Orvo Välilä tells the story of a motorcycle riding club filled with proud Finnish riders in Dallas, Texas.
Hakkapeliitta Finn Riders is a motorcycle riding club in Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex area consisting of riders with one common theme: we’re all Finns (and proud of it). Since there has been expats and motorcycle enthusiasts for quite some time in the area, the history is a little vague. However in the common format, Hakkapeliitta Finn Riders is considered founded in April 2005, when some founding members decided that it would be cool to have a name for the group, and a logo to go with it.
Hakkapeliitta, as a term goes way back in history, them being famous Finnish mercenaries in Swedish King Gustav II Adolf’s cavalry during the 30 years war in 1618 – 1648. Since the original Hakkapeliitta were indeed riding cavalrymen and widely known in history for their bravery and bold tactics, the name has a particularly cool ring into it and it was chosen as the new name of the riding group. Inaugural ride under the new name was taken to beautiful Texas Hill Country at May 2005, consisting of 6 riders. The idea of a Finnish riding group was catching up pretty well and the oldest member list I was able to find from 2005, already held closer to 30 names.
Being a rather central location in North Texas, DFW has reasonably good location for nice riding roads. A quick day trip to Muenster or Westminster, Winery / vineyards visit to St. Jo, or perhaps just a Sunday burger at Rick Fairless’s Ice House are all very much motorcycling options.
For a weekend trip, Ouachita and Ozark National Forests are well within reach, or you can head southwest for always beautiful Hill Country with its winding roads and very popular motorcycle locations at Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Leakey and Mountain Home. If I should have to have a trip count on how many rides Hakkapeliitta has taken place down there for a ride in some way, shape or form, I would probably fail miserably, as it has been that often.
When collecting votes for most memorable rides, Arkansas and Hill Country as locations popped up in everyone’s responses. Making a top 5 list probably varies depending who you would ask, but those 2 locations definitely. Apart from those, Big Bend National park probably should be in there as the scenery is quite something in Rio Grande valley with exotic locations like Terlingua, Lajitas and Ojinaga.
Back in 2012 a group of Hakkapeliitta riders took theIron Butt challenge, covering 1023 miles in 22 hours 45 min via Texarkana, Springfield (MO), Oklahoma City and Flower mound. Last year, a Hakkapeliitta group made a trip all the way to Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina, a very memorable trip. Tall tales are told of some Hakkapeliitta riders wandering all the way to California and back also.
Hakkapeliitta Finn Riders does not hold any limitations to age, gender or certain motorcycle brand. We’re all easygoing motorcycle enthusiasts with passion for the open road, wind on your face and perhaps an occasional refreshing beverage among your riding friends after a day on the winding road!
Text by: Orvo Välilä, Dallas