Silja Goes Cycling – The Beginning

We are welcoming a new member to our travelling collective – Silja Minkkinen. She’s about to go on her most challenging trip to date and make a documentary of it. Read her words below.

Silja Minkkinen – Pelago Saimaa

It was 2 weeks in at hot day in July, as I woke up in the middle of Denmarks countryside in a bed and breakfast place. It was still early, no one was awake as I took my cruiserboard and ran out. I cruised around the fields in sunshine, finally making my way to the ocean for a swim. I couldn’t help but wonder how Denmark had such good asphaltroads even in the countryside. The country is practically built for bicycling. I only had my board with me, but as I cruised through the fields I promised myself that if I didn’t get into a school, I would come bicycling to Denmark.

I was fortunate enough to get into the school, and superhappy about it, but also a bit disappointed as the thought of bicycling through Denmark would have to be put aside. I moved to a new city, school started, I was busy with work and forgot about the whole thing. That is, until my long relationship came to an end. In my gloominess I decided to do something for myself next summer and make the dream about bicycling in Denmark come true. But as my friends know, I’m a very ambitious person, and so I started wondering if I should do just Denmark, I mean, why not the whole Europe? So fuck it I thought, let’s go all the way to Mediterranean Sea. The small dream began to grow and I silently started making more accurate plans.

I had one major problem. I didn’t have a bike. I mean, if you want to go biking across Europe you better have a bike, and a good one preferably. As a student I also didn’t have money (surprise!) so I knew I had to work my way around it. I was already planning on making a documentary about my trip, so I thought I would try to get sponsors to support me on my way. And so I managed to get two major sponsors for the road: Partioaitta, which gave me travelgear, and most importantly Pelago, from whom I got my dear bike Saimaa (nowadays goes by the name Pepe-Erkki), repairkit, Brooks pannier bags and important lessons about cycling and fixing a bike.

Silja Pelago Saimaa

[two]Brooks SuffolkBrooks-Norfolk[/two]

As the departure approaches, so grows my excitement. I’m more eager to go than ever before. I want to get my mind off work, school and every stressful thought I’ve had in my head. For pushing my body to it’s limits, I will also challenge my mind. I want to see, feel and show others what happens when I “get to the bottom of things.” I hope I will learn a lot. Physically and mentally. I will document it for myself and for others to see. To make somekind of a difference maybe. To leave a memory or even a vague feeling in someone after they watch the documentary.

For the next two months I will bicycle through Europe, over 2500 kilometres. Stay tuned and follow me on my lifes most challenging trip.

– Silja

We hope you don’t go to the bottom of things and have fun throughout your whole trip.

Follow Silja on Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for updates. More about Silja’s gear in the upcoming post. Until next time.

Read part 2 here.