Cycling in Helsinki
The breeze ruffles your shirt as you speed along the “Baana” through the city centre from Kiasma to Ruoholahti. Built along a stretch of disused railway line, Baana is a pedestrian and cycling corridor that is equally popular among commuters on bike, dog owners on foot and young people on skateboards.
Along the way you can stop and play table tennis or grab a soft drink from a container café. At the far end of Baana in the district of Ruoholahti you will find the Länsisatama “West Harbour”, the new residential dwellings in Jätkänsaari and the buzzing market at Hietalahti.
Baana forms part of a 1200-kilometre network of bike paths in Helsinki that makes it easy to access all parts of the city on two wheels, from the Keskuspuisto “Central Park” to the north to the ferry harbours to the south, and from the bustling city centre to the quiet fields and forests in the surrounding countryside – even to the islands of the archipelago.
Taking you wherever you want to go
No matter which direction you are heading in, the Daughter of the Baltic – as Helsinki has been described – always offers lots to see and experience. Admire the impressive Senate Square and Helsinki Cathedral in the very heart of the city and then head south to the Kaivopuisto park and relax on the green lawns while admiring the view to the sea.
If you want a hearty lunch or want to try some artisanal ice cream, pedal on over to the Culinary and Urban Culture Centre Teurastamo (the “Abattoir”) to the northeast of the city centre. If you are more interested in seeing the nature, head to the north of the Töölönlahti bay where the bike paths will lead you through the forests of Keskuspuisto.
Cycling routes for all tastes
If you really want to get a workout while enjoying stunning scenery, head for the islands! The archipelago route takes you from Ruoholahti westwards to Lauttasaari and across the smaller islands of Kaskisaari, Lehtisaari and Kuusisaari to Munkkiniemi. The fresh sea breezes and invigorating views are guaranteed to soothe your soul as you roll along.
If you want to catch your breath, you can stop at the cool Didrichsen Art Museum in Kuusisaari and stimulate your mind at the same time. Alternatively, you can hop off your bike at the recreational island of Seurasaari. The route also takes you past Sibelius Park, where you will find the famous organ-like monument to the legendary composer designed by Eila Hiltunen. Next to the park, down by the sea, is the cosy Café Regatta, where you can enjoy snacks and refreshments. You can even rent a stand-up paddle board there if the mood takes you! Before returning to the city centre you can enjoy a well-earned dip in the sea at the popular Hietaniemi beach.
If you prefer to cycle in groups, you can join a guided bike tour that will show you the very best sides of Helsinki. Choose from a range of tour packages, including “Helsinki Highlights”, “Sunset Sauna”, “Green Trail” and “West-Side Arts & Archipelago”.
Popular events among cyclists
Each year in May cyclists are invited to celebrate the start of the summer cycling season at the popular cycling fair “Stadin Kelat”, where you can shop for accessories and enjoy food, music and a great atmosphere. You can cycle to the fair at your leisure or join in the fun bike parade from the city centre!
If you are looking for a challenge, sign up for the Tour de Helsinki, which takes place at the end of summer and covers a distance of 140 kilometres. The tour is open to competitive and recreational cyclists alike!
On your saddle all year round
Cycling in Helsinki is not restricted to summertime. Many locals stick to two wheels also throughout the winter. The city’s bike paths are kept ploughed and sanded, but winter tyres are recommended to keep you upright on even the tightest curves!
Visitors can rent bicycles at a number of convenient locations (see the list below). If you are staying at a hotel, you may even be able to borrow a bike – just ask from reception.
So put on your helmet, hop on the saddle and experience Helsinki in new ways!
Explore Helsinki with City Bikes
Helsinki’s brand new city bikes are a popular and convenient way of getting around the city. City bikes are shared-use bicycles that can be borrowed for a fee by anyone in central Helsinki, residents and visitors alike. In summer 2016 there are 500 bikes in 50 locations around the city.
The easiest way to take advantage of the city bike scheme is to register on the website. You can then use your personal cyclist ID or HSL Travel Card and a PIN code for collecting your bike. Bikes can also be borrowed using a payment card without registration from five bike stations: Kaivopuisto, Unioninkatu, Rautatientori/East, Kiasma and Hakaniemi Metro Station. The bikes are available at the 2016 summer season until 31 November.