair the bicycle.
I was thinking to climb these mountains yesterday before sunset, luckily I didn’t do it, because I would have ended up in the darkness on a mountain with nowhere to camp and a flat tire.
Finally, I realize that the many cars horning at me, do it just for friendliness, while in Italy they do it also to annoy and make stupid jokes at you.
After the wheel reparation, the tire seems to be damaged, so the bicycle is riding wonky.
I get invited for a tea from a kind man.
Suddenly, I am in the middle of a wedding, they ask me if I am hungry, I reply: “a bit” (I didn’t eat since three days), the people of the wedding go to ask others, probably asking if I could join the wedding, after a while they go to the supermarket and buy me food: sweets and chocolate. I do eat the food, but I didn’t have to, cause I am still sick, so I am about vomiting again.
Both in Armenia and Georgia—even though there are no bicycle lanes and cars don’t drive good—I have to admit that the most of the vehicles take a large distance from me when they pass me.
Safety is also not an issue here, for so far I have traveled, people don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don´t commit crimes; for sure not as much as in Europe.
Aran is a nice small town to stop.
I camp when is still about 17:00, I am afraid to not feel well enough to cross the next village.
There is a nice spot to set up the tent, I have a great view and some privacy; the only issue is the nearby traffic, noisy and smelly: from the tent, I cough because of the disgusting oily smoke from diesel vehicles. They have probably engine’s issues and therefore a lot of oil is burned. Luckily there are many other vehicles that run on methane.
Yet another freezing night, regardless the fact that I have even put gloves on my feet, they were still cold.
APARAN – YEREVAN 47 km (tot 294)
It’s sunny and I am not that sick anymore.
Today I will absolutely fast.
Everyone has talked to me in Russian in this trip, assuming that I would speak—or be—Russian; some people thought I was American, when I told them that my family is Italian they loved me, they like Europeans in general.
I find trash even next to a worship place.
While I am cycling there is a bicycle passing me on the left, I turn my head and I see a group of cyclo travelers, we cycle until Yerevan together, sharing food, drinks, and information.
They are kind Russians, I try my best to speak Russian, but of course, I can just say basic concepts.
I am happy to arrive in Yerevan and take a break, I love to cycle but I really needed some rest, a better sleeping bag, and sleeping pad.
I don´t manage to fast this last day.
Learing Georgian & Food
Thanks = Madloba
Hello = Gamarjoba (gamargioba)
GoodBye = Nakhvamdis
My name is = chemi sakhelia
Nice to meet you = Sasiamovnoa sheni gatsnoba
No = Ara
Yes = Ki
Maybe = sheidzleba’Me = me
You = shen
They = Isini
I like = me mikvars
You are really kind = dzalian chkviani khar (zalian cikviani kar)
Girl = gogo
Boy = bichi
I love you = me shen mikvarkhar
I love Georgia = me mikvars saqartvelo
You are beautiful = shen khar dzalian lamazi
You have beautiful eyes = shen gakvs dzalian lamazi tvalebi (eyes)
I like your skin = me mikvars sheni kani
Are all Georgian girls beautiful like you? = kvela qartveli gogo shensavit lamazia
Can I kiss you? = sheidzleba gakotsoDo you want to watch a movie with me = ginda chemtan ertad kinos kureba
I would marry your brother just to be near you = shen dzmaze davqorwindebodi rom shens akhlos vkopilikavi
Extremely hospitable and kind people, I have got helped in all kind of ways, even with money.
I needed food, they gave me food.
I needed a ride, they brought me with them.
I was thirsty, I had free water.
I had no money, people spontaneously gave me money.
No, is not the Bible, it’s just what happened to me. Many times. Both in Armenia and Georgia.
It seems that both, Armenians and Georgians, are in competition for whom is the most friendly and kind.
Free water as fundamental right.
Until about 2014, the water at home was free.
Yerevan, city of mirrors. You don’t have to carry a mirror with you, there are hundreds of them around the city
Armenian gastronomy: Persil & Coriander everywhere. Unlucky me that I don’t like coriander!
THINGS THAT COULD BE IMPROVED
Builders working on an expensive hotel construction don’t have any safety equipment
Small kids drive mini electric car toys, these cars are mini luxury cars and have even loud disco music integrated, to make the kid fully similar to the father.
I have seen more porches car here than in the wealthiest countries of the world.
The first significant Food-Sharing project in Finland is just started.
I can´t be more proud to be part of it.
It´s called ¨Keru¨, it´s a Community Fridge.
At the moment we have about ten donors, mostly supermarkets, which donate their surplus daily. The food will be checked and organized by volunteers, they will make sure that no rotten food is in the refrigerators and that every day new edibles will get there.
There is also a freezer and a shelf for dry food.
If you get kicked out of Facebook, you became no one. You can´t contact your friends, you can´t access your messages and information on Facebook, you can´t even access Tinder!
Here the sad story of how my balls got in the marketplace on Facebook: I thought that my testicles would be worth more than what I´ve got at the end…
I first got a notification from Facebook saying that my picture ¨goes against our community standards¨. My first thought was that I was kicked out because of the pictures of Cyclonudista.
