What could be better than riding a bicycle through the city on a pleasant summer day? Only cycling through an unfamiliar city, exploring its attractions. We have prepared for you a selection of the 20 best bike-friendly (tracks, traffic lights, parking, rental stations, etc.) cities in the world.
The bicycle is a convenient, eco-friendly, and health-beneficial mode of transport. Many countries recognize this: in Denmark, Japan, the USA, and other nations, cyclists "breathe freely" and are respected on the road.
Population: ≈1.2 million people.
Prices: monthly rent - $13.
About 35% of Copenhagen residents cycle. The authorities have ambitious plans - by 2015, they aim to get 50% of the working population on bikes. Almost every local resident has their own bicycle, and for tourists and "horseless" townspeople, about 2,000 bike rental centers are available. The city boasts 400 km of bike tracks.
Population: ≈13 million people.
Prices: monthly rent - $5.3; annual rent - $54.
Tokyo is a vast metropolis with a developed transport network, including cycling. It's much faster - no traffic jams, and healthier - the Japanese care about their health. Don't be surprised if you see a clerk in an expensive suit with a briefcase on a bicycle. There are specialized bike parking areas and rental points everywhere. All private bicycles are registered with the police, assigned a unique number, and have a plate with the owner's name attached to the frame.
Population: ≈1.6 million people.
Prices : first 30 minutes rent - free; every subsequent 2 hours - €0.74; annual rent - €47.16.
The cycling movement started in Barcelona in 2007 and has been gaining momentum. Today, over 30,000 Barcelonians are cyclists. There are approximately 100 rental stations in the city: any resident or tourist can take a bike by leaving a deposit and then return it to the same or another location. The number of parking spots keeps increasing.
Population: ~576,000 people.
Prices: 2 hours rent - 19$
Portland, located in the state of Oregon, is one of the greenest and most bike-friendly cities in the United States. About 9% of the local population uses bicycles in their daily lives. The city boasts a vast number of bike trails (more than 400 km), including those for mountain biking. In 2015, Portland will launch a bike-sharing program. Moreover, anyone interested can take bike riding courses.
Population: ~2.2 million people.
Prices: daily rental — €1.7; weekly subscription — €8; annual subscription — €29.
Paris is one of the capitals where air pollution from car exhaust is a pressing issue. Therefore, more and more locals and visitors of the French capital are switching to bicycles. Currently, Paris has about 1,500 free bike parking spots and over 100 rental points (conveniently located near metro stations and bus stops).
Population: ~506,000 people.
Prices: first hour — free; over 1 hour — €0.5; over 4 hours — €6.5; 3-day rental — €5; annual subscription — €20.
4% of cyclists (6-7% in central areas) of Dublin's total population might seem modest compared to major bike cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. However, experts predict that the Irish capital will soon become a true bicycle haven. Since 2006, the number of bikes in the city has doubled, and by 2021, the city authorities plan to quintuple the network of bicycle paths.
Population: ~1.6 million people.
Prices: first 30 minutes — free; daily rental — $5 (for club members); monthly subscription — $31.25 (for club members); annual subscription — $82.5 (for club members).
This is the most bike-friendly city in Canada. The bike modernization began in the 1980s. Over the years, authorities have invested around $134 million in the city's infrastructure to make it convenient for cyclists. Now Montreal has about 600 km of bike paths, hundreds of parking spots, and rental stations. Montreal residents use the bike rental system for commuting and other purposes.
Population: ~3.4 million people.
Prices: first 30 minutes — free; every minute (starting from the 31st) — €0.08; daily rental — €15.
The rise of the cycling movement in Berlin began in the early 2000s. A national program was adopted, which included building infrastructure (paths, parking spots, rental and repair points, etc.) and various incentives for people cycling. For instance, Berlin recently introduced the "green wave": now cyclists don't have to stop at a red light. These measures are proving successful. About 13% of Berliners (in some parts of the city, even 20-25%) are avid cyclists.
Population: ≈7.4 million people.
Price: rent per 1 hour = 5-7$
Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and perhaps the most bike-friendly city in Latin America. The city boasts an extensive network of bike lanes, totaling around 300 km. The bike movement's momentum was set by Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, who, to improve the city's ecological environment, began promoting cycling and beautifying the city with greenery. Every year, Bogotá holds a car-free day - Ciclovia, during which traffic is halted for cars, and everyone switches to bikes. Moreover, the same happens every Sunday on the city's main streets.
Population: ≈1.7 million people.
Prices: the first 30 minutes - free; daily rental - $2.3; 3-day rental - $4.5; annual subscription - $85.
The Hungarian capital is experiencing a real cycling boom. Two decades ago, a bicycle was not seen as a mode of transport but more as a recreational tool (to ride somewhere out of town on a weekend). Now, Budapest is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe. By 2011, Budapest had laid 144 km of bike lanes, and in 2013, a city bike rental system was introduced.
Population: ≈21 million people.
Prices: the first hour - free; every subsequent hour - $0.2.
Beijing is not only the economic and cultural capital of China but also the bicycle capital. Officially, the city has over 11 million bikes (by law, bicycles, like cars, need to be registered). However, the ecological situation in Beijing is still far from ideal, so the authorities are actively promoting urban cycling. New tracks and parking lots are being built, and rental points are being opened.
And so, the first 10 cities in our selection have come to an end. It's heartening to see how bicycles have thrived worldwide. But most importantly, Montreal made this list as the most bicycle-friendly city in Canada. So if you're as passionate about bikes as we are, it's time to plan a weekend trip. In the next part, you'll be introduced to the final 10 cities with the best infrastructure for bikes. But if you've had enough already, come visit us at 654 College street, and we'll show you which e-bike will make you feel comfortable in any city.