You most probably know Sauli under his nickname Saukki. He presents his rarely “about nothing”, from time to time extreme, often interesting, mostly velomobile videos on his Youtube channel and his experience with off-road recumbent riding and velonauting are invaluable. So where does he come from? How did he get to recumbents? And what he thinks about the future? You will know all that after reading this interview.
What do recumbents mean for you?
Three things: A comfortable & efficient way of transportation. I ride my 25 km commute with my velomobile when possible (usually not in winter). The most fun way to get some exercise. A way of life. When commuting by car, I usually feel bad about not doing it by my velomobile. I look at the bike path going next to the road and think that I should be over there riding instead of sitting here in the car.
Can you remember when did you see a recumbent for the first time?
I don’t remember what was the first time, but I did see them around few times. But I do remember the time when I started to realize that I want one. I was looking online for a replacement for my current bike at the time. I was considering a cyclocros bike, because I wanted something faster. But then somehow I stumbled upon a recumbent bike and found it interesting. Then I started to search the internet for more info about recumbents and eventually found velomobiles. I think I spent many days just looking for diferent kinds of recumbents and velomobiles. And then I realized that I want one. This was probably sometime early 2013.
What was your first recumbent?
My first recumbent was Challenge Hurricane. I bought it second-hand from a local guy. I was hoping to buy a velomobile, but I just hadn’t that kind of money back then. So when I saw the Hurricane was on sale not far from my home, I just decided to go for it. This was around November 2013.
Do you prefer trikes or two-wheelers and why?
I prefer two wheeled recumbents. Faster on road and narrow enough off-road. But then again I also ride velomobiles, so I do understand why people like trikes. It’s so much easier to stop for a traffic lights when you don’t have to worry about uncliping or how to start moving again.
Which bike do you ride now?
Recently I’ve been mostly riding my new Quattrovelo.
What do you think about all the e-assist boom we have around us now?
I think it’s a good thing. What I don’t understand is all the e-assist haters. I don’t understand why they hate it so much. But I guess those are people who see cycling only as a sport or a way to exercise. I see cycling also as a way of transportation. If you want a vehicle which can go from A to B very efficiently, then a e-bike is very good option. Personally I don’t need e-assist on my velomobile, because I live in this flat area where I can all the time average much faster than the legal speed limit for the assist. But now that I have this velomobile which I can use also in winter, I’ve realized that maybe I need e-assist for winter commuting. So maybe sometime in the future I’ll mount e-assist to my Quattrovelo.
Where is your favorite place to ride?
Where I usually end up going, when not commuting, is a place called Ohtakari. It’s a small island in the Gulf of Bothnia which is connected to the mainland with a short bridge, so you can easily drive or ride there. The road going there is small and winding country road, almost all the way from my home. And it’s almost completelly flat. At the end of the road there is small cafee, which is open in summer time. I usually don’t even visit there, I just turn my velomobile around and turn back and admire the beautifull sand beach. Which by the way is the longest one in the nordic countries. I usually don’t even climb out from my velomobile because the wind by the sea is quite cold.
And the most unforgettable ride?
The rides to our summer cottage and back again. And especially the rides back home. It’s about 240 km from our summer cottage back home and it’s almost flat. Except that there’s few hundred meters of elevation difference between our cottage and home. So it’s downhill almost all the way. It’s so much fun to ride 240 km and average something like 38 km/h.
How do you think recumbents will evolve in the next 5 or 10 years?
I don’t think there will be any big changes in the future. Of course there will be new and improved bike parts available. And I think that for example velomobiles will get more lighter and more efficient. E-assist will play even bigger role in the future.
What is your other hobby besides recumbents? Do you even consider recumbents as a hobby?
When commuting by velomobile every day, I don’t consider it as a hobby. Nor even exercise. When you ride the same route every day, it will get quite boring and all the fun of it goes away. It’s just a way to go from A to B. But then in winter when I end up commuting by car because there’s too much snow or it’s too cold or what ever, then I consider cycling as my hobby again. Then it gets exiting again, because I can ride other routes as well. But other than that I make Youtube videos about recumbents and velomobiles. And while being a ”film maker” I also end up being a ”graphical designer”. I’ve designed the graphics to my Youtube channel, but also I’ve made velomobile & recumbent designs which can be printed for exampe to a T-shirt. Those can be found on my shop. Then I also play drums. We have this band called Sadatus. We have recently released few tracks to our youtube channel.
AND ONE MORE:
Anything else you would like to tell our readers?
When talking about velomobiles, usually what people want to talk about is speed. It’s allways about speed. Instead we should be talking about efficiency. Speed is important only when racing. And most people do not race all the time. They don’t need speed, they need efficiency. But on the other hand, speed is the easiest way to measure velomobile efficiency. Faster velomobile is more efficient and more efficient velomobile is faster.
Sauli Nurila aka Saukki
Year of birth: 1986
Residence: Kälviä, Finland
Education: Bachelor of Engineering in production automation
Job: Maintenance Specialist at a newspaper press
Bike(s): Azub Max 26”, Quattrovelo.
Motto: It’s a velomobile. No it doesn’t have a motor. No I didn’t build it by myself.
Web sites: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd6k7GfrOpLlFabSplva7OA