Cycling in Oulanka National Park - Finland

Fat biking in Finland

8 days
from
£1,499
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 13 reviews >
Trip code: 
MEF
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

Explore the beautiful Oulanka National Park by fat bike

Take on the wilderness in an entirely new way on this new fat biking trip. This is mountain biking turned up to the max – chunky, extra grip tyres allow you to ride your bike through the snow like never before. You’ll be out on the incredible Finnish taiga, cycling through primordial forests, along frozen lakes and towards spectacular snow-covered horizons. Pre-prepared tracks in the snow allow you to ride with relative ease, whilst seeing the best of arctic Finland from the saddle. As if that isn’t enough, you’ll stay in remote wilderness cabins with traditional saunas and authentic cuisine to keep you cosy when the daylight fades, and if you’re lucky, the chance to watch the dance of the Northern Lights. This is the ultimate winter biking adventure, a truly unique experience!

Highlights

  • Cycle through the remote Finnish Wilderness
  • Cross snow-laden forests and fells
  • Chance to see the Northern Lights

Key information

  • 5 nights wilderness lodge, 2 nights simple lodge with shared facilities
  • 5 days guided fat biking
  • Group normally 6‐16, plus leader. Min age 16 years
  • Prepared trails in the Oulanka National Park area

What's included

  • Rental of fat bikes
  • Return flight from either Gatwick or Heathrow to Kuusamo, airport transfers (for group flight only)
  • Local tour leaders throughout

What's not included

  • Ice climbing
  • Snowmobile and dogsledding safaris
  • Visas and Vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate: 8-12km/5-8miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; 100% snow covered tracks

Day by day breakdown
Day 25.0km/3.0miles
Day 311.0km/7.0miles
Day 49.0km/6.0miles
Day 514.0km/9.0miles
Day 730.0km/19.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Logging Lodge by Basecamp Oulanka

    Start at Basecamp Oulanka for the first briefing and to visit the kit room to collect all the clothing needed for a week of fat biking in arctic conditions. Depending on the arrival time we may have dinner here or later when we arrive at the Logging Lodge in Oulanka National Park.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Wilderness skills session and an introduction to fat biking on snow.

    In the morning we are provided with our bikes for a week spent in arctic conditions. We spend the day not far from the Logging Lodge, firstly with an introduction to fat biking and wilderness skills in the forest or in a larger clearing on the edge of the forest. In summer this is used as a gravel pit, and whilst that may not sound hugely appealing, a healthy dose of snow in winter turns it into a wide open area with a few ups and downs, perfect for getting easing back into the swing of things. Lunch today is taken back at the Logging Lodge. We aim to have a few hours practice in both the morning and afternoon.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cycle over frozen rivers and along the Russian border to a remote wilderness lodge.

    In the morning we will be given a drysack (max. 6kg) to pack up all the equipment, clothes and essentials we might need for the next two nights. The drysacks will then be taken on to the Russian End cabin via snowmobile meaning we only need to carry the items for that days' ride. Once packed we get on the bikes and ride east following the River Oulanka, there are some small ascents and fun descents. After our break we have a short ride to the Russia border, we follow this all the way to our cabin which is situated on the River Oulanka. Once at the Russian End cabin we will have a hot lunch and some free time to enjoy the sauna, go for a walk to the river or head out on a self-guided ride. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Fat bike exploration along the Russian border; climb to a viewpoint for spectacular views over Lake Paanjärvi.

    After breakfast, we have a loop ride south following the River Oulanka and the Russian/Finnish border to the beautiful viewpoint which overlooks Lake Paanajärvi on the Russian side, a wonderful spot from which to admire the natural surroundings. Our ride back takes us through forest inhabited by Elk so there is a high chance of seeing one. In the evening we can relax in the traditional Finnish sauna and head out to the frozen river for an amazing view of the night sky. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Ride across a vast pine forest back to the Logging Lodge.

    Today we pack up our kit for the return journey to the Logging Lodge, we ride through the biggest destructed area by elks in Europe. We then stop at the reindeer roundup before rejoining the same route as day three in reverse. Once back at the Logging Lodge we have lunch followed by a free afternoon for relaxing in the sauna or heading out on a self-guided ride. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Free day optional activities.

