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One of the major problems with holidays -- and travel in general -- is that it all tends to be rather sedentary. Think of the classic holiday activities: you sit on a beach, you lounge in a pool… for someone focused on their fitness, these activities aren’t quite what you might have in mind. Though you might enjoy it in the moment, you’ll likely feel your fortnight’s break from your exercise routine as soon as you get home.
So what if you can have all the benefits of a holiday, but with some extra exercise packed in there? You don’t have to go full-on “action adventure” experience to get this, either. You can take a nice city break to relax for a weekend, but choose a cycle-friendly city to guarantee a little time for breaking a sweat in the midst of your relaxing.
However, there’s no doubt that cities are rather slow on the uptake when it comes to making their centers cycle-friendly. Below are three of the cities who are ahead of the curve in ensuring your time away has a healthy side dish of two-wheeled activity.
Amsterdam is one of the best-known cycling cities in the world, and for good reason. For decades, the city has put cycling at the heart of its transport system. Part of this is through necessity; the city is old, the lanes narrow, and the canal system means that getting around by car is often difficult. Enter the bicycle as the solution. You can hire a bike for the entire duration of your stay, or just take advantage of the bike share schemes that are dotted throughout the city.
If it’s cycling you want, then jumping on cheap flights to Amsterdam is going to make you very happy indeed. The city welcomes and even prioritizes cyclists; everywhere else, take note!
The Swedish city of Malmo is a dream city for anyone who wants to cycle during their holiday abroad. The opening of the Cykelhuset -- that’s Bicycle House to those of you who don’t speak Swedish -- affirmed their commitment to cycling as a legitimate means of transport. As well as improved roads and cycle lanes, there’s bike share systems and even separate traffic light systems for cyclists to pay attention to.
One of the best ways of spending your time on two-wheels in Malmo is to take advantage of the Oresund Bridge, which connects Malmo to the Danish capital of Copenhagen. While you can’t cycle the length of the bridge itself, pack your bike into a bus for the ride across the bridge, then alight in another European bike-friendly city for the day.
It’s not just the European countries that have got the cycle-friendly city thing worked out; Montreal is taking steps to catch up. While the roads are a little behind in terms of adaptation for cyclists, there is now a bike share scheme and a commitment from local officials to improve the city for cyclists. The existing system is well worth a visit, and the future definitely looks bright for this one.