Tour de Helsinki is Finland’s second largest cycle race
About 1,700 riders participated in the 140-kilometre circuit
By Teppo Moisio
The Tour de Helsinki, a bike race that was first staged in 2005 by a small group of cycling enthusiasts in Helsinki and nearby municipalities, this year nearly surpassed another mass bicycle event - Pirkan Pyöräily - as the largest one-day cycle race in Finland.
In June, a total of 1,714 riders participated in Pirkan Pyöräily in Tampere, while 1,680 cyclists out of the 1733 participants crossed the finishing line of the Tour de Helsinki within the time limit last Sunday.
The race covered 140 kilometres.
If the Helsinki race continues to grow at the same pace, Pirkan Pyöräily could find itself in second place next year.
Tour de Helsinki beat its own record handily, as in 2009 the number of participants was about 1,200.
”Because of the growth, all arrangements have had to be reconsidered every year”, says event manager Tuomas Pernu.
Six years ago, at the end of the road bike season, Pernu posted an advertisement in the Finnish bicycle magazine Fillari, inviting all riders in the Greater Helsinki area to join a tour during which participants would go through all the summer season’s cycling routes without stopping.
The keep-fit tour was named Tour de Helsinki, and it covered 170 kilometres, with the number of participants being about a dozen.
In the following year, a similar tour was arranged under another name, while the number of participants had grown modestly to about 40.
The number of riders participating in the first official Tour de Helsinki race in 2007 was already 400.
For the record, this year's winner was Matti Helminen, who completed the 140km run in 3:39.49.
Some of those who did not finish were among the dozen who had to get hospital treatment for injuries - mainly cuts and bruises, but also a few broken ribs and collar-bones - after collisions along the way.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 6.9.2010
Previously in HS International Edition:
New bicycle lanes to be created in downtown Helsinki (11.8.2010)
”Finland is no longer one of the leading cycling countries” (5.5.2009)
HS test: Helsinki cyclists reach destinations faster than others (13.5.2008)
About 25,000 commute by bicycle to centre of Helsinki in summer (16.5.2007)
Tour de Helsinki
Journey Planner for Cycling (HSL)
TEPPO MOISIO / Helsingin Sanomat