Who is gonebikefishing?
- Taneli Roininen – 30 years old – From Veikkola, Finland
- Previously worked as a researcher on environment and sustainability issues
- Still owns way too many bicycles
- Good at catching pike with a fly
- Walked 600km in the high Himalayas
- Makes bad jokes, soon in Spanish too
- Stutters, but that is not his problem
Ok, tell me something about this guy who apparently likes to ride his bicycle.
I have always enjoyed being outdoors and turning even the smallest trips into some sort of adventure. Ten years ago I really got an urge to spend more time outdoors, trekking, fishing and mountain biking. Finnish Lapland was my refuge, where I went in summer and the winter to escape for weeks at a timefrom my busy life in the city. Open horizons, beautiful nature and uninhabited land fascinate me. The feeling of self-sufficiency is one of the most satisfying things I know on earth. I am a long distance A-to-B guy. I never walk or ride the same trail twice. I hate loops and turning back to where I have come from. Progressing toward the goal is what drives me.
In 2014 I saw an opportunity to start the adventure I had dreamed of. At the age of 27 I left all behind to live a life of simplicity outdoors and seek the beauty of nature. I wanted to see high mountains; those I had seen once before, but also those I could possibly see only once again. I also wanted see Asia again, the continent that had been out of reach since I decided to stop flying for environmental reasons in 2010.
Wait, what do you mean by that you could see the mountains just one more time?
I was diagnosed with a heart condition when I was born. It is nothing too serious, but it needs to be operated, possibly rather soon. In the surgery I will get some cool spare parts in my heart. After the surgery I will probably be fitter than now, but as a downside I need to start eating blood thinners to keep the new spare parts functioning with 100 per cent certainty. At high altitude thickness of the blood can vary unpredictably, which would make going to higher elevations risky. That is why this would be possibly my last opportunity to see the high mountain ranges of this planet, mainly the Himalayas and the Andes.
Wow, good to go for it now then. What triggered the decision to get on the road initially?
For a long time, a big cycling trip was just a distant desire, which I tried to satisfy by spending a couple of weeks in the wilderness a few times a year and going through adventure documentaries and books. It was only in the summer of 2014 that the opportunity to make the trip revealed itself. Two things come together: I broke up with my long-term partner and around the same time my work projects in the research company finished. I sold nearly everything I owned and gave away my flat. Everything was soon set for the departure, there was just one more thing: my heart.
I would have the last heart check just two weeks before the start of the trip. There was a possibility that it could be either a call for immediate surgery or the doctors might simply advise against the whole trip. Luckily it wasn’t the time for an operation yet and all seemed stable. My heart specialist was a cyclist and a fly fisher himself too, so he understood my cause well. He told me: ‘You shall go, but get on the bike as soon as possible and come back for a check-up in 2016’. That gave me around two years, before I needed to be back in Finland again.
I made the decision to get on the road in June, finished my work at the end of September, and got on the bike in October 2014, a week after my last day in the office.
It is 2017 now, so you had your heart check-up in Finland already. How did it go?
Yes, I had it in December 2016 and got the results in January 2017. And the results were… good! Or I mean not worse than earlier. No detectable changes, which is what I hoped for. Though I had made my peace with any result that I would get, this was something that was out of my hands at the end of the day. My next check-up is scheduled for the end of 2018, which gives me nearly two years on the road again. Andes calling!