City Bike Blues (in E minor)

When having our last urban benchmarking hike on May 7th we decided to make the next Helsinki tour with the yellow city bikes that have been set again available for the summer season. They are easy and cheap to use and Helsinki is continuously getting better and more enjoyable city for biking. There a lot of ‘stations’ to take a bike and return it. The bikes are reserved via internet – more information about the bikes by clicking this link: City bikes.

City bike stations – the bikes are easy to recognize!

Team Hippi & Ulkoholisti has always a tour theme to follow. Today it was quite a presidential one. This Ascension Day we had a funeral for Mr Mauno Koivisto who has been the president of the republic of Finland 1981-1994 and to commemorate him we decided to visit the statues and monuments made for our former presidents that have passed away. Our tour will finish by joining the funeral procession at Esplanade street.

My adventure started actually at home by taking a public transportation to the city center. Even though I live very near to the subway and bus stop I never use them…I should! Be careful out there..

City bike information at the subway stations.

I enjoyed the ride and found myself in the right place at Kajajanokka where we took the bikes. We had made the reservations beforehand and the whole process worked properly, some number codes and the bikes were ready to use. Helsinki map is quite well located in our personal RAM and the route plan took less than a minute. Let’s go! I will not write a detailed route map but if you are interested, please ask me and I will let you know!

The bikes are easy to use. If we can do it, you can do it! On the right there is our bike tour.

Helsinki is getting better city for biking all the time but you have to be careful because of the construction season for buildings and streets. Some streets and lanes are blocked but usually the temporary routes are marked quite well. There are lot of people, both locals and tourists and this has to keep in mind when cycling in the city center region. The lanes for cycles and pedestrians are separated but it happens that people are not following the rules. Please try to follow them and by doing this it is more comfortable and safer to be there in the traffic.

We followed the eastern coast line, visited the Olympic Stadium, took a small round in the Helsinki Central Park and crossed the center area to the western coast line. First stop was a coffee break in the Cafe Regatta that is one of our favourite and frequent places in the city. The atmosphere is very cosy, coffee is good and the cinnamon rolls always fresh.

There are always tourists at the Paavo Nurmi statue near the Olympic Stadium. Central Park – pure nature just 5 minutes from the center.

Cafe Regatta, our favourite place.

After coffee we headed to our first official target, a memorial build for Lauri Relander who was the second president of Finland (1925-1931). There are QR codes printed in the information plates for more information of each president. Our mission was to spend some time with the monuments, take photos and continue.

The memorial for Lauri Relander.

QR codes printed on the information plates at every memorial and statue.

Next stop, a memorial made for Risto Ryti, our 5th president in the years 1940-1944. We had some time to think the meaning of the monument…did not find. Sorry.

The memorial for Risto Ryti.

Urho Kekkonen was the 8th president of Finland and as a president for a very long time, 25 years (1956-1981). His monument includes three separate pieces: a pool named ‘pisara’ (drop), four pillars with hands on the tops and a name in the rock. After Urho Kekkonen the next president was Mauno Koivisto whose funeral we were having today.

The memorial for Urho Kekkonen has three pieces – Rock, pool and hands

Still some statues left. Next on our route is the statue of our 4th president Kyösti Kallio, who was a president 1937-1940. His statue is located very near to the Finnish Parliament House. In front of the Parliament House there are statues of our first President K.J. Ståhlberg and our third president P.E.Svinhufvud. Their statues were covered because of the construction site nearby.

The statue made for Kyösti Kallio.

C.G.E. Mannerheim was the sixth president of Finland (1944-1946). He was also a Marshal of Finland and a commander-in-chief of Finland’s defence forces in the World War II. Some years ago there was a vote for the greatest Finn of all times. Mannerheim was extremely outstanding in the vote. Between Mannerheim and Kekkonen there was still one president, J.K.Paasikivi (1946-1956). His monument was the last one in our city bike tour before the honoured funeral procession of Mauno Koivisto.

The statue presenting C.G.E Mannerheim and his horse ‘Käthy’.

A lot of people at the memorial for J.K. Paasikivi waiting for the funeral procession of Mauno Koivisto.

There were a lot of people joining the procession. The atmosphere was respectful and touching. Once-in-a-lifetime experience. In memoriam Mauno Koivisto.






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