I was listing on the Facebook marketplace something I had at home, I was taking a lot of pictures, and at that moment I got a notification from Facebook.
I was not sure about what was going on, I started to get restricted in sending attachments on Facebook
Buyers from the marketplace started to write me strange messages, which I could not fully understand
But I did understand that the first line of the previous message meant: ¨is this available¨
And then a picture with the inner part of my leg and a big smiley.
This was enough to understand that my genitals were for sale!
And then I started to get worried, the most shocking thing was that the guy CALLED MY PENIS ¨SMALL PENIS¨, which is totally untrue and I could even sue him for this!
I start actually to be more business oriented and think about the eventual sale of one of my testicles, well, I have two!
*As you can see at the end of the previus message, I have even written to this buyer a really personal message by mistake: I WAS STRESSED OUT!
My entrepreneurship ends when this guy (below) tells me that my balls are not worth the price
So I decide to have a deeper look at the ad
It´s official! my love organs are for sale!
I write to Facebook explaining that it was an error
But they just block me and I am not even able to take my genitals off the market
Hence, the most beloved part of my body is now for sale on Facebook and the system has blocked me from even taking it out.
I have made the selling ad in the Marketplace and added it to ten different buy/sell groups, so my genitals are there, for everyone to see, and to buy.
Did you find this story funny?
Well, it could be entertaining, but also worrying and annoying.
For a kinky Cyclonudista as me, it was not such a problem, cause the world has seen already all the sides of my body, dark sides included.
But think a moment about the consequences of such a situation for someone more introverted?
FACEBOOK REPORTING SYSTEM
It looks like there is an automated system to review reports, I have sent many reports about this issue and I am sure that there has never been a (smart)human reading it.
Or maybe there is a fascist doing the customer support. Previously, I´ve reported hate speech such as “kill them all” referred to a picture with African refugees, Facebook answered that it is not against the Facebook guidelines.
Even though I do have to admit that Facebook has been going in a really constructive direction for society, as the platform supports many social causes and human rights, still there is room for improvement.
Remember, if you are out of Facebook, you are out of the world.
The day that the world sow I got balls, but literally!
Many people asked me how I did became a CycloNudista; well, the first sign about this virtuous vocation appeared when I was just a little more than a child…
It happened in a small, countryside, village of southern Italy with roughly 5.000 inhabitants. The main disputes in this village are about how you are a better person if you come from one or another side of the village, there is a river that divides the two sides and many people feel proud to be from the “right side”.
This location in southern Italy is extremely conservative, old-fashion, and fascist: the best place to be a CycloNudista!
My home was two kilometers from the village, I had a bicycle and I was using it regularly to go to cafe´s or do groceries.
In this small village, when you are on a bicycle, people always look at you with superiority,—actually they do it also if you walk or are in a car that is worth less than 20.000euro—making you feel miserable, even if you are just a child. Just for that reason, I always loved to cycle: each move of my pedaling was for me a march against that sick society.
Another rebellious behavior I had, was to be a punk. I had eight piercings, a crest in my hair, broken pants, and colored nails; this made me look ´somewhat´ little different than anyone else around there.
It was for me quite usual to get attention from people, because of my bike and because of my look; actually maybe also because of many other things, but here let´s limit my unique weirdness to the bicycle and my appearance.
One day I went to a shop in the center, I was hurrying up so I didn´t even bother to put my underwear–I was a punk after all!–.
Strangely enough, I could immediately notice something different in the look of the locals, their look was full of superiority, as always, but this time there was also some kind of intense interest mixed with astonishment in their gaze.
As usual, I don´t take the trouble to care about them or react, I just do my stuff and get back home. While I was climbing the stairs, I was still thinking about these faces I crossed the look with: how could it be that every single person was having exactly the same expression?
When inside the house, I go straight to the kitchen, there is a large mirror at the entrance where I catch a glimpse of something pink above my legs. I walk rapidly back to the mirror and I finally understand the reason why I had so much attention today by the village people: my broken punk pants exposed my lovely precious parts!
This year we have chosen the hottest day of the year:
Saturday 21 of June
Which is officially the hottest day not just for us cyclonudista´s, but for the meteorologists too!
Are you asking yourself why should you join CycloNudista?
To protest against INDECENT exposure to cars and pollution!
Celebrating Cycling, Nature, Human body, simplicity and freedom of being.
The concept is simple: we do, once a year, on the hottest, sunniest day of the summer, a bicycle tour around the city, to get the town back from big motorized vehicles, shout against pollution, cars, and hypocritical prudery.
SATURDAY 21 July 2018 – 17.00 (Departure at 18:00)
Varsapuistikko (close to Railway Station and Kaisaniemenpuisto)
– To manifest AGAINST POLLUTION & car culture;
– PROMOTING CYCLING, Nature & Simplicity;
But the unique reasons why YOU do it may be infinite:
you love bicycles,
you love your city,
you want noiseless means of transport,
you don’t want big and fast vehicles in the city,
you don’t agree with the speculations of the oil industry,
you want to sensibilize drivers to mind the bikes.
