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Cycling has become wheely, ahem, popular in recent years, with more than two million people cycling at least once a week in the UK. In London, bikes make up a quarter of all vehicles in the morning rush hour, and in Cambridge, 29% of people commute to work on two wheels!
But despite these impressive numbers, the rest of Europe is streets ahead of the UK when it comes to cycling. 43% of people in the Netherlands cycle daily, as do 30% of Danish people and 29% of Fins. Pretty impressive huh?
So why are these number so high? Well, one thing that really helps are their excellent cycle paths. Whilst it's true that things have definitely been improving on the cycle path front in Britain (protected or segregated bike lanes are becomming more and more common), there are some pretty cool examples of even swisher bike lanes out there. Here are five of our favourites.
The Pink One
Auckland, New Zealand, wanted both a safe pathway across a busy motorway junction, and a way to join up the western side of their business district for cyclists. So they built a beautiful bike and pedestrian bridge. Then they painted it hot pink.
The 'pathway of light' opened in December 2015, attracting over a thousand cyclists every day in the first two weeks alone. The opening day was particularly special - the first tyres rolling over the pink paradise belonged to a posse of children in shiny green capes.
The Glowing One
Remember those glow stars you had on your bedroom ceiling as a kid? Well, in Nuenen, The Netherlands, they've taken things to the next level with a glow-in-the-dark cycle path! Once home to painter, Vincent Van Gogh, it only seemed right that the glowing stones on the Nuenen bridge be arranged to resemble the artist's painting, The Starry Night.
Coated with a special glow-coating, the stones are charged up every day by a nearby solar panel. And, in case of a particularly dark day, there are also some LED lights around the path's edges. Much easier on the eye than streetlamps, the bridge also helps cut light pollution in the area - go Nuenen!
The One Through a River
'How would you like to immerse yourself totally in the pond landscape of the Wijers?' asks the Limburg tourist board in Belgium. if you've remembered your bike's wetsuit, it's easy. But if you and your bike would prefer to stay dry, Limburg have just built a 212m cycle path right through the lake, with the water at eye-level on both sides!
Limburg is already popular for cycling holidays. In fact, it was the first place to have numbered junctions along the 2000km cycle route. How's that for a claim to fame?
The Stripy One
This cycle path combines two of Cambridge's favourite things: bikes, and world-leading scientific research. This bridge celebrates the work of the nearby Sanger Institute who, in 1995, discovered the BRCA2 gene - a crucial discovery for the progression of cancer research.
Along the 1.5 mile path there are 10,257 stripes in four colours, each representing the genetic letters of the gene. And, at each end of the path lies a sculpture of the DNA double helix, which the clever cookies at Cambridge played a key role in uncovering back in the 1950s!
The City-Wide One
Plenty of cities in North America have cycle lanes, but Calgary went all out in one go. One June morning in 2015, they cut the ribbon on an entire network of segregated cycle paths in downtown Calgary - a first for North America.
What makes these paths especially awesome is the community support. The idea for the cycling network came from ordinary Calgarians who wanted safer cycling - and they campaigned to make it happen! On the first day four times the usual number of cyclists hit the roads. Calgary, we salute you!
This blog was produced by our pals at 10:10 - check them out here!
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