I am in Finland right now doing some work here, and I am amazed by the network of bike paths I have seen in Oulo. These are grade separated bike paths that parallel and in some cases go beyond where the auto roads go.
The bikes here tend to be heavy "workman" type bikes, most of which have racks, often have fenders and many seem to have built in locks, but few are ever locked to anything but themselves. I have seen helmets, but they are few and far between. They are recommended, or so I have been told by the locals, but they tend NOT to adorn most riders' heads.
I have not seen drop bars or spandex anywhere. The mode seems to be basically "rolling pedestrian" in downtown areas (not much of a downtown... more like "downvillage") but faster on the paths. I see cyclists everywhere... and it has been raining. Speeds pick up on the paths themselves, but folks are not trying to reach "their personal best" at every opportunity. Street clothes are the order of the day.
Trek has a store here, but I feel they are at a disadvantage as their bikes don't come with racks. Most all bikes have racks, some have baskets too. Some have these rather nifty wire cages that prevent ordinary clothing from getting caught in the spokes. I'll take pics and post later.
Their grade separated system seems to work quite well. When I told them about riding "with the cars" there was an expression of disbelief... well timed too as we just happened to go by car wreck... why would you want to "share the road... "
One guy had visited Seattle, and said he could not believe what goes on up there.
I plan on renting a bike on Saturday just to see whats it all about. More later.