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In the summer of 2007, Robert Goldstein departs Helsinki on a self-supported bicycle epic across Finland with the goal of pedaling to the Barents Sea. Aboard a folding bicycle towing a wagon, he weathers furious storms, survives a near-disastrous accident and obsesses whether he will be eaten by a bear as he makes his way through the remote forests of Eastern Finland. In sparsely populated Lapland, his solitude is relieved by reindeer who become his constant companions as he slowly makes his way through the Arctic.More than a travelogue, Riding with Reindeer intersperses an often humorous narrative about the author's adventures (he manages to get trapped in the women's shower in one remote village) with rich cultural and historical anecdotes as he passes through endless forests littered with rotted fortifications, rusted tanks and mass graves-the detritus of Finland's desperate defense against a massive Soviet invasion in the winter of 1939. Riding with Reindeer gives insight into the mind of the solitary traveler and into the soul of a country whose honest and resourceful yet often taciturn citizens are always willing to lend a helping hand to the stranger on the little blue bicycle gamely grinding his way through their "Suomi" - literally "the end of the land."
The author, a former journalist, is the Chief Financial Officer of the Kitsap Regional Library, Kitsap County, Wa. He lives in Seattle. His first book, The Gentleman from Finland û Adventures on the Trans-Siberian Express, won critical acclaim from Library book reviewer Nancy Pearl who called it ôa perfect read for fans of Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson's travel memoirs.ö