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Old May 26th, 2013, 12:56 AM   #1
ChrisZwolle
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which countries have you cycled in?

Tell us which countries you have cycled in.

Please also share some of your experiences to prevent this thread from becoming a boring list of countries.

I'll start;

Netherlands:
As I am from the Netherlands, I've cycled in many places, I even took my bicycle on the train and in my car to cycle in places out of range. Generally excellent bicycling infrastructure, miles ahead of any other country I've seen.

See also: Cycling in the Netherlands

Germany:
I've cycled in the border areas with the Netherlands on day trips and in the Eifel and Black Forest regions. It's notable German cycle paths are not as common as they are in the Netherlands and they are usually much narrower. There are also shared bicycicle/footpaths which you don't see in NL. Rural bicycle paths become much rarer once you get further from the Dutch border.

France:
I took my bicycle with me on a vacation near Millau. Needless to say, a Dutch city bike does not perform well around the canyons of the Tarn River, and both bicycle paths and bicycle lanes are non-existent. I did some exhausting climbs with only a 3-gear bike.

Spain:
I cycled near Bielsa on vacation in the Pyrenees Mountains. That is a low-traffic area, so there were no safety issues, except in unlit tunnels, which were a bit scary, especially on a BMX without any lights!

Switzerland:
I did some local cycling in a couple of kilometer radius around small towns in the mountains and in the city of Luzern. I did notice that Switzerland has expanded their cycle lanes a lot since the 1990s. However, they usually did not widen the roads to accommodate these lanes, so sometimes it's a bit narrow with traffic flying by.

Denmark:
Only cycled in rural areas. Denmark is seen as a "bicycle country" but rural bicycle infrastructure is far behind the Netherlands. Rural separate bicycle paths are not as common, however traffic volumes are not very high and most drivers take notice of cyclists. Denmark is by far not as flat as the Netherlands, which usually surprises first-time bicycle tourists from the Netherlands. While there are no real hills, terrain is often with low rolling hills. I haven't cycled in any of the larger cities where bicycle infrastructure is better than in rural areas.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 01:08 AM   #2
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In The Netherlands, but that goes without saying.

In the US. Only very recently, I rented a bike when I was in San Francisco. Biked via the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to Sausolito.

In Germany I used to bike in the Harz area when I was still a little kid.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 01:45 AM   #3
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In the Netherlands of course, Germany and Switzerland (St. Gallen) during vacation.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 02:13 AM   #4
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I'm not much of a cyclist, but when I went to Malta for my higher education, I began to cycle a lot more than I did in my home country. In Kuwait, cycling was just a temporary hobby -- and a dangerous one too, I might add, which probably explains why I ditched it after a while. But in Malta, cycling was almost a necessity at times. It's still not the safest place to go cycling by any means, but the beautiful scenery and weather makes it more tempting to try it out. The upside is that you don't have to worry about getting stuck in traffic, and you can make it to your destination in almost no time. It is an island, after all... The downside, on the other hand, is that you have to be very careful about where you park your bicycle, unless you want it to get stolen. And you also have to be on the lookout for reckless drivers; although, if you pass the Kuwaiti roads litmus test, you're probably good to go anywhere else in the World LOL. I cant really make a comparison between cycling in Malta and in other EU countries, but I think it's safe to say it's not the best place to go cycling, although it's still much better than the hellish conditions in Kuwait LOL.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 11:51 PM   #5
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The Netherlands: few times every week

Germany: in the countryside. Just like in in the Netherlands, but sometimes you have to be slightly more cautious

Belgium: I went across the border for a few kilometers during a bicycletrip in southern Limburg. Don't know if that counts.

UK: sightseeing tour in London (londonbicycle.com). Driving on the left is a strange experience, especially in a crowded place like London. But the tour is mainly along traffic-calmed roads between tourist hotspots.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 12:41 AM   #6
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I bike(d) in Slovakia, where I live, then in Vienna, where I rent a bike from Viennese bike-sharing system (I can only recommend, it's a good way how to explore some parts of Vienna) and in the US. If you someday visit Cape Cod, MA, Shining Sea Bikeway is a beautiful bike route.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 01:32 AM   #7
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Norway (my country):

Only cycled in the biggest cities, and it's quite a schizophrenic experience. Some parts of the cities have pretty good bike lanes, wich is being respected by drives, while other parts seriously lack any cycling facilitation. Paved roads suddenly going into cobblestone mayhem is one example of the latter.

Denmark:

Cycled in Copenhagen and Ĺrhus, the country's to biggest cities. While Ĺrhus was much better in comparison to the Norwegian cities, Copenhagen was in a league of it's own. Wide bicycle lanes next to the pavement, and car parking on the street on the other side, meant no contact whatsoever to cars speeding by. The lanes also have clearly marked zones, with the one next to the pavement for slower cycling, and the one next to the parked cars for faster riding.

