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Pedal Away Through the Most Bike-friendly Cities Around the World

Renuka Savant Nov 7, 2019
Going green is, quite literally, the flavor of the moment, especially when the only alternative is pollution, noxious gases, and awful expenses. Let's start with cycling then, and pedal our way across the world to discover cities that are a haven for all bikers.
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

  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona
  • Berlin
  • Paris
  • Copenhagen

Amsterdam

Okay, the city of cycle dwellers always manages to top this list, no matter what. Amsterdammers like to put brawn before beauty, which is the reason why they cycle to places, rather than zooming around in flashy sedans and fuel-guzzling SUVs.

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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.

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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.

Barcelona

Gaudí's fairyland can be admired better when you're riding a bike, as Barcelona has a ring road along the perimeter of its urban center. This road is littered with several bike stations that allow you to rent bikes at throwaway prices.
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.

Berlin

We have one doubt about transportation in Germany, that it is all about famous autobahns where you can speed away in your jazzy Benz. However, Berlin, and West Berlin, is an excellent biking hub, with 500,000 daily bike riders who make 13% of the total traffic.

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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.

Paris

Coming to Paris, and not taking advantage of the Vélib' would indeed be une grosse erreur as the French would put it. Vélib' is derived from two French words, vélo , meaning bicycle, and liberté, meaning freedom.
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.

Copenhagen

If any city matches Amsterdam's image as cycling capital of the world, it's Copenhagen. Official website of Copenhagen tourism states that 55% Copenhageners cycle 1.2 million kilometers each day, which is a staggering data.

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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

  • Montréal
  • Portland
  • Boulder

Montréal

We get out of Europe to cross the pond to enter Canada. Montréal, to be specific. Montréal is situated in Quebec, and has a very distinct French vibe. Citizens take cycling very seriously, and ensure that outsiders also soak in the experience.
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

The streets in urban America are mostly choc-a-bloc with opulent cars of every luxury brand there. Which is why Portland stands out amongst the lot. Known as the most bicycle-friendly city in the United States, around 6% of Portland's commuters make use of bicycles.
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.

Boulder

Boulder has built a reputation as a cycling hub of America. Bicycle paths measure up to hundreds of miles across Boulder, making it easy for cyclists to navigate the town. A dedicated website helps you chalk personalized routes.
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.