- Jari Heino pondered for a while whether he was the right person for this interview. His rationale was that many had been engaged in the sport much longer than he had.
Ultimately, reassurances were enough, and Jari agreed to speak about mountain biking. And why not? Enthusiasm is key, and this man has plenty of it. Besides, he’s already covered quite a number of miles on the saddle.
Heino’s initial encounters with mountain biking go back a long way.
“I lived in Turku in the late 1990s, and we rode in the nearby terrain. Of course, the bikes were quite different. There has been a lot of development in the equipment,” Heino compared.
Sports have been a versatile presence in Heino’s life throughout. In his younger days, he engaged in track and field, running middle distances. Later, the distances lengthened, and he has several half-marathons under his belt. Among team sports, soccer appealed to him the most, and Heino played it even in his older years. Nowadays, you might find him in the company of badminton, disc golf, or hitting the gym.
“I do something every day. Sports are my lifeline,” Heino affirmed.
After his workday, Heino takes the family dog along and heads into nature. He has always enjoyed walking in the forest, and mountain biking provides an extra reason to explore those same woods.
“I might sometimes pause in the middle of the route and just listen to the sounds of nature. It’s calming,” Heino shared.
When the bicycle starts moving, focus is on the ride. The challenges of the terrain demand the cyclist’s full attention.
“There are rocks, roots, uphill, downhill, and everything else. I like that it’s challenging. It requires balance and quick reactions. Road cycling focuses on the legs, but here, the entire body is at work,” Heino touted.
In Uusikaupunki, mountain biking opportunities are excellent. Surrounded by nature, there are various routes to explore.
“I’d recommend the route around Hiu for beginners. It’s relatively flat and doesn’t have significant terrain changes. But if you want a challenge, head to Lasamäki. Right from the start, there’s a hill that will make you really work for it,” Heino chuckled.
There are plenty of different phone apps to find routes. Heino favors an app called Komoot. Google Maps is an option too, as well as Zwift. With these, you can track your progress and prevent getting lost.
“My phone is mounted on the bike’s handlebars, and Komoot is running. Although I don’t always see it properly. That’s why I’ve sometimes ended up on slightly longer bike rides,” Heino laughed.
The right equipment is a comfort factor in any sport. According to Heino, having the right bike size is crucial, and he recommended a suspension fork.
“That way, the bike won’t bounce, and it stays better connected to the ground. A full suspension bike is even better in quality, but of course, more expensive,” Heino advised.
Heino has noticed an increasing number of people on biking trails, indicating the growing popularity of mountain biking. In the area, there’s also a sports club (KaPa-65) that has embraced mountain biking. The website Jälki.fi is a place to search for Uusikaupunki, and there you’ll find various route options in the area.