See the World on Two Wheels: The Best Bike-Friendly Cities4 min read
Exercise and physical activity are an essential part of leading a healthy and fit life. Regular physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight as well as lower your risk of serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more.
However, when you’re traveling, your exercise regimen can fall by the wayside – you’d rather make the most of your time in a destination visiting tourist attractions, experiencing the culture and dining on the local cuisine than trying to fit in a daily workout.
Luckily, there’s a way you can do both: bicycle tours.
Cycling is a great, low-impact exercise that anyone can participate in regardless of their age. The low-impact nature of cycling means that it causes less strain and injuries than other forms of exercise. Plus, it’s relatively easy – you just hop on the bike and start riding.
Just because it’s easy to ride a bike and it’s a low-impact form of physical activity doesn’t mean you won’t also get an excellent workout. As you pedal, you use all of your major muscle groups, especially if you turn up the resistance or pedal up a hill. Cycling also increases your stamina, overall strength and aerobic fitness level. Additionally, you can make your bike ride as intense as you want by increasing your resistance and/or speed.
When it comes to traveling, participating in a bicycle tour means that you’re killing two birds with one stone – you’re exercising and getting to see your destination from a different point of view. Plus, it’s fun! There’s a level of adventure and buzz from riding all around the city you’re visiting.
Here are the best cities to see by bike:
This city has been rated as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. More than half of Copenhagen’s residents cycle to school and work. In fact, the Danish capital has an estimated bicycle population of 650,000, which means there’s slightly more bicycles than people in this city. This city is covered in cycle paths and lanes, which are raised from the roads and known for their safety. There are plenty of bike rental shops throughout the city, but you can also borrow a city bike that is equipped with a tablet with built-in GPS. There are city bike stands all over the Copenhagen to borrow and give back the bikes.
Cycling is a way of life in this city in the Netherlands. The city’s network of bike paths, cycle routes and flat landscape fuels this culture. Pedaling is one of the best ways to explore the city’s streets, canals and attractions. There are guided cycle tours you can choose from, in which you can travel in small groups to weave in and out of some of Amsterdam’s most interesting sights with the guide telling you stories and facts about the city.
Cycling in Utrecht is quite similar to Amsterdam, except that this city boasts that bicycling is easier with fewer hordes of tourists. Every day, there are more than 100,000 cyclists making their way through the city to get to work, school and more. In an effort to make the city even more bicycle-friendly, bicycle tunnels and fly-overs have been constructed, the five busiest main cycling routes have been improved, and the largest bicycle parking in the world is under construction – it will hold an estimated 12,500 bicycles.
Over the past 10 years, this Spanish city has made efforts to make itself more friendly to cycling. In that time, the use of bikes in this city shot up from 1 percent to 7 percent. There are now up to 70,000 bikes used daily in Seville, which seems small compared to other European cities, but that figure was just 6,000 a few years ago. The city is ringed by green-painted cycle ways and offers Sevici, a bike rental plan, making the city easier to cycle around for both locals and tourists.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
This Canadian city boasts nearly 400 miles of bike paths. Rather than commuting to work and school, the bicycling culture here is more focused on leisurely cycling. Every May, Montreal hosts its Go Bike Montreal Festival, which is a week of bike-friendly events and cycling tours of the city. The rest of the year in Montreal is becoming more and more friendly to cyclists with its ever-expanding bike system.
What is your favorite city for cycling?
Photo from City Clock Magazine.