Cycling has a number of benefits, whether you’re doing it for pleasure or as a means of transport. Firstly, it helps you to get from A to B, it’s also great for the environment, plus it’s good for your physical and mental health and most of all it can be a lot of fun. That’s why there are some nations which have wholeheartedly embraced cycling culture more than others.
In fact, you’re probably familiar with the popularity of bikes in places like the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, but there are so many nations around the world that appreciate cycling in their everyday life, and as such have made their towns and cities very bike friendly. So whether you’re a traveller, you’re looking to move to a new, exciting country or you’re planning a holiday that involves a lot of cycling, My Baggage have compiled a list of the most bicycle friendly countries around the world.
Cycling is a hugely popular mode of transport and way to see the country in Denmark. In fact, across the country you’ll find huge networks of cycle paths where no motorised vehicles can go, so you can feel safe whilst riding your bike. Because of this cycling has become one of the main tourist attractions and activities in Denmark, particularly when it comes to exploring the beautiful capital city of Copenhagen.
Continuing with the Scandinavian theme, the next country on our list is Norway. Because of the popularity of cycling here you’ll find plenty of bicycle parking and public rentals, so you can simply grab a bike and go as you explore the country. Much like Denmark, the dedicated bike lanes do not allow for cars or motorised vehicles to enter them. This is because they are very concerned with the safety of their cyclists.
You’re probably familiar with Japanese cars and the manufacturing industry out there. For this reason cycling has never really been a priority in the country. But since they were awarded the 2020 Olympic Games, the government has seriously ramped up its efforts to encourage cycling and offer more support to those who want to travel by bike.
They’ve done this by implementing new safety courses and the placing particular importance on increasing the number of bike lanes across the whole country, as well as ensuring these are maintained and kept to a good standard. What’s more, as only the Japanese can, they have created convenient, futuristic underground parking for bikes which reduces the risk of theft.
New Zealand is famous for its breathtaking landscapes and what better way to see it then on a bike. While there might not be huge networks of bike lanes like the previous countries on our list, there are plenty of well-maintained roads for cyclists to enjoy. What’s more, if you want to get out and explore the best New Zealand has to offer, there are lots of marked cycling tracks and paths through the mountains and through some of the nation’s most popular national parks.
As mentioned above, you’re probably aware of the Netherlands and just how popular bikes are across the country. The government prefer bikes to cars and encourage people to travel by bike as much as possible. If you’re a tourist visiting big cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, you can easily hire a bike and explore. There are bike lanes (and bikes) everywhere, they even have their own sets of traffic lights. Much like driving, there are strict rules for cycling in the country and these must be adhered to.
Yet another Scandinavian country has made it to the list, this time it’s Sweden. While it can get very cold there in the winter, cycling is still enjoyed year-round and the country fosters a cycling culture which encourages people to use bikes as their primary mode of transport. For this reason, there are supportive measures in place and plenty of places to rent a bike from. Many travel Sweden’s beautiful cities on two wheels, Stockholm in particular is a great place to explore on a bike.
What’s more, cycling is so big there that they have pump stations for deflated tires and bicycle-specific parking. The use of electric bikes is also becoming more popular there as these allow riders to take hills and tough stretches much easier.
Nestled away amongst a number of other high-profile nations, Slovenia might not be the first country that comes to mind when you think about cycling. But the countries key cities, including its capital of Ljubljana, are doing all they can to support cyclists and promote this eco-friendly form of transport. In fact, they have an extensive network of bike lanes, they run bikeshare schemes and even have bike boxes on their roads which give cyclists priority at junctions. This helps to keep them safe when riding.
When you go outside of the main cities the nation also offers beautiful rural roads and has set up circuits round its lakes for cyclists to enjoy. As well as bike-friendly cities, this picturesque nation offers cycling routes featuring stunning mountain backdrops.
Many of France’s key cities embrace the cycling lifestyle, with places like Paris, Strasbourg and Bordeaux being very bike friendly. That said, when it comes to big cities and cycling lanes France still has a way to go. This in turn has led the government to start putting new cycling schemes in place, these include education programmes in schools and a national cycling strategy. They hope to encourage more cities to set up bike lanes and cycle schemes.
So how has it made it onto this list you ask? Well, there’s a reason that the Tour de France takes place here and it’s because of all the beautiful mountain tracks and rural roads for cyclists. So while not all of its cities are kitted out for bikes, a huge part of the country is, and it can be the perfect way to explore the natural beauty of France.