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Cycling cities around the world

The world’s most forward thinking cities in terms of design and environmental awareness have taken it upon themselves to promote a carbon neutral form of transport – cycling. Cycling is on the up, urban commuting is trending worldwide and people are finding a bicycle that works for them – be it a fixie, mountain bike or roadie. We’ve explored four different cities where bikes and social cycling are synonymous with life, from Amsterdam to Cape Town…

Amsterdam, Netherlands

For many years Amsterdam has been known as the home of cycling, and commuting in particular. Rated as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world, cars and pedestrians give way to cyclists and bicycle lanes are sacred ground.

If you’re doing what the locals do, you’ll need a city bike fitted with a wicker basket and beautiful paint job. Here, you’ll fit in best wearing everyday clothes as cycling is a way of life. Buggies carrying children, and women in power suits and high heel shoes are also commonplace.

Be sure to check out Amsterdam’s famed multi storey bicycle parking garages, a sensory overload for the cycling obsessed.

New York City, USA

Home of the messenger bike, bicycles are a popular way of making extra cash in NYC. Delivering everything from pizza to classified documents around this often-gridlocked city, you’ll find hundreds of twenty-somethings who take to the streets daily in search of a quick buck.

You’ll fit in best here with a barebones fixie in a pantone paint job, wearing skinny jeans and a messenger bag slung over your shoulders. However, make way for the average commuter making his/ her way to the office on a shared Citi Bike, as this has become more and more common since the introduction of the system in 2013.

The cult-like following of fixie bike messengers in NYC has inspired film and documentary makers, none better known than Lucas Brunelle, who’s on-the-street filming of Alleycat Races have been broadcast worldwide.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Much like Amsterdam, cycling is a way of life in Copenhagen. The city states that over 35% of the population of Copenhagen cycle to work or school each day. The government is so adamant that cycling will be the future that they intend to increase this number to 50% by 2015. Safety is the key ingredient here, with bicycle lanes forming part of the cities infrastructure. In terms of thinking, Copenhagen has put cycling at the forefront of urban mobility planning and the population has responded.

A day in the city will see well dressed professionals in their smart suits with fashionable leather shoulder bags, commuting to work instead of taking a city cab or, heaven forbid, their own vehicle.

Cape Town, South Africa

In Cape Town the cycling trend is currently focused on the social scene. With many of the city’s residents living a fair way out of the centre, commuting to work is more difficult. However, with the advent of better bicycle lanes and an increase in the number of people living in the urban fringe, commuting in Cape Town is sure to increase. Especially since this city, with its beautiful coastal roads and relatively small CBD, is a cyclist’s paradise. One often sees any number of bicycles parked outside the local artisan coffee shop or this month’s favourite hipster hangout.

Wearing skinny jeans and a shirt buttoned up to the top, you’ll fit in perfectly with Cape Town’s trendiest crowd. Don’t forget a cardigan for those unexpected chilly days.

With populations increasing and mobility becoming more and more difficult in the world’s bigger or more popular cities, the beautiful machine is once again heading a revolution to make cycling the most favoured, most fashionable and certainly the most fun one can have getting from A to B.

Author: Dominique Kotze

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