Amsterdam. I’d be surprised if anyone is sincerely surprised at the fact, quite frankly: I’m quite convinced that the Netherlands have as many bike paths as they do actual roads (I’m sure there is a statistic out there to either prove it or disprove but I don’t care enough either way), which is as it should be. Biking is not only eco-friendly, cheap, healthy, occasionally faster, but also a wonderful way to explore new and undiscovered cities.
The Copenhagenize Index (put together by the consulting and communications company Copenhagenize) did, however, bring forth some surprising truths.
The second-runner up, Copenhagen, although sitting firmly at number two currently, will likely slip a few places in the near future. Plans for filtering more car-friendly routes into the city will likely mean its cyclists will suffer one way or another. Moreover, rather than decreasing parking, the city has been steadily increasing the presence of parking lots within the city. All of these factors would likely put its reputation as a tourist-friendly cycling city into jeopardy, as there is nothing less fun then exploring the city by cycling through mazes of car-jammed roads; that’s just dangerous.
Along with Amsterdam, two other Dutch cities made the top 10: Utrecht and Eindhoven. Unlike quaint and picturesque Utrecht, Eindhoven is not much of a tourist-draw, but focusing on cycling is a great way to counterbalance that city’s reputation as somewhat of a local industrial center (hello, hometown of Philips!)
The only city from the British Isles to even make the top 15 is Dublin, which is sad – there is great potential for an increased cycling presence in urban British areas (London is definitely trying with their new Barclays Cycle Hire bike racks though) and it would like do wonders for the environment.
What’s even sadder than that, however, is the fact that the only North American city to make the list is Montreal; no US cities made the top 15. Considering how huge of a landmass North America is, and how many people live there, this is tragic if not unsurprising. I think what is most shocking for me is that of all the large US and Canadian cities out there, the one to make the top 15 happens to have one of the coldest, iciest, and potentially least-bicycle friendly climates. This just goes to show that when there is a genuine desire to increase a cycling presence with an urban center, there will always be a way to make all sides win. (Hear that, New York??)
Many cycling enthusiasts who also love sightseeing will be happy to know that many traditionally tourist-friendly cities also made the list: what better way is there to explore large metropolises like Berlin, Paris, Tokyo, Barcelona, and Rio than by bike? I don’t know about you guys, but I was completely shocked by the presence of all these cities on the list! Now I’m excited to go on a cycling tour of Rio – who’s in?