Monday, November 25, 2013

Things I saw today, Mon 25 Nov 2013

The first interesting thing I saw today was a trailer. Someone had driven on the bikeway to drop the trailer here. (Driving on bikeways and sidewalks is not allowed without a good reason, like: it is the only route to get there.)

Whoever it was dropped some kind of ski track making machine here. I guess they expect this snow to stay... we'll see. The snow is only 5 inches deep. That's enough for the kids to take their skis and sleds out. .

And while riding downtown I heard this before I saw it. For some reason, the hydro power plant has opened some gates and is letting the water go. I guess the dam is near overflowing. But I expect the price of electricity to increase, now that the power company has to recoup the money they don't get because they have to waste the water!

Monday, November 04, 2013

If I Can't Decide

The snow I wrote about in the last post is gone. With all the rain we've had lately it couldn't stay long. So I swapped the studded tyres out. Actually, I put the summer tyre on an old clunker front wheel so I can just swap the wheels instead of having to deal with the tyres every time. (Never mind that the wheel gives odd clicks every now and then. And the balls in the bearings... not all of them were the same size. One of them looked like it had peeled off the shiny outer layer. Clunker, indeed. ;-)

But look at the forecast for the next few days:

Now you see why I have a problem. With all that sleet coming down, there's a good possibility that there might be icing. But cloud cover and above freezing air temperatures should mean that the bikeways will stay warm enough and ice free.

So What Should I Wear? Or maybe I'll bungee the other wheel on the  bike and swap as needed...

Edit: Guess what? I closed the browser and went outside. It had snowed while I had been writing about lack of snow! ;.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

White Stuff From The Sky

It's this time of the year again: Some white stuff falls from the sky, stays for a day or two and then melts again. Last Friday there had been some snow, but mostly it was more decorative than all-covering blanket. There's been some snow flakes and frozen puddles before, but either it was too dark to get photos or I didn't have my camera. No pic, no proof! :-)
Then there was supposed to be a snowstorm at night. I was a bit disappointed after all the hype in the news. No big storm here. It missed us, although there were some fallen trees around here too. Oops, sorry, those were from the storm that ripped all those leaves off the trees. The big storm  left just a few centimeters of snow. But enough for us to leave tyre tracks on it, and for the snow plow men to take their machines out for a ride.
And here's a short video clip before/after the snowfall.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

A nice bikeway. With the stones on the curb tilted so the edge is sort of rounded and not very high.
Detour to avoid bumps.
The gravel on the side is level with the road. A much smoother ride, at least until the ruts in the gravel get deep enough...

Open letter to the bloke in front of me

(upping an old rant from the drafts)
<start rant>
As we were approaching the intersection, I noticed you slowing down and looking over your shoulder. "Ah, a clear sign of someone who wants to do a left turn", I thought and positioned myself more to the right.

Then there was the hand signal. Anyone could have no more doubts of your intentions as you raised your left hand. Excellent.

What was not excellent was you slowing down and inching right. Which blocked my route so I had to brake. Did you expect me to pass you on the left? I'm not going to do it, as it is both illegal and stupid to do so.

I lost momentum and I had to accelerate again. That move you made cause me to arrive about one second late at my very important meeting with the telly. I'm glad I didn't miss Emmerdale because of you!

<end rant>

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Autumn 2013

Here's two pictures I've taken recently. First one from last week shows the grass turning brown and the leaves turning yellow. Also note the fisherman on bike. :-)
I think the next one is one of the best shots I've taken this year. I actually stopped, which helps. One can't get perfect shots while riding a bike. And I took a few seconds to think what's in the view finder. Of course, the scene was pretty too.

And here's a clip on youtube. More of the same.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Not quite winter yet

Of course it is coming. It has been below freezing some nights and regularly falls below +10&degC. On the other hand, the sun is still high enough to warm up in the afternoon to reach +20°C.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oulu 1957

Just read from the newspaper that an old film was found in the archives of Police so they decided to upload it to youtube.  Suomen Poliisi (Police of Finland) has some other videos too, but in Finnish. Sorry.

The old traffic education film shows the good and the bad ways to behave in traffic. The song is a children's song taught in kindergarten/first grade.

I recognize some of the buildings, but a lot of them have already been demolished. Maybe I'll try to go and find the locations and get a comparison video

Look at all the bikes! In the winter! :-D

Underhanded work in the underpass

I'm sure I've mentioned the pipe works the district heating company did last year (or was it the year before?) but right now I couldn't find the correct blog post. To recap: they dug up the bikeway so they could fix/replace the big pipes bringing bot water from the power plant to the buildings. Apparently they fixed the pipes all right, because I haven't seen any hot water fountains in the area.

Too bad they didn't fix the bikeway properly. They left it lumpy and edgy. Edgy in the sense that the edges of the hole they cut in the asphalt were easy to find with the rims of my bike. And the lumps? Anyone know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried? I have a possible location for the search!

One day I was riding along minding my own business when I noticed the bikeway was dirty. Hmm? It was not the usual fallen leaves and pine needles, it was icky mud! Slippery, made everything dirty mud! And some gravel, too.

Notice how the grass on both sides of the bikeway is turned into mud? Either they are driving some wide machines that don't fit on the asphalt, or they can't drive!

 There was a big excavator before, but now they've finished with the dig and it's gone. Maybe it's on the other side of the underpass. Makes me wonder of two things: a) did they drive it across the motorway (illegal, as it has 60km/h minimum speed limit) or take the long route and b) What did the excavator guy think about digging up the pipes under the underpass? One might think that was cramped... or maybe they used smaller machines! :-)

 The pipes are big. I've heard the company is replacing or installing seven kilometers of the pipes this year. I think this underpass pipe was supposed to be done two weeks ago. Are they behind the schedule? Better get busy, boys, or it'll start snowing before you're finished! :-)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

video spamming, pt2

Enjoying the green trees on my afternoon ride. I didn't expect the noise from the construction site next to the bikeway. On the back I saw better what they were doing. Looked like sandblasting to me. Or maybe they were painting the walls with with some cement spray. Who knows.

Odd things I've seen on the bikeway: a tag along bike, trike and the tourist train Potnapekka. All three on the same ride. Now, a hand-cranked bike and a four-wheeled pedal car (saw one the other day at a supermarket, it even had a trailer!) would have made a full hand.

I haven't seen the tagalongs often. The trikes are more commong as cargobikes and for the elderly. If your balance is off three wheels give more stability, and if you want to rest a bit just stop pedaling and sit on the bike. The national broadcasting company YLE has often theme nights (long shows on one topic) on various subjects and once there was a "biking night". A retired woman called in and told every retiree should have a trike: one can ride and gossip, and stop and gossip, all without getting off the saddle! :-)

My next post will be a rant about the lousy paving the district heating company did last year. They ripped open a bikeway, fixed some pipes, and did a half-assed work on repairing the damage. Should've fixed it properly, not just tip some asphalt on the ground and spread it around a little.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

video spamming

The video camera worked again so I got some footage from it. And it was sunny enough to the camera to capture something! So here's some video spamming.

First, just some scenery from the ride:

Then the confused lorry driver trying to find a way to the street again, and a map reading gent trying to find out where he is...

As it was afternoon there was a lot of people around. The groups of gangsters on bikes... and very young "English rider" :-P

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Flowers everywhere

I saw a few months ago some videos of trees in the bloom, and last week I saw a video by BicycleDutch showing a nice country lane with lots of greenery so I thought I'd try too. I shot a video of trees in the bloom but it was useless. I kept the camera in my hand while riding and pointed it at the flowers. When I was pointing it down (dark grass) and up (the trees with a clear blue sky in the background) the end result was that the camera was trying to adjust for the changes in the brightness, and motion blur, and shaky footage from being in hand while riding... not good.

I think the flowers will be there for another try. Although the summer is short and the +25C heat we're having will make the summer go even faster. And nearly around the clock sun, too.

Here's a nice pic of a bikeway as seen from the adjacent road. That's a good buffer between the road and the bikeway, don't you think? :-P This bikeway follows the road but here it is a bit further away from the road. There's a roundabout behind me and the bikeway goes under the road via underpasses.
Here's no road or bikeway, even mountain bikers will find this swamp unrideable. And let me tell you, the mosquitoes are also alive and well.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pictures telling the story

Chill out and
Stop needling me...
I know it's not what it's cracked up to be...
Even the trees are leavin'.

The mound on pic 2 is needles from trees and other stuff collected by sweeper machines.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Swimming season is open!

I saw some people on the beach, obviously going for a swim in the river. Why?

Temperature curve.
We're hitting +25C, which is a practically a heat wave. So going for a swim, in the river might be tempting... until you remember it wasn't so many weeks ago it was covered by ice. The sea water is probably +5C at most , and river water might be a few degrees warmer but definitely chilly. I'm not sure if all the ice out on the sea has melted yet?

For some reason I wasn't able to embed my latest youtube video on the post so you'll have to go there to see it. Now it seems to work again.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

One Inch of Grass

There's some green grass on the lawns. Maybe one inch high in average. On some spots it's even two inches, amazing. I can't say the trees or bushes are getting green yet. No leaves, you see.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Excellent driving by OYS-941

The May 1st celebrations are the unofficial opening of picnic season. This time the weather kept any picnics from getting out of hand (rain showers, 10m/s wind, temperatures below +3C tend to cool the enthusiasm for it even if plenty of alcohol is included) but I was happy to be back to normal. This afternoon, after the sleet had stopped raining I met this example of fine driving.
The driver is obviously a highly trained professional driver, because he managed to keep his big vehicle on the narrow bikeway. Then he jumped off and went inside, probably to ask where the loading docks are. ( I doubt they'll use the front door for moving things? That's what loading docks are for, right?))

He picked a good spot by stopping there. Blocked the whole bikeway. On the left, a narrow gap with snow. On the right, soggy mud. Excellent.

Monday, April 29, 2013


This was probably the last time I rode on ice this spring. So today I took the plunge and swapped out the studded tyre. Now I'm riding a lot more quietly. :)

The ice fishers have been fighting a losing battle for a long time. Last week they still had some ice. The ice field was away from rapid currents of the hydro plant so it was slow to melt.

Here they only have a tiny bit left before they are beached. Or forced into boats.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ice fishing report

It's flood season right now. Snow is melting, the ice is floating downriver... I guess ice fishing season is mostly over. Although I saw someone on the ice yesterday just a few meters off the free flowing river. He was nuts, I say.

The police reports about 200 bicycles has been stolen during January, February and the first two weeks of March. That's a lot, during the coldest months of the year. On the other hand, it shows a lot of people were riding their bikes, otherwise the thieves wouldn't have gotten them!

Which reminds me, go see the lost and found- maybe they've found my bike now that the snow has melted...

A few days ago on "King Consumer" (a tv program giving advice to consumers and testing things etc) one of the topics was convenience stores. The big malls and hypermarkets have taken a huge share of the market, but the small shops are still alive. The hypermarkets have the benefits of economies of scale: buying gazillion packets of toothpicks is cheaper per item than buying two packets. The hypermarkets have increased their share from 50% to 60% during the last ten years. Mid-sized shops lost, while the small shops have maintained the share. (Small shop in this case has less than 400m2 and they have a bit different regulations about opening hours than bigger shops).

The tv-show interviewed some big wig expert, who pointed out that the big shops have also outsourced the 'last-mile delivery'. Instead of having to transport half a dozen packs of toothpicks to dozens of small shops, the big shops get one big delivery. If the customer has to drive 10km for the toothpicks, instead of 2km, that's their problem.

The expert said the costs of shopping trips for an average Finnish family would be about 5000€. That's quite a lot of toothpicks!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring 2013 Collection pt 2

April 13th:

Add a few days of above freezing temperatures (even during the night!) and drizzling rain and the snow and ice vanishes in front of your eyes.

April 16th:

The sun has not been shining these last few days, but it has been warm and the rain gets through the trees, too. April 13th the bikeway had ice everywhere...

And on April 17th there was just a few tiny patches left. Nice fog between the trees, by the way. Very photogenic.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring 2013 Collection

Most of the bikeways are clear: if the sun gets through the ice is gone.
If there's trees blocking the sun, it will take a while. There was some water on the ice, because it hadn't been below freezing during the night!
And here's a collection of clips I've posted on youtube lately. "A trip to the beach", "Big Machines destroyed the castle" and "A Little bit of ice".

Friday, April 05, 2013

Some crunchy videos

Here's some clips showing "State of the Bikeways". Some asphalt visible, puddles, slosh, frozen ruts and solid, smooth ice. 

