Two-wheeled paradise

Feb 21, 2017 | News

In Copenhagen bikes now outnumber cars for the very first time, cementing its status as a committed and thriving cycling city. Lucky for bike enthusiasts, it’s not the only city to see the light. We reveal the other urban destinations that have decided two wheels are definitely better than four.

While its plans to pedestrianise parts of the Boulevard Anspach might not be going quite as planned, the Belgian capital still manages to dedicate a single Sunday a year to traffic-free cycling. It takes place each September, if you’re planning a visit.

In 2014 Dublin was named the 10th most congested city in the world. A year later, Dublin City Council unveiled its plan to ban private cars from key parts of the city centre by 2023. This includes eliminating traffic from College Green and creating a pedestrian and cycle plaza.

Germany’s second largest city has announced plans to create a vast “green network” that will link gardens, parks and playgrounds from the north of the city to the south using car-free roads and paths. “In 15 to 20 years you’ll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike or foot,” says city spokeswoman Angelika Fritsch.

After banning cars from the Gran Via for nine days in the run-up to Christmas, the mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, announced that the city’s six-lane central avenue will only be accessible to bikes, buses and taxis by May 2019. Watch this space. 

Mexico City
The most congested city on the planet is transformed into a cyclist and pedestrian’s paradise each Sunday when it closes its city centre arteries to cars. The Muévete en Bici (Bike Move) event has been running since 2008 and sees cyclists and pedestrians move freely around 35 miles of streets for a few hours each week.

Norway’s capital city plans to ban private vehicles from its city centre streets in just a couple of years’ time “to make it better for pedestrians [and] cyclists”, says Lan Marie Nguyen Berg of the Green Party. They also plan to build 60km of extra cycle lanes and boost investment in bus and tram networks.

The Paris Respire (pictured above) or Paris Breathes campaign was launched in May 2016 in an effort to reduce high pollution in the city. Every Sunday and on public holidays, Paris prohibits cars from certain city centre streets, meaning you can enjoy a traffic-free cycle along the Seine, the Canal Saint Martin and even along the Champs-Elysées (once a month).

San Jose
Viva CalleSJ is described as “a sort of rolling block party connecting neighbourhoods and promoting health” by closing six miles of major roads to automotive traffic for one day. Residents are invited to cycle, skate, walk and play on streets in its most iconic neighbourhoods, including Japantown, Willow Glen, Burbank and Downtown.