Adventure Commuter Toni Lund

fatbike1Nestled in southern Finland is the town of Paimio, population 10,479. One of the people nestled there is bike commuter and adventure/ultra-endurance cyclist Toni Lund. From 2002-2007 he made the commute to his job by bike on-and-off as his schedule allowed. Since 2007 he’s ridden almost 100% year-round, to his job as an assembler for STX Finland Cabins OY which manufactures cabins for cruise ships, offshore oil rigs and hotels. Some recent changes have upped his one way distance to the 20km mark. That’s a pretty good ride to get in before work year round, and Toni says that not only is scheduling important, but he’s a bit of a stickler about it.

“When I started, my commute was short, about 6 km. It’s completely different ball game now with 20 km. Generally, my employers are very strict with working times and delays. My previous employer wasn’t supportive at all. With my new employer, I think they are more supportive but they probably don’t care much as long as I’m in time for work. I’m very strict with the working times myself, and for precaution, I just have to reserve more time for commuting. I try to make my bikes as bombproof as possible to avoid mechanicals and punctures. There is only a poor rack for bike outside, no roof, but I got permission to store my bike under a roof. Shower and locker room facilities are sufficient, and I can dry my clothes in the shower room.”

Paimio boasts average summer highs around 22C and average lows in winter of -10C. On average from December to April there’s usually at least 10cm of snow on the ground with depths reaching to 30cm throughout the winter. Add to that a fair share of rain, freezing rain, and ice, coupled with the extended hours of darkness that winter brings, and one could quickly come to the conclusion that to commute year-round in this region of the World you’d have to be crazy, dedicated or both. Toni fits that bill. He says his family owns one car but he doesn’t use it that much.

Toni_Portrait“I’ve been cycling as long as I can remember. In 1997 I got serious with cycling and started with road racing. It was very natural that I would do my commuting by bike. Each year in the summer, I race Tahko MTB and Merida MTB Finlandia. In the fall and winter, the Mammoth March Impossible and Rovaniemi 150. Nowadays as my commute route is longer, it helps with training. I also do extra long training rides for ultra-endurance racing.”

In addition to the difficulties the extreme weather creates, Toni faces many of the same challenges that cyclists worldwide face on their routes every day, including road conditions, awareness, and trying to coexist peacefully with motorists.

“My route consists of both cycling/pedestrian roads and car streets. The infrastructure is fairly good for bike commuting here in Finland, mainly in the big cities and suburban areas, but it could be much better. For example, Denmark and Netherlands are very good in this. It’s the same for the attitude. Not bad, but could be better. If I could change one thing about my commute, it would be the section where I’m forced to ride with cars. Not a safe section, and it’s messy when the conditions are wet.”

With quite a few years of tackling various conditions on his commute, it’s no surprise that Toni has built up a diverse stable of different bikes to suit all conditions.

“My fleet of bikes includes two fatbikes, a cyclocross bike, a road bike, a time trial(!) bike, a 26er hardtail and fully rigid 26er singlespeed. The cyclocross bike, a Ridley Crossbow, is mostly used for commuting, but in winter I use the older 9:ZERO:7 fatbike, both as fat and 29er, for commuting. I’ve done some commuting with the new 9:ZERO:7 190mm fatbike, with the massive 4.8” tires, too, as training and preparation for the Rovaniemi 150 race.”

“My Ridley Crossbow has full coverage fenders, a 2×8 Shimano drivetrain, cantilever brakes and Revelate Designs tangle bag. Lights are Lumicycle Explorers, one on the handlebar and one on the helmet, giving maximum 7000 lumen output. I’m using Deuter RaceX backpack for spare clothes, food etc.”

ridley“The old 9:ZERO:7 has DIY full coverage fenders and front and rear racks, a 3×8 drivetrain, disc brakes, Revelate Designs frame bag and gas tank bag. This bike works also as a fantastic cargo bike, and I use Ortlieb panniers for groceries. The racks can take even big packets and parcels.”

Even though there are arguably commuters that have been riding longer or greater distances, Toni’s perserverance through the litany of conditions he faces can be both inspirational and informative. He’s learned some things the hard way.

“Invest in good gear. You get much more from bike commuting with good gear and it’s more comfortable, especially if you do it year round and every day. Which ever bike you use, put full fenders on it, buy good, powerful lights for the dark times, wear good, proper rain and winter clothing. Find out what works for you.”

Ask him to name the favorite part of his commute and his answer is typical of him – dedicated, crazy, and inspired.

blizzard“Probably the first three kilometres, because it’s countryside, and very dark in the winter. Accompany it with snowfall or blizzard and it’s a blast to ride! I’m inspired to keep going – to keep commuting – because I feel much better, it keeps me in good shape, and I save money compared to using a car.”

Toni is very active online, sharing stories and photos of both his commute and racing experiences. Follow his adventures via any one of the links below.

Website / blog: www.tonilund.fi
Google+: http://plus.google.com/+ToniLund
Google+ page: http://plus.google.com/+ToniLundFi
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tonilund
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tonilundultra

About Kent Fackenthall

Dad. Biker. Designer. Minister of Propaganda for the Bike Commuter Cabal. Find me on Google+ and Instagram.

Comments

  1. Very interesting and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Nice piece to start off the #bikecommutercabal Blog, Kent! Toni is an inspiration to everyone who is a member of #teamfenders!

  3. Kent Fackenthall says:

    Thanks for reading Ricky!