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There’s no doubt that Europe is the most bike-friendly place but there are plenty of other places around the world where pedal-friendly travelers can feel at home. Here are our top bike-friendly cities in the world.
According to the Copenhagenize Index, a comprehensive ranking system created by the Copehnagenize Design Company every two years, the capital of Denmark is the most bike-friendly city in the world.
More than 50 percent of residents commute via bike in Copenhagen, making bicycles the main form of transportation in this Danish city. Copenhagen offers 250 miles of bike lanes, many bicycle bridges and the famous Cykelslangen (“Cycle Snake”), an exclusive bike-only raised roadway over the harbor front. Copenhagen is also creating a “Bicycle Super Highway” consisting of 26 bike paths covering 186 miles that connects Greater Copenhagen to the city through bike lanes.
With more bikes than people, two-thirds of all people over age 12 biking daily and 38 percent of all trips here made by bike, it’s no surprise that Amsterdam is number two on this list. With over 500 miles of bike paths and lanes, the Amsterdam Bicycle Network is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The city even has 25 parking garages dedicated solely to bikes.
Riding a bike in Amsterdam, much like Copenhagen, can be intimidating to visitors so a guided bike tour is the best choice–options include city tours, canal rides and tours outside the city.
While it ranks fifth on the Copenhagenize Index, we like Eindhoven so much that it ranks third on our list. While it is a smaller city, there are plenty of incredible infrastructures, such as the Floating Roundabout, that encourage cycling. The Bikedispenser is an automated system for sharing and storing bike rentals and the glowing bike path on the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde city path is an impressive ode to Vincent Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night”. Biking here is truly a unique experience that even average bikers should be able to handle on their own.
There’s a convenient bike rental service located at the central train station to make biking even easier for visitors.
While Spain isn’t the most bike-friendly destination, Seville is the one Spanish city that has put the country on the map in terms of successful bicycle urbanism. There are over 75 miles of separate bike lanes and bike trips have increased 11 fold in recent years.
Bikes are provided through the academic year for all University students in Seville. Visitors who arrive at the main city bus station can use their bus ticket to borrow one of almost 200 rental bikes for the day free of charge.
Named the European Green Capital of 2016, Ljulbljana is quickly becoming a hot destination in Europe. A political initiative to increase cycling in Slovenia’s capital resulted in over 80 miles of bike lanes and 45 miles of cycle tracks in the city. It even made it onto the Copenhagenize Index for the first time last year.
Similar to Seville, visitors don’t have to worry about a tour guide as they can easily manage the bike paths on their own in Ljubljana. Bicikelj, the city’s bike-share system, is the easiest way to rent a bike and has plenty of convenient pick-up and drop-off locations throughout the city.
South America as a whole is pretty far behind in bicycle urbanism, but Buenos Aires is looking to change that. The Argentinean city now has nearly 90 miles of segregated bike paths, its own bike-share program and is working to improve public transportation as a means to decrease street traffic.
Visitors should utilize Ecobici, Buenos Aires’ bike share program that has 3,000 bikes and 200 automated stations.
Minneapolis is the first US city on the Copenhagenize Index for its “on-street” bikeways, improving infrastructure and bike share system. The Minnesota Capital has almost 120 miles of bike paths in the city and 90 more miles off-street. The city is doing very well at bicycle urbanism despite harsh winters that make it tough to maintain this infrastructure.
The state’s bike share program, Nice Ride Minnesota, has locations throughout Minneapolis. Visitors might consider a tour such as “Urban Wildlife” or the “Mmmmm, Beer Tour” as a way to explore the city.
Montreal has been a North American leader in urban biking since it introduced its protected bike lanes in the 1980s, and continues this dedication today through path maintenance, high ridership numbers and bike share system.
Montreal’s bike lanes and paths are easily accessible through the city’s bike share program, BIXI, which has an app to help with trip planning and a map of station locations.
Ashley Rossi, SmarterTravel.com | May 26, 2016
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