Best cities to see by bike by Jen McDermott

best-cities-to-see-by-bike-by-jen-mcdermottBest cities to see by bike

By Jen McDermott

Despite some of Sydney’s most high-profile politicians – Clover Moore and Kristina Keneally – regularly publicising the positives of getting around by bike, the relationship between cyclist and motorist in this city remains strained at best.

Which is a shame really, because travelling around Europe proves that the trusty two-wheeler is a most excellent way to experience a city. It allows you to cover more ground in a shorter space of time (meaning you can linger longer at each stop), makes you feel like one of the ultra-hip Euro locals plus helps you pedal off all the pastries and pommes des frites.

Here’s my list of cool cycle-friendly cities that I’ve personally had the pleasure of pedalling through:

  • Copenhagen

This city is so cycle-friendly that over a third of the population pedal their way to work every day. These workers don’t worry about being taken out by traffic as many streets contain separate bicycle and car lanes, making it a quick, easy and safe way to zip around the city.

Getting around Copenhagen by bike is not only safe and easy, it’s also free!  There are a number of bike parks positioned around the city where you can pick one up. You simply leave a small deposit and, provided the bike is in one piece, you’ll have it refunded on return.

  • Amsterdam

Forget the coffee shops, there are other ways you can go green in Amsterdam, such as cycling!  Exorbitant parking fees, narrow lanes and canal-lined streets make this city inconvenient for carbon-producing cars, paving the way for pedal power.

Finding a place to hire a bike here is super easy; rental companies are dotted all over the city. Just make sure you read up on the road rules first heading out onto the waterways – the locals don’t tend to ride their bikes, they drive them so expect to hear regular bells changing if you put a pedal wrong.

  • Berlin


Cycling in Berlin is made easy for everyone – tourist and locals alike, as such . The streets are wide and flat, laws allow you to opt to cycle on the road or bike-only lanes and there is a simple-to-use online program which maps out your track for you just by entering your desired A to B.

Getting hold of a bike in Berlin, while not free, is very easy and longer use is encouraged with day rates decreasing the longer you plan to use. Many major areas, hotels, hostels and apartments feature bike racks so you can park it while not in use plus, when those legs get a wee bit tired, simply buy your bike a ticket (as well as your own!) and you can take it on public transport with you.

3 comments on “Best cities to see by bike by Jen McDermott

  1. Yes Berlin is such a good city for cycling! Aside from all the amazing historical areas (loved cycling around the east-side) it’s so great for riding even previously-bike-un-friendly-people can learn to ride a bike in this city! I can attest to this being the teacher of one. You know who you are…”oops! entschuldigung fraulein”… 😉

  2. I went to Berlin and Amsterdam for the first time this year and, in coming back to Sydney, have no idea why we don’t have more cycleways! It adds to the feel of each of the cities (although, as a pedestrian in Amsterdam, it’s clear who owns the road!) and makes getting around so much easier.

    It’s funny though, you’ve brought back my favourite memory of Berlin; learning to ride a bike at the age of 29!

  3. Europe 2011, destination Copenhagen & Berlin. Great inspiration, can’t think of a better way to explore new cities, especially if the roads are flat! I went to Lake Garda in Italy a couple of years ago and cycled through the towns, it was one of my favourite travel experiences. Looking forward to more!

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