Baltic Sea Info Tour/Turku
|Images of the biketour from|
Turku to Mariehamn:
Bike Tour from Turku to the Infotour Start in Mariehamn
From June 19-21 a bicycle tour headed from the Finnish harbour city Turku to Mariehamn, the starting point of the Baltic Sea Info Tour on the autonomous Finnish province Åland. Turku is an important harbour for ferry connections between the Finnish mainland and Sweden. It is also the fifth-biggest City in Finland. The bike tour crossed the beautiful Åland archipelago passing a number of small islands and using small ferries to cross the sea between the islands.
Several hundred kilometers north of Turku the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is situated where currently a third reactor is under construction and where the government wishes to see a fourth reactor. Olkiluoto is also the site of the proposed final repository for the high level radioactive waste of the Finnish NPPs.
Uusi Tuuli ry
Report of the Anti-Nuclear Bike Tour from Turku to Mariehamn
On Tuesday June 22 the Nuclear Baltic Sea Info Tour starts in Mariehamn in Finland. The Saturday before we started an anti-nuclear bike tour from Turku Finland biking through the archipelago heading to Mariehamn. The purpose was to slowly start the real Info Tour and to tell locals about the harms of nuclear power which directly affect the area where we were biking. We also wanted to show that traveling can be fueled by our own power..
We started on Saturday 19th of June from the Turku market square, a central place with a lot of commerce, where there was a short info happening. People were handing out flyers and there was a banner announcing the purpose of the bikers gathering there: Stop Nuclear Power! - bike tour. In general people showed interest and several people stopped to talk longer. The general feeling was nice and exciting, even though there had been rain promised for the whole weekend. There were 12 people taking part between ages 3 to 53. The people taking part were coming from different parts of Finland and there was also a Belgian activist. The tour was free, as we felt that this would make it more possible for people to take part.
At 11 AM the bike tour took off. The first day ride was about 40 kilometers. We headed for the first stop in Naantali, about 15 kilometers away. The ride was nice, and the weather was brilliant. In Naantali, to our surprise, there was a happening organized by a local amateur theather group, gathering people around the main square. The event was the opening of the new moveable stage, which was powered by solar panels! We handed out flyers, and talked amongst others to one fisher man, who himself had been at Olkiluoto before there were any nuclear power plants there. He was remembering the beautiful nature how it was before the plants were built.
The bike tour continued to Livonsaari, riding in pouring rain. It was still nice, and we were riding at slow pace. At Livonsaari we were staying at the Community village. They had a weekend for people interested in moving there, and we were welcomed with a hot smoke sauna, a swim in the sea. We camped on their land and got to know a bit about their alternative lifestyle.
The next day, Sunday, was a bit more challenging than Saturday had been. The weather was on our side though; it did not rain at all. But it turned out that there was no ferry going in the morning from Teersalo to Hakkenpää, so we had to wait six hours until the next ferry would leave. This unfortunately made two people with a child to turn back, as the ride would have to be faster than planned to make it to the two ferries left. The rest of the people decided to stay, and at three o'clock the ferry left. We were happy to make it to the rest of the ferries in a fast speed, and the last 20 kilometers on Brändö island were an ablsolutely stunning ride on a quiet and almost empty road on small skerries and islands. The final destination for the day was at Torsholma, on a local beach. All in all we had covered about 60 kilometers this day.
On Monday the ferry from Torsholma left at 6.30 AM. This meant a very early morning, but the trip on the ferry was 2,5 hours so we could relax and sleep. The day itself was nice and calm, with no other timetable than the announced anti-nuclear info at Kastelholms castle at 2 PM and an estimated time of arrival in Mariehamn at 6 PM. However, it did not go completely as planned, as a few bikes broke down along the way. The first one broke down at the yard of a local grocery store, were tires fortunately were sold. There were experienced people in the group, so fixing the bikes was easy. We made also friends with two Norwegian bike tourists, with an impressive age of about 70 years. They showed up later on, joining us in camp and buying non vegan ice cream for everybody, a nice supportive gesture that vegans were a bit bitter about, hence not getting any vegan ice cream. Stops along the way included more touristic things like the Bomarsunds fortress and the Kastelholms castle. The local potato crisp factory also got more than one of the participants interested in their dumpsters. This last day we were outside in the sun the whole day. We rode the bikes for almost 50 kilometers, and arriving then at Uncan where the Info Tour starts on Tuesday June 22. There was hot vegan food waiting for us, much appreciated after a few days with no fresh food. Everybody seem very tired but satisfied.
On the tour we left posters and flyers concerning the radioactivity of the Baltic Sea, information about the Nuclear Baltic Sea Info Tour, threats of nuclear energy and the current situation in Finland. There, the members of parlement are going to vote in the end of this month about the proposals of two new reactors. Big thanks to people who helped us along the way, showing solidarity to the bike tour.
Other Information about the Turku-Åland Bike Tour
- Invitation letter with more details in Finnish and Swedish
- Indymedia Article Anti-Nuclear Bike Tour from Turku to Marieham: Indymedia Germany, Linksunten, International English
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