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

Interesting fact about cycling in Copenhagen
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. Now, not only will the good ol’ cycle save you from being sucked up in the fossil fuel apocalypse, but it will also make you fitter, despite eating whatever junk you fancy.

There is a list of cities around the world that are waiting to welcome you with their biker-friendly routes and policies. Plus, these wonderful places also promote cycling as a healthy means of living, all the more reason for us to pay a visit, don’t you think? So, here are the world’s most bike-friendly cities.
Bike-friendly Cities in Europe

Amsterdam | Barcelona | Berlin | Paris | Copenhagen

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. Considering how the Dutch literally hand-built this beautiful city by reclaiming land from the 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 several guarded bike storage garages called fietsenstalling, which contribute to its reputation as the 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.

Bicing service
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, Germany
All of us seem to have one huge misconception about transportation within Germany, that it is all about their famous autobahns where you can speed away in your jazzy Benz. However, Berlin, and West Berlin in particular, is an excellent biking hub, comprising 500,000 daily bike riders who make up around 13% of the total traffic. 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.

Tourist riding bicycle in front of Eiffel Tower
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 the cycle-loving French; Vélib’ is actually a self-service bike scheme which allows you to rent a bike for a teeny tiny amount. You only have to pick one from a Vélib’ station, ride to your destination, and deposit it right outside at another Vélib’ station, biking around your favorite arrondissements in true 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.

People on bicycles in Copenhagen, Denmark
If there’s a city that can match up to Amsterdam’s reputation as the cycling capital of the world, it’s got to be the Danish city of Copenhagen. The official website of Copenhagen tourism proudly states that 55 percent of all Copenhageners cycle 1.2 million kilometers every day, which is a staggering statistic indeed. 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

Bicycle tour in Montreal Canada
Finally we get out of Europe, and cross the pond to enter Canada. Montréal, to be specific. Now, although we are in Canada, Montréal is situated in Quebec, and thus has a very distinct French vibe to it. Citizens of Montréal take their cycling very seriously, and ensure that outsiders also soak in the experience when they arrive. 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 Sunday Parkways
The streets in urban America are mostly choc-a-bloc with opulent cars of every luxury brand out there. Which is precisely 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.

Chautauqua Auditorium, Boulder, Colorado
Boulder has built quite 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 all over the town. There is also a dedicated website that helps you to chalk out 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 light years ahead when it comes to implementing pro-cycling policies, other cities need not get disheartened. In fact, cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and 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.
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