The annual Kilometre competition (Kilometrikisa in Finnish) encourages people to cycle. The competition has been organised in Finland since 2009 and each year the records from previous years have been broken for the number of participants and kilometres cycled.
Background & Objectives
The Finnish Kilometre competition, now in its fourth year, is a significant step towards achieving a better environment and a healthier public. The Kilometre competition targets companies, departments, associations and any other teams who want to participate in this playful competition. The aim is to encourage members of work communities or associations to increase team spirit and improve their physical condition.
The competition is organised by the Network of Biking Municipalities (Pyöräilykuntien verkosto ry) and the Finland is Biking campaign (Suomi Pyöräilee-kampanja).
The rules are simple: Each participant marks down the kilometres cycled and can thus increase the score of his/her own team. The group with the most kilometres wins.
The competition is divided into three series:
- A small series for groups with fewer than 25 participants;
- A grand series for groups with over 25 participants; and
- A power series for bike associations, sports associations and other “professionals” or active bikers. All kilometres cycled are accepted, even those gained during leisure time and holidays.
All kilometres cycled are accepted, even those gained during leisure time and holidays. The competition is free of charge and open to everybody. Every month bicycle-related prizes donated by organisations supporting the competition are raffled among the participants.
The competition has become more and more popular every year. In 2009 around 2,000 people participated and in 2012 the number was already ten times bigger with over 20,000 participants. In 2012 participants in 1,542 groups from all over Finland cycled 21,484,193 kilometres, which is equivalent to 1,000 kilometres per participant. During the five month competition period (May-September) the participants saved 1,503,894 litres of gasoline and 3,759,734 kilogrammes of CO2.
Naturally, not all the kilometres cycled amount to the equivalent reduction in private car driving but the figures give an indication of the positive environmental impacts of cycling.
According to a survey completed during the competition in 2012, nearly 18 percent of the participants had been inspired to start cycling as a result of the competition, 55 percent had increased cycling during the competition and most importantly 59 percent of the participants continued to cycle more often than previously, even after the competition had ended. The popularity of the competition highlights a positive general shift in attitudes towards cycle commuting.