Two-wheeled world: useful and unusual bike projects

A moment of useful history: the patent for a two-wheeled scooter was filed exactly 200 years ago. German professor Carl von Dresz has officially approved his “running machine” models. This name is not accidental, because the first bicycles were without pedals.

The bicycle provides health benefits, improves mood and is an efficient means of transportation. However, in the modern world, cyclists have much more problems than it might seem. The lack of a road network, parking spaces, constant danger from a huge number of cars – all this has become an incentive for making original and effective decisions in different cities of the world. 

Copenhagen (Denmark): Creating a culture of cyclists

Let’s start with the most “cycling” capital of the world. It was Copenhagen that laid the foundations for the development of the cycling world. He shows a clear example of how to involve the population in a healthy lifestyle. The city authorities constantly draw the attention of residents to the culture of bicycles. Every Dane has his own “two-wheeled friend”, no one will be surprised on the streets by a respectable man in an expensive suit and on a bicycle or a young girl in stilettos and in a dress who moves around the city on a “bike”. This is fine.

Nørrebro is a district of the capital of Denmark, where the authorities set up the most daring bicycle experiments. The main street cannot be driven by car: it is only for bicycles, taxis and buses. Perhaps this will become a prototype of the downtowns of future cities.

It is interesting that the Danes approached the issue of the velo world pragmatically. Building paths (the whole city is covered by a network of cycle paths on both sides of the highways), creating comfortable conditions for cyclists (traffic light switching periods are adjusted according to the average speed of a bicycle), advertising and popularization – all this requires expenses. But in practice, it turned out that the development of bicycle infrastructure brings profit to the treasury.

The fact is that on average, 1 km of a bicycle trip saves the state about 16 cents (1 km of a journey by car is only 9 cents). This is done by reducing healthcare costs. As a result, the budget receives a new savings item, which quickly pays for all the “bicycle” ideas, and also allows you to direct funds to other areas. And this is in addition to the absence of traffic jams and a decrease in gas pollution … 

Japan: bike = car

It is obvious that in the most developed country in the world there is an extensive system of bike paths and parking lots. The Japanese have reached the next level: a bicycle for them is no longer a toy, but a full-fledged vehicle. The owner of a bicycle must strictly comply with the rules and regulations enshrined at the legislative level. So, drunk driving is prohibited, traffic rules must be observed (in Russia too, but in Japan this is monitored and punished to the fullest extent), it is necessary to turn on the headlights at night. Also, you can not talk on the phone during the trip.


Once you have purchased a bike, it is mandatory to register it: this can be done at a shop, local authorities or police station. The procedure is fast, and information about the new owner is entered into the state register. In fact, the attitude towards a bicycle and its owner is exactly the same as towards a car and its owner. The bike is numbered and given the owner’s name.

This approach minimizes the difference between a motorist and a cyclist and does two things at once:

1. You can be calm about your bike (it will always be found in case of loss or theft).

2. At the mental level, the cyclist feels responsibility and his status, which has a beneficial effect on the popularization of two-wheeled transport. 

Portland (USA): cycling courses in America’s greenest state 

For a very long time, the state of Oregon wanted to launch a modern system of bicycle sharing (sharing bicycles). Either there was no money, then there was no effective proposal, then there was no detailed project. As a result, since 2015, Biketown, one of the most modern projects in the field of bicycle sharing, began operating in the state capital.

The project is developed with the support of Nike and actively implements the latest technical and organizational methods of work. Rental features are as follows:

metal U-locks, simple and reliable

Booking a bike through the app

bicycles with a shaft system instead of a chain (these “bikes” are said to be more efficient and reliable)


Bright orange bicycles have become one of the symbols of the city. There are several large centers in Portland where professional cyclists teach the technique of correct, safe and efficient riding to everyone. At first glance, this seems ridiculous, but let’s think about it: cycling is a serious burden on the body and a rather complicated activity. If people learn how to run correctly (and this is necessary), then you probably need to be able to ride a bike correctly, what do you think? 

Poland: cycling breakthrough in 10 years

Accession to the European Union has positive and negative sides – it is inevitable for any event. But it was with the help of the EU that Poland turned into a country of cyclists in a very short time.

Due to the implementation of EU programs to support cycling and a healthy lifestyle in Poland, modern systems of bike paths began to be built, parking lots and rental points were opened. Bicycle sharing in the neighboring country is represented by the world brand Nextbike. Today, the Rower Miejski (“City Bicycle”) project operates throughout the country. In most cities, rental conditions are very attractive: the first 20 minutes are free, 20-60 minutes cost 2 zlotys (about 60 cents), after – 4 zlotys per hour. At the same time, the network of rental points is systematized, and you can always find a new station after 15-20 minutes of driving, put the bike in and take it right away – new 20 free minutes have started.

Poles are very fond of bicycles. In all major cities, on any day of the week, there are a lot of cyclists on the street, and of very different ages: seeing a man of 60 years old in a special cyclist suit, wearing a helmet and with a movement sensor on his arm is a common thing. The state moderately promotes bicycles, but cares about comfort for those who want to ride – this is the key to the development of cycling culture. 

Bogota (Colombia): Green City and Ciclovia

Unexpectedly for many, but in Latin America there is a growing attention to the environment and public health. Out of habit, referring this region to developing countries, it is difficult to accept that in some areas it has gone ahead.

In the capital of Colombia, Bogota, an extensive network of bike paths with a total length of more than 300 km has been created and connects all areas of the city. In many respects, the merit of the development of this direction lies with Enrique Peñalos, the mayor of the city, who supported environmental projects in every possible way, including the development of cycling culture. As a result, the city has noticeably changed, and the ecological situation has improved significantly.

Every year, Bogotá hosts Ciclovia, a day without a car, when all residents switch to bicycles. In accordance with the hot character of the locals, this day imperceptibly turns into a kind of carnival. In other cities of the country, this kind of holiday is celebrated every Sunday. A real day off that people spend with pleasure, devoting time to their health!     

Amsterdam and Utrecht (Netherlands): 60% of traffic is cyclists

The Netherlands is rightfully considered one of the countries with one of the most developed cycling infrastructures. The state is small and, if desired, you can go around it on two-wheeled vehicles. In Amsterdam, 60% of the population uses bicycles as their main means of transportation. Naturally, the city has almost 500 km of bike paths, a system of traffic lights and road signs for cyclists, and plenty of parking lots. If you want to see what a bicycle is like in a modern developed city, then just go to Amsterdam.


But the small 200-strong university city of Utrecht is not so famous all over the world, although it simply has a unique infrastructure for cyclists. Since the 70s of the last century, the city authorities have been continuously promoting the idea of ​​a healthy lifestyle and transplanting their residents to two-wheeled vehicles. The city has special suspension bridges over freeways for bicycles. All boulevards and large streets are equipped with “green” zones and special roads for cyclists. This allows you to quickly get to your destination, without labor and problems with traffic.

The number of bicycