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5 of the world’s most bike-friendly cities and hostels

15th August 2011 Print

More and more people realize that bicycles can be much more useful than cars. Bikes are cheap, environmentally friendly, keep their owners in good health and as much more fun means of transport for travellers exploring a new destination. HostelBookers, the budget accommodation specialist names the top 5 bicycle-friendly cities and hostels in the world:

Amsterdam, the bike capital of the world, is home to the famous Amsterdam Bike Ramp which holds thousand of bikes. With a safe and extensive bike route network, bountiful governmental support and promotion, it’s no wonder 40% of the city’s traffic moves on two wheels. In the heart of Amsterdam city centre, Hostel Van Gogh provides cool modern facilities at a great price – including cycle hire for guests. It is just a few steps from the Van Gogh Museum, Rijks Museum and Amsterdam City Art Museum. At Hostel Van Gogh guests can pedal to the many bars, shops, clubs and restaurants on offer. The hostel is also just a 5-minute walk from the famous clubs and open markets of Amsterdam. Dorms start at €25per person per night and private rooms at €28pppn.

Named one of the Top Ten Places to Live in Europe, according to Forbes, Copenhagen is also home to the world's most successful bicycle community program. In Denmark, most of the population has a bike, and for many years Copenhagen has been known as The City of Bikes. Every year Copenhagen invests on bike infrastructure additions and improvements. Just a few minutes from Copenhagen's Central Railway Station, guests will find Hotel Ansgar. With its central location guests are only a few minutes walk from Tivoli Gardens, the famous shopping street of Strøget and Town Hall Square. The quiet street is perfect for getting to grips with the hotel bike rental. There are 81 rooms to choose from, ranging from singles to quads and all are equipped with Wi-Fi. Private rooms start at €43.60pppn.

The best thing about cycling in Berlin is the wide streets – Karl Marx Allee is 90m wide - and there are no uphill struggles. The government has decreed that all new roads in Berlin must have cycle lanes, and they are dedicated to ensuring the existing ones are updated. Currently there are over 620km of cycle paths and 190km of off-road routes. The Three Little Pigs Hostel in Berlin is housed in a former 19th century convent at famous Potsdamer Platz Square. Guests will be just a short cycle ride away from the buzzing districts of Mitte and Kreuzberg, and they can rent bikes directly from the hostel. Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburger Tor and the Reichstag Building are just around the corner as is the best of Berlin’s nightlife. Dorms start from €11.46pppn and privates from €18.52pppn.

Cycling in Beijing, with its nine million bicycles, is something of a rite of passage. Bike rentals start from around 10 Yuan (€1) per day plus a cash deposit. In 2010 the Beijing officials launched a campaign to get people off the car-choked roads and on to the nice flat cycle routes. They believe 20 years ago, 4/5 of the city’s population cycled to work, but now just 1/5 saddle up every day.

Built on a 400-year-old historic site which once served as the home of famous artist Mr Mei Lan Fang, Beijing Si He Courtyard Hotel is just 10 minutes from the centre of Beijing. They have a free bike rental service so guests can explore Beijing the local way. Wangfujing Avenue, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are all nearby. There are spacious traditional guestrooms positioned around the courtyard so you have lovely views. The antique furniture and carvings of ancient symbols add to the atmosphere. Private rooms start from €39.95pppn.

Cycling in San Francisco is becoming very popular, thanks mostly to the increase and care given to the cycling infrastructure as well as it’s trendy fixed gear culture. As far as the terrain goes, the city is extreme, with famously steep hills but along long straight boulevards and wide avenues. The government has installed over 1,500 bike racks and all new car parks must provide a certain amount of bike storage space. Around 16% of San Francisco’s residents class themselves as ‘frequent cyclists’ biking on two or more days per week. Green Tortoise Backpackers Guesthouse offers free meals, free Wi-Fi and even a free sauna. It’s located in the city by the bay and the free bike rental means guests can travel around the city in style the green way. There are private and dorm rooms with comfy beds, a lucky few have TVs and a huge selection of movies. Set out by bike, and the hostel is just a few minutes away from Chinatown, San Francisco Bay, Fisherman’s Wharf and Little Italy. Dorms and privates start at €22.96pppn.