Thursday, March 19, 2015

5 Bike Friendly European Cities I Want to Visit

Ever since I got Genevieve (my bike) I have started paying more attention to which cities around the world are bike friendly. I fell in love with Europe when I studied abroad in Ireland for six months in college, and I am always looking for opportunities to  go abroad. I worked in London the summer before law school, took international law classes in Venice the summer after 1L year, and I have also visited France and Scotland. My biggest regret about those trips is that I wasn't as physically active then as I am now, and as a result I missed out on some great running, cycling, and hiking opportunities. I mean...

Me somewhere in Ireland Circa 2008
Me in front of the Eiffel Tower, circa 2008
Me at The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, circa 2008
No wonder Europeans are so fit--it's easy to stay active when you can roll out of bed and go for a run with a view of the Eiffel Tower! But that's a little off topic. Let's talk about a few bike-friendly places in Europe I would love to go for a ride.

1. Norway
A quick google search pulls up a really helpful website with information about cycling in Norway. They have a list of their top 10 cycling routes and some tips on getting from point A to point B on a bike safely. Also, can we have a conversation about the fact that Norway has bike escalators for really steep hills? Let me say that again: NORWAY HAS BIKE ESCALATORS!!!! Here is a video of how it works:

Maybe I'm weird, but this thing would be near the top of my must-visit attractions in Norway list.

2. Berlin, Germany
I have wanted to visit Germany for years, and I would probably want to visit Berlin no matter what, but it certainly doesn't hurt that there is at least one company that offers bike tours.

3. Munich, Germany
You can visit this website for more information about biking in Munich. Some of the highlights for me were the cool bike rental service called Call A Bike, the information about bike tours, and the helpful cycling maps. And there's also the part where you would be visiting Germany, which is not ugly. Behold:
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
I have wanted to go for a bike ride in Copenhagen ever since I saw the youtube video below:

5. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Cycling is so common in Amsterdam that the New York Times wrote an article with the title "The Dutch Prize Their Pedal Power, but a Sea of Bikes Swamps Their Capital." You can find it here. No offense to the New York Times, but with so much obesity in America, shouldn't we as a nation be doing everything we can to get more people using active transportation? Anyway, the main reason I would love to bike in Amsterdam is because the city is full of protected bike lanes. Protected bike lanes are completely separated from car traffic by a raised divider, trees, poles, etc. You can see Amsterdam's protected bike lanes in action in the video below.

Cool, huh? Nashville is trying to improve its bike infrastructure, but I can't even imagine riding in a city where cyclists are so well taken care of. Maybe if more U.S. cities had cycling infrastructure like this, more people would ride bikes!

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