Act19: The 08 Tour - cycling with passion
Oulu offers an extensive network of beautiful and varied bicycle routes that cover the entire city and surrounding areas. People cycle all year round in Oulu, even in the middle of the snowy, freezing winter thanks to routes that are cleared and gritting. It is no wonder the 08 Tour was selected the 19th of Oulu’s “100 Acts”.
The 08 Tours started in Oulu in the 1990s as Sunday morning bicycle outings arranged by a few enthusiastic cyclists. Esa Kiviharju and Pekka Lindvall have been the driving forces from the beginning. Today, the tours take place around the year and anyone interested in bicycling can take part, free of charge. People join the tours to keep fit and the colourful group also shares a love for bicycling. Participants include men and women between the ages of 13 and 73. The number of cyclists varies depending on the weather and season: in summer we usually have 20 to 25 cyclists and in winter 10 to 15.
The cyclists meet each Sunday at 8 am at the Shell petrol station in Haapalehto. The four-hour tours mostly take place on the south or north side of the Oulu River and include a 30-minute break. In summer, the tours follow paved highways and in autumn they take place on gravel roads until snowfall, after which bicycle paths are followed. The only two days when the tours are not organised are Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Night-time cycling and good manners
The tours are organised by Esa Kiviharju and his responsible work and inspiring attitude is appreciated by many. Kiviharju provides information on coming tours on Saturdays on a bicyclist forum and on Sundays he posts a report on the tour, including the number of participants.
In summer, the 08 cyclists take part in the traditional night tour. It always starts at 8 pm on the Thursday before the Friday when Midsummer eve is celebrated in Finland. This year, some 100 enthusiastic cyclists gathered to admire the midnight sun.
“I suspect the reason the night tour is so popular is that it is different. It’s amazing to experience the evening turning into a nightless night as you ride your bicycle. There are always a few tourists on the night-time tours and they are the most excited participants because they have never experienced the strange sun-lit nights. And almost without noticing, you’ve cycled 100 kilometres,” Kiviharju says.
We cycle the 08 Tour as a group; good bicycling manners are always observed and no-one is left behind. If someone’s bike breaks, everyone stops and waits until the bike has been fixed before the tour continues again.
If you think a 08 tour might be too much for you, Oulu still has plenty to offer: you could try the guided cycling route, for example. OuluGo is a guided tour of the bicycle route known as the Marine route in the Oulu River delta. The route is marked in the bicycle route map that is available for free at the tourist information at Torikatu 10. Listen to the sound clips of the guide at visitoulu.fi. You can download the clips onto your MP3 player and listen to each clip at the point indicated on the map. Happy cycling!