2 Finnish men cycle 15,000km from Helsinki to S'pore in 245 days

I don't even want to drive from Sengkang to Woodlands.

Julia Yee | February 23, 2023, 03:29 AM

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Thanks to technology, the seemingly faraway land of Helsinki, Finland is now a mere 14-hour flight away.

But flying? That's amateur.

Finnish duo Alvari Poikola and Valtteri Heinila (Alvis and Vallu) prefer to live life at Level 1000.

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Gripped by a feverish bout of wanderlust, the two buddies set their eyes on Singapore as the final landmark of their next big quest.

"We wanted to go on an adventure. Alvari had cycled from Helsinki to France and liked it. We looked at a map and Singapore seemed like a nice peninsula at the very end of continental Asia.

We wanted to break daily routines, to do some house cleaning of our minds, to slow time down, to rid ourselves of living for the future, to challenge ourselves both physically and mentally. And we did just that!"

In total, they travelled more than 15,000km across 21 countries, namely, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

They began their journey in June 2022 and ended in Singapore on Feb. 17.

Eye-opening pitstops

When news of the duo's epic journey across 21 countries started gaining traction from their Instagram posts, it was only natural for people to wonder what exactly they hoped to achieve.

Spiritual transcendence? Physical prowess?

Alvis and Vallu had a much more humbling answer to give.

"We are on a journey of discovery: we will see what we find, but we're not necessarily seeking anything.

If we had goals in mind we would make the naive assumption that we know enough of the world to know what to look for, but every day we learn how little we know. It seems that the more open and ill-defined [our] scope is, the more likely we are to reveal interesting learnings and truths."

With open minds and open hearts, Alvis and Vallu witnessed for themselves the people and places they came across.

Diligently documenting their new experience in countries like India, Thailand and Vietnam, the two wrote: "The importance of Eastern religions was quickly clear to us for attaining peace, mindfulness and calm in the middle of the noise, mayhem and hecticness of these cities."

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They were also eager to educate people on their own home country: "Finland, you know, the home of Nokia and Santa Claus."

F is for friends who do stuff together

Another heartwarming aspect of the journey is the bromance between the two buddies.

In an Instagram post of them chilling by River Ganga, they referenced the novel "To Shake The Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret" by Jedidah Jenkins.

Like Alvis and Vallu, the author documents his travels to the bottom of the world. The ending is bittersweet, as conflicts result in the author arriving at his final destination without his partner.

Reflecting on their own relationship dynamics, Alvis and Vallu noted that rather than driving a wedge between them, encountering external obstacles only served to draw them closer.

They even made a list of things each one admired about the other. Cute.

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Followers of Alvis and Vallu's shared Instagram account Curious Pedals were able to chart the duo's geographical and emotional progress via posts that acted like their personal photo diaries.

The Finnish Embassy in Singapore posted on Instagram on Feb. 21 that Alvis and Vallu faced multiple obstacles along the way.

These challenges included having dengue fever, suffering punctured tyres, and getting stranded on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

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Looks like an expedition does wonders for both body and soul.

For those still less inclined to embark on such a trip firsthand, Alvis and Vallu have kindly condensed their 245-day grind into a 20-second clip.

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With their trip done and dusted, the pair are looking forward to "slow mornings in Singapore" followed by the creation of a documentary featuring footage from their journey.

Previously, in 2017, it was reported that a man walked from Estonia to Singapore.

He covered 17,810km from May 11, 2014 till Oct. 6, 2017.

Top images via Instagram curiouspedals