12 Best Cycling Cities in the World


12 of the Most Bike Friendly Cities in the World

Riding a bicycle is not only a great way to get around, it also has huge benefits for your health, the environment, and even the local economy. But not all cities are created equal when it comes to bikeability. If you’re an avid cyclist looking for a place to live that seamlessly integrates bicycles into the transportation network, you’ll want to consider heading to one of these fantastically bike friendly cities around the globe.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark

The cycling capital of the world, Copenhagen sets the gold standard when it comes to bike infrastructure and bike culture. An astonishing 62% of Copenhagen residents commute to work or school by bike every day. That’s thanks in large part to the city’s investment in separated bike lanes and traffic-calmed streets that prioritize cyclists over cars.

Copenhagen has nearly 400 kilometers (250 miles) of protected bike lanes, allowing people of all ages to feel safe riding across the city. Extensive bike parking accommodates the high number of cyclists, and bikes even have their own traffic signals at busy intersections. Various “green wave” routes are timed for cyclists going 20 km/hr (12 mph), so you can ride for several kilometers without hitting a red light if you maintain that speed.

The positive bike culture and infrastructure have made cycling an integral part of everyday life in Copenhagen. Locals ride casually wearing regular clothes, from businessmen in suits to women cycling in dresses and high heels. With so many cyclists on the roads, drivers are accustomed to sharing the road responsibly.

If you want to experience the best of Copenhagen by bike, cruise along the striking Harbour Circle route past canals and trendy neighborhoods before stopping for some new Nordic cuisine. Don’t miss Cykelslangen, or the “bike snake” – a raised orange bike path winding its way overhead through the city’s harbor.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

With more bikes than people, the Dutch capital of Amsterdam is another shining example of a city designed for cyclists. Around 68% of Amsterdam’s residents take a bike to get around town.

Amsterdam’s flat landscape and compact city center make it very easy to get around by bike. An extensive network of wide bike paths, bike routes on side streets, and bike lanes alongside major roads allows cyclists to travel safely separated from car traffic. Bike traffic lights, specially designed intersections, and ample bike parking facilities (including guarded “bike garages” at transit hubs) further encourage cycling.

The Dutch are famous for their casual bike culture, with children biking to school, businessmen commuting by bike in full suits, and elderly locals cruising around on wheelchairs bikes. Amsterdam also has an amazing range of bikes to accommodate different riders, including family cargo bikes fitting multiple kids, tandem bikes for couples, and tricycle ice cream bikes for vendors.

Amsterdam’s scenic canals and historic buildings make exploring by bike a delight. Must-do rides include touring the iconic canal loop, biking along the Amstel river, or riding out to enjoy local Dutch villages. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy a stroll through Vondelpark or a relaxing drink waterside after a long day on the bike.

3. Strasbourg, France

The picturesque city of Strasbourg in France holds the title for having the oldest bike sharing system in the world. Its first bike share program dates all the way back to 1968! Today, cycling is still deeply ingrained in Strasbourg’s culture.

Nearly 10% of trips within Strasbourg are done by bike, thanks to the city’s over 400 miles of bike paths separated from car traffic. As a university town, Strasbourg draws many young people who bike around the city. Senior citizens also ride bikes frequently to get their exercise and run errands.

Strasbourg’s UNESCO-listed old town is made for strolling, with pedestrianized plazas, terraced restaurants, and medieval half-timbered buildings. But hopping on a bike makes it easy to explore farther out to the European Quarter and modern districts. A bike ride along the River Ill is a great way to enjoy views of the stunning Strasbourg Cathedral towering over the water.

Don’t miss biking through the lush natural beauty of Parc de l’Orangerie or Parc de Contades. Strasbourg’s location in the Alsace wine region also makes it perfect for a cycling day trip out to vineyards and villages in the surrounding countryside.

4. Montreal, Canada

Montreal is consistently ranked as the top bike friendly city in North America, with its thriving bike culture and innovative cycling infrastructure.

Over the past decade, Montreal has rapidly expanded its urban bike network to span over 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) of bike paths and protected lanes. Montreal’s Bixi bike share program, launched in 2009, was the first of its kind in North America.

