I figured i'd start a thread of my own to keep records from my outings organised and in one place. What i'm hoping to do here is document as many rides as i can that i'd consider more than just commuting or going to see grandma in the town i grew up in.
I'm going to try and keep this in chronological order so i'm writing two posts in a row, starting with an account of a trip of around 300km from Tartu, Estonia to our cottage in the northwest as bit of write-up practice. In the second post, something a bit more interesting.
My dad would call this trip the trans-Estonia as you get to cover around two thirds of our small country. I've travelled the route countless times by car growing up so i figured i'd make it a bit more interesting for myself and find a new route between the same points to take on the bike. I actually spent a while tinkering with google and other maps to figure out whether there'd be any gravel sections on my chosen route in an effort to avoid them, but gave up in the end due to old and conflicting data. In any case, i chose a route that starts by going further west from what i'd normally do. It would take me from Tartu to lake Võrtsjärv, which is a decent bit of riding on a summer's day.
What i had no idea about was that they were holding a bicycle race on the road west from Tartu that day. Interestingly, they hadn't closed the whole road as this is an important highway but had police and organisers following the major rider's groups in cars and motorcycles to direct oncoming traffic to pull over. I ended up pulling over a couple of times to let the cyclists pass.
At the northern tip of lake Võrtsjärv i turned off the main highway at Leie. The road north from here towards Põltsamaa was smooth with gentle curves and totally deserted.
I stopped for a few minutes to have a look at an old industrial building in Lalsi. If anyone wants to buy an old glass factory, i can hook you up.
Somewhere after Lalsi i discovered that, yes, in fact, i had some gravel on my route. After the fact i can say it wasn't as sketchy as i thought it would be on my fairly smooth tyres. I kept it to around 70 and the back country roads were enjoyable and to be fair, the section of gravel i had to do was 10km at the most.
After this, the road switches to paved again, but the character stays the same. Rolling hills and gentle twists with not a soul in sight apart from the occasional old man mucking about on his field.
Around the back of Põltsamaa i rejoined the route i'd normally take. It was 26C or so out so i had to take plenty of ice cream stops. I think it's around this point i stopped looking for photo ops and focused on enyoing the ride. It's interesting how things stop catching your eye once you get to a road that you know well. I might write up the rest of this route another time when i can get myself to look more closely and spend some time at the interesting stops of the second half. I'll also probably want to not have my bike in every shot. (Yes, i've been reading the pinned advrider ride report thread )
I got to my destination in around 5 hours which is an easy 2 more than the journey would take by car. Wouldn't feel nearly the same, though.