It worked like clockwork. And from the looks of it, the commitment from the municipality has payed of. Bikes are everywhere. Ladies bikes, old bikes, single-speeds, fixed gears, mountain bikes. Simply beautiful.




Holland:

I have very little experience riding in the Netherlands, but a brief week in Amsterdam gave me a little feeling.
In the narrow streets downtown, one has to ride slow, and more often than not you'll have to get of your bike and push it. On the larger boulevards, bike lanes were frequent and in good use. Got the feeling of a very bike friendly city.

Last edited by Waluigi; May 27th, 2013 at 01:46 AM. Reason: typos and whatnot
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Old May 27th, 2013, 07:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amrafel View Post
in Vienna, where I rent a bike from Viennese bike-sharing system (I can only recommend, it's a good way how to explore some parts of Vienna)
The bicycle is actually a good way of exploring European cities, you can stop everywhere and you can cover a lot more ground than walking and you have much more routing options.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:29 PM   #9
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In Germany and in Denmark. And in NL of course.

Most main roads in Emsland and Ostfriesland have free cycle paths. I have not cycled further away in Germany so cannot comment on that. I find the combination of cycle and footpath in urban areas quite annoying. All in all it is not that bad across the border (Belgium is far worse from what I have seen by car), but certainly not great.

In Denmark I have cycled in Copenhagen. Copenhagen is at about the same level as the Netherlands. Very good cyclepaths and quite busy too. Important thing I noticed is that in Copenhagen cycling is also used for commuting/study/school and not mainly recreational.

Copenhagen is the only city in the world (that I visited or know of) that is comparable to Dutch cities for cycling.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:30 PM   #10
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Netherlands
My home country, I rode a bicycle in most major cities and between them. I love riding in central Amsterdam without adjusting my speed, educating tourist on not to walk on bicycle lanes.

Germany
Only a bit just over the Dutch border.

Belgium
I cycled from my home town to Antwerp once.

Austria
On holiday in my early teens, the house we stayed at had some bicycles that we could use.

Switzerland
I rented a bike several times and once I also took my own bike on the night train to Switzerland on holidays with my parents. I climbed the Albula pass, the only mountain pass I ever conquered on a bicycle.

USA
I rented a bicycle in New York when I was there 2 years ago. The guy at the rental shop didn't even ask if I needed a helmet because I was Dutch. I paddled through Central Park, all the way up to Harlem and then all the way down to Battery Park. Over the Brooklyn Bridge and back the Manhattan Bridge. It was a fun ride through the NY traffic, although it was a Sunday it was not as hectic as it could have been.


Japan
I rented a bicycle several times in Tokyo, riding all the way through the central area and even outside. And that on a typical Japanese city bicycle, including a basket on the handlebars.

It's actually quite handy to reach some of the areas, for examples the reclaimed Islands in Tokyo Bay where I wanted to take some construction pictures. The distances are to far to walk and the public transport between those areas is not always as good as you would expect in Tokyo.

It was also interesting that the police actually halted my several times, I guess they are not used to see a Western guy riding on a regular bicycle through the city.
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Old May 28th, 2013, 01:50 AM   #11
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I have only biked in the USA. In the past year, I have started to use my bicycle to get to places all over Austin, TX. My city is doing a lot to make biking safer and more accessible. I am so envious of Denmark and The Netherlands for their bike infrastructure. Simply amazing!

The best city for bicycling in the USA is probably Portland, OR. There are many many bike commuters there.

Biking in Austin, TX:
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Old May 28th, 2013, 04:52 PM   #12
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Portland is overrated in my opinion. Statistics only show commuting to work, which is only 30 - 40% of all travel. I don't get why American officials so excited about statistics that leave out 70% of travel. Out of commuting to work, Portland has a share of 6%. It's also unclear if this modal share is expressed in trips or travel miles. I've also read figures as low as 2% of all travel.
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Old May 28th, 2013, 07:40 PM   #13
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With making a bike path ON a road like Austin TX, you will never increase the feeling of safety for bikers. Cycling paths have to be free from cars. And therefore biking always will be something for the "freaks" and not mainstream transport/commuting.
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Old May 28th, 2013, 11:46 PM   #14
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I cycled only in Romania.

Sometimes it's like this:


Other times like this:


(not my videos)
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Old May 29th, 2013, 07:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gattone View Post
I cycled only in Romania.

Sometimes it's like this:


Other times like this:


(not my videos)
Good ol' Balkans. Where you kiss your relatives before you go riding your bike.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 02:55 AM   #16
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I have been cycling regularly for work and pleasure since 1986 and most common experience is suburban commuting in Melbourne about 10km each way. Melbourne roads are wide and the road layout is basically gridded. I use a variety of routes sometimes using on road cycling lanes which have been designed to disappear at major intersections. There is a riverbank/off road option within 500m of home which is 14km as opposed to the 10km direct road based route. Cycling in Melbourne is relatively easy as the city is built on river/creek valleys and the gridded road layout means that there are plenty of alternative routes.

