The Dutch city of Amsterdam has more than 881,000 bicycles. That’s four times the number of cars.
As the already-towering prices of fuel keep skyrocketing, we've got to open our eyes to the obvious, and need to accept that the fossil fuel party is stuttering towards an end. Yes, there are hybrid cars that are eco-friendly, but unfortunately, their prices aren't too pocket-friendly, much as we may covet the Tesla Model S.
Time to have a Plan B in place, don't you think? And it also makes sense, as you wouldn't want to wait until the fossil fuel apocalypse hits. So, assuming that you can't afford to get your hands on that Tesla-made set of wheels, let's hop on to a poorer version that has two wheels - the bicycle.
Cycle saves you from being sucked up in the fossil fuel apocalypse, and makes you fitter, despite eating junk. There is a list of cities around the world waiting to welcome you with their biker-friendly routes and policies. They promote cycling as healthy means of living, all the more reason for us to pay a visit. Here are world's most bike-friendly cities.
Bike-friendly Cities in Europe
Considering how the Dutch hand-built this city by reclaiming land from sea, they are doing everything they can to keep it from being soiled by vehicular pollution. Amsterdam boasts of a superior biking culture, with cycling paths and racks, and guarded bike storage garages called fietsenstalling, which contribute to its reputation as biking hub of the world.
So, grab a bike, and take a spin around Amsterdam's canals, dotted with its famous wood-paneled coffee shops, smoking a wee bit of you-know-what for that extra feel of Dutch-style gezellig.
In 2007, the Barcelona City Council introduced the Bicing service, a bicycle service as a system of public transport, that allowed users to rent and share bikes across the city. This service covered approximately 70% of the city area, including Ciutat Vella, the Eixample and some parts of Sant Martí and Gràcia, and became a big hit with the residents.
So, when you come to Barcelona, you'll have to visit the Sagrada Familia, taste the delicious Galician seafood, see some of Picasso's works, stop at some renowned watering holes, and dance the flamenco. Of course, biking to each of these places would be the best way to get around.
Fahrradstrassen, or bicycle streets are those where bikes have priority and vehicles are to be driven at a speed limited to 30 km/h. With their Call-a-Bike scheme, renting a bike is super easy, as long as you possess a mobile phone and a credit card.
Tourists have the option of embarking upon bike tours that are economical and enjoyable at the same time. Taking a bike ride along the Berlin Wall is also the best way to view its famed graffiti.
Don't take it to mean 'freedom from bicycles' and offend cycle-loving French; Vélib' is actually a self-service bike scheme which allows you to rent a bike for a tiny amount. You have to pick one from a Vélib' station, ride to your destination, and deposit it outside at another Vélib' station, biking around your favorite arrondissements in Parisian style!
There are 270 mi of cycle paths and routes in Paris, which include special cyclists-only routes. In a bid to promote cycling, some busy roads are reserved exclusively for cyclists on Sundays and public holidays, under the Paris Respire scheme.
Also, half of Copenhagen's commuters make use of the bicycle to go to work or school. Soak up the cool summer here in a city that is full of canals, cobbled squares and copper spires, and everything quintessentially Scandinavian.
Bike-friendly Cities in North America
450 kilometers of bicycle paths leading to Montréal's hotspots are favored by locals and tourists alike. In the future, the authorities plan to disassociate cycling from being an alternative means of transport, to a more mainstream one.
Portland's cycling infrastructure got a major boost with the expansion of the sidewalks of Hawthorne Bridge in 1997, which improved the safety of cyclists commuting across the Willamette River.
With its designated street lanes, traffic signals, and an in-depth local bike map, cycling is an integral part of Boulder's local culture.
While it is true that European cities are ahead when it comes to implementing pro-cycling policies, other cities need not get disheartened. Cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris are living examples of how progressive thinking can promote the concept of green living among its citizens. Cities and towns in the rest of the world ought to be taking notes.