Unexpectedly bike-friendly cities

Be it for the environment, fitness, or just getting outside – more and more people the world over are buying into the benefits of cycling, for a weekend excursion or a more enjoyable commute.

Here is our rundown of the world’s most unexpectedly bike-friendly cities.

1. Bogota, Colombia

A crowded city with a notorious pollution problem, Bogota is probably not the first place you’d think of for a breezy, afternoon bike ride. But for decades now the city has been staging a two-wheeled revolution against the encroaching dominance of cars.

Every Sunday, the Colombian capital, birthplace of defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal, plays host to a remarkable sight – more than 100km of roads closed to cars morning through mid-afternoon, transforming much of the city into one big, thriving cycle path.

Though surrounded by mountains, the city itself is mostly flat, and estimates of participants tend to number in the millions. Known as the Ciclovia, the program started in the mid-1970s, and copycat events have since sprung up in cities around the world.

Read: Most beautiful city parks around the world

2. Dubai, UAE
It’s not a list-topper quite yet, but Dubai has its sights set on becoming one of the urban cycling capitals of the world. The government’s stated aim is to reach a whopping 850km of cycle paths in total by 2030, which would be mightily impressive for a city that could only claim 10km in 2006.

A sweep of new road safety laws helped pave the way early last year, and the city is already gaining a reputation on the international cycling scene. Particularly popular is the Al Qudra Cycle Track, an 86km marathon through the desert surrounded by soaring sand dunes and Arabian oryx, and the converted camel tracks at Nad Al Sheba.

And be in no doubt, Dubai does not solely consist of the desert. High, rocky enclave Hatta is internationally renowned for its mountain biking, while the lush city parks are crisscrossed with an expanding cycle path network.

Read: The world’s five most walkable cities

3. Copenhagen, Denmark

You might hazard a guess that Amsterdam is the world’s most bicycle-friendly city – but in fact Copenhagen pinched that title from the Dutch city in 2015 and has topped the list each year since, according to the annual Copenhagenize Index.

The numbers are certainly impressive. The 2019 index reported 62 per cent of residents reaching work or school by bike in the past two years, plus more than €40 spent per capita on cycling infrastructure in the same period. Since 2017, the city has added, or is in the process of adding, 12 new bike-friendly bridges, alongside 167km of regional cycle highway.

Read: The most luxurious cities in the world revealed

Are you a cyclist? Have you cycled any of these cities? Let us know in the comments section below.

– With PA

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