bicycle_culture_around_the_world

The Bicycle Culture Around the World

Bicycle culture from around the world Remember those childhood days when your dad bought you a cycle, and you learnt to ride without falling. After several attempts you got it right, and rode with your friends to school and back home, wasn’t that feeling overwhelming?

As we grow up we tend to forget that cycling was such a healthy and viable option, and we switch to motorcycles and fancy cars.

When our roads are clogged with cars and pollution hampering the environment, cycling should be made part of this modern culture, in fact it already is in several cities around the world.

A bicycle is a cheap mode of transport, environment-friendly, and an excellent way of exercising those weary muscles. So I did some research to bring to you vivid facts of the cycling culture adopted by few countries.

Copenhagen, the Striving Bike Culture

The first example that comes to mind is Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark and one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Every day 500,000 people ride their bicycle to work or school, which is 36% of the population who choose to cycle. Copenhagen cycle culture No wonder Copenhagen is known as one of the cities with the best quality of life, less pollution, more greenery, proper bike lanes so people would at least feel like switching to a cycle to ride to work.

Amsterdam, the Bike Capital of the World

Amsterdam, the bike capital of the world, lets leave aside the other things its known for:), where everyone is on a bike, from a guy dressed in a suit to a woman going for a party, riding a cycle is embedded in their system, its a way of life!
Man riding bicycle in suit in Amsterdam Bicycles are modified to fit their requirements or more number of people, as you can see the picture below. Amsterdam bike culture Its wonderful to see people ride their cycles no matter how they are dressed, without a helmet, and even the senior citizens ride a cycle, mothers carry their toddlers on bikes, wish we could emulate this culture in Mumbai instead of following all the bad westernised aspects. Old man riding cycle in Netherlands

Trondheim, Innovative Bicycle Lift

Trondheim, a city in Norway, has done something innovative to get more people to use bikes. The city introduced bicycle lift called Trampe, the only one in the world, which gets the biker to the top of a very steep hill without peddling. Trondheim's Trampe Bicycle Lift
Trampe bicycle lift in Norway

I don’t think such mechanism is to discourage people from exercising, but just cater to people who are tired after a hard day’s work and don’t want to cycle uphill. It works in a simple manner, the right foot has to be placed in the footplate while the left leg is on the cycle pedal, and the lift pushes you up the hill.

The person using it needs to buy a electronic keycard for the lift to start moving. As you can see in the image below, it hardly occupies any space on the road, since its underground. This bicycle lift is indeed very popular among students.

Free Bikes to All

There are few more cities which are bicycle-friendly as well, like Portland, Oregon in the USA, they had an interesting program, Create a Commuter, whereby low-income adults were provided with bicycle for unrestricted use. Such programs encourage the use of cycles. Public bikes for free use in Netherlands Even some parts of Netherlands and other places like Helsinki and Copenhagen have a plan that gives free bicycles to use for one trip and then left for someone else at specific junction. It did lead to theft, so it exists only at few places.

Other Bike-friendly Cities

  • Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • Davis, California, USA
  • Sandnes, Norway
  • San Francisco, California
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Basel, Switzerland

Let’s push ourselves and others to use bicycles, the best mode of transport and no CO2 emissions either, for a smoke-free environment. It might be a far-fetched thought, but we can always take the first step.

Image Source:

Copenhagenize: Life in the World’s Cycling Capital

Copenhagen Cycle Chic

Amsterdam bicycles



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Avatar of Bhavika
Namaste! A nature-loving, spiritual being who thrives to help fellow beings re-connect with nature. Also a former journalist who stumbled upon this spiritual path (courtesy Fractal Enlightenment) and little did I know that it would play such a major role in shaping my life! Thank you for being part of this journey.

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2 Comments

  1. Stephen Mikesell - May 21, 2012, 8:11 pm Reply

    Don’t leave out Ciclopaseo, a bicycle movement taking fire all across Latin America in which traffic is shut down on Sundays in downtown areas in a growing number of cities from Quito, Equador, to Mexico City to make room for tens of thousands of people on bikes in a festival setting of bicycle races, bike theater and just riding around and interacting with fellow citizens. The movement teaches people about bikes and promotes bicycle and pedestrian friendly transformation of the cities. In Quito, women in particular were encouraged by CiclóPolis activists to bicycle as part of the movement. Mexico City just added 3,000 more bicycles to its ‘EcoBike’ rental bicycle program. Activists tired of waiting for bicycle lanes have started painting their own ‘WikiLanes’, an initiative being followed in other Latin American cities, while mass nighttime bike rides have caught on in the Mexican cities of Saltillo, Tijuana and Chihuahua.

    In Wisconsin, the first state in the United States to convert an abandoned rail line to the so-called ‘rails to trail’ we can ride bike trails built on or along railroad right-of-way east-west two hundred miles across the entire state from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River and from the capital city down into Illinois. Many old passenger train stations have been converted into bicycle way stations, some with showers and supply shops, and there are campgrounds and bed and breakfasts along the way. The rails-to-trails, which are now found all over the country, serve the double role of providing thoroughfares for bikes between and through cities while preserving rail right-of-ways for future conversion back to rail lines as the availability of petroleum declines in coming decades.

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