Yellow city bikes

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?

  1. Register by creating an account in HSL.fi (Helsinki region transportation)
  2. Log in with your account and choose a pass
    • One day for 5 €
    • One week for 10 €
  3. Pay with your credit card
  4. You’ll get a personal ID and a pin code –> remember those
  5. Collect a bike from a station
  6. Adjust the saddle height
  7. Ride and enjoy
  8. 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.

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