Riding: Kuninkaantie Ruska Ride

Autumn is on its way | Photo by Mike Ancient

Still feeling a bit bitter after not being able to ride the Tour de Helsinki the week before and with a nice Autumn day ahead it was time to crunch some kilometers. One of the more beautiful marked roads in the south of Finland is without a doubt the Kuninkaantie or “Kings Road” going all the way from Porvoo in the east to Turku in the west. In between you can add plenty of loops discovering the best spots in for example the Tammisaari/Turku archipelago.

On a nice Autumn Sunday I went for the Box (close to the Raasepori castle) – Helsinki stage, mainly following the Kuninkaantie. A similar distance can be covered from Karjaa (train station), joining the route in Fagernäs. First part is up and down the whole time and, although there are no real hills on the route, you can be sure that the lemon gets squeezed after the 30th or so 30hm (height meters) bump. It’s the start of the Ruskaa season here in Finland (early Autumn with amazing color tones all over) so both the route, around 10kms of dirt road, and nature offer plenty of variation. Past Inkoo I joined the national route 51 for about 15 km passing the Degerby turn which otherwise leads you to Fågelvik and is a great ride through the open countryside – preferably with a tailwind. The reason I skipped the turn was a planned lunch stop in Pikkala after 55 kms – the usual crappy ABC experience (Markus adds: ABC is a chain of petrol station “restaurants”), they don’t even have their basic pasta on the menu anymore!

After lunch I turned back towards the Kuninkaantie (direction Kela) and followed all the way to Kirkkonummi. Beautiful countryside roads partly in the forest and still going up and down. Biking out of Kirkkonummi towards Masala you meet the steepest bump on this ride and another sequence of “Finnish flat” is waiting in Kauklahti 10 km further. After 80 km you reach Espoon Keskus and this is the least interesting part of the ride – crossing train tracks, switching sides of the road. Here you have two options: taking the Vanha Turuntie (110) or head towards Tapiola. For a change I took the latter and passed by Lehtisaari and Seurasaari to end up at home in Helsinki after little over 4hrs (riding time) and 104 kms (980 ascending height meters) average of 25.8km/h.

Overall a nice ride in good Autumn conditions – enjoying it while it lasts. Hint: don’t forget those overshoes, wet roads and wind at around 15C cool down your feet pretty fast otherwise. Unfortunately no GPS track available yet – ongoing struggle with my Garmin 705 – but will add it when fixed.

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By Maarten Patteeuw

Maarten is an avid road and mountain biker who lives and breathes everything rolling on two wheels. You can follow his rantings on Twitter by looking for @maapathel.