7 Bike-Friendly Cities Around the Globe

Bikes in Amsterdam rest on a bridge over a canal

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 Although many cities around the world are best explored by bicycle, pot-holed roads and congested car traffic can make it hazardous to undertake a pedal-powered sightseeing tour or commute. Cycling in cities with the proper biking infrastructure, however, can give folks an up-close experience of a place that cars and buses simply can’t.

From the cycle superhighways of Copenhagen, Denmark to the solar-powered bike kiosks in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, here are seven cycle-friendly cities around the world worth exploring on a bike.

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Portland, Oregon

The sunlight casts upon a biker in downtown Portland

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With proper rain gear, it’s possible to bike year-round in Portland. The city's bike friendliness is largely due to a cutting-edge infrastructure that includes bike lanes and “bicycle boulevards” (side streets with low speed limits that have been optimized for bicycle traffic). Dedicated bike paths like the Springwater Corridor have made it so that visiting cyclers can ride for miles without ever seeing a car. Portland is also home to the World Naked Bike Ride, so if you aren’t afraid of baring it all while pedaling with thousands of other bicyclists, then this is the city for you.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

Colorful buildings on a cobbled road lined with bicycles

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With well over 50 percent of its population commuting by bike, Copenhagen is one of the most cycle-friendly metropolises in the world. The government is taking steps to increase that impressive statistic even further by building a series of “cycle superhighways” to connect the city with outlying suburban areas. Such bike-only superhighways would be outfitted with bike pumps, foot rests, and even traffic lights.

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Kyoto, Japan

Cherry blossoms in full bloom as a man rides his bike

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Kyoto, located in Japan’s Kansai region, offers fantastic bike-friendly paths and amenities for cyclists. A variety of bike tours exist within the city that offer bike rentals, and then take visitors to major points of interest, like the Nishi Honganji Temple, the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, and the Imperial Palace. Where bicycle-specific pathways don’t exist, folks may legally ride on sidewalks. A number of large bike parking lots can also be found throughout the city.

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

Three bicyclists ride past a waterfront in Minneapolis

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Although cold, snowy winters are less than ideal for cycling, Minneapolis has the biking infrastructure to make such an experience not only possible, but enjoyable. The city of lakes boasts bike lanes throughout and has established a city-wide network of paths and trails that allows for travel without having to ride on the street. After snowstorms, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board plows main bike paths to maintain their ride-worthiness.

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Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A bridge over the canal in Amsterdam is lined with bikes

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With more than 450 miles of urban bicycle paths in Amsterdam, many tourists to the Dutch city are tempted to join the locals and see the sights from a bike saddle. Although the city is already considered to be among the best in the world for cyclists, the Amsterdam government is investing in a number of initiatives aimed at improving its bicycle infrastructure. Policy makers plan to build a “Green Network” of new bicycle routes throughout the city, while widening existing paths, and create additional parking spaces for bicycles only.

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Kaohsiung, Taiwan

A row of bikes at a kiosk in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Chi-Hung Lin / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s third most-populated city, has a blossoming bicycle scene. The city government has made a concerted effort to promote cycling by creating bike paths and offering rentals near transit stations as part of the YouBike program. With a membership card, people can rent a bike from an automated, solar-powered YouBike kiosk, ride it, and then return it to any other kiosk in the city. Many of Kaohsiung's paths are for bicycles only, so riders don’t have to contend with dangerous car traffic.

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Berlin, Germany

A biker rides past a body of water in Berlin

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The popularity of cycling in Berlin is so great that the city government invested over 30 million euros into bicycle infrastructure in 2020 alone. A major part of this program to strengthen Berlin’s already impressive cycling accommodations include adding over 60 miles of cycle superhighways to connect the city core to the suburbs. Berlin also plans to add thousands of additional bicycle stands to the 15,000 already built. For the safety of cyclists, the government of Berlin has committed to adding more green-paved bike paths throughout the city, many of which will have barriers to protect users against the threat of car traffic.