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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

10 best biking cities in Europe

While biking is becoming more popular in U.S. cities — L.A. is adding 1,600 bike lanes, Chicago has a new bike plan, and Portland has 17,000 daily commuters — Europe has some amazing biking cities of their own.
The Ecologist has come up with the 10 best biking cities in Europe (in no particular order):

-Lyon, France
  • “With its charming twisty lanes and dedicated bike routes, Lyon is a cyclists’ paradise.”
  • The city’s bike sharing program, Velo’v has over 300 stations throughout the city.
-Rome, Italy
  • “Cycling is by far the best bet for seeing the sights close to the Tiber, where a picturesque route runs from the Ponte Sublicio to the Ponte della Magliana.”
-Basel, Switzerland
  • “Featuring street lanes geared to cyclists and dedicated left hand turns to make crossing the road safer, Basel tops the list of cities to cycle in Switzerland.”
-Berlin, Germany
  • Thanks to the combined efforts of Allied air raids and the Communist predilection for destroying picturesque old buildings and replacing them with big, brash new ones, Berlin’s streets are wonderfully wide, which makes it easy to get around by bike.”
-Trondheim, Norway
  • “With its picturesque setting on the shores of the cerulean Trondheimsfjord, Norway’s fourth largest city has built a reputation for bicycling brilliance thanks to innovations such as the Trampe bicycle lift which takes the effort out of pedaling uphill.”
-Paris, France
  • While the many hazards of the Place de la Concorde aren’t the greatest advertisement for cycling in Paris, once you’re a safe distance from the city’s infamously crazy drivers – on the pavement in other words – then cycling in Paris can be a real pleasure.”
-Barcelona, Spain
  • “Surprisingly, given Spain’s reputation for endangering the lives and limbs of cyclists thanks to its motorists’ penchant for going everywhere at top speed, Barcelona has 50,000 regular cyclists and that figure is increasing daily.”
-Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 37 percent of all Copenhageners bike a total of 1.2 million kilometers each day.
  • “The Danish capital has been quietly turning itself into one of the best biking cities in the world; a fact revealed when the International Cycling Union gave it the first ‘Bike City’ award last year.”
-London, England
  • The city is working to build 12 biking “superhighways” — there are already two — and increase biking by 400 percent from 2000.
  • “Cycling in London used to be pretty dreadful thanks to an unfortunate combination of rain and aggressive drivers but since the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighways launched last summer, things have become a little easier.”
-Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • There are 600,000 bikes in a city of 750,000.
  • Thanks in part to the narrow streets in the medieval city center, cycling is by far the most efficient way to get around.”
Watch this inspiring video of Amsterdam’s biking community: