Cities and bicycles can be immensely cosy bedfellows if you know the tricks and avoid the pitfalls!
No traffic queues, no parking nightmares or traffic wardens to worry about. And of course you can often get a lot nearer to where you want to be on two wheels instead of four.
With bike rentals cropping up in cities and towns across the UK, and over a quarter of a million commuters cycling to work on a regular basis, we are more and more drawn to the modest bicycle.
Considering taking a biking holiday further afield – we enjoyed a two wheeled sojourn to York earlier in the year that went down a treat – my eye was caught by this great infographic by leading travel search site, Momondo, that has just about every bike related eventuality covered for European city pedaling. So what are Top 5 European Cycling Cities and how to do we get the best from them using pedal power?
Flat as a pancake, Amsterdam is king of the cycling cities. The Dutch capital has 240 bike hire hot spots. The cycling is relaxed and as much part of the scenery as the canals and the red lights! And there’s even the 1.5m wide Beerbike that allows you to ride around the city inebriated!
The sophisticated fashion capital is a particular joy to behold by bicycle. Every Sunday and bank holiday, the Paris Respire scheme closes roads around prime visitor areas including River Seine, the Marais and Montmartre for walkers and cyclists. Paris own public bike hire scheme, Vélib Bike Hire, offers debit card access to 18,000 bikes at 1,200 docking stations.
Enjoying a cultural renaissance of its own, Berlin is the city to be seen in for all young creatives. The German Call-A-Bike scheme has over 100 rental locations, and tickets are available for taking your two wheeled vehicle on the tubes and trains. A great tip is to cycle behind buses 100 or 200 for some amazing city views.
For some bike riding in the Provencal sunshine, Nice’s Vélo Bleu scheme has 175 docking stations with rental just 1 Euro an hour. Experience a jaunt by the seafront down the Promenade des Anglais that runs from the old town’s Chateau Hill all the way to Nice Airport. Back to the great idea of do it yourself bike tours, Momondo recommend bus route 14 which takes you to the top of Mount Boron for the best view of the city.
Waving the flag for city biking in the UK, London’s famous Boris Bikes sprayed in bright blue are quickly becoming an icon of our capital city. There are a massive 8,000 bikes and 570 docking stations that are incredibly never more than 400 metres apart so you should never have far to walk after relinquishing your trusty steed. The crop of local bike repair cafes in the city bears testament to the growing popularity of the bicycle in London – head for Look mum, no hands, Foffa bikes and Lock7 for some bike friendly service.