The extensive cycling network connects downtown with neighborhoods across the city and makes biking a convenient and fun way to experience Montreal. Well-marked painted bike lanes allow cyclists to safely share major roads with traffic. Off-road bike paths separated from cars, like the peaceful Lachine Canal route, are ideal for more leisurely urban rides.

Montreal’s summer festivals, markets, cafes, and art galleries are best enjoyed by bike. Pedal over to Parc La Fontaine on Sundays when the roads are closed to cars so cyclists and pedestrians can freely enjoy the green space. Or bike along the St. Lawrence River for refreshing views. Don’t forget to fuel up on coffee and crepes at a local cafe in between adventures!

5. Berlin, Germany

Germany’s hip capital, Berlin, has worked hard in recent years to make city cycling more accessible. Expanding bike lanes now allow you to pedal all over Berlin.

Approximately 15% of Berlin residents’ trips are done by bicycle today thanks to the improved infrastructure. Bike paths running parallel to sidewalks or wider mixed use paths shared by bikes and pedestrians make cycling feel safer and more appealing in the city.

Convenient city bikes available through Germany’s national Deutsche Bahn bike share system also make getting around Berlin by bike easy for locals and visitors alike. Cycling is a perfect transportation mode for Berlin thanks to the city’s flat terrain.

Urban highlights of Berlin like the Brandenburg Gate, funky cafes in Kreuzberg, and fascinating historical sites are all easy to reach by bike. Expand your itinerary by biking out to the sprawling Tiergarten park or perusing galleries in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. Riding through Berlin’s diverse districts gives you great insight into the city’s culture.

6. Portland, Oregon, USA

On the West Coast of the United States, Portland is officially nicknamed “Biketown USA” for its incredible bikeability. Biking is a true way of life in Portland. Residents bike year-round thanks to the mild climate – cyclists even have their own sections on the Hawthorne Bridge when it snows!

With over 300 miles of bike routes, lanes, and trails, Portland has the most developed bike network of any major U.S. city. Secure bike parking, bike traffic signals, and bike maintenance stations across Portland make cycling here incredibly convenient. Almost 7% of Portland commuters ride their bike to work.

From the waterfront parks to the Forest Park trails to the cafes in the Alberta Arts District, Portland is great fun to explore by bike. Many events and festivals in Portland actively embrace bike culture as well. Don’t miss Bridge Pedal, a huge community ride crossing Portland’s major bridges car-free.

7. Malmö, Sweden

As Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö is an emerging leader in sustainable urban planning in Europe. Respect and accommodation for cyclists are major components of Malmö’s progressive approach.

Nearly half of Malmö’s residents bike to work or school each day. Wide bike lanes on main roads plus smaller bike paths crisscrossing the city allow safe cycling throughout Malmö. Thoughtful urban design elements like curved bike paths guiding cyclists smoothly through intersections make navigating Malmö on bike feel very natural.

Architectural highlights in Malmö like the twisting Turning Torso tower and Swedbank’s new sustainable headquarters are fascinating to pedal past. Make sure to ride over the striking Öresund Bridge connecting Sweden to Denmark for unbeatable views of the sea and skyline. Exploring Malmö by bike lets you experience both its cosmopolitan side and its beautiful seaside location.

8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The truly legendary beach destination of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil unveiled an important new bike infrastructure project just before hosting the 2016 Olympics. Rio’s major Barra da Tijuca neighborhood now has an impressive network of bike paths connecting to the rest of the city.

Riding along Barra’s sweeping bike lanes with views of mountains and sea make you feel like you’re cycling right on top of the world. Previously non-existent bike infrastructure in the area encourages both locals and visitors to bike rather than drive or take taxis/buses, greatly reducing traffic congestion.

The bike paths also connect Barra to child-friendly parks and bike rental stands along the beach, where you can take a relaxing ride by the waterfront. Exploring lively neighborhoods like Ipanema and Copacabana by bike gives you a fun insider’s perspective. And pedaling up to Christ the Redeemer for panoramic city vistas is an unforgettable Rio bike experience!

