Around the world by bike - cycling in the cities

Cities everywhere are facing an increase in cycling culture - by citizens deciding to commute, tourists requesting bike sharing... And we think some of them deserve to be congratulated on how they deal with it!

Cycling is present all over the world. Small communities or large, recreational or for transportation – you’ll find it very hard to find a single urban area that doesn’t have at least a number of bikes zooming down the streets at any time.

Of course, the number of cyclists depends on many things. One of the most critical is the infrastructure: how welcome are cyclists?

We’ve mentioned several times that the CLARA team is always ready to jump on a bike. We use them to commute, to relax, to exercise, to have fun – for us, bikes are not just things, but a lifestyle.

There are still things we would change. Despite being based in the relatively small city of Lugano, we find that there are some difficulties dealing with traffic, as well as finding new and interesting paths to ride recreationally. We have our CLARA vests to keep us safer and more visible, but we really can’t do anything when it comes to changing the street plan.

According to the Bicycle Friendly Cities Index done bi-annually by copenhagenize.eu, most of the top spots are taken by cities in Europe. In fact, others have reached similar top results: Utrecht (Netherlands), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Amsterdam (Netherlands) are the top choices for cyclists. But this doesn’t mean they’re the only ones!

Here are a couple of our choices – not including the mentioned top 3.

urban cycling in cities around the world - CLARA blog

  1. Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is a beautiful, historic town that offers fresh views and interesting places to visit in almost every street. It’s been a bike-sharing hub for years – and despite other French cities working to catch up, it’s still leading the way with number of cyclists. Additionally, it’s planning a network of bicycle superhighways both in downtown and in the suburbs. We are excited to experience them one day, and it can’t come soon enough.

  1. Malmö, Sweden

A city that takes its cyclists VERY seriously – even going so far as to offer a Bike House and a Bike Hotel that cover all biking needs! Tourists are readily offered a spot in the bike-sharing adventure, and they are even planning a ferry to connect them with Copenhagen. Around the world by bike is starting to look very possible, right?

  1. Seville, Spain

Many people were under the impression that the Spanish were too “lazy” to take up commuter cycling. Despite that popular opinion, Seville has skyrocketed as a bike-friendly city in the past decade. Bonus points? The city is beautiful, and biking is a great way to quickly tour it without suffering through jams and missing key sites!

  1. Montreal, Canada

Over 600 km of bike paths are almost enough to make you completely forget about the average temperatures in this picturesque Canadian city. Almost. While cyclists are many, and bike sharing is common, the infrastructure still needs to adapt to make cycling a safe activity to be enjoyed by all.

  1. Portland, USA

10% of Portland citizens use their bikes as a secondary vehicle. There are plans to improve the biking infrastructure, reduce speed limits in several areas, increase bicycle parking – sounds like a dream come true. With so many races being held in Portland every year, the sky is the limit for this cycling city.

  1. Tokyo, Japan

A giant city – with over 14% of all trips being made by bike? It comes across as a fantasy world, but it isn’t. While most people don’t use bikes to commute, and bike paths are less common, the citizens of Tokyo prefer sensible biking to recreational. Classic frames, strong bikes, commons sense.

These are just a few of the cities that we know (first or second hand) to have a good relationship with their cyclists. Honorable mentions include Berlin, Paris, Ljubljana, Antwerp – and we look forward to any suggestions you have. What is your favorite city to cycle in?

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