Europe’s Top 5 European Biking Cities

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Europe’s Top 5 European Biking Cities

By Leila Stocker

With the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España Grand Tours all over for 2013, everyday cyclists can safely reclaim their city streets this autumn. And with over 760,000 commuters cycling to work regularly* in the UK alone, our love affair with the humble bike seems one that’s set to last. Here are my Top 5 European Cities to discover by pedal, together with top tips to make the most of each destination.


Arguably the most recognisable biking capital of the world, Amsterdam claims top spot for its easy access to bicycles through public scheme OV-Fiets, which has 240 hire locations offering bikes by the hour, day or week. Renting is reasonable and for those who’d like a more relaxing ride, electric bikes can also be leased for just 7.50 Euros a day.

My top tip: Rent the ‘Beerbike’, which at 1.5m wide allows one to legally drink and ride round the city.

Return flights to Amsterdam from London this October start from just £68 return searching on


France’s capital has long been loved by bike-lovers, and boasts The Salon du Cycle – a national event bringing together both amateurs and professionals. Perfect for cyclists, the Paris Respire scheme also closes off parts of the city, such as roads by the river Seine, the Marais and Montmatre, every Sunday and over bank holidays between 9am-5pm. Paris benefits from public scheme Vélib Bike Hire, which boasts more than 1,200 docking stations and 18,000 bikes around Paris. A debit or credit card is required online or at all docking stations to grab a bike and go.

My top tip: Gain an extra 15 minutes free, if the docking station is fully occupied, in order to return your bike to another station.

Return flights to Paris from London this October start from just £83 return searching on


National scheme Call-A-Bike offers over 100 rental locations, and Berlin’s tubes and trains even offer special tickets permitting bikes to be taken aboard. Visitors should take note however, that only over 18s can buy access to the scheme, although anyone over 14 can ride one of the public bikes.

My top tip: Cycle behind public buses 100 or 200 for the best scenic views of the city, as these routes pass most tourist spots.

Return flights to Berlin from London this October start from just £90 return searching on


Nice’s biking scheme Vélo bleu offers 175 docking stations around the city, and rental from just 1 Euro an hour. Visitors should experience biking down the flat Promenade des Anglais – a five-mile walkway connecting Chateau Hill with Nice Airport.

My top tip: Follow bus route 14 for a challenging ride to the top of Mount Boron in the Parc Municipal du Mt. Boron for the best city views.

Return flights to Nice from London this October start from just £62 return searching on


The famous blue ‘Boris Bikes’ are now one of London’s iconic sights, and Barclays Cycle Hire offers a massive 8,000 bikes and 570 docking stations dotted around the capital. Never more than 400 metres apart, they form what has become a reliable mode of transport for commuters and tourists alike.

My top tip: Meet local cyclists on your city break, in special bike repair cafés Look mum, no hands, Foffa bikes and Lock7.

For more information and bike hire prices for each city, please see

All prices are correct as of 7 October 2013.

*According to

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