9. Nagoya, Japan

Japan is filled with fascinating cities that are continuously improving their bike infrastructure, but Nagoya stands out for making impressive progress. Over 200 kilometers (124 miles) of on and off-road bike paths now criss-cross Nagoya, with plans by the city to keep expanding.

Creative solutions like elevated bike lanes built overhead and brightly painted bikes lanes have made cycling in Nagoya feel safer and more appealing. Nagoya’s large student population has spearheaded growth in bike culture, as younger generations choose bikes over cars for transportation.

Cruising around Nagoya by bike lets you see pretty parks and temples, shop bustling markets, and savor delicious Japanese street food. Don’t miss biking around Hisaya Ōdori Park downtown or exploring cycling trails winding through green areas just outside the city. Nagoya’s comprehensive bike routes make getting anywhere in the city rewarding.

10. Guadalajara, Mexico

The Mexican city of Guadalajara made big moves to be more bike friendly by opening a large network of shared public bikes called Mi Bici. With over 1,000 bikes available at 100 stations across Guadalajara, the Mi Bici system is transforming how locals get around.

Used by students, professionals, and elderly residents alike, the affordable bikes provide a sustainable transportation alternative to cars and buses. Cycle lanes connecting Mi Bici stations to major attractions also make Guadalajara surprisingly bikeable for visitors.

Guadalajara’s historic architecture and vibrant culture are wonderful to discover by bike. Ride past impressive murals and hop off to browse bustling markets around Avenida Chapultepec. The city’s mild high-altitude climate means it’s comfortable to explore Guadalajara by bike year-round.

11. Basel, Switzerland

With its charming medieval old town and Rhine River frontage, Basel is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful cities. Fortunately for cyclists, Basel is also one of Switzerland’s flattest and most bike friendly cities!

Peaceful cycling routes follow the Rhine in Basel, allowing pedaling with lovely waterfront views. Bike lanes running alongside tram tracks through the heart of the city center make it easy for bikes and public transit to co-exist. State-of-the-art, solar-powered bike rental systems further improve Basel’s accessibility by bike.

Basel has the highest percentage of cyclists in Switzerland, with 14% of trips made by bicycle. The city also has an extensive river ferry system that easily transports cyclists between districts with bikes onboard.

Must-see cycling destinations include the striking contemporary architecture of the Fondation Beyeler museum and a ride across the iconic Middle Bridge into Kleinbasel. Basel’s compact Old Town is a joy to wander by bike before stopping at a cafe along the Rhine for Swiss pastries.

12. Bogota, Colombia

The vibrant Colombian capital of Bogota is making up for lost time after decades of civil conflict to embrace bikes as a symbol of progress. Bogota has implemented both recreation-oriented cycle routes and bike highways for commuting across the sprawling city.

Every Sunday for decades, Bogota has closed 120 km (75 miles) of city roads for Ciclovia. On these car-free Sundays, over a million residents bike, walk, skate and run together in the streets. This lovely tradition highlights the positive community impact of bicycling.

Bogota’s dedicated Ciclorutas bike lanes through traffic provide safe passage over the city’s many hills and across the Candelaria district downtown. Continual expansion of routes and bike-friendly regulations make cycling in Bogota more accessible daily.

Pedaling around Bogota offers rich rewards with views of street art murals, the beautiful hilltop Monserrate church, and abundant green parks perfect for a picnic. Riding a bike lets you immerse yourself in Bogota’s culture and see the city from a local’s perspective.


Biking is an empowering form of mobility that positively impacts individuals, communities, and the environment. These 12 very bike friendly cities from around the world inspire with their strong cycling infrastructure, inclusive bike culture, and integration of bicycles into daily life. Riding a bike makes exploring any city more fun, affordable, and sustainable.

Looking at these urban cycling success stories, the tremendous benefits of investing in active transportation are clear. Dedicated bike lanes, traffic-calmed streets, ample bike parking, bike shares, bike events, and progressive bike policies all help cities reach higher rates of cycling. Whether you’re a city official or an everyday citizen, you can be part of the global movement toward making towns more bike friendly!

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