Eric Gilliland

"Cycling Advocate and Enthusiast"

Eric Gilliland

A lifelong cyclist, Washington Area Bicycling Association's Executive Director Eric Gilliland can remember every bike he ever owned. Growing up on Long Island and in New Hampshire he built trails in his back yard, a precursor to his work at WABA, where he champions changes in transportation that spotlight cycling and addresses such mounting problems as global climate change and obesity. With WABA just awarded the Best Advocacy Organization of the Year Award From The Alliance of Biking and Walking for such 2008 accomplishments as doubling the number of striped DC bike lane miles, the passage of a DC law enhancing bicycle training awareness for heavy vehicle operators, and the country's largest Bike to Work Day event, Gilliland now looks to the Federal stage and our defining moment in transportation. "How will the new Economic Stimulus Package and the upcoming Transportation Bill effect where and how we ride, how do we encourage the move away from single occupancy vehicles?"

"We've always looked to Europe to see biking done right," says Gilliland, who has cycled in France along Normandy coast, from Luxemburg through Belgium to Amsterdam, from Germany to Vienna, and in Dubai. "This is how I like to see the world, from the seat of a bicycle. Biking is my job, but it's also my passion." I'm eager to see how Helsinki handles bikes, how bikes are integrated into the whole transportation system, and how people are encouraged to leave their cars at home."

Washington Area Bicyclist Association


Petri Sipilä

Helsinki Cyclists

The visit will be hosted by the City of Helsinki Sports Department and Helsinki Cyclists. During the visit to Helsinki Eric Gilliland will get to know the local cycling conditions.

The Sports Department aims at improving people's quality of life in Helsinki through sports. The city has about 800 sports clubs covering some 100 different sports. The Sports Department provides and maintains sports facilities, maintains outdoor recreation areas, arranges supervised sports activities, supervises boating and maintains marinas, develops and controls fishing, prepares matters related to subsidies and support and markets and provides information on sports services.

Helsinki Cyclists, officially Helsingin Polkupyöräilijät (HePo), is a volunteer organisation which aims to promote safe and convenient cycling, especially for commuting and leisure. HePo was established in 1981. The chairman is Petri Sipilä. HePo keeps an eye on the development of the traffic system and strives to influence legislation and traffic planning at both local and national levels. A notable part of HePo's activities are the cycle trips which are organised regularly from mid-April until the end of October. These trips are free and open to everyone.

Helsinki Cyclists