The whole family cycles
The two families from Espoo interviewed for this story bicycle most of their daily journeys. The parents feel cycling is a natural way to move from one place to another. For these families, cycling is also a choice for a more sustainable way of life. They want to teach their children sustainable ways of transport from an early age.
Cycling is a sustainable mode of transport and a meaningful way for many residents of Espoo to move from one place to another. Our series of stories is about cycling in Espoo. The second part of the series presents two families from Espoo who cycle a great deal. Click here to see the previous story in the series: https://www.espoo.fi/en/news/2022/08/active-cyclists-everyday-life
Cycling to daycare and work
Suvi Sippo from Viherlaakso cycles when she needs to get from one place to another. ”I like cycling, but I also want to travel sustainably,” Sippo says. She takes her children, aged three and four, to daycare by bike and bikes to work in Leppävaara.
The family's three-year-old youngest child uses a kickbike and the five-year-old firstborn rides a bike. The children can manage journeys of approximately two kilometres by themselves, so the family cycles together near the home. Other times the children travel in a bicycle cart towed by the mother's electric bicycle.
Sippo, who works as a doctor, has a commuting distance of six kilometres. Sippo commends her workplace for making arrangements for cyclists: “We have a shower opportunity at work and a hot cupboard for things,” she says.
Sippo has been using her electric bike for about a year now. She ended up purchasing an electric bicycle because hauling the children in the bicycle cart on a regular bicycle began to feel heavy. “The electric bike has made pedalling easier – I am not sweaty and cycling does not feel like a workout,” Sippo says.
“With the electric bike, I can also cycle further to places that I could not before.”
The cycling conditions on Sippo's routes are primarily good, and there are plenty of forest routes, for example. According to her, the area that needs development in terms of cycling in Espoo is ploughing cycling routes in winter when it is snowy.
Daily travel on electrically-assisted family bicycles
Mari and Tomi Hukkalainen’s family has chosen to organise their daily life so that they can live sustainably. “We chose the place where we live based on good traffic connections,” says Mari Hukkalainen, mother of children aged four and six. Public transport connections and services are close to the family living in Perkkaa.
The family mainly moves around using electric bicycles, one of which is a cargo bike and the other a longer model, where the children sit behind the parent. The bicycles were chosen to allow for both parents to transport the children. According to Mari Hukkalainen, starting to cycle using an electric bike is easier, because you do not get as sweaty as when pedalling a conventional bicycle.
“We do our grocery shopping by bike – how else?” Mari Hukkalainen says. In fact, the family cycles almost everywhere they need to go on a regular basis. They cycle about 50 kilometres each week.
Freedom is a big reason to cycle, not having to think about timetables. Congestion and sitting in a car, on the other hand, are not tempting. “When I cycle, I can choose a greener and more pleasant route,” Tomi Hukkalainen says.
The cycling family also has some ideas for improving cycling conditions. Cycling could do with some more fluidity and smoother surfaces. “Especially at intersections, the kerb may be sharp. Exceptional arrangements and signage could be more predictable and take cyclists into consideration better,” says Tomi Hukkalainen.
Despite these improvement proposals, cycling is more attractive than other forms of transport, even though the family sometimes also travel by bus or train. The children also like travelling on bikes more than in a car or bus.
“The children like to sit in the bicycle cart, and in colder weather the dome of the cargo bicycle shelters them from the draught,” Tomi Hukkalainen says.