April 3rd:
April 5th:

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

200th Post: Waiting For Spring

Weather stats from the nearby station for the last 2 days. Pretty temperature curves, with the highs just above zero degrees celsius and the lows below -10°C. The daily averages would be below -5°C. Amazingly, it should be too cold for the ice to melt (or rather the puddles should freeze again) but still there is less ice on the bikeways than two weeks ago. Where does all the melt water go? It evaporates.
Weather stats from
I've been taking photos of the same location for a while. The scrapes you'll se in the grass are made by the snow plows. The first photo is from 24th March:

25th March: it has snowed a little since the last photo

maybe 26th of March:

late March:

even later March:

March 30th : slosh and ruts, lovely!

April 3rd:the downhill is clear, except a little bit of 2 inch thick ice up there and lots of slosh and ruts and smooth ice to the left.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Slosh means Spring!

It isn't officially Spring yet. The Meteorological Spring in Finland starts when the 24hr average temperature climbs above +0°C. In Oulu that happens sometime mid-April. Right now, when the nights are -15°C or -10°C, just a few hours above freezing in the afternoon are not enough to bring the average up.

There are some signs of Spring even on the bikeway. On sunny spots there's some slosh. And there's even the odd puddle here and there.  And where the snow plow men kept the plow too tightly on the ground there are some patches of brown, dead grass visible.

The snow plow men have been busy scraping the extra ice off, and pushing the snow banks further away from the bikeways. Look at the photo below: the snow banks is more than a meter away from the edge of the asphalt. The meltwaters hopefully will sink into groundwater instead of making puddles on the bikeway. Of course, the ground is frozen solid so it'll be a while until the water can sink anywhere.

I read on the newspaper the other day about several cars driving into the ditch because the snow plow men had lost the road under the ice and snow and just plowed somewhere where they thought the road might be. The end result was that the "plowed road" was partially over a ditch...
Snow banks pushed away.

Here's what a street looks like after Ice Scrapers have scraped the ice off. There were some parked cars so they couldn't scrape everywhere. The ice left on the street is about 20cm thick, and the chunks on the pile are mostly 5cm thick with a few 10+cm pieces thrown in.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guess what this is?

Quiz time. Identify it. :-P

What, No Gritting?!

I'd been riding on this bikeway for a few hundred meters  when I noticed there was no gritting at all! That's weird, because it hadn't snowed much lately to bury the sand under the snow. Neither has it been so warm that the ice would have melted causing the sand to sink. Although I'd say there were some signs of spring sun on the ice.

A bit later the mystery was solved: the ice scraper had been at work. When it removed a few inches of ice from the bikeway, it also removed the gritting sand with it. It removes also any ruts made by the melt-freeze cycle. I don't like this particular machine, as it has teeth that are pretty wide (look at photo below for the scrape marks). They're wide and deep enough that they feel like they're catching the bike tyre even if they're not. The other blade or machine they use has much finer teeth and makes smoother surface.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Higher And Higher

The ice layer on the street gets higher than the sidewalk next to it. And if I recall correctly, the kerb stone was pretty high on this street. A new ice age in the making?

Here's what the temperature curve looks like on a nearby weather station. From the low of -25C, the temperature as been getting higher and higher, almost reaching -5C today. Just ignore the sharp drop at the end and we have a good hockey stick curve to prove the climate is heating up! 10 degrees in the 12 last hours, and if the rate keeps true we'll reach boiling point in a week. Forecast -22C for the night and -10C for tomorrow. Pretty typical March weather.

This isn't a good curve to show the power of the sun, but I'll try to remember to take a screenshot of one of those cold night and warm days (-20C to +0C) later on. In April, maybe.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A thousand car pileup!

That's what I misread the headline from the news. During the bad weather there were some accidents and small pileups on the Motorway 4. The earliest accident happened early afternoon, and then the chaos spread all over. Due to a HGV that tipped over both lanes going south were blocked. The motorway has several entrances from the city and the police wasn't able to close them all immediately so more and more cars joined the queues. At worst the mess (queues) on the was several kilometers long.

In Kemi, another town about 100km further north, the wind piled snow on the train tracks causing delays.

It snowed about 13cm (5 inches) in 4 hours during the afternoon blizzard. And there was some snow earlier and later, so the day's total was about 20cm of new snow.

Find the flower boxes?

Really sunny day today. -13C and wind from the north.

This last picture was taken on a quiet residential street. I'm standing on a sidewalk/MUP. Where's the edge? The ice layer on the street is so thick that the surface is almost even with the sidewalk. 4-5 inches?