Friendliest Cities for Cycling
One of the best exercises you can partake in is cycling. Not only is it low impact (meaning it doesn’t over stress your joints), it’s also easy to learn, relatively low-cost, a good way to improve your strength, and if you live in one of these cycling-friendly cities, a time-efficient way to get around.
Even though cycling is an eco-friendly method of transportation, not every city encourages its citizens to reach for a bike instead of the car keys. Consequently, they don’t have the infrastructure necessary to let citizens make cycling part of their lifestyles. Luckily there are quite a few cities that have made the necessary plans and changes to make safe spaces for cycling and actually let people make cycling a be a huge part of their daily lives.
Everyone knows that Amsterdam has more bikes than citizens. Cycling is a big part of the average day for many. More than 70% of the population owns at least one bike. It’s also common to see people carrying their groceries on their bikes, getting children to school and generally using bikes as their main method of transportation. That’s no coincidence. The city has made it a point to make it easier and easier for people to get around on bikes. The streets are mainly flat and bicycles are allowed everywhere. What’s more, bikes have become a big part of Amsterdam’s tourism industry. There are guided tours and renting places available throughout.
It’s hard to find an American city that can compete with European giants when it comes to cycling culture, but Portland is certainly making some waves. Portlanders are known for being eco-friendly which has resulted in a public transportation system worthy of envy, and a cycling infrastructure so great that travelers can easily see the whole city on a bike.
Portland has bike tracks that allow you to go almost anywhere around the city, even the airport. What’s more, there are bike rentals for about $2.00 in case you didn’t bring your own. And of course, there are bike parking and repair stations all over for ease of use.
Denmark’s capital is famous for being bike friendly. There are about 390 kilometers of designated bike lanes, and of course, all of the necessary amenities that cyclists need for their rides. Copenhagen has made it easy for its citizens to seamlessly incorporate cycling into their lifestyles. There’s a highway exclusively for cyclists, allowing out-of-town commuters to bike their way to the city, which might sound like a lot, but keep in mind that more than 62% of citizens ride their bikes daily. In fact, 35% of workers commute on their bikes every day, even those who live in the suburbs. Not only are Copenhageners really consistent riders, but the city encourages them to be with air pump stations, and specialized traffic lights designed to decrease stop times.
If Copenhagen’s designated bike lanes impressed you, get ready for this: Montreal has 600 kilometers. As expected, this bike path has several amenities for cyclist as well as food stands for a quick pick-me-up. Montreal is so bike-friendly, they even host a yearly bike festival. Visitors need to beware, though. Montreal has many uphill streets and below zero temperatures for most of the years, so if you’re not used to those conditions, it might be a bit harder than expected.