Tips & Routes: all you need to know about Biking in Helsinki

Helsinki is a city for biking, and rightfully so! With April, the season is starting, and locals are getting their bike fixed up and ready to get outside. Whether it is for your commute or leisure, if you want to go mountain biking in the forest or just out to the shops, everything is possible and accessible for everyone, no matter if you live here or are just visiting.

Here’s all you need to know about cycling in Helsinki, including my top 3 routes!


5 reasons why Helsinki is a great city for biking

1. BIKE LANES AND CONNECTIONS

Helsinki is boasting a network of over 1500km, which is constantly expanded. Any updates to the city streets carefully consider cyclists. You can get to most places within the city on your own dedicated bike lane, with the exception of the historic centre and South Helsinki, where cobblestone and more narrow streets don’t present ideal conditions – however, it’s still totally manageable. The network of bike lanes makes taking your bike the fastest option within shorter distances, opposed to public transport, and also makes it a safe choice.

2. AFFORDABLE CITY BIKES

Helsinki transport service HSL introduced the Helsinki city bikes a couple of years ago, and they proved a great success. With to over 3500 bikes and 350 stations in Helsinki and Espoo, and now also Vantaa, the city bikes are a great option for any resident or visitor. You can pick up a bike at any station and drop it off at another (exceptions for Vantaa). The season pass costs only 35€ and the day pass only 5€ (plus potential extra charges if you go over the 30 free minutes). They are excellent and I recommend them to everyone!

3. SCENERIES AND FLAT STREETS

Now Helsinki isn’t the Netherlands, so it is not completely flat. There’s definitely murder hill here or there, but overall Helsinki is a fantastic city to bike in, even if you’re not used to biking a lot. The city is beautiful and the bike routes take you along the water, various parks and all the way out to the archipelago if you wish.

4. MAINTENANCE AND SERVICE

You can find air pumps for your tires in many places around the city, but my favourite is Pyöräkeskus (bike centre). This summer container workshop offers small quick fixes for free, or if you need advice with something, these guys are happy to help. Fantastic professionals! I get my usual bike service done with Stadi Bike or Easy Cycles, I highly recommend both! In the Sörnäinen area, you can find many bike shops as well.

5. PARKING SPOTS AND SECURITY

The amount of parking stands dedicated to bikes has increased a lot over the last couple of years: whereas a couple of years ago I found myself awkwardly chaining my bike to a tree or lantern, the city has been equipped with plenty of high-quality, sturdy parking racks all around. These make thieves’ lives harder as it lets you use more heavy-duty locks, but these racks are also often secured with CCTV.


Some Tips about biking in Helsinki

  • Stay on the bike lanes if possible. Otherwise, ride on the street, not the sidewalk.
  • Don’t cross over red (I mean you should never anyway, but an important reminder)
  • Don’t ride your bike on the tram tracks! Your tires won’t have grip and you can fall.
  • Always wear a helmet!
  • Beware of bike thieves. Even though Helsinki is an incredibly safe city, bikes are a common thing to get stolen, especially in the summers. I’ve had 3 (!) stolen already, despite good locks and being on private property. Invest in a heavy-duty lock. Or use the city bikes to stay carefree of that issue.

Where to buy a bike

People in Helsinki love to bike and there are plenty of means to get your hands on one! Wether you’re looking for a sparkling brand new ride or a second hand used bike, here are some places where you can find them:

Bike stores

Bicyclean – Luotsikatu14 – Shop, Maintenance and Rental service
Easy Cycles – Välimerenkatu 3 – Specialised in E-bikes
Classic Bike – Mechelininkatu 15 – Large selection of bikes
Mountainbike Shop – Läntinen Brahenkatu 8 – the name says it
Töölön Pyörä – Linnankoskenkatu 2 – my former go-to shop when I lived in that area
Pelago Bikes – Kalevankatu 32 – Beautiful design bikes from the heart of Helsinki
XXL – Outdoor store with bikes and everything else
Prisma – Larger supermarkets often have a small selection of bikes


Second Hand

Tori.fi – online market place with a good selection of bikes
Check out Facebook market place and your local selling groups as well. Check out this blog post for a Guide to Second Hand Shopping in Finland. Many flea market listed there will also sell used bikes!


Where to rent a bike

HSL City Bikes – Rent a bike for the season, the week, or a day. Would always be my first choice.
Bicyclean – Luotsikatu14 – Rental service
Natura Viva – Fat Bike rental to go out into nature


Route Recommendations & Trip ideas

Route 1: Best of Helsinki Sights – 11km – 1 hour / 3 hours with stops

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Helsinki is a small city with only 630.000 inhabitants (not counting the entire Capital area which adds up to 1.5M) – and one of the perks of that is that you can see a lot – even within a short amount of time. On this route, which is about 11km, you will see all the most relevant churches, monuments, historical bits, alongside some wonderful nature. Without stops this would take you a good hour, but I recommend some stops and not to rush.


Route 2: Helsinki all by the Seaside + Sauna – 12.3km – 1 hour / 4 hours with stops and sauna

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This route is not one for many stops, but it is to enjoy some Helsinki sights, the gorgeous seaside and archipelago feeling. It’s put together to stop here and there, maybe have a coffee break and then finish off at Löyly seaside sauna, where you can have dinner or just a drink on the terrace, and of course a dip in the sea – in any season. Make sure to book a slot beforehand!


Route 3: Pure nature along the Espoo waterfront walkway

The Espoo Waterfront Walkway is a coastal path that stretches for more than 40km along the seaside. I always started in Helsinki Munkkiniemi, and continued from there and it’s just stunning. Find out more here:

Book a bike tour with me!

Send me an email 🙂 I have been guiding bike tours for over 5 years. Let me know what you have in mind and let’s go for a ride! moikkeliskoikkelis(a)kathrindeter.com

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