Trends come and go, but the trusty and simple design of the push bike has remained at the heart of transport systems in cities around the world. To commute everywhere by bike is a unique lifestyle that comes with many benefits. Let’s look at some of the cities around the world that have best adopted the biking lifestyle (warning: high risk of catching the travel bug)…
1. Amsterdam, The NetherlandsIn Amsterdam, a bike is the ultimate daily essential. The Dutch have long since relied on bikes to travel in and around the city. With its quaint canals, leafy green parks and a small village feel, this biking paradise has widely embraced its inhabitants. The Dutch are known for biking in all kinds of weather – rain, hail, wind or shine. When it comes to staying dry, it’s not uncommon to spot a biker in a waterproof outfit, complete with rain pants. Due to The Netherlands’ temperamental weather, specialised weather apps, such as Buienalarm, are a popular tool, in which rain-free windows can be monitored minute by minute. Once you have become accustomed to their road rules, biking in this beautiful city is cruisy and therapeutic. The Netherlands’ famously flat terrain harbours the perfect environment for getting around everywhere by bike, and really the only incline a biker will have to endure is from riding over a quaint arched bridge stretched over a canal. This makes it a breeze to bike around all day! Not bad, right?
2. Copenhagen, DenmarkCopenhagen is amongst one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with 62 per cent of its inhabitants commuting daily by bike. In this city, bikes have outnumbered cars since 2016 and there are 360 kilometres of innovative ‘superhighways’, bridges and designated bike lanes, making it a safe place to commute via bike. The Danish Government has implemented many strategies to ease the ‘rush hour’ period, with special intersections and traffic lights regulating the flow of biking commuters. Like many European cities, it can be very cold, rainy and dark during the wintery months. However, no matter the temperature, it’s impossible for this unique biking culture to ever lose its charm. What better way to start the day than to ride side-by-side with other commuters through the beautiful city of Copenhagen?
3. Utrecht, The NetherlandsWhen it comes to biking cities, the Dutch have really had the spokes turning right from the start. Utrecht is a small city in The Netherlands that was purposefully built for biking commuters just as much as Amsterdam, and embraces the important role that bikes play in commuting to neighbouring cities. Utrecht Central Station is known as the transport hub of The Netherlands, and boasts the world’s largest biking garage with capacity to hold over 12,000 bikes. The multi-story bike shelter is open 24/7 and provides a safe and dry parking space for commuters to store their bikes in racks before they hop on the train.
4. Antwerp, BelgiumAlready an established biking city, the Belgian city of Antwerp has made improvements over the past couple of years to build its bike friendliness. Antwerp’s cycling network has better traffic light coordination and safer intersections so that daily commuters can enjoy a practical and safe experience. In Antwerp, you can either own your own bike or take advantage of the convenient bike-sharing system called Velo, which is popular amongst tourists as well as the city’s inhabitants. In some countries, wearing a helmet whilst biking is enforceable by law. However, there is no legal obligation to do so in Belgium. The most recent national statistics state that 68 per cent of Belgians don’t wear a helmet; placing the country in the top three European countries with the highest rate of helmet-free bikers (along with The Netherlands and Hungary).
5. Strasbourg, FranceStrasbourg, a hub for students and a melting pot of cultures, is rated France’s best biking city (yes, it even beats Paris). With the city implementing biking infrastructure in the late 1970s, there are now over 560 kilometres of biking trails. There are over 18,000 bike racks in the city of Strasbourg, and this doesn’t include the bike rack facilities provided by schools or businesses. If you hold a yearly subscription, you will have access to the 850 secure parking spaces at the train station, which are complete with security surveillance and tyre pumps. The large car-free zone in the city centre makes Strasbourg a very safe place to commute via bike. Around eight per cent of Strasbourg’s population rides bikes, however the city is aiming to double this number by the year 2025.
These cities offer a way to live a more practical and sustainable lifestyle, not to mention the magical old-world charm that comes with whizzing around town like a free spirit on wheels. With a bike’s cheap maintenance costs and the incentive to live a more active and green lifestyle, there is a lot to love about commuting via bike. Next time you take on an adventure, why not add a biking city to your travel bucket list? There’s nothing like touring a city by bike. You’re in the fresh air, have the freedom to go wherever you like at your own pace. You can even say goodbye to the hassle of public transport, ride shares, or taxis. Just remember to look both ways before crossing a bike path!