The World's Best Bicycle Cities

4 June 2012

There's something about bicycles. More than just a way for getting from A to B, the humble bike has a certain romance about it. It promises adventure, amazing sites and intimate experiences, not to mention health, environmental and financial benefits. But I'm not the only one with a crush on the two wheel contraption. All around the world, bikes are a lauded form of transport, from the hipster fixies in Portland to the basket toting bikes in Amsterdam.

Here are some of the best cities to see by bike.

 Bike Riding in Paris

Paris, France
Though Paris isn't inherently bicycle friendly, it sure makes for a picture perfect journey. The city's subway system may be top notch, but riding a bike through the charming laneways of the 'city of love' just seems too good to pass up. In true Parisian style, cycling in the city is practiced at a leisurely pace in every day clothes – no bulky helmets or unsightly bike pants required. In addition to looking très chic, the mode of transport is free for the first 30 minutes thanks to Vélib, the city's public bike hire scheme.

Copenhagen, Denmark
With 350km of cycle paths littered throughout the city, Copenhagen has long been touted as a cycle-friendly capital city. The mode of transport is so popular in fact, that locals in Copenhagen are estimated to collectively ride over 1 million kilometres each day.  Similar to Paris, Copenhagen has a public bike hire system where, for a refundable deposit, riders can use bikes for an unlimited amount of time, within a specified area.

Amsterdam, Netherlands
A visit to Amsterdam wouldn't be complete without a bike ride along the canals. This is after all, the unofficial cycling capital of the world. Literally everyone rides a bike in Amsterdam with an amazing 40% of all commutes in the city taking place by bicycle. Amsterdam is also said to have more bikes than people, with bike hire stations located all throughout the city. If you're not quite confident navigating through the city by bike, Amsterdam has a number of cycling tours that are worthwhile.

Portland, Oregon
Often touted as the greenest city in America, Portland's love for bikes comes naturally to its hip and eco-friendly inhabitants. The city's fondness for all things organic, knitting and nightlife has even inspired a satire TV show called Portlandia, where trendy fixed gear bikes, known as fixies, are referenced regularly. Cool factor aside, bike riding in Portland is also incredibly convenient thanks to the city adopting a bike plan early on in 1973. Today Amsterdam's cycling infrastructure has grown to span over 400km of paths, many of which completely bypass auto-commuting traffic all together.

To find out more or book a holiday to one of these bicycle-friendly cities, talk to your Travel Consultant on 133 133 today.

Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.