What Alex does during the first weekend of the summer? Goes to the forest, of course! This time with a tent, which was super good, because I haven’t done it since last August.

Ruuhijärvi is a place only 25 km from my home, but I haven’t been there yet for some reason.

I arrived to the lake around midnight and was the only one in the area. Only the beauty of the summer night surrounded me!

Same place in the morning.

And the view from my “window”. The weather wasn’t exactly what you expect for the summer, but it could have been worse. At least I didn’t wake up in the night due to coldness :)

My “all stars” hotel :)

I slept until very late, woke up slowly and waited a long time for the breakfast (strong wind and gas stove aren’t good friends). The only person I’ve noticed during the whole morning was a runner, taking part in orienteering competitions. I’ve seed some more of them later and soon realized why – there was a competition held in that area.

It was unusually quiet otherwise – no hikers, no dog walkers, not even mountain bikers. Technically Ruuhijärvi is a part of well-known Nuuksio national park, but it seems that people go only to the most popular places like Haukkalampi. So if you want to avoid crowds, you know where to go :)

The roads and trails in the area are very nice for hiking, but most of them are quite demanding for cycling. There are some very cool stretches, however.

Then I continued to the Salmijärvi area, which was also new for me. I heard about it however, because the famous “route 2000” goes through it.

And the Salmijärvi itself.

The landscapes on the way from Salmijärvi to Klaukkala are just stunning! The road is quiet and nice too until Lepsämä.

Just before Klaukkala there is a possibility to turn off the main road and take a look at the Valkjärvi lake.

Why I went back to the city through Klaukkala? Well, the most obvious reason is that Vihdintie is straight and boring. But there was another consideration, related to the city planning.

There has been an idea some years ago to build a railway to Klaukkala, mostly for commuters. The mayor of Nurmijärvi (a little bit bigger town just North from Klaukkala) said then: “the train brings drugs”, meaning perhaps not drugs as such, but “bad taxpayers”. Since that Nurmijärvi became more than just a name of the specific town. It symbolizes the core idea of the suburban utopia – some nice-looking houses for the “good taxpayers”, green lawns, 3-4 cars per family and commuting to Helsinki to work. Picking the best and avoiding all the problems.

I’ve been in Nurmijärvi last December and now let’s see Klaukkala. A small district here, surrounded by forest. Looks pretty, right?

There is a problem, however. The town is scattered around, there is much unused space between the buildings and between the district and another. This makes distances bigger and, because there is nothing done for cycling/walking to be an attractive transportation option and because the town of such a size doesn’t have an internal public transport, most people would think that they need to have a car.

What’s the result? The central street looks like this – an ugly shop and a gas station.

Kids go to school by moped, while majority of them would have gone by foot, by bike or by bus with better planning (all markings, except the closest one, form a huge moped parking).

Another bizarre example – a gas station near the entrance to the supermarket. WTF is that, seriously? Shop visitors don’t want this kind of “shared space”!

And of course the most sad thing is that people who live in places like Klaukkala expect to have a “red carpet” for their car anywhere else, even in the busiest areas of Helsinki.

This kind of urban design kills Finnish town and cities, creates huge expenditures and other negative impacts. It should be forgotten as a nightmare!

Fortunately, in spite of the opposition, the train is coming closer and closer to Klaukkala and Nurmijärvi. With the opening of the Helsinki Ring Rail Line, Klaukkala is now only 9.7 km away from the Kivistö station. Times are changing!

By the way, about Kivistö. I passed it on the way back home. It still looks pretty much unfinished, as it was one year ago. But it was nice to notice 2 new restaurants there, and not the “grill-kebab” stuff! One of them is “Trattoria Limone”, which you can see in the picture.

And then I went through the infamous “killer roundabout”, which I’ve seen previously as a project on the paper. Our cyclist organization issued a statement about this roundabout, but unfortunately the city of Vantaa still built it :(

The cyclist (and preferably the pedestrian too) should never be forced to cross more than one lane of the same-direction traffic. It’s so common when a car stops in one lane and another car doesn’t stop in the second lane. This is almost always fatal and therefore this roundabout is an example of awful design.

There are some other problems with this roundabout too. How you are supposed to cycle straight on, for example?

Then I went to some older areas of Vantaa, which are also not very good from the city planning perspective, but at least they are nice otherwise and familiar.

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