Our Ambassadors

photo by Anthony Ongaro

Anthony Desnick
Executive Director, Finnish Cycling Embassy
Tony is a parent, urban designer, bikeshare professional, and long time cycling advocate and activist. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Move Minnesota, the Winter Cycling Federation, and recently, the North American Bikeshare Association. He has spent much of his career advancing the cause of bikes being the perfect 19th century solution to a myriad of 21st century problems. His passion for bringing cycling to individuals and to communities is outlined in his recent TEDx talk, “The Amazing Ways Bicycles Change You”.

Oskari Kaupinmaki
Oskari is a motivated and driven professional working as a cycling coordinator and urban transportation expert at the City of Helsinki. Through a multidisciplinary approach, his main role and passion is to re-introduce the bicycle as an equal mode of transportation within the transport and urban realm. He works in close collaboration with various levels within the city organization as well as a multitude of different stakeholders.

Martti Tulenheimo
Chief Specialist, Finnish Cyclists’ Federation & the Network of Finnish Cycling Municipalities.
Martti Tulenheimo is an Active Urban Living Advocate from Helsinki. He specializes in bike sharing, public policy and funding issues. He also works with influence marketing and campaigning. Martti enjoys cycling year round and has a passion for improving cycling conditions especially for children. Previously he has worked for the ECF in Brussels, for the Finnish Parliament in Helsinki and consulted a dozen of cities in Finland about the joys of bike sharing with his private consulting company, Tulenheimo Urban Solutions. Apart from working, Martti enjoys life outdoors with his wife and three kids on their Christiania cargo bike.

Riikka Kallio
Sustainable Mobility Expert and Project Manager, WSP
Riikka Kallio works at the global consulting firm, WSP in Finland’s Helsinki office. She has more than twenty years of extensive experience in the promotion and planning of bicycle traffic with many different cities and municipalities, from the strategic level, network and infrastructure planning, as well as various local and national studies. In particular, Riikka has focused on the development of cycling strategies, promotion programs, and action plans in close cooperation with Finnish cities. Her aim is always to find the most important and appropriate measures for each city to increase the volume of bicycle traffic.

photo by Martti Tulenheimo

Sanna Ojajärvi
Project Manager, the Network of Finnish Cycling Municipalities
In her work, Sanna Ojajärvi encourages school children and teachers on their bikes: cycling to school and during the school day which results in happy, well concentrated and ready to learn students and their teachers. Besides cycling advocacy, her special interest areas are communication and networks, social sciences and questions of equality. She enjoys year round cycling on urban streets as well as on trails.

Matti Hirvonen
Executive Director, Network of Finnish Cycling Municipalities
Matti Hirvonen has worked as an Executive Director in Network of Finnish Cycling Municipalities since 2008 and his main task is to offer best possible tools to cycling promoters all over Finland in different cities, municipalities, companies and NGOs. In order to increase cycling in Finland, high quality assortment of measures is needed to improve cycling infrastructure and maintenance year round as well as motivate people cycling more often. Hirvonen is involved various types of cycling promotion programs, infrastructure development projects, campaigns and marketing. In order to convincing decision makers for the importance of cycling, Hirvonen is specialized in different benefits of cycling, focusing most of all the economic impacts and cost efficiency. Infrastructure and maintenance is important to get more people cycling in winter, but so is attitudes as well, and attitudes can change.

Harri Vaarala
Traffic Planner, City of Oulu

photo by Michael Colville-Andersen

Timo Perälä
CEO at Navico Ltd. Hercules Ltd. TopSpot Move Ltd.
President, Winter Cycling Federation
Timo is an urban wellbeing engineer aka “kick ass” engineer determined to make our cities and the people living in them healthier and happier. His experience from urban design, traffic planning, municipal procurement procedures, sport and wellbeing technology, ITS and smart mobility gives him a broad and fresh view how to develop our cities as well as different organizations, organs and procedures within.
The values of Navico Ltd presents also his own ones in life; easy going and “fair game” kind of atmosphere, creative madness and better environment. Major drivers for Perälä in his personal as well as in professional life is to do things “not exactly by the book”, to get things done fast and an everlasting hunger for learning new skills.

Pekka Tahkola
Planner, Navico Ltd
Vice president, Winter Cycling Federation
Pekka lives in the winter cycling capital of the world: Oulu, Finland. Located almost at the Arctic Circle, the city enjoys long, snowy, harsh winters, which, even though you might think the opposite, when paired with good maintenance make winter cycling just a normal everyday activity in the city. Apart from bicycles, he has a huge interest in transportation history, vintage pianos, adventures of all sorts, and ice cream. His main areas of expertise are about how walking and cycling can make our transport system work more efficiently, how they can improve our lives, health and economy, and all in all make our communities of better quality. He was recently named Finland’s Cyclist of the Year 2021.

Ari Varonen
City Engineer, City of Joensuu
City of Joensuu has strongly developed cycling infrastructure and conditions during last ten years. At the same time, City of Joensuu together with large group of partners has done active cycling promotion to activate and encourage citizens to year round cycling. Ari has been one of the main developers in almost everything that has done in Joensuu from planning to implementation. Ari is chair of Joensuu walking and cycling promotion group. He has a deep experience in winter maintenance. Ari also knows which are the most important steps in improving cycling conditions and increasing year round cycling in cities. And of course, Ari himself is year round biker.

Kalle Vaismaa
Professor of Digital Infrastructure, University of Tampere
Mr. Vaismaa has a deep experience in promoting sustainable and future urban traffic, especially cycling and walking conditions. Vaismaa wrote his doctoral thesis about cycling: what measures and actions cities have to do to increase the modal share of cycling. Vaismaa likes to make new wide concepts of the future urban transport system in cities, and also focus to cycling. Because year round cycling is a solution to the many problems in urban traffic. Kalle´s specialties are promoting of year round cycling and walking, sustainable urban traffic and future transport system. Vaismaa is a popular lecturer in internal and international seminars and congresses.

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