Biking is a great way to keep yourself active and get all of the benefits of physical exercise while reducing congestion and pollution. It’s also a lot of fun and gets us all used to life without cars! That’s why it’s no surprise that more and more cities and towns are making it easier than ever to get outside and ride a bike. Of course, if you’re a touring cyclist, it might mean braving cities like New York, Chicago and Berlin. But for the more green-hearted among us, there are plenty of cities around the world that have made a point of creating bike-friendly environments for both residents and tourists. Here’s a list of five places we highly recommend for the bike-loving tourist.
With cycling accounting for 36% of all commuter journeys in the city, it’s no surprise that cycling is allowed on Copenhagen’s major roads. They have also invested heavily in cycling infrastructure over the past few years with 390km of cycle routes, cycle bridges, and bike parking. Cyclists can check out the free bike hire scheme, the City Bike, with over 200 stations placed strategically throughout the capital.
Amsterdam is blessed with an amazing network of 400km of bike lanes, bike routes, and signposted bicycle traffic. Although this network was built with commuting in mind, it’s also ideal for the tourist. It’s easy to rent bikes at any of the several bike rental locations all over the city, drop them off at your next destination, and pick up another for just a few Euro’s. As you cycle through the city, you’ll notice the traffic and pollution have a tendency to disappear. With well over 800,000 bicycles in the city and just as many residents, it doesn’t take long to get used to sharing the roads with bikes.
Portland may not be the cycling capital of the world, but they’ve gone a long way towards making urban cycling an important part of the city’s infrastructure. They created their bicycle planner position to oversee the creation and maintenance of cycling infrastructure, and have designated 35.5 miles of cycling lanes in the city. They even have a dedicated bike-sharing program with dozens of established rental stations. The traffic is generally easy to handle, and the beautiful mountain and shore scenery is perfect for a relaxing ride.
Montreal is blessed with hundreds of miles of bike paths crisscrossing the city. Most of the cycling infrastructure is concentrated in the downtown core, though there are some bike paths along major roads leading into and out of the city. Montreal’s made it its mission to make cycling safe, convenient, and not only contributing to cleaner air but a pleasurable part of urban life. There’s even a mobile app to help tourists find the best cycling routes near them. They even have a bike-share service using electronic cards, similar to the City Bike rental scheme in Copenhagen.
With 14% of all trips in Japan being made by bicycle, it’s no surprise that Tokyo is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. They have a designated network of bike paths that crisscross the city. You can either rent the bike for an entire day or use the card to get a short-term rental and then drop it off at another station.
The next time you’re planning an urban biking vacation, be sure to visit one of these cities. Portland may have a great bike-sharing system, but it’s good to see that some other places get cycling just as much as we do! Do you have any favourite spots to ride around? Let us know in the comments section below.