Meet the bike-loving Finnish city that keeps pedaling even in the snow - euronews.
By Sara Lilja Steensig
In a city of blanketed by snow for five months each year, you wouldn't blame cyclists for putting their bikes into hibernation during the winter.
But he people of Oulu, Finland, are made of stronger stuff.
Despite the long, dark, and snow-filled winters, locals keep pedaling their way to and from work and school.
Around one-in-five of all trips made in Oulu are by bike, a figure that falls to 12% in the winter. By comparison, in London, around 2% of all trips are made by bicycle. In the Dutch cities of Utrecht and Amsterdam half of all journeys are on a bike, against a third in Copenhagen. Further south in the capital Helsinki cycling, on average, represents 9% of trips.
"The colder the weather, the more beautiful nature gets," said urban wellbeing engineer Timo Perala, who is one of Oulu's many year-round cyclists.
'Today I cycled over frozen sea ice of Oulu Bay on my way home, and it was breathtaking, Those are the kinds of experiences you get by biking in wintertime."
Perala is not alone on the city's bike paths. More than half of all trips to universities and schools over the year are made by bike.
Even on very cold winter days, hundreds of unlocked bikes stand in the snow of the Oulu's schools as a testimony to their popularity.
Why does winter fail to deter cyclists in Oulu?
One of the key reasons is the city prioritizes cycle infrastructure and maintenance during winter months.