…and because you may be an exhibitionist!
Varsapuistikko – next to Kaisaniemipuisto – Kaisaniemi park, close to the main train station.
(You can come from 17:00 to 18:00)
17.00 – PICNIC
I will bring a big amount of snacks and drinks, it will be for sure enough for the first ten people, you are welcome to bring something if you wish.
17:30 – BODY PAINTING
We can bodypaint each other and decide which is the specific message—“your motto”—each of us wants to share.
20.00 – SAUNA
We celebrate the celebration in the sauna: warm & cosy!
Sompasauna, a free, anarchic public sauna by the sea.
In the heat and steam we will have time to share our thoughs and feeling about the ride: what this ride means for each of us?
21:00 – BBQ
There is grill there @ sompasauna, if you have some vegetables you wanna grill, feel welcome to bring it so we can have a nice shared BBQ dinner.
WHAT TO BRING:
– Bicycle, another green mean of transport, or good legs to run!,
– A smile on your face,
– Any decoration that you find appropriate,
– Body painting material,
– Music instruments to play,
– A camera to record or stream pictures & videos: photographers and journalists welcome!
– Drinks and food (for picnic and/or BBQ) to share if you wish,
– A blanket for picnic,
– Towels (for sauna).
Of course you are free to join/leave whenever you want and nudism is not mandatory.
… WHERE IT BEGAN
On June 12th 2004 cyclists in 29 cities across the world took to the streets of the world, mostly wearing nothing more than a cheeky smile.
It was not only a huge success, but also a huge surprise, neither the media or the police actually thought that it would happen.
This was the worlds first international naked bike ride. Since then it has spread to more than 70 cities around the world with thousands of participants.
@@ SO, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? CLICK ON ATTEND NOW! @@
HOW IS IT ORGANIZED
Well the first thing to know is that it does not have any leaders, hierarchies or even any bureaucracy. It is an event that belongs entirely to its participants. You are not only invited to to participate in this event, but also to take ownership of it.
My normal weight has always been around 75 kg, nevertheless, some years ago I was 90 kg, I didn’t even notice immediately how bigger I became, but the scale, and the buttons flying off my shirt, made me understand the ‘size’ of my problem.
Travel, time and experience profoundly shaped my lifestyle,
above all, these factors, made me become a:
Omnivorous in emergencies.
I want to share with you a really effective diet to lose weight, be healthier, energetic, and cruelty-free.
This diet is diet it’s totally different than any other diet because it’s based on self regulation and it has different levels of freedom.
I am following this pattern since years and I have checked yearly my blood nourishment values to monitor any irregularities, my doctor always complimented me for my excellent values.
Morning Fruit salad with squeezed lemon
Fresh made juice–or–let pieces of fruit soak in a carafe with water and lemon, keep the pulp in the juice.
Don’t eat after 19.00, you will sleep better, waking up strong and energetic
Eat fruit peels
Eat local food and buy from family shops:
This is not just ethical, sustainable and good for the health, but is often cheaper.
You may want to adopt a generic weekly schedule with a day of fasting:
Mon-Fri – Mostly vegan
Saturday – Just fruit
Sunday – fasting
In general you should always avoid: fried food, salt, sugar, and sweets, except dark chocolate.
If you can’t manage to fast once a week, make sure to fast once a month.
After years on this kind of diet I feel much better and following this scheme gives me a routine, even if I do exceptions.
Eating just once a day (breakfast, brunch or lunch)
I have used sometimes the pattern of having just a big meal once a day, a kind of brunch, mostly for practical reasons, it didn’t make me feel bad, I was just quite slow for about half hour after having eaten, but in later in the day all was perfect.
You have to pay attention primarily to one thing: the glucose levels go down after four hours (or more) that you have eaten, the body may need it and this cloud make you feel a bit weak or in the long run, if you don’t have body fat, you could start to burn out your muscles instead.
Are you living or traveling in the European Union?
There are a number of rights that you have which you may not be aware of, I make here a short list of some of these rights and I tell you which are the steps you should make in case of legal issues.
It’s your right to film Police
In the most European countries you have the right to film Police in public, also in the USA it’s allowed.
There are several organization to get informations about your rights for filming Police:
While filming is mostly allowed, once you publish a video, you may want to blur the faces of the policemen.
You should also be aware that if Police is in operation better you keep some distance and discretion while filming, otherwise they may annoy you.
How to claim your rights as a human—or a citizen, traveler of tourist—and make a complaint, “press charges”, “make a report”, to institutions and what to do to escalate it to higher hierarchy levels
Whom to contact
– Higher ranks of the same institution you are complaining about (head offices, etc…)
– Ombudsman of the institution
– General Attorney (if is about Police)
– Regional ombudsman
– National ombudsman
– Traveler rights associations (if it is about travelers)
– Human rights associations (if it is about human rights)