Bicycle is a mandatory attribute in the life of every Finn. Even if it isn’t used temporarily for some reason, it is still carefully preserved and waiting for the right moment. The love of Finns to the bicycles can be compared with their love to dogs, or to fishing, or to sauna.
Bicycle market in Finland
That’s why the bicycle market in Finland differs with its enviable stability. Inspite of the impact of economic crisis and the growth of imports of bicycles, domestic producer of two-weeled Finnish friends is confidently standing on one’s feet - every second bike in Finland is the brainchild of its native country.
General interest to the bicycles in Finland
In Finland all ride bicycles without referance to the age and social status, both children and grown-ups: tourists and housewives, pensioners and students. And although the cycling season in Suomi is traditionally in spring and summer, some fans of two-wheeled transport is not afraid of neither rain, nor slush, nor winter snowstorms and sleet.
Bicycle in Finland is transportation
Bicycle in Finland is not considered to be the measure of prestige and material wealth, it’s only transportation. Therefore, there is still the bicycle vintage of 60-s – 80-s, which is easily recognizable by frayed saddles and curved retro bicycle frames. And whereas all Finnish products are of high quality and reliability, the Finns ride the bikes - “veterans” with great pleasure and are not in a hurry to leave them.
“National” bikes of Finland
Finns know in person their national two-wheeled heroes - bicycles “Helkama”, “Tunturi” and “Nopsa”. Finns can easily distinguish these bikes by the width of the wing and the year of release. “Tunturi” and ‘Helkama” are the ancestors of cycling history in Suomi.
Finnish bikes “Tunturi”
The history of bicycles “Tunturi” began in 1922 in a small repair shop. In 1926 brothers Aarne and Eero Harkke created the first bike “Tunturi” there. After some time (in 50-s) plant “Tunturi” was accepted the undisputed brand-leader and forever won the severe hearts of Finns. The production for healthy living from “Tunturi” is in demand in 40 countriesof the world to this day.
Finnish bikes “Helkama”
Another brand – “Helkama”, which is better known in Russia for refrigerators, is also a loud name in the cycling history of Finland. The first bikes “Helkama” appeared in 1905 in Vyborg due to the peasant from the Finnish city Tampere Heikki J. Hellman, who’s registered his business.
Successful trading was interrupted by wars. But it's not dead. Bicycle business of Hellman was continued by his brothers Matti, Paavo, Pekka and Eero, who’s reached the excellent results. In 1953 their first own factory began the production of 200 bicycles daily, and in 1969 the export of goods to Sweden began. It was the time of appearing the most favorite, the most popular and most practical transportation in Finland - a bicycle for everbody “Jopo”.
Rules for cyclists in Finland
Because of the popularity and prevalence of cycling in Finland, cyclists in this country are considered to be the equal participants in road traffic. Therefore, the Road Laws in Finland has a special article for the lovers of two-wheeled transportation. It has clearly articulated rules, which limit the improvisation on the roads.
Cyclists in Finland must meet the following requirements:
- operate a bicycle with two hands;
- use the flashlight in the dark (fine of 20 euros);
- use the cycle paths;
- indicates the rotation with one’s hands;
- wear a special helmet.
The Traffic Laws of Finland also passes in review the following initiatives for the further amendment:
- the right to ride a bicycle against the traffic along the streets with one-way traffic;
- the creation of special parkings for bikes in the area of traffic lights – so called “bicycle pockets”;
- the right to ride a bicicle on the sidewalk in the absence of bicycle paths.
“Bicycle” policy in Finland
The so-called “bicycling issue” is one of the priority themes in the domestic policy of Finland nowadays. There are following reasons to this:
- rapid and at the same time budget improvement of the nation;
- reducing the number of automobiles;
- perspective possibility of the country to become a leader in sales and exports of bicycles in the North-European market.
Popular cycling routes in Finland
During the cycling season Finland will please the cyclists with the splendor of its nature, the abundance of clean air and excellent mood. This will, undoubtedly, have a positive impact on their health, both physical and moral.
There are three cycling routes, which are the most popular among the lovers of cycling holiday in summer in Suomi:
1) around the archipelago of Turku (the length of the most prevalent route - about 250 km; duration - 4-6 days; starting and ending point - Turku);
2) along the Aland Islands (standard route - 260 km, but at will one can visit more than 100 islands for a week; starting points: Mariehamn - Bomarsund - Kastelholm - Ecker ...; the route is marked with special green signs);
3) “Royal Road” along the south coast along the old postroad (length - 253 km; the points of following: Vaalimaa – Kotka - Lovisa - Porvoo - Helsinki - Salo - Paimio - Turku and Lappeenranta - Hamina - Porvoo - Vantaa - Hanko - Turku - Uusinkaupunki).
“Two-weeled” Finland will appear before the cyclists in all its unique beauty: with its picturesque sceneries and sandy beaches, with oak groves and mysterious skerries, with its charming village markets and uninhabited islands as well as with numerous attractions, which will be met on their way.