    Free day to enjoy a variety of optional activities on offer today including unguided snowshoeing or dogsledding. An introduction to snowshoeing is required if you wish to do this today to explain how to use the equipment (if you do night snowshoeing earlier on in the week that will be your introduction to snowshoeing). 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Cycle across frozen rivers and through the Oulanka N.P.

    Today we set off into the wilderness for our longest day of the trip. We head north along the Oulanka River venturing further into the National Park. Our route starts by crossing Oulanka River before heading into the thick woodland of the Oulanka National Park, there are some undulations on this route and a few short sections which need to be pushed up, though the descents make this effort well worthwhile! We explore the habitat of the Golden Eagle and Wolverine, if we are lucky we might even spot one. We have lunch along the way on the trail. Then we ride back to the Logging Lodge for dinner and time for a final sauna.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Logging Lodge

    Our trip ends at the Logging Lodge. 

    Lunch is included for clients booked on the group flights for departures from Dec. 24th to Feb. 11th (included) due to a later inbound flight time.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Finland

No visa required for UK passport holders visiting Finland.

Vaccinations

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners are included.

The food provided covers a variety of traditional Finnish dishes going back 50 years using recipes from forestry camps. You can expect hearty warming meals using local ingredients and cooked by the cabin host.

Breakfast will be continental style, with bread, cheese, turkey, porridge, muesli and yoghurt.

Lunch will consist of warm soup and bread; the soup ingredients change daily and you can expect a wide range of local produce like Elk, vegetables and Salmon.

The evening dinner will consist of traditional meat and fish dishes with vegetables, fresh salad and dessert. A vegetarian option is also available.

Between 8am – 6pm there will be hot tea and coffee available at the logging lodge and at Russian End. 

Weather

In the regions close to the Arctic Circle temperatures during the season range from -30ºC to +5ºC. Recent years have seen massive fluctuations in the space of a few weeks with lows of -40ºC and highs of +7ºC just a few days apart. If the thought of such temperatures scares you, then think again. When dressed in the correct clothing (such as described in the layering system example in the packing section), -20ºC can actually feel very pleasant. The Arctic cold is a dry cold, there is usually no wind, and remember, riding a fat bike is very active. Daylight hours Remember that at extreme latitudes the days shorten and lengthen much faster. So while in mid-winter (December/January) the sun remains just below the horizon, by April there are more daylight hours than in the UK, and the midnight sun is only a matter of weeks away. Even in midwinter it is not dark, as the sun is just above the horizon and there is plenty of light reflected off the snow. Northern Lights The breathtaking Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are visible from September to late April on most clear nights at latitudes close to, and above the Arctic Circle. They can be seen further south, but will be less spectacular and less frequent. Solar activity is greater around the equinoxes (September and March), and at lower latitudes this can be the best time to see them. On our trip we will have little light pollution so if there is sufficient solar activity and no cloud cover, we will be well placed to see them, although obviously this cannot be guaranteed.

Is this trip for you?

Fat biking is a fast growing sport, allowing enthusiasts to cycle year-round and enjoy a range of terrains previously inaccessible to standard bikes. Here we use them to explore the Finnish wilderness in an entirely new way. They are essentially mountain bikes fitted with 4-inch wide tyres that are inflated to a much lower pressure than normal tyres. The difference from a standard mountain bike is that a fat bike provides unrivalled grip and stability on the snowy terrain, perfect for the keen cyclist or mountain biker who wants to try something new. Over snow-packed singletrack, riders can glide around icy corners that may have sent them hurtling to the ground on a standard mountain bike. The squishier tires can also make for a much more comfortable ride on the trail.

Fat bikes make it easier to ride in or over the snow, but that doesn't necessarily make it effortless. You might stay more upright, but you still really need to muscle your way through snowdrifts. You're definitely going to get a workout.

If you are a keen rider and you can't stand the thought of putting your bike away for winter, this may just be the right trip for you!

On this trip we will ride for 3 -6 hours per day on tracks made by a snowmobile with the occasional opportunity of riding off track. Although riding distances on some of the days don’t seem that great please bear in mind that you will be cycling at a much lower speed than standard mountain bikes.