I have cycled in the countryside outside Melbourne (about 300km radius) using the passenger rail system to ride from one rail station to another - eg Ballarat to Bendigo; Wangaratta to Bairnsdale (road goes up to almost 2000m) and was able to ride on quiet bitumen or gravel roads and stop at campgrounds or bush camps along the way. Stops at bakeries, pubs and wineries are compulsory.

I have ridden in other countries mainly in the 1990s (before marriage and kids) including
Tasmania (OK part of Australia);
California USA (San Fransisco to Eureka CA) - camping in the Redwood Forests was the highlight;
Canada - around Vancouver - similar cycle facilities to Melbourne; Calgary to Jasper via Columbia Icefields Hwy - staying in some of the best YHAs I found at that time; Saskatoon - not too bad but the wind!; around Toronto - similar to Melbourne - including tram tracks; from Ottawa (discovered the potential in riding beside canals) to Quebec City via Montreal - great open road riding and easy along the rivers.

Britain - Manchester to York - quiet roads but needed to use some busy A roads to get to key places; road and rail trail for the final kms into York; York to Ambleside - roads seem to run direct between settlements hence chain snapping hills; York to Aberdeen via Durham, Greenoch, Kelso, Edinburg, Oban, Loch Ness (the busiest road in Britain!), Inverness and the ancestral lands (pre 1840)around Elgin and Huntly.

Netherlands - Rotterdam (not another Haven!) to Delft, Haarlam, camping at Zandvoort, Amsterdam; mostly off road on bike tracks plenty of bike racks to take advantage of the shopping (except Monday) and to visit cultural sites churchs, galleries, cheese shops coffee shops etc. Riding through Amterdam is a breeze but the canal bridges can seem like mountains after all the flat riding; Amsterdam to Belgium via Breda and a very bouncy highway bridge somewhere,

Belgium - Antwerp/Amvers and Bruxelle via fairly good trails and roads; the pannier racks died on the Anvers cobbles but trying to find replacement rack was very difficult but a good excuse to really enjoy that city; Brussels saw Mannequin Piss and enjoyed the wider Boulevards then on my bike and headed like so many other invaders towards Paris,

France - took fairly direct route but had to choose between one of the large Cathedrals (Amiens, Rheims) and chose Champagne - Rheims. The French rural roads are narrow but quiet and no shortage of war cemetries, boulangers and Bar/Tabacs for cool drinks in the hot weather; Paris - entered via the Marne Canal for many Kms to Place Stalingrad and then downhill all the way to the river; I found Paris easy to ride around and the traffic not too bad, but packed the bike on a train to Heidelberg Germany and spent a few weeks as a Backpacker in Paris, Berlin, Koblenz before picking up the bike in Heidelberg

Germany - Heidelberg to Strasbourg via a huge royal hunting ground at Karlsruhe, Baden Baden, Black Forest and some time enjoying Strasbourg food sites etc.

Switzerland - Interlaken to Berne beautiful views but fairly urban compared to the Rockies and infinitely noisier - while the ridden road is quiet the noise from all other roads, trains and military planes in the valleys can be very intrusive.

Italy - Venice to Rome via Padova, Bologna, Firenze, Siena - beautiful quiet roads, ripening grapes, busy cities warm lunches with fresh bread, cheese, prosciuto and fresh grapes on a shady road verge ... but then the autumn rains came and the money ran out....
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Old May 30th, 2013, 06:38 PM   #17
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Amsterdam, Bogotá and Medellín.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 06:58 PM   #18
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germany - my home

netherlands - i live very close to the border (~10km)

singapore - lend two for me and my friend and cycle around the coastline mostly

china - from friends work to her home sharing one bicycle
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Old June 1st, 2013, 08:34 PM   #19
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The Netherlands
Germany

(Cities only)
Toronto
Copenhagen
Jakarta
Bali
San Francisco
Cape Town
Cork
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 01:13 AM   #20
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Belgium: I have driven on bikes all over the country and I must conclude that it is a mixed experience. The bicycle is very popular in flat areas (mainly the northern part of the country), but less popular in bussy and unsafe Brussels and hilly and (for our standards) rather low populated Wallonia. Bicycle road quality is very varied. Sometimes there are wide, soft and separate lanes, but more often bicycle roads are not separated, unsafe and in bad quality. Very often, there even isn't a bicycle road where there should be one. The problem is that the spatial planning in this country is a mess and that it is often impossible to provide broad and separated cycling paths and that it is difficult to avoid bussy traffic. Luckily, many drivers are used to share the road with bikes, so they watch out.

The Netherlands: This country is heaven for cyclists. All over the country, you can go drive anywhere on large, separated cycling roads. It feels like driving on a bike motorway!

Germany: I visited Germany several times, but I only used a bike in the area between Hannover and Hamburg (around the Lüneburger Heide). This region was quite bike friendly and sometimes made me feel like driving in the Netherlands. Of course, this is not so hard in a flat area with long straight roads.
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