One of the best ways to explore a city is by bike. Walking is good, but distances between sights can be prohibitive. Subways and buses are fine, but you don’t really get a feel for the lay of the land. Driving and parking around most city centers is costly, congested and inconvenient. Pedal power is not only eco-friendly transportation, it’s efficient, cheap, great exercise and good fun. The flip side is that urban cycling is a little intimidating, as sharing unfamiliar roads with impatient traffic can be dangerous. The truth is, some cities are safer and more suited for cycling than others. Leading the way with progressive bike lanes, bike-share programs and bike-safety laws, here are some of the best cities around the world for freewheeling exploration.
Amsterdam is a city of cyclists, often lauded as the most bike-friendly city in Europe. Just about everyone cycles for daily transportation here and the streets, parks and canals are lined with Dutch pushbikes. There is an extensive network of bicycle lanes all over the relatively compact, flat terrain, making it easy to whizz around the sights or soak in neighborhood charm. Traffic lights for cyclists help maintain order and safety. There are plenty of places to rent a bike for the day or more, so tourists can get in the flow along with the resident Amsterdammers.
In the progressive Danish capital there are 5.2 bicycles for every car, 350 km of raised cycle paths and a third of the population commute daily by bike. Add to these stats a non-profit bike-loan scheme that allows anyone to borrow a refurbished two-wheeler until 6pm for a pay-what-you-can donation. Plus there are countless bike rental services around town there’s no excuse not to make like a Dane and ride around the beautiful sights of Copenhagen. You’re free to take your bicycle onto the S-train as your route requires. Why no hire a mountain bike and explore the beaches, forests and parklands not far from the city?