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City bike comeback: More bikes, new stations in Espoo

Helsinki's city bicycle trial was a success last year, and improvements have been made to the service, which returns this week. Bikes can also be found in Espoo this summer.

Uusien kaupunkipyörien rivistöt Helsingin Narinkkatorilla maanantaina 2.5.
A fleet of yellow city bikes in central Helsinki, ready to whiz as far as Espoo. Image: Kimmo Brandt / AOP

This coming summer there will be a total of 1,400 city bikes in circulation in Helsinki, available to residents and visitors alike at 140 brightly coloured bicycle stations.

New stations have been installed in the areas of Käpylä, Koskela, Kalasatama and Kumpula.

Additionally the capital city feature is being extended into neighbouring Espoo, as 100 bikes and 10 stations will be piloted in the Matinkylä-Olari area this summer. Bikers are free to travel between the cities, as the stations are all part of the same grid.

All the bike stations are mapped and accessible at the HSL homepage. To use a city bike one need only register digitally to use the service, then pay per day, week or season and return the bicycle to a station within five hours.

The service is mainly geared towards Helsinki residents, who can use the bicycles as part of their normal commute; in fact, more than half of users reported using them for getting to and from their jobs. Stations in the city centre also include an option to claim a bike without having to register with HSL.

"Tourists are not our primary demographic, although they are important too," says HSL's Samuli Mäkinen.

Small safety tweaks include moving some of the stations further away from thoroughfares.

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