Cycling is an increasingly popular way of keeping fit and getting around all year round. Espoo offers an incredible number of options for cyclists and new plans have been made to support cycling long into the future.
Martti Merra, the City’s Sports and Youth Director, believes that people can easily get around Espoo without a car: it takes less than half an hour to cycle from one urban centre to another, and cyclists can cover even longer distances if they take their bikes on the metro or the train.
Electric bikes are making a breakthrough as a new form of year-round transport. Merra thinks that now is the time for Espoo to profile itself as a genuine cycling city.
“I believe that we have plenty of untapped potential. Thinking about the expansion in bicycle tourism, we have the best forests, nature and beaches in Finland.”
Espoo offers an incredible number of options for cyclists of all standards: there are up to 1,200 kilometres of routes for non-motorised traffic, and that is on top of cross-country skiing routes and unmarked routes. The Waterfront Walkway alone measures more than 40 kilometres end-to-end.
“There is absolutely no need to follow the same route for every journey – there is plenty of choice and lots to see,” Merra states.
Merra knows what he is talking about. He clocked up 2,600 kilometres of cycling last year. “I mostly cycle in my spare time, but in the summer, I also try to travel to work meetings by bike.” Swapping the car for a bike is largely a question of attitude. “We at the City have noticed that cycling is held in increasingly high regard. This has ensured that we do our bit – we keep the routes in good condition so that cycling remains attractive and safe.”
Merra has one request for road-users: “We should accept everyone, whether they are travelling on foot, with a dog, by bike or by car. We should slow down a little, have a bit more patience and understanding, then everything will be fine.”
More about cycling routes: