Fat biking in Finland Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Finland
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
MEF
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

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!

At a Glance

  • 5 nights wilderness lodge, 2 nights simple lodge with shared facilities
  • 5 days guided fat biking
  • Group normally 5‐14, plus leader. Min age 16 years
  • Prepared trails in the Oulanka National Park area

Trip Highlights

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

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 fells 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.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
5
Max group size:
14

Itinerary

Land Only 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

    An introduction to fat biking on snow.

    Our first day is spent acquainting ourselves with fat biking. Before starting we get an introduction from the leader about what to expect fat biking in the wilderness. We spend the day not far from the Logging Lodge, either practising on circuits cut for us 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 perfecting snow riding skills. Lunch today is taken back at the Logging Lodge. We aim to have a few hours of practice in both the morning and afternoon. In the evening we are given dry sacks to fill with the belongings we’ll need for the next couple of nights spent at the Russian Border. These are then packed onto the trailer and taken by snowmobile in the morning to our destination.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 5 km / 3 miles
  • Day 3

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

    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
    Distance covered: 11 km / 7 miles
  • 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
    Distance covered: 9 km / 6 miles
  • 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
    Distance covered: 14 km / 9 miles
  • Day 6

    Free day optional activities.

    Free day to enjoy a variety of optional activities on offer including unguided snowshoeing in the surrounding area. 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). Alternatively, we can transfer to Basecamp Oulanka and pick from a number of activities (listed further down the trip notes). From Basecamp a day trip to Ruka can be organised if you wish to try your hand at snowmobiling or downhill skiing. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Cycle along the Juhtivaara Fell

    Today we set off into the wilderness for our longest day of the trip. Our route starts by heading north on forest tracks following a trail beneath the Juhtivaara fell. There are some undulations on this route and a few short sections which you may need to push the bike up, though the descents make this effort well worthwhile! We explore the habitat of the Wolverine and Golden Eagle; 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 an outdoor dinner and time for a final sauna.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 30 km / 19 miles
  • Day 8

    End Logging Lodge

    Our trip ends at the Logging Lodge. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

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.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £120.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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. 

Transportation

Airport transfers are carried out by private minibus.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Thomson Airways or Finnair (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings.
Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Kuusamo or Rovaniemi

Your trip normally starts at Kuusamo Airport on Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights.
Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Location start:
Basecamp Oulanka
Location end:
Logging Lodge

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Please note: On some rare occasions, luggage can get misplaced in transit between flights. We therefore recommend you to bring some clothes and shoes in your hand luggage so that you can participate the first activity day without problems even if your luggage doesn’t arrive with you.

LUGGAGE TRANSPORTATION
For the two nights spent at the Russian End lodge, you will be given a dry sack bag to pack enough clothes and toiletries for the stay there. This is because all luggage needs to be transported via snowmobile so we are unable to transport your full suitcase/luggage.

Equipment provided:

Good quality warm clothing is supplied for all clients on this trip, however, if you wish to use your own kit there is no obligation to use the equipment supplied by Basecamp. The following items of clothing are given out on day one of the trip:

Thermal base layer; top and bottoms

Thermal second layer; top and bottoms

Hard shell outer layer; coat and trousers

Salomon ski gloves

Head torch

Woolly hat

Large backpack

Thermal seat

Thermos flask

Salomon Winter boots 


You will need to bring the following items:

Tight fitting base layer

Normal daily clothes

Padded cycling shorts

Several pairs of thick socks

Tube scarf/Buff

Thin glove liners

Ski googles or large sunglasses / clear glasses - From the beginning of February sunglasses and sun cream are advisable. Earlier than this, sunglasses may be needed for those with a sensitivity to bright light due to the reflection of light off the snow.

Swimming costume and Flip flops (for sauna)

Helmet – either a cycling helmet 

Wearing a helmet is mandatory on this trip.

We recommend you check that your helmet is big enough to fit over a woollen hat or Buff.

Please note that it is not possible to bring your own pedals on this cycling trip and in terms of shoes you will be required to wear the ones provided.

Optional Equipment

- Crocks / sliders to wear in the evening and for sauna use
- Toiletries
- Personal medication, plasters, double-skin (e.g.Compeed)

Equipment Hire

Local Bike Details: Charge Cooker fat bikes.

Discount for bringing your own bike: £90. 

Practical Information

Passport

Finland

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Finland

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Finland's Timezone:
Europe/Helsinki EEST (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Finland's Electricity:

220-240V. European adapter required. 

Money

Finland's Currency

The national currency of Finland is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

ATM Availability

There are no ATMs available, however payments made by credit card are accepted. 

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

The Logging Lodge has a small bar, beers range from €4 for a small beer to €7 for a large. A gin and tonic is approximately €10 and a bottle of wine €25.

Possible optional activities on the free day include:

Explore the surrounding wilderness on snowshoes. 

Or transfer to Basecamp Oulanka and choose from:

A day trip to Ruka. The transfer to Ruka is €25 per person and requires a minimum of 4 passengers. Here you can try downhill skiing (starting from €80 - equipment and ski pass) or snowmobiling.

Snowmobile safari: allow €89 per person (2 per machine) or €129 (solo use) for a 1½ hour scenic safari around Ruka using eco-friendly 4-stroke snowmobiles. Important note on snowmobiling: all drivers must be over 17 and have a valid (car) driving licence and carry this with you whilst driving. You will be liable to pay for any damage to snowmobiles up to the excess on the insurance policy, which is approx. €1000 per machine. You will be asked to sign a form agreeing to the above. This means, that in the unlikely event that you damage a snowmobile in a major way, you will only be charged the excess and not the full cost of repair. Snowmobiles are not for everyone and can be difficult to master, however, damage is very rare if the drivers are alert and considerate.

From Basecamp itself you can choose from:

Ice climbing - €59, 

Snowshoe walk to Castle Rock - €59,

Snowshoe Little Bear Trail - €79, 

Introduction to XC skiing - €39.

Minimum of 4 in each.

Responsible Tourism

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… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.