Travel is changing all around the world. Airplanes are getting faster, cars are getting greener and some of us are even using Hover Boards! But there is still a place for the traditional bicycle and we know just the places to ride them.
In no particular order, here are ten cities that are synonymous for cycling and cycling culture.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
This famous University City is well known for its student population, but it’s not just the students that cycle around the city. With businesses growing year on year, Cambridge is a hot-bed for medical and scientific advances, so much so that the over-crowded city has spilled-out into the outlying countryside and beyond. Transport is limited, despite the guided buses (that travel along re-used train tracks) and take passengers swiftly from one end of the city to another, and as such, commuters often cycle up to ten miles per day, some of whom drop their children-off at day care facilities on their way to work.
During the height of summer, locals and visitors alike take advantage of the myriad riverside paths and cycle for miles, enjoying the countryside, local pubs and feeding the swans and ducks.
Tip: Just remember, if you are cycling around the city, like car parking spots, space is at a premium and you may find locking your bike to a railing is a difficult prospect.
According to Katie Melua, there are some “Nine Million Bicycles” in Beijing. With a population of approximately 22 million people, that’s a large percentage that would rather or must cycle instead of driving to work.
If you’re in Beijing and in the market for a bike, look no further than a Bamboo Bicycle. Yep, your read right. Bamboo Bicycles Beijing
is a community project that aims to build and avail the local community with viable transport…made from bamboo. Of course, if you don’t happen to want to buy a bike, there is always rental. As it stands, over 40,000 bicycles are available in Beijing for hire purposes. Free for the first hour and then 1 CNY per hour after (that’s approximately 12p); not a bad deal.
The undisputed capital of cycling has to be Amsterdam
. The Dutch capital city is a cyclists dream; flat, compact and with nearly 400km of bicycle paths, the city is designed to accommodate cyclists of all sorts. What do we mean by ‘all sorts’? From Mums and Dads to couriers, from students to police officers and even the Dutch Royal family, residents from all walks of life enjoy the privilege of cycling across and around Amsterdam.
As with many European cities, during the Second World War, before and after, cycling was one of the very few modes of transport available to the masses and even with the advent of the automobile, free-trade and affordability, bicycles remained the most popular transport option for many Netherlanders.
As it stands today, Amsterdam is home to approximately 880,000 bicycles.
A staggering 45% of the population of Copenhagen commute via bicycle, equating to 1.2 million kilometres cycled each day.
Many cities avail their general populous and visitors alike with hire-bikes, bicycles that can be taken from public access points around a city and returned to another likewise point. These systems have been shown to be very popular, especially for those that struggle financially and those that simply wish to ride a bike and can’t afford or don’t do it regularly enough to need to buy a bicycle. That being said, many of these bikes are basic in design, Copenhagen however, thinks a little differently.
Bycyklen (The City Bike) is described as an intelligent electric bike, which is available 24/7, 365 days of the year. Not only does each bike have two wheels, a handlebar, frame and seat (useful), they also come complete with a touch-screen tablet mounted to the bars for navigation and payment via the capital’s Wi-Fi network.
The Swedish city of Malmö, like the above mentioned Copenhagen also makes use of the rent-a-bike scheme; theirs is called “Malmö by Bike
”. The bike may be used for one hour at a time costing SEK 250 (that’s approximately £7.50) or 3 days for SEK 165 (£15.00). As of this summer, Copenhagen and Malmö (sister cities) will be linked via Oresund strait ferry service, which means, you will now be able to cycle across two countries in two cities
Now you and the 300,000 Malmö residents can cross the flat city, enjoying the sights, restaurants, bars and organic foods of which they are now famed.
Rental prices for bicycles in Eindhoven
is €10 per day and with the vast majority of the city geared towards bikes, you can enjoy a city-wide bicycle tour, with coloured routes allowing for up to 68 kilometres of leg-pumping fun. Of course, some of you (us included) might want to stop cycling for a minute or two and see the sights. So, what does Eindhoven have to offer?
There’s the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Fietspad. Fine, we said no more cycling, get over it. This path takes you on a historical tour of the city and outlying country; 600 meters that takes you past where Van Gogh used to live, along a sparkling stoned route.
How about visiting the observatory? The Dr. A.F. Philips Observatory houses a 3.5 metre long telescope; capable of showing the galaxy and gas nebulae alike…you can even stare at the Moon. There’s also the “Hovenring”, a 70 metre tall pylon that appears to hover over a rather busy looking motorway and allows cycle enthusiasts to cross and filter-off to different ends of the city.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tours a plenty, that’s what this flat, “Paris of South America” has and if you’re in the mood, you can see it all! Tours
tend to depart around 10am each day and are conservatively priced (we say) at $90; that includes the bicycle, helmet, basket, lunch at a traditional food truck, filtered water, a rain poncho (just in case) a little tea and nearly 7 hours of fun. But what will I see? You ask. Well, depending on the tour your chose, you can either take-in the graffiti subculture of the city, the parks and greenery or the historic and striking architecture. Really, this is a wonderful opportunity for keen cyclists and amateur cyclists alike. No hills here but believe you and me; it can get really very warm.
Like the rest of our list, traversing the cities on two wheels can be great fun, but until now we hadn’t considered three.
is a fun and striking way of travelling. Adult-sized electric trikes, built not so much for speed, and without a seat, not so much for comfort, but at least the lazier ones among us don’t have to peddle. However, if you are a purist, cycle hire is, of course available.
Tours of the city cross over 900 kilometres of dedicated cycle access and there’s more coming. Rentals start at €10 a day, depending on the style of bicycle you desire. Take-in the remains of the Berlin Wall, ride under the Brandenburg Gate and enjoy the Haus der Kulturen der Welt ("House of the World's Cultures") especially at night, when the water fountains play and the lights display.
Electric bikes, peddle bikes, public air pumps, guided tours and so much more. If you are an avid cyclist, then Vienna
is the city for you and if you’re really geared-up, then how about the Danube bicycle path? It starts in Germany, passes through Austria and winds-up in Hungary…and all along the Danube River. If that’s too much, tours start at €39 and include cycle hire, bi-lingual languages and last around 3 hours.
Some of you are ‘Greenies’, so this might appeal. E-Fatbikes are mountain bikes with oversized wheels which allow the rider to cycle off-road, on sand, up mountains and the like and if you’re feeling a little tired, there’s always the electric option.
Ever heard of ‘Superblocks’? It’s not surprising. In an effort to reclaim the streets for cyclists, Barcelona only recently introduced this scheme, designed to restrict motorised traffic in public areas and allow community blocks to enjoy the city. Pedestrians and cyclists will enjoy a friendly atmosphere, free of traffic and pollution, except for local vehicles and essential business deliveries. Hoping to reduce car use by a whopping 21%, Barcelona is truly moving forward.
Hire bikes are prevalent in the city, tours are frequent and paths allow cyclists to enjoy some of the most striking vistas available in the Catalan capital.