Biking through any city is a great way of exploring your surroundings. However, some cities are far more bike-friendly than others and make your exploration a whole lot easier. Once we are able to travel freely again, post-COVID, there is a high chance people may opt for walking and cycling around cities rather than taking public transport. Therefore, why not look at some of the most bike-friendly cities in the world for your next getaway?
Not only do the following cities have great cycling infrastructure but also picturesque surroundings too. Therefore allowing you to see more of the city you are visiting, getting some exercise and offsetting a bit of your carbon footprint.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
You cannot write about bike-friendly cities without including Amsterdam. With over 800,000 bikes in the city, people use them to go about their daily business and tourists can hire them to explore. The streets of Amsterdam are flat which make them perfect for cycling through, even if you are a novice cyclist. Just remember to stick to the cycle lanes and watch out for pedestrians. If you want the added support of a guide and fellow riders, you could opt for a city bike tour. There are also a lot of beautiful green spaces around Amsterdam if you want to explore further afield by bike.
Berlin has lots of different neighbourhoods to explore and the 900 kilometres of cycling paths make it easy to get around without having to worry about traffic. With 500,000 daily bike riders in the city, Berlin has one of the highest rates of bicycle commuting in the world. When visiting, you could opt to hire a bike and explore the city independently, you could take a highlights tour which encompasses a lot of Berlin’s main attractions or you could choose from a number of focused cycling tours depending on your interests. For example a Third Reich and Berlin Wall history tour or an alternative Berlin bike tour.
Boulder, Colorado, USA
If you are looking for a city stateside to explore by bike, then Boulder, the “Happiest City in America” is a great option. Ok, it’s not considered to have the same pull as some of the larger, more famous US cities. However, it still has a lot to offer. Cycling is a popular way to get around Boulder. It has over 300 miles of bikeways including on-street bike lanes, designated bike routes, contra-flow bike lanes, multi-use paths and soft-surface paths. You could hire a bike or take an e-bike tour. You could even explore further afield and riding on big fat tires over famous Rocky Mountain snow.
Copenhagen is often considered the most bike-friendly city in the world. This is because it is the favoured mode of transport for over half (an estimated 62%) of Copenhagen’s commuters. The city is all geared (see what I did there) up for cyclists. It even has a Cycle Super Highway which connects Copenhagen to the town of Albertslund. You could join the locals and hire a bike in Copenhagen. Therefore allowing you to explore the city yourself. Or you could take one of the many organised tours. These include a highlight tour taking in the cities main attractions and even discover the hidden side of the city on a bike tour.
Ljubljana, the European Green Capital 2016, is the capital of Slovenia and somewhere dedicated to eco-tourism. With more than 300 kilometres of designated cycling paths, it is a great destination to explore on a bike. Ljublana is also an extremely beautiful city. Therefore if you opt to hire a bike or take a bike tour in Ljublana, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside. As Ljublana is a predominantly flat city, it is also a great place to cycle. Even if you are not the most confident bike rider. You could even take an e-bike tour which allows cycling with minimal physical effort if needed.
Montreal is officially one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world according to the Copenhagenize Index 2019. Therefore making it a wonderful city to explore on two wheels as it as several cycle paths and protected bike lanes. You could opt to explore the city independently or if you would like the added benefit of a tour guide, you could take a guided tour, allowing you to not only see but learn about some of the cities most popular attractions too. If you want to discover another side of Montreal, you could even choose to take a hidden gems tour allowing you to see some of the things you won’t find documented in guide books.
Possibly a surprise on the most bike-friendly cities list, Paris is actually a great city for cyclists. Paris is a busy and traffic-heavy city, however, following the introduction of the bike-sharing scheme in 2007, cycle paths and bikeways are now commonplace in the city. With flat roads and relatively slow traffic Paris is ideal for taking a bike tour of the city’s top attractions. A great option is to see the City of Lights at night on an organised tour, it will allow you to see Paris lit up in all its glory. And if you want to explore further afield than just the city centre, why not take a cycle day tour of the impressive gardens of Versailles with an informative tour guide?
Portland has won several “bicycle-friendly city” awards and the popularity of cycling in the city is increasing all of the time. Currently, an estimated 6% of commuters cycle to work in Portland which is approximately 10 times the national average in the US. Because Portland has a great cycle infrastructure, it makes it a great city to explore on a bike. There are a number of different bike tours you could join, depending on your tastes. If you love beer you could visit some of the city’s most famous breweries by bike? If donuts are more your thing, you could combine your love of the sweet treats with an organised tour.
The city of Strasbourg is the most bike-friendly city in France, therefore a great city to explore on two wheels. With over 560km of cycling trails, an estimated 8% of the Strasbourg population rides a bike with the city committed to increasing that figure in the near future. You could opt for a night bike tour and see the city lit up, adding to its fairytale atmosphere. Or you could choose to explore forests and parks of Strasbourg by getting out of the city and taking a guided tour to learn about impressive Strasbourg’s tree heritage. A Christmas bike tour is also an option if you visit Strasbourg during winter. You will get to experience the Christmas markets and of course sample glühwein.
Many would not even consider Toyko to be a bike-friendly city, let alone one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. However, around 14% of all commuters in Toyko ride a bike. The city centre can be quite tricky to navigate. Especially as there are not many cycle lanes and you have to share the footpath with pedestrians. However, once you are out of the city centre, Tokyo has countryside, mountains, parks and lakes to discover by bike. There are plenty of small group guided tours you could opt for throughout the various neighbourhoods of the city. Also, if you would like to mix exploring with food why not take a food bicycle tour?