The Most Bike-Friendly Cities in England and Europe
Cycling has always been a popular way to get from A to B in urban areas, but cities are starting to embrace this more than ever, with extensive bike-sharing schemes and improved cycling paths and routes, not just for locals to use and enjoy, but also to tap into the growing market of cycling tourism.
But where in the UK is cycling most popular and which European cities and countries are the most bicycle-friendly?
The English Areas With the Most Cyclists
First, we wanted to see which parts of the country here in the UK are the most popular with those on two wheels. Unfortunately, local figures were not available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but here’s a look at the English local authorities with the biggest share of people who cycle at least once a month.
1. Cambridge, East of England - 51.2%
The only city where over half of people cycle at least once a month is Cambridge, in the East of England.
Cambridge is famous for its university and the high number of students likely contributes to the high cycling uptake in the city, as does the fact that it is situated on fairly flat ground, with problems such as narrow, busy and congested streets also encouraging locals to jump on their bikes.
2. Oxford, South East - 43%
Cambridge’s great academic rivals, Oxford, take second place, with 43% of people cycling at least once a week.
Again, the large number of students likely plays a part here and the city has a dockless bike-sharing scheme to help you get around.
3. Hackney, London - 37.4%
The most popular London borough for cycling is Hackney, with 37.4% of people doing so at least once a month.
Cycling is very popular in London, with six of the top ten areas being located in the capital, especially since 2010 with the launch of the city’s bike-sharing scheme.
The Most Bike-Friendly Cities in Europe
Next, we looked at capital and major cities around Europe, ranking them based on the availability of public bikes and stations, as well as cycling’s ‘modal share’ which shows how often cycling is used compared to other modes of transport.
Note that unfortunately, data for Amsterdam was unavailable due to the fact that the Netherlands operates a nationwide bike-sharing scheme, so figures are unavailable at a city level but needless to say, the Dutch capital is also amongst the best cities in the world for cyclists.
1. Berlin, Germany - 8.77 out of 10
Berlin is a city with a very well developed cycle lane system and has the second-highest number of public bike stations on our list (20 per 100,000 people).
Cycling also makes up around 12.5% of transportation in the German capital, where cyclists have access to around 385 miles of cycle lanes, 93 miles of which is dedicated to cyclists.
Another benefit to those traveling by bike in Berlin is that passengers on public transport are allowed to carry their bikes with them.
2. Seville, Spain - 8.60 out of 10
Seville is the capital of Andalusia in Spain and is also fast claiming a place as one of the world’s cycling capitals.
The local Sevici community bicycle programme offers 2,600 public bikes (370 per 100,000 people) to residents at a low cost, with curb-raised bicycle lanes on most major streets in the city.
The number of public bikes in Seville has increased rapidly, growing tenfold in a period of just five years, with an estimated 5.6% of trips in the city being made by bicycle.
3. Brussels, Belgium - 7.73 out of 10
Brussels is home to a number of notable cycling races such as the Brussels Cycling Classic, one of the oldest bicycle races in the world, and previously also hosted the Six Days of Brussels and Grand Prix Eddy Merckx.
Today it’s still a cycling hotspot, and was the second-highest city for the number of public bikes (239 per 100,000 people) and third for the number of public bike stations (17 per 100,000 people).
The Most Bike-Friendly Countries in Europe
When looking at how different nations across the continent compare, we were also able to look at a wider range of factors, such as how many people visit the country for cycling holidays, as well as the sales volume of bikes and the average cost to purchase one.
1. Germany - 7.56 out of 10
Germany tops the ranking as the best European country for cyclists and was the highest-scoring country for six different factors, including the number of people travelling to the country for cycling trips and the sales volume of bikes.
The country is home to ten EuroVelo long-distance cycling routes and over 160 other routes through its varied landscape. As well as major cycling cities such as the aforementioned Berlin, cyclists in Germany can enjoy trips along rivers such as the Rhine and the Ruhr, or through the mountains of the Alps too.
2. Sweden - 6.78 out of 10
In second is Sweden, which scored particularly highly for its number of bike-sharing schemes, cycling tourism turnover and trips.
As the data proves, Sweden is a very popular destination when it comes to cycling holidays, as a vast and beautiful country with a well-developed and marked network of cycling paths that take in both urban and rural areas.
3. Netherlands - 6.50 out of 10
Cycling is hugely popular in the Netherlands, and it had by far the highest share of bicycle users of the countries on our list, with 25%.
Almost as many kilometres are travelled in the country by bike as they are by train and there are reportedly slightly more bikes than people across the entire country and twice as many bikes as cars.