Let’s get it straight in the very beginning: Helsinki is not as much of a cycling city as Amsterdam or Copenhagen. But we’re getting there. In the summer time cycling is the handiest and usually the fastest way to get from A to B in Helsinki, and the yellow city bikes have made bike rental super easy.
I’m using city bikes to satisfy my ad hoc bike needs: I may have taken the metro from home to the city center, but when I need to move within the city center, I’ll pick a yellow bike from one of the bike stations. The coverage of the bike station network is so good that I seldom need to check where’s the station closest to my destination.
I’m also using the yellow bikes whenever I need to take care of businesses, such as pick a delivery from a post office or take a quick visit to a certain grocery store, liquor shop or pharmacy. I might even take my own helmet with me, and just use the rental bike, because with the yellow bike I don’t need to worry about my own bike getting stolen.
So how to get the access to the yellow city bikes?
- Register by creating an account in HSL.fi (Helsinki region transportation)
- Log in with your account and choose a pass
- One day for 5 €
- One week for 10 €
- Pay with your credit card
- You’ll get a personal ID and a pin code –> remember those
- Collect a bike from a station
- Adjust the saddle height
- Ride and enjoy
- Return the bike into a station
There are a few things to keep in mind with the bikes:
- One person can rent one bike at a time.
- The basic fee covers unlimited number of 30 min rides. Meaning half-an-hour from station to station. Any single rentals for longer than 30 mins will charge extra from your credit card.
- However, it’s ok to take longer trips by renting one bike for 25 minutes, returning it into a station and picking another bike from the station immediately after the first one and continue riding.
- When you’re returning the bike and if the station is full, you can use the flex-lock to return the bike.
- You can take a break by using the flex-lock, but remember, the clock is ticking throughout the breaks too.
The 30 minutes time box may feel a bit limiting at first. But Helsinki is such a compact city, that in 30 minutes you can actually pedal to the other side of the city.