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City bikes return to Helsinki and Espoo, pop up in Vantaa and Oulu soon

Espoo and Helsinki have launched the summer bicycle season – while Turku has successfully run them all winter.

City bikes in Helsinki's Kallio neighbourhood. Image: Ronnie Holmberg / Yle

In a sure sign of spring, city bikes are once more available for hire on the streets and sidewalks of Helsinki and neighbouring Espoo. As the season begins, Helsinki has about 150 bike stations.

The shared-use service will expand significantly in May, when the city opens 88 new stations, mostly in northern and eastern Helsinki, which were previously city bike deserts.

Espoo has set up two new cycle stations in Otaniemi, home of Aalto University. That brings Espoo's total to 107 stations and nearly 1,100 bikes.

Last year, some 48,500 people rode Helsinki and Espoo bikes between April and October. They clocked up 3.2 million trips totalling 6.3 million kilometres. Each bicycle was used an average of nearly seven times a day, with the typical trip lasting about two kilometres.

Riders can purchase a daily, weekly or seasonal pass through the HSL website or app.

This year Helsinki has also set up about 50 docking stations for shared-use scooters and e-scooters.

Vantaa and Oulu launch in June

Just north of the capital, Vantaa will roll out its brand-new city bike service on 3 June. However the city's 1,000-bike system is not compatible with the Helsinki-Espoo scheme, so Vantaa bicycles cannot be dropped off in other municipalities, or vice versa.

Vantaa will offer around 100 stations in Tikkurila, Aviapolis, Myyrmäki, Kivistö and Koivukylä.

Meanwhile Turku in the south-west has become the first Finnish city to offer city bikes year-round. City officials say the first winter passed off without any significant problems, with residents and hardy visitors making about 10,000 trips per month in January and February.

With northerly Oulu planning to launch a fleet of 600 pink Polish bikes in early June, and more modest systems set to roll out in Kemi, Kotka and Kouvola, Tampere will be the only major Finnish city not to hop on the bike bandwagon.

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