Helsinki bike ride

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Friday, September 16, 2005
By Yokota Fritz

Jepa rides her bike in Finland. Photo by Leksis.
Jepa whistles as she rides her bike in Helsinki, Finland. Bikes are used extensively for recreation and commuting from June to August, but biking drops off significantly in the winter months. Jepa tells me,
"It's a minority that keeps cycling through the wintertime here in Helsinki. Most mornings one has to cycle through a deep snow cover. The cars treat cyclists quite aggressively, especially in winter as they have trouble in believing that someone moves on bike this season.

"In some smaller cities here, like in Oulu and Jyväskylä, where the public transportation really sucks, more people cycle through the winter. There also people ride on sidewalks which one cannot do in Helsinki. Sidewalks are of course well snow-plowed. In other cities in Finland people don't even use studded tires when wintercycling. I don't know why, but every wintercyclist in Helsinki seems to have studded tires. Local customs, it seems. Here the buses, trams and underground system work so well that maybe the wintercyclists are all bike fanatics like me.

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