Baana on opening day 12 June. Photo: Aleksi Salonen / City of Helsinki
Helsinki’s bicycling summer was officially opened on Helsinki Day, 12 June 2012. An original new bicycling and pedestrian way named Baana was inaugurated, launching a new era in Helsinki city centre bicycling. Finland’s first bicycling centre began operations, and a bicycling exhibition was opened at the Laituri meeting place.
Baana takes cyclists through the city centre
Cyclists took to the new way through the Helsinki city centre with enthusiasm: the first 8 hours of Baana’s operation saw well over 3,000 cyclists pass through.
Baana is a dedicated way for bicycles and pedestrians built into a former harbour railway corridor that used to serve freight traffic from a container port to the national railway network through the city centre. The 1.3-kilometre corridor runs below street level from the central Töölönlahti (Töölö Bay) area to the busy Ruoholahti district, lined with natural rock and old stone walls, crossing under and offering access through ramps and stairs to many of the main city centre streets.
A two-way bicycle way and a pedestrian path run side by side in the lane that averages 15 metres in width, extending at its widest to 34 metres. The widest sections accommodate facilities for basketball, table tennis and petangue. The Baana will also become a pleasant green city space during summer 2012, with 200 trees, shrubs, vines and flowers.
Bicycle centre opens. Photo: Aleksi Salonen / City of Helsinki
Bicycle centre to promote bicycling in Helsinki
The bicycle centre has been built by the City of Helsinki at one of the busiest places in the city, at the Kamppi public transportation and commercial hub, to promote bicycling in the city. The day-to-day operations are handled by entrepreneurs.
The services include bicycle rental, bicycle parking and servicing.
Bicycles of various kinds can be rented from a few hours up to weeks from Greenbike. The rental includes a lock, a helmet and a copy of the Helsinki bicycling map. Various special equipment is also on offer for rent. There is plenty of bicycle parking space, much of it monitored by surveillance cameras. Kampin Suutari next to the rental office provides instant servicing, and they also loan tools for self-servicing free of charge (against a picture ID).
The bicycle centre will serve through the main bicycling season to late autumn 2012.
A unique bicycle on view at Laituri’s exhibition. Photo: Aleksi Salonen / City of Helsinki
Sentiments on bicycling in the new exhibition
The Fiilari bicycling exhibition, on view at the Helsinki city planning meeting place Laituri, presents views on bicycling by veteran cyclists and by three new recruits who have tried out bicycling as part of their everyday life.
Fiilari also offers information on Helsinki’s current and upcoming bicycling ways, as well as advice for cyclists on bicycling in Helsinki. On display are some of the latest, trendy bicycle makes and unique bicycles built for themselves by active cyclists.
The exhibition is part of the programme of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.
Fiilari at Laituri through 4 August 2012. Tue-Fri 10-18, Sat 12-16. Free admission. Laituri on map