Activity level 4 – Moderate/Challenging.
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading.

The nature tracks on which you will be riding are prepared in advance by snowmobile and the quality may vary due to weather conditions. During heavy snow, the riding can be particularly challenging and therefore previous mountain biking experience is essential. Please note, however, at times the snow becomes tightly packed and consequently makes the riding much easier. The riding is adventurous sometimes taking us to the top of small mountains so an ability to ascend/descend slopes is essential.

A reasonable level of fitness and bike handling skills are required. On the day we ride to the Russian End you will need to carry a rucksack with your personal items, a skidoo will carry the other items like food, drink and the emergency medical kit.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Logging Lodge

The Logging Lodge, on the edge of the Oulanka National Park, was originally built in the 1950s and has been renovated to provide more modern accommodation for our groups.

Twin rooms actually have two bunks on opposite walls though we use these as twin share.
Facilities are shared. There are two bathrooms, a shower room, sauna, drying room and a lounge/dining area. There is wifi throughout.

Meals are taken in the main lounge/dining area where there is also a small bar of sorts.

Russian End Wilderness Cabin

The Russian End cabin is a traditional elk hunting camp. There is no running water and no electricity and our two nights here give a real taste of life in the wilderness. There is one small room with a twin and a single bed, a small kitchen area where our leaders will prepare the food, and the main living area.

The main living area, is quite simply one big room, with a large table down the middle and one long bunk along the wall. Due to the nature of the accommodation it is not possible to have a single here, and we do our best to accommodate people as best we can within these sleeping arrangements, however it is not possible to pre allocate berths. Warmth is never an issue, with a roaring fire and warm sleeping bags and candles to provide light. 


We may also make use of a second sleeping area in the same cabin as the sauna. The sauna is in a separate building close to the river. Using water cut from the river ice we fire this upon arrival. This space also doubles as a washing area. There is no shower, instead, we use the hot and cold water provided to wash – pouring a mix of these over your head constitutes a real ‘Finnish’ shower and is certainly effective!
The toilet here is in a separate hut about 50m from the cabin.
The location is unforgettable, a stone’s throw from the river and not far from the Russian border, this is a long way off the grid and all the better for it. With zero light pollution, Northern Lights displays, whilst never guaranteed, can be spectacular.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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  • Reviewed April 2018
    Katy Smith

    Fat biking in Finland

    This was a really great trip and quite challenging even for hardy mountain bikers! The snow conditions made a huge difference the ease of the ride! Cycling in deep fresh snow was exhausting but when it was very cold and the snow was hard and compressed it was much easier! Each day was different and it was wonderful to have a couple of days in complete wilderness. The equipment provided was excellent so no need to buy kit if you don’t already have it - we did bring our own but it wasn’t essential. Some of the bikes were brand new for our trip and were top quality but even the older ones were good and very well maintained. Vesku our guide and his assistant Niila couldn’t have worked harder to make sure our holiday was comfortable and enjoyable and the food was excellent and plentiful. Vegetarians and vegans were well catered for too. We were lucky enough to see the Northern lights on 3 consecutive nights which just added to the magic!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day was different and great fun so it’s hard to pick out an individual special moment. But cycling on really hard snow at -25 degrees in perfect sunshine was a real treat!! We saw the Northern lights 4 times on 3 nights so of course that has to be at the top of the list!! The first time we saw them whilst at the Wilderness hut will be a moment I’ll remember for ever! Words and photos just don’t do the experience justice!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vesku and his assistant Niila were wonderful! They were caring and very knowledgable about the region. They worked tirelessly to ensure we all had a great holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This really can be quite challenging depending on the snow conditions! But it’s well worth booking if you enjoy cycling and don’t mind a bit of hard work! But be prepared to fall off from time to time - it’s not painful as the snow is soft and deep!! The kit provided and bikes are great quality so it’s not necessary to buy kit specifically for this trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is so different and magical - I’d thoroughly recommend it!!
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Cornelia Szecsei

