Other than being eco-friendly, navigating big cities by bike is a great way to save on gas, parking, and time when traveling. Check out this top of the world’s top bike-friendly cities for travelers publishing on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on April 27th, 2016.
Bikes are a traveler’s best friend. When most travelers only get to see the sights that the tour busses and cars drive past, bikes offer a deeper, more intricate alternative. Going by bike offers traveling riders the chance to explore nooks and crannies otherwise not seen, stop and go on their own volition, and get in the exercise that a bus tour doesn’t offer. These are the best cities to explore on two wheels.
Biking is a major form of transportation Amsterdam. Logistically, the city streets are all very narrow, and traffic can back up to critical delays, making two wheels far easier than four in many cases. The streets lined with beautiful architecture to one side, and scenic canals and boats to the other. It is important to note though that driving under the influence in Amsterdam, even on bicycle, is still a crime. That said, the city’s loose marijuana laws make it easy to believe that every year Amsterdam city officials wind up drudging thousands of rusted bikes from the bottom of the city’s canals. A bike lock on a fence is still the recommended storage unit when you’re not riding.
Oxford is a beautiful town and home to the extremely prestigious university of the same name. It should come as no surprise that in every period movie or drama set in the countryside, the first scene is always someone riding a rickety bicycle up to an ivy coated house. Cycling through the city proper also works on two main routes: the first follows major traffic points for notable parts of the city, and the second follows back roads to see some of the lesser known streets. Just make sure to lock your bike up along George Street and get a bite to eat in the city’s breakout restaurant scene.
Portland offers a wide array of cycling experiences, from the city’s riverfront path to the Badger Creek Woods.The Nike Headquarters is based just outside of Portland as well, where the trails are full of noted Olympic athletes training for their next big race. Conversely, biking has become a very sensible form of transportation just to get from A to B, as many people move about the city on fixed-gear bikes riding to nearby coffee shops and local sights. A quick drive outside the city limits though also features bike trails in beautiful forest parks full of waterfalls and the sweet aroma of Evergreen trees.
4. New York, NY
New York is always bustling no matter what time it is. The fast-paced, overcrowded nature of the city is what may make it seem like an unusual selection for this list. But New York can be one of the greatest cities for scenic routes, as it is also one of the few big US cities that has a public (via CitiBike) program. Scattered throughout the city are stations to rent a public bicycle, ride to your destination, and drop it off at another CitiBike location. This makes scenic rides through New York all the more fun because you’re no longer restricted to that neighborhood and can ride to a specific location and disembark. New York also has several paths mapped out just for such purposes, particularly through both Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. They also feature events like this biking donut tour.
The beauty and romance of Paris is entirely based on the work and effort you put into it. Often times, that work and effort is put into churning those pedals around to keep moving forward. The city is scattered with bicycle rentals, and many streets have separate paths off the car lanes that are perfect for bicycles. If you’re looking to leave your bike lock on that bridge in the city, you may want to check out these localesinstead since Paris has blocked them.
The capitol sees all kinds of cyclists: from tourists leisurely rolling past the White House to congressmen trying to be seen supporting Go Green initiatives. Biking in the city can also be an inexpensive way to see as many landmarks as possible at any pace while getting the exercise to keep you from needing to hit the hotel gym that night. Car or bus tours can often come at a hefty price and do not always include every site that may be specific to tourists’ interests. Bikes also fit on the DC subway system comfortably and are easily portable.