Chances are you’ve been cooped up in the house, dreaming of the day you can board a flight, hop on a bike, and explore new roads.
It’s a big world out there, and more and more cities are becoming bike-friendly with each passing year. Yet with so much to see and experience—from the coast of Normandy to the streets of Hanoi—it can be difficult to decide where you should go first. And for those who aren’t keen on biking all day, there are amazing electric bikes to help you navigate the larger cities.
We teamed up with our friends at Rad Power Bikes to come up with a list of some of the top global cycling destinations that you should check out once we’ve flattened the curve.
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is a city that’s highly committed to cycling—and one that is continuously investing in improving conditions for riders. Coupled with its lack of hills and strong bike culture, this makes Amsterdam a top location for any urban cycling enthusiast. In recent years, Amsterdam has been working on a plan to improve parking and biking infrastructure by widening cycle tracks, adding protective spaces, and redesigning intersections to be more bike-friendly. Thanks to this ongoing effort, the city will undoubtedly maintain its reputation as a biking town for years to come.
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is another urban cyclist’s dream, with its flat terrain, mild climate, well-paved surfaces, and safe, bike-friendly infrastructure. Copenhagen is also connected to Denmark’s cycle “superhighways,” a network of 28 municipalities that prioritize cyclers’ needs for safety and convenience.
Bikes are everywhere in Copenhagen, and it’s one of the first things that you’ll notice upon entering the city. In fact, roughly 62 percent of Copenhageners choose to bike to work. Impressive!
One piece of advice: Don’t jaywalk in Copenhagen. It’s frowned on by Danes, and you might end up getting hit by a passing bicycle. Cyclists tend to go very fast here, and often appear to come out of nowhere at high speeds.
3. Hamburg, Germany
After leaving Denmark, consider heading south to Germany. While Berlin often receives the lion’s share of attention for cycling in Germany, there are many other smaller cities to explore—like Hamburg.
Much like Copenhagen, cycling plays an important role in Hamburg for both commuting and leisure. This city is also very flat and contains developed cycling infrastructure, as well as many group tours and rental options.
Hamburg, it should be noted, is only about 77 miles to the city of Bremen, which is another top biking destination in Germany with a dedicated bike district, scores of bike-friendly paths, and easy parking options.
4. Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg has emerged as one of France’s top cycling cities in recent years. In large part, this is due to ongoing cycling modernization efforts.
France now has a vast network of cycling superhighways, called vélostras, which Strasbourg is a part of. Strasburg also has an international airport and is conveniently located on the eastern German border—almost equidistant from Zurich, Switzerland and the bike-friendly city of Stuttgart, Germany.
5. Montreal, Canada
Across the pond, Montreal has gained notoriety as an increasingly bike-friendly city. In fact, the city has been consistently ranked in the Copenhagen Index for the world’s top 20 bike cities since 2011.
Over the last few years, the city has been working on a bicycle modernization project called the Réseau Express Vélo (REVe)—a network of protected, unidirectional tracks spanning hundreds of miles. The city also has a strong bike share system through Bixi, and a dedicated population of cycling enthusiasts who are working to promote the sport’s growth and development. .
6. Boulder, Colorado, USA
The top destination for cycling in the U.S. is Boulder, which PeopleForBikes named the best city in the U.S. for bikes in 2019.
Boulder has been developing its bicycle infrastructure for more than five decades, and it shows today with a well-built network of on- and off-road paths designed to make commuting and leisure riding completely seamless.
Boulder is also located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, perfect for those who may want to ditch the city for a true mountain biking experience.
7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When you think of Rio, you probably think of beautiful beaches and samba music. But Rio is widely considered the most bike-friendly city in South America thanks to its tropical coastal views and unique on- and off-road bike routes.
Speaking of samba, the city also offers the SAMBA system, which is a public bicycle system of 60 solar-powered stations and over 600 bicycles spread across Urca, Flamengo, Copacabana, and other major spots.
8. Taipei, Taiwan
If you’re looking to head to Asia on your bike, Taipei should be at the top of your list. The city has a vibrant night scene, is tourist-friendly, and is home to a deep bicycle culture.
In fact, the city that was once known as the “Bicycle Kingdom” has, in recent years, been taking active measures to increase cycling. Sidewalk riding has been legalized for added safety and there is a citywide bike share system in place, too.
Taipei is known for its beautiful coastal views. Plus, the small island is home to some great mountains—providing easy access to a range of scenery. Some of the best biking trails in Taipei include Djia Riverside Park, the Guan du Bikeway, and the Tamishu River Coast bikeway.
9. Kyoto, Japan
Japan tends to produce mixed reactions from cycling enthusiasts, with its heavy traffic and tight laws. For example, riding with a passenger can result in a fine of $180.
However, there are some spots that are great for riding in Japan. For example, Kyoto has a reputation for being one of the world’s best bicycle cities with plenty of interesting routes and rental shops. Locals and tourists alike often use bicycles for fast and easy transportation here—and as an alternative to the crowded public transportation system.
Kyoto is mostly flat, which allows for easy pedaling. The city is also home to many historic temples, palaces, and gardens, giving you great scenery to check out on your ride.
10. Cape Town, South Africa
Lastly, there is Cape Town—arguably the crown jewel of Africa’s cycling circuit for its combination of scenic mountains and seaside paths, as well as its nature preserves.
Cape Town is also actively improving its biking conditions. Many new cycling lanes and locking stations have been added in recent years. One nice aspect of Cape Town, too, is that cyclists can bring their bikes on city buses for added convenience.
Which roads will you explore?
Of course, these are just a few of the top bicycle-friendly cities in the world. We could go on and on about cities that deserve an honorable mention, like Barcelona, Beijing, Athens, Paris, and Chicago.
The fact is that as the global cycling community continues to grow, local governments are doing more to improve access and safety—something that will undoubtedly increase in the coming years.
This begs the question: Where will your next adventure take you? Wherever it is, make sure it’s on an ebike from Rad Power Bikes.
BY: KYLE MALTZ, COO & PARTNER
Kyle's an adventure loving Seattleite who's busy skiing or traveling the world when he's not helping DFC move mountains. His favorite trips have been to Thailand, Turks and Caicos, and Costa Rica. Kyle stays busy connecting us with some of the best brands in the world and working on new ways for DFC to be the best in the business for helping travelers explore more and pay less.
Kyle oversees all things partnerships and business development for Dollar Flight Club.