    Sauna, Sauna and more Sauna

    We were part of the first ever Exodus Fat Biking trip. We didn't quite know what to expect but it surpassed all of our predictions. Being in the Finnish wilderness was a totally unique and astoundingly beautiful experience. I've never seen such a clear, starry sky. We generally cycled in a group until early afternoon and then often headed out on the bikes alone or headed to the Sauna with a beer. The cycling was relatively challenging - there are plenty of climbs and although we are aerobically fit we didn't have any mountain biking experience (which would have been useful). The distances don't sound far but unless the paths are compact and firm it is a slow process. If the snow is too soft the bikes sink and you find yourself pushing for a while. As we were the first trip some of the routes were a bit of a test and they were already finding ways of compacting snow better so I suspect the riding will get better and better with each trip. Be prepared to fall off multiple times a day, even if you think you're an experienced rider! Falling into a mound of soft snow is quite pleasant, however, and definitely entertaining. The cabin accommodation and the scenery was what made this trip (the food was incredible too). At the Russian End there's communal sleeping in a big room, outside compost toilet and a traditional wooden Finnish sauna. We did the optional half day dog sledging which was fantastic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing in swimming costumes on a frozen river under a starry sky being doused with ice cold river water before running back into the sauna (not compulsory!). Sitting with a warm drink in front of the fire at The Russian End was also a lovely experience. They had a generator to charge cameras etc but otherwise it was electricity free entertainment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Henri was excellent and had a great sense of humour. He was often pointing out animal tracks or telling us about local history. He had very good bike maintenance knowledge and has ridden fat bikes for years.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You get hotter riding than you might expect and we were often stripping layers off at stops. On arrival you are provided with everything - base layers, socks, waterproof outer layers, head torches, shoes, rucksacks. It's high quality (eg. Salomon boots, Lowe Alpine rucksacks) so I wouldn't invest in anything specifically for the trip. Take a camera and a good book - there's plenty of down time once it gets dark.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We saw a hint of the northern lights one night at The Russian End - just a vague green hovering about the trees, but there really is no guarantee and of course they may be happening at 3am when everyone is asleep. Most people downloaded an app to look at how likely it was to happen that night.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Sheila Davison

    Fat biking Finland

    A great adventure immense fun

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The isolation of the Russian End peace quiet and wonderful night skies including the Northern Lights. Learning a new skill with confidence

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent knowledgeable caring helpful and fun!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy a whole new experience.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Guy Thompson

    Fat Biketastic Winter Wonderland

    This trip exceeded our expectations. We went on the last trip of the year in mid April which I thought may be risky weather wise. Despite my concerns was still there was plenty of snow and temperatures were sub zero. We had the advantage of daylight from 5am to 9pm. We had some sunshine and some fresh snow (often lots of both in one day) which was lovely. The weather made for mixed riding conditions, from easy to ride hard pack, to fresh powder, which is more challenging. Technically, the most demanding element is the fresh snow (even though the snow mobile grooms the tracks first). There were plenty of comedy slow speed tumbles but no-one gets seriously hurt. Physically, there are some long gentle, and short steep, climbs but nothing too demanding. There are plenty of breaks and no-one gets left behind. The last ride to the visitor centre is the most demanding but also one of the most rewarding. The logging lodge accommodation was in a secluded location 45 minutes drive from Oulanka base camp. We had a small group of only 5 so we all had our own rooms. The logging lodge was great for our small group and felt very homely with it's wooden interiors and log burning sauna. The food was always excellently cooked, locally sourced stuff. Lots of elk and warming soups with berry deserts. Having a small group who got on well made the experience more personal and very enjoyable. Though I'm sure the bigger groups had a great time too. On our free day we did the full day husky ride. This was a little pricey but an excellent experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The serenity of biking through a pristine winter wilderness in the falling snow. The adventure experience of staying at the rustic Russian End wilderness lodge by the Oulanka river. Being lucky enough to spot a majestic Elk on the track one day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Henri was an excellent guide. We bombarded him with all sorts of ridiculous questions which he was only too happy to answer. He is calm, cool and collected with a good sense of humour. He really does know his stuff and you feel you are in safe hands at all times. He is very friendly and approachable and it is largely thanks to him that this is such an excellent trip. Marcus was a great help clearing the tracks and transporting our stuff to the Russian End and was great company when he was with us. Jessica was a great host who prepared a mean salad and could carry a great tune when singing Finnish Folk Songs!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some reviewers thought the difficulty was under graded on this trip. I think Exodus are spot on with their 4 rating. If you are reasonably fit and have some mountain biking experience you won't have any problems. Sit facing forwards in the minivan if your the travel sick type. The icy roads are a bit of a roller coaster. If you do the husky ride leave your bags in the owners house on arrival rather than filling the sledge with them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some of the accommodation pictures on the Exodus website are of Basecamp Oulanka - which is not where you stay. The logging lodge is a 45 minute drive away. It wasn't a problem but it's worth pointing out that the 6 non en suite rooms in the logging lodge are 4 bed bunk dorms. All be it very tidy ones with only the two bottom bunks being used by the guests. It would have been nice to have a go at cross country skiing too. It's a full schedule of biking but maybe there is some way a few more optional activities could be squeezed in to the afternoons or something. It was tough choosing just one thing on the free day.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Sandra Hazeldon

    Wilderness Adventure on a fat bike.

    If you're considering doing this trip - do it! I loved every moment, the scenery was stunning, my trip companions were lovely, the biking was awesome, the food superb, the organisation top notch and the accommodation was perfect. Anymore superlatives?! We had perfect weather - cold, dry and sunny with clear skies which definitely helped to make this such a wonderful week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many but a special mention for the Northern Lights, the lodge by the Russian border, drinking G&T's in the sauna followed by dunkings with frozen river water, riding in the snow in wilderness silence and the stunning scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Henri is a star, a fantastic and knowledgeable group leader, very ably assisted by the rest of the Basecamp crew. He is extremely well organised and went out of his way to ensure we had a good trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mountain bike experience is a definite advantage as balance skills are very useful. All clothing needed for the outdoors apart from base layers is provided but if you've got your own of equal suitability then take them. I took my own and feel I was comfier in clothes that fitted me properly, that I was used to wearing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to fall off and know that snow isn't always a soft landing!!
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Philip Crist

    Fun, Scenery, Saunas and Northern Lights too

    the most fun I have had in the snow with my clothes on. Accommodation was great, the log cabin at the Russian end was amazing. Having to cut a hole in the frozen river to get water for the sauna - and what a great sauna that was - all added to the experience. Fatbiking in the snow was a new skill set, never fully mastered, and I lost count of the times I put my foot down for safety only to sink into two foot of snow. Henry was a great tour guide and was definitley part of the holiday. A great group of people having a great time. And the Northern Lights are amazing

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Northern Lights sauna at the Russian end and the ice cold water dunking that went with it The scenery The thrill of the downhills

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Henry was great and was definitely a key player in making the holiday work

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light. Most of the outdoor kit is provided and you do get very warm cycling. I typically wore cycle shorts and a light cycle top with the over trousers and jacket on top

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are thinking of doing this - book it it is great
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Anne Waddington

    Beautiful sunny and snowy wilderness scenes but no northern lights

    Fat biking was a great way to see the beautiful winter scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching enormous snowflakes falling steadily in the beautiful forests. The wood stove heated saunas followed by frozen river dip was a fantastic experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good. Very helpful and competent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring ear plugs, flip flops and a couple of thin base layers. Cycle shorts maybe. It was so mild some days that I wished I'd had my softshell but I managed fine without. It seems the weather is very variable. Expect your bike skills and balance to be tested. I've been mountain biking for many years and still had a fair few non painful falls into snowdrifts.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Really helpful group leader and assistant, they went out of their way for us. I would have preferred uk style brakes but otherwise the bikes were great. Fat biking was challenging in the soft fresh snow and a lot easier when the snow had compacted so I think they need to have a variety of routes of different distances to suit the weather.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Michael Cooper

    FAT BIKING FINLAND

    Superb week in the 'Great Outdoors' which over and above the cycling provides an introduction to Finnish life without seeing to many Finns with the exception of the Base Camp staff.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling off road on snow laden trails through beautiful Finnish terrain and having the opportunity to experience a genuine Finnish sauna at the end of the day especially at Russian End!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jessica was very passionate about Finland, the Oulanka National park and the 'Great Outdoors'. Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and even sang for the group. More than ably supported by Henri, Marcus and Yongi.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Possibly better enjoyed if you have some mountain biking skills but any competent cyclist will be able to participate. Take ear plugs for the 2 nights at Russian End. This trip is only for persons who enjoy being outside, active and are comfortable with basic but comfortable accommodation. e.g. at Russian End for two nights there is not any electricity or running water.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The standard and variety of the food which also included many Finnish dishes added to the experience.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Nicola Louise Southall

    Fat Biking Finland

    A great trip into the wilderness with an inspirational guide, tough cycling at times but lots of fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snow shoeing at night under the most amazing sky full of stars, the lodge at the Russian end which was communal sleeping but gorgeous and fun. Sleeping out under the stars in a shelter which was opptional and cooling off after a hot sauna as only the Fins know how! Oulanka Park on the last day with its stunning scenery. The food was amazing the last night we had a fire in a hut outside and dined on the best salmon ever.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jess is fantastic, fun, bubbly talented and extremely knowledgable she was supported by Marcus and Joni who were also great to be around and worked hard to ensure everything was perfect for us all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling was tougher than I anticipated but there is no rush and it's doable. The accommodation is basic but this was a wonderful trip in beautiful surroundings, the air is so fresh and clean you feel invigorated.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A good value for money trip which was a great experience.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Sam Geoghegan

    Fatbiking..... for robust cyclists!

    This new trip looks fantastic but beware that some of the information in the trip notes isn't as clear as it should be and contains some inaccuracies. The activity level (moderate/challenging) is definitely understated and doesn't reflect the significantly increased difficulty when milder weather conditions cause the tracks to deteriorate. If you are not lucky enough to have the optimum weather conditions, be prepared for multiple spectacular tumbles and plenty of bike pushing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Russian End lodge is very basic but the combination of dormitory accommodation, interesting toilet facilities (take a nose peg and don't look down) and the sauna with ice bucket rinse made for a very authentic wilderness experience. Seeing the Northern Lights was also a welcome bonus.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Henri is a superb group leader, and he was well supported by his colleagues, all working tirelessly to ensure everything possible was done thoroughly and with the minimum of fuss. Just one point that he might like to consider; the group rotation when cycling came several days into the trip and was suggested to him by one of the group. This made in immediate improvement for the perennial back markers who had been struggling with deteriorating path conditions who could take a turn nearer to the front where the path is in better condition. As most of the cycling is done in single file, perhaps Henri could occasionally lead from the back or the middle of the group where he could observe more closely the difficulties riders were experiencing and offer advice on technique to strugglers. This would allow others the opportunity to take a turn at the front where the cycling may require more effort but is certainly more stable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The majority of the kit is provided (everything except items which go next to the skin) but do insist on taking plenty of time to try on everything to ensure you have the appropriate sizes. This was done on the night we arrived at basecamp with no separate male/female facilities and was done in a great hurry and with insufficient staff. It was supposed to happen the following morning according to the trip notes. The consequence of all of this was that most people had over-trousers that were too big (belts aren't provided) as the relatively mild weather meant the mid layer was seldom needed. This meant that re-mounting the bike (something which everyone did on multiple occasions following frequent falls) was hampered. Take your own over-trousers and belt to give yourself some options in case you also don't need the mid layer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our group size of 14 was too big for a single leader (although he did have a back marking trainee Sophie for the first few days who hadn't done fatbiking before). The main problem with this group size is that everyone is too bunched together most of the time. This means if the person in front pulls up or falls off you have to stop when you desperately need to keep going to maintain momentum. Sometimes you can't get started again for while if this happens on an upward incline. Perhaps an assistant for Henri would allow the group to be divided with some easier route options taking in some more stretches of road which are much more stable and easy to ride and have virtually no traffic (the scenery is just as good too). We were described as 'pioneers' by the group leader Henri as we were only on the second week of this new trip. It was evident by the numerous flaws that this trip has plenty of room for improvement. I do hope that efforts are made to review and address some of the issues with this trip as it isn't currently as good as it should be.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 020 8772 3936