A new data-driven study reveals the best cities for cyclists to visit around the world, with Auckland ranked the best large city in the world for cycling.
The 2019 Bicycle Cities Index used statistics of bicycle theft rates, numbers of cyclist fatalities and accidents, investment in infrastructure, percentage of bicycle usage, figures on the number of bicycle rental stations and rental bikes available. Also, weather.
They also took into account cycling-friendly events like "No Car Day" and "Critical Mass" a bicycling event typically held on the last Friday of every month in over 300 cities around the world.
The final results offer the perfect springboard for your next cycling holiday.
10. Bremen, Germany
Bremen is famous for being a well-connected city, with more cycle paths than most other cities in Germany. The many green spaces and the almost complete absence of hills make it the perfect destination for cyclists at any level.
9. Bern, Switzerland
Bern has seen an explosion in the number of cyclists on its streets in recent years – an increase encouraged by city authorities, but not by everyone, which sounds familiar. The plan is for a peak of 2,400 bikes in 2020, in what will be the country's biggest bike-sharing system. You might cycle past new "rehabilitated zones" across the city, vacant lots now decorated with elderly-friendly seating and games tables – spaces where it's more "pleasant to linger". Ah, the Swiss. They have nice stuff.
8. Hangzhou, China
With bike-rental stations scattered around Hangzhou city, formerly the largest bike sharing system in the word, cycling around West Lake is the best way to tour Hangzhou - easily and casually. A number of scenic spots in Hangzhou are close to West Lake.
7. Auckland, New Zealand
The best large city in the world was deemed to be Auckland, New Zealand which beat Hangzhou, China. "In March we had our busiest month on our cycleways, with 388,000 bike trips recorded on our cycle counters. In the year to April 2019, 3.7 million bike rides were recorded." Hamish Bunn, Group Manager Integrated Network Planning, Policy and Sustainability at Auckland Council says. "It's a generous ranking, but it shows that our focus on building safe and protected spaces for people to ride bikes is encouraging more and more Aucklanders to choose bike riding."
6. Malmo, Sweden
The third largest city of Sweden is very compact, only 10 kilometres from the city centre to the edge, and has many green areas. Because the landscape is flat, it's perfect for cycling. The historic city centre is small and most of it has been pedestrianised.
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is a biking mecca and an awesome 32% of people in Amsterdam cycle frequently - although other online sources suggest it is double that. The Prime Minister cycles to work and no one wears helmets, but of course YOU should. In Auckland drivers rule the road but in Amsterdam it's the cyclists. They have been the boss ever since the early 1970s, when skyrocketing road fatalities, many of them children, conspired with the OPEC oil crisis to provoke the Dutch government to invest in cycling infrastructure, building up the impressive network of today.
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is widely acknowledged to be the cycling capital of Europe (although it dukes it out with Amsterdam in popular culture and has been beaten by three European cities in this ranking) and the city is extremely well set up for it. In 2017 an outstanding statistic was recorded, there were more cyclists on the road than vehicles in morning traffic. There's around 300 kilometres of bus lanes and the city is blissfully flat, although rush hour on the streets of Copenhagen could definitely be described as "manic".
3. Antwerp, Belgium
The third place sash goes to Antwerp in Belgium, followed by Copenhagen and Amsterdam, although there was almost no difference in their respective scores. Cycling in Antwerp is one of the most enjoyable ways to explore more of this part of Belgium with open farmland, peaceful canals and famously flat landscape. Dedicated bike paths on the Junction Network are easy to follow and appeal to less experienced cyclists.
2. Munster, Germany
When it comes to improving urban mobility by promoting cycling, Berlin (ranked 20th) can learn a thing or two from Germany's cycling utopia Münster. Berlin went unintentionally viral in 2018 with a bike path featuring sharp right angles that reminded many people of video game Tetris. In Munster, cyclists and cars are kept completely separate wherever possible, and at major intersections cyclists don't have to compete with drivers while turning. The region is known for its picturesque hillside vineyards and red wine. Getting tired? Why not stop and enjoy a glass?
1. Utrecht, Netherlands
Here's your crown and your bouquet, Utrecht, you're the number one city for cycling thanks to high bicycle usage, good road infrastructure, and low bicycle crime rates. To move between neighbourhoods in Houten, cars must take the figure 8-shaped ring road. This leaves interior streets largely the domain of pedestrians and cyclists. A famous saying is "Jij bent niet van suiker gemaakt" ("You're not made of sugar"), meaning you won't dissolve in the rain – so get on your bike.
You can find the full results and methodology at coya.com/bike/index-2019