I mount the bike and let the lift pull me up the bare skiing slopes. On the summit I take my time to admire the landscapes in all directions while a fresh breeze clears my mind. For a while I consider tempting and versatile route options and finally choose the one speedy and curvy enough for me and my bike. Adrenalin spreads all around my body as I hit the trail downhill and exhilaration grows along the meters ridden.
Downhill mountain biking is a captivating way to enjoy speed, mountain biking, trails built on skiing slopes and nature. This sub-genre of traditional mountain biking brings riders to the slopes, where a wide range of routes serve speed seekers. The location is perfect for the activity in summer and autumn, when the slopes are empty of skiers.
In Påminne Bike Park, the downhill biking centre of Raasepori, also the beginners have the possibility to try the sport. Previous traditional mountain biking riding and handling experience is required as the sport asks a little skill. Proficient and open-minded rider will grasp the tips for technique and riding from a pro, when the basic handling of the bike is familiar.
What the downhill mountain biking actually is?
Downhill mountain biking has a reputation of an energetic and even a bit dangerous sport. The key principles are rather simple and the difficulty level of trails vary. Skiing lifts, which take skiers to the top of the hill in winter, serve also bike riders in the summer and autumn season.
From the top of the hill one can choose from a generous variety of trails according to their preferences in the level of difficulty or trail map. In downhill mountain biking the objective is to ride down the marked trails with style and speed whilst paying attention to the curves, built platforms, hillocks, drops and other possible obstacles.
The expert in downhill mountain biking Anders “Andy” Pyy considers it possible for beginners to get a quick grasp of the sport even with little less experience if one has enthusiasm and time to be spent on the slopes.
– Regular mountain biking on more traditional trails is also good practice for downhill riders as technique and reaction rate will develope on smoother ground too, Pyy says.
Pyy himself has been fully concentrating in traditional mountain bike riding for already five years. His previous sport was Motocross. The reason for changing the league is simply the fact, that he finds downhill mountain biking way more fun.
Påminne Bike Park was bor from the passion of the active downhill mountain bike riders
Påminne Bike Park is the most southern slope centre in Finland and also Anders Pyy’s “homefield”. The place was practically engendered by the dream and devotion of the riders to create Påminne Bike Park THE place for downhill mountain bike riding in Finland.
According to Pyy in the future the aim is to further develop the route selection focusing on trails suitable for beginners as more riders would be warmly welcomed. The objective is also to get some rental gear and equipment for the visitors of the centre. Up until the end of October it has been possible to ride in Påminne Bike Park for two consecutive hours by paying the 20 euro entrance fee or by showing the season ticket. The centre has already been serving even up to about a hundred visitors every week indicating stable and growing interest towards the sport.
Here’s how you’ll get on to it
Slopes at Påminne will open for downhill mountain bike riders after winter season.
Påminne is conveniently located within only about an hour’s drive from Helsinki through Inkoo and Karjaa. From Lohja the distance takes just half an hour and from Turku about one and half hours.
New riders are always warmly welcomed to the sport and slopes. The culture guides more experienced riders to look after beginners.
– Beginners are highly encouraged to have a chat with more experienced riders to ask for advice and tips, Pyy explains.
Anders Pyy’s motto is to boldly hit the slopes as learning by doing is definitely the best way. He is often there to be asked about the sport in general or to tell about techniques and tips in more detail. Ha may also give a little guidance or tell about the trails in Påminne. The lift crew is there to help beginners get familiar with the lift.
It’s the sense of freedom that lures one to the slopes with a bike
Pyy’s enthusiasm for downhill mountain biking is contagious. We concentrate on all his tips of how to get on top of the hill as we first grasp the handle bar at the bottom of the slope. Every driving tip is greeted with delight for it asks for a sharp eye, quick reaction skills and ability to perceive terrain to ride down the trails. New routes can of course also be first familiarized by foot when necessary.
The knowledge of the sport increases massively whilst riding down the slopes, as downhill mountain biking needs uninterrupted focus. It is easy to imagine someone already enjoying mountain biking to be carried away by the slopes too.
– The best part of the sport is the sense of freedom and the ability to go anywhere with your bike, Pyy says.
The second he finishes the sentence we see him agilely racing down even the most difficult slopes, almost as if his bike had wings. The smooth turns and accelerating bumps tell about years’ riding experience and never-ending enthusiasm.
Translation: Karoliina Säkö