A plan was made on the go, which usually stands for no plans whatsoever. A head was to be cleared following a few events that occurred in autumn. So we add a bike to that equation and what do we get – a solo ride exploring the backroads and singletracks of the Northern Coast of Estonia.
I’ve called this “bikepacking” as I didn’t really stay overnight or fill any of those other bikepackish terms this time but what I did was – carry essentials, explore, ride without a map and have fun doing it.
The route follows a trail from Paldiski city, around Pakri peninsula and then on the coast towards Tallinn, gathering a whopping 75 km’s of muddy and rooty trails. Needless to say I was pretty out of it when I got home in the end but a mind was cleared.
Many Estonians know the trail that rims the northern side of Estonia, along the cliff edges, next to the sea. But all too commonly it is the trail of the cadence bro’s and the “Icanimprovemytimehere” gal’s (no offense though, I love all bikers). Seldomly you can see the rare breed of adventurers who extend a 4 hour rush ride into a full day chilled ride that you can do in uncomfortable clothes with a beer in your hand.
On one sad saturday evening, when the weather was soggy and cold, the Norwegian weather oracles promised a warm and dry sunday. This meant, we could finally officially start our bikepacking season with a heartwarmingly nasty ride from the western coast of Estonia back to our capital, Tallinn. Thus, we rushed to pack stuff at 2 in the morning after which we anxiously awaited the morning train whilst sweat was pearling on our forehead. Atleast one of us got some shut-eye that night.
When morning came, all tiredness and grogginess was gone in an instant – the day loomed to be a perfect day to ride bikes and get lost. And then, boom, we were outside of our apartment, boom, in the train, boom, buying some tickets, boom, squatting selfies like proper Eastern Europeans, boom, Kloogaranna.
The trail that starts from Kloogaranna has it all – cliff edges, mud, swamps, fatbikeworthy sandpits, views, fast trails and even hardcore technical parts which remind me of my biketrials days. The first bit of the trail is the “letmegettoknowyou” part. It unfolds slowly but surely into a sandy chain-killing nightmare once you reach the coastline and from there-on towards Tallinn, it gets muddier and up-and-downsy’er (I think I can coin this as a new word) the more you progress.
My least favorite part of the trail was somewhere around before we made to the middle mark. It was the “no entry” sign territory. And no, it wasn’t any post-soviet remnant military bases that some people might think are still active 30 years after the crumble. No, they were there for the locals. By the locals. Stopping anyone from going to their beach. Which is a shame if you know that you cant actually own a beach in Estonia, you can just limit the access to it. So yeah, fuck you, if you’re reading this and you live there with your one million “no entry” signs.
After we’d passed through the “demilitarised zone”, we arrived in Keila-Joa. This was our marker that from now on, the trails were going to get muddy. And honestly, what can you expect from an early April ride in the upper northern hemisphere.
Most notable part of the trail is the so called “swamplevel”. This is where there’s a peninsula that stretches out to the sea and usually gets submerged from time to time. This creates a rocky muddy and narrow trail that wrecks your muscles for an hour. But boy if you finish it without falling on your face and dropping a few teeth, it feels good.
Lastly the trail winds up the high cliff at Suurupi where it’s a tired but slow roll towards Tallinn. You get some of the best views of the trail here, overlooking the city with its million lights in the evening sky. Well worth a full day’s ride.