A bike friendly city is one that does not leave bicyclers competing with motor vehicles. It makes it easy for pedestrians to get up on two wheels and save money on gas, car insurance and more. Moreover, it helps citizens get and stay healthy while promoting the air quality of the city and it’s a great way for tourists to explore a new destination. By and large, these bike friendly cities are doing themselves a favor.
Bogota is notorious for its traffic congestion. It is just hard to get around without getting jammed. That is, unless people decide to use its massive bicycling system, which would likely solve the problem if enough people did just that. As of 2013, the city has 377 km (234 miles) worth of bike paths and lanes. It ranks among the most extensive on the planet, largely thanks to the removal of parking spots on the sides of many roads to promote bicycling and discourage car use.
Portland is one of the leading cities in the United States when it comes to percentage of commuters who pedal to work. Thanks to modern bike lanes, about 8% of people take bikes to work in Portland. That is roughly 10 times the average in the country. The northwest is a famously beautiful and natural place to live and Portland has many initiatives that help keep the city beautiful. Its relatively new tradition in bicycling is one of those initiatives and is currently getting more successful all the time.
Beijing has a long history of bicycle use on its streets. While the number of bicycles being used is decreasing and the area is notorious for its pollution, it is still relatively easy to get around on two wheels. With a lack of hilly landscapes, it is not difficult to pedal through the city and there are numerous bike paths and lanes. However, scooters and other small motorized vehicles are also taking up these paths. Authorities are encouraging residents to pedal around because of the smog, but it does seem that it will be some time before Beijing sees cycling increases on par with those in other bike friendly cities.
There is a very romantic cultural picture of France that involves bicyclists spinning lazily through the countryside. However, this image does not just apply to the picturesque country. Paris is quite accessible to bicyclers. From bike paths to bicycles for hire, this city has certainly made it easy to pedal from one beautiful place to the next affordably and greenly. In addition, bike paths continue to get more and more extensive throughout Paris. In promotion of cycling as kind to the environment, the city closes some of its roads to cars on Sundays, but keeps them open to cyclists.
Budapest has a well-developed transport system that gives commuters plenty of options. Nonetheless, more and more people are opting for bicycles when it comes time to choose a mode of transportation. With waterfront and grass lined bike paths, it is no wonder people choose to pedal through the city rather than be involved in the noise and exhaust of traffic. It is important to remember that Budapest has some rules and some common courtesies when it comes to cycling as many of the paths are shared with pedestrians and mopeds, so remember to read up on guidelines to be safe.
Barcelona is a city that tourists can easily navigate by bike. There are scenic routes that range from easy to difficult, bike trails and access to bicycles for rent. There are even bicycle tours offered by businesses in the city. There is something special about the juxtaposition between nature and cityscape on trails such as the Passeig de les Aigües. This is the real magic of bicycling in Barcelona. Nonetheless, there are also urban routes that will take cyclists through main thoroughfares in the city for shopping, sightseeing and more. These are the easiest routes in Barcelona, so even novice riders can handle them.
6. Rio de Janeiro
Trams, buses and other public modes of transport make getting around Rio de Janeiro quite easy. Many residents require the relatively inexpensive mode of transportation that bicycling is, but the city offers more than just a bunch of bicycles. In recent years, Rio de Janeiro has become one of the cities that is starting to model itself after popular bicycling cities like Amsterdam and Berlin. Visitors will find bike lanes around the world-renowned beaches, as well as bike racks for locking them up.
Montreal has a great network of bicycle paths and bicycle lanes that make it possible to travel all over the city on a bike. To make this structure even better, Montreal began a program in 2009 to share bicycles along this network. It is called Bixi Montreal. Using a simple pay station, users deposit the required fee and the bicycle is released from its dock. This makes it possible for people who do not own bikes to make use of the city’s bicycling system. It also makes it easy for tourists to get their hands on bikes.
Cycling is a great way both to commute and to sightsee in Tokyo. There are grassy parks riders can cycle through. Bike friendly areas will take them past shops, restaurants, landmarks and more. Like other bike friendly cities, Tokyo has several options for renting bicycles and there are bike shops for purchases and repairs. Those unfamiliar with the bike paths in the city will find it easy to locate a good bike tour listing, whether they prefer guided or self-guided sightseeing.
Berlin has a number of modes of transportation from the high tech to the two-wheeled. Bicycling is made easy in Berlin thanks to its well-constructed bike lanes. These lanes are not quite the Autobahn, but they get riders where they need to go on their own steam. There are also hundreds of miles of on-road and off-road bicycle paths. If using a bicycle is too taxing, there are always bicycle rickshaws where one can sit comfortably while someone else pedals the contraption. Soon, cyclists will also be able to make use of so-called bicycle sharing systems as well.
In Copenhagen, more than 35% of its citizens use a bicycle to get to and from work, school and more. This is largely thanks to the extensive bike paths found in the city and the safety precautions given them, such as separate indicators for bike lanes in some areas. For a small fee, visitors and citizens alike can use bicycles that belong to the city. They are scattered throughout busy areas. Copenhagen’s facilities are so good that other cities are modeling their bicycle infrastructure after those found there.
Amsterdam is perhaps the city that is most famous for its bike friendly ways. It has such tools for bicyclers as bike racks, bike paths through the city and even garages that operate like parking garages. Because of the ease with which people can go around using bicycles, Amsterdam has more bicycles than people. Visitors will see people of all classes, jobs and ages using bicycles because it is easier than driving an automobile in the city. Unfortunately, bikes are stolen regularly, so visitors, commuters and recreational cyclists alike would do well to store their bikes in one of the many secure garages in the city.