Bike Heaven: Top Bicycle Friendly Cities in the World
These days, biking has been reclaimed by city dwellers as not only a pastime, but a legitimate way to get around in a dense urban environment. Gone are the days where bikes were relegated to dusty dirt pathways. Now, city planners are competing to see who can build the best and most efficient bike lanes throughout their city.
A bike friendly city allows for easy passage of cyclists through the downtown core and the suburbs, and makes it easy to grab a rental and just start riding. If you’re interested in exploring the world on two wheels, check out some of these cities for your next vacation. All of them are scenic, and perfectly bike-able!
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Portland, Oregon, USA
Portland is one of the few cities in the United States making an effort to move away from relying heavily on motor vehicles by promoting a more bicycle friendly lifestyle. Portland has long been known as a hippie haven, and its bicycle program does not disappoint.
Their public bike rental system is one of the greenest in the world, and if you own your own bike, there are tons of specialized shops that can service it for you in no time flat. If you’re new to town, make sure to pick up a free biking guide and city map from the Bureau of Transportation.
Montreal is a gorgeous city with a very European feel located in the heart of French Canada. Like many European cities, it’s a great place to bike. There are tons of dedicated bike lanes which follow the main thoroughfares of the city, as well as bike storage, and a busy, thriving bike rental program called Bixi.
Just be careful when visiting in the winter, as multiple feet of snow make biking a bit difficult. If you’re there in the spring or summer, keep an eye out for fun bike festivals around town – there are always a few every year.
It seems incredible that a megacity like Tokyo could even come close to the top of a list ranking the most bike-friendly cities in the world, but this year, Tokyo cracked the top ten! In Tokyo, a whopping 20% of suburban commuters ride their bicycles into a rail station to hop on one of the most remarkable and advanced public transit systems in the world.
The municipal government, which has lagged behind for years by refusing to provide cycling-specific infrastructure, has recently begun talking about the benefits of cycling, especially regarding its place in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.