V-STROM 650XT ADVENTURETO ARCTIC FINLAND
The call of the open road, the thrill of exploration, and the allure of far-off destinations have always been the hallmarks of motorcycle adventures. Gordon Stuart has been lucky enough to travel some of the world’s greatest roads by motorcycle, from the Dalton Highway in Alaska, The Verdon Canyon in South East France, to the Lofoten Islands in Norway and the F roads across Iceland.
As part of his ongoing quest to ride across The Arctic Circle in every country possible, at the start of 2020 Gordon settled on the V-Strom 650XT as the perfect bike for his next planned adventure to Arctic Finland as well as plenty of day trips around his native Northumberland, and weekend runs to Scotland.
Gordon had ambitious plans, 4,000 miles in nine and half days from home in Newcastle to Arctic Finland via Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, popping into Norway on the way home just because. Utilising his personalised champion yellow V-Strom with silver Givi outback trekker side cases, Gordon set off from Newcastle to catch the ferry to the Netherlands from Hawrich in Essex, some 326 miles away.
After the rest of an overnight ferry, Gordon docked early into Rotterdam at 8am on day two, ready for what turned out to be a punishing day in the saddle. Blitzing through the picturesque Dutch countryside and the distant cityscapes of Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Apeldoorn, Gordon was in Germany before noon with 150 miles in the bank. It was another 280 miles across Germany to the Northern town of Puttgarden where he would catch a ferry to Denmark.
Progress was stalled upon hitting major roadworks on the Bundesautobahn 1. Sweltering in the sun, low speed filtering became a chore, slowing progress, making the arrival into Denmark late. Even though the sun was starting to sit low in the sky he pressed on for Sweden, crossing the iconic Øresund Bridge from Copenhagen into Malmo, offering breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea – entering Malmo around 10pm, 545 miles done and 30 shy of the planned mileage.
The final leg of the journey North took him into the wilderness of Finland. The landscape evolved from lush forests to vast tundras and crystal-clear lakes, and not a motorway since Germany. The weather in Finland was cold and wet, up there with some of the worst conditions he had ridden – on par with Iceland in 2018 and Norway in 2011.
Thankfully the final day north saw the weather ease but the roads narrow. This northern wilderness was bathed in perpetual daylight, creating a surreal atmosphere, especially witnessing the midnight sun inside the Arctic Circle, which marked the pinnacle of this adventure and the fourth time Gordon had crossed the Arctic Circle by motorcycle.
The route home took in more of the delights of Finland, as well as the seemingly never-ending forests of Sweden, and a small visit into Norway to enjoy some of the amazing roads and landscapes.
Gordon said of the trip, “My V-Strom 650XT was the perfect motorcycle for the trip and never missed a beat. There was a great amount of power and range in the engine, even when fully loaded with my camping gear, and it was light and nimble enough to really enjoy the Scandinavian roads and mountain passes. The fuel-economy was fantastic which was a helpful benefit considering current fuel prices across Europe. Comfort was good, too, with some long days in the saddle. Needless to say, I can’t wait for my next V-Strom adventure.”
Find out more about the V-Strom 650XT.