Starting in Tartu on August 15, a team of Estonian, British and Danish soldiers and officers will cycle over 1,000 km across Estonia.
Organized by NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, the tour, called "NATO Velo" will run from Tartu to the west coast of Estonia, across the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, before riding onwards to Tallinn and Narva, where the tour ends on August 21.
"This will be a remarkable show of the unity and spirit of cooperation that is long established between the Estonian Defence Force and the British and Danish troops that make up the NATO Battlegroup here in Estonia," eFP commander Col. Paul Clayton, himself taking part in the tour, said in a NATO press release.
"The added bonus is the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Estonian countryside while physically challenging ourselves."
The "NATO Velo" tour is to start in Tartu on the morning of Saturday, August 15. On that first day, the team will embark on the longest leg of the tour – about 170 km to Pärnu. From there, the cyclists will head across to Saaremaa, then neighboring Hiiumaa, before returning to the mainland (see infographic).
The team will transit through Tallinn on Wednesday August 19. before ending the tour in the eastern border town of Narva on Friday, August 21.
Only a couple of days left until #NATOvelo starts in Tartu on Saturday morning. Are any other Estonian cyclists up for the challenge? @Laaasu @AloJakin @rattajass @mihkelraim @LiisiRist @visitestonia We are expecting a couple of guests to join us. But who? #WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/YClLPnYS8a— Col Paul Clayton MBE (@ComdUKeFP) August 12, 2020
Throughout the tour, the NATO Battlegroup will host "meet the soldiers" engagement events, coinciding with the cycling team's arrival in Tartu, Pärnu, Tallinn and Narva.
At these events, local people will have the opportunity to meet soldiers from the NATO eFP Battlegroup, get to see some of their equipment (from small arms to armored vehicles), and learn about NATO and the eFP in Estonia.
"The equipment and heavy armor which we bring to Estonia is an important part of our defensive role here", Col. Clayton says.
"But it is also essential that we go out and meet the Estonian public and do our best to earn their welcome and support," he added.
Editor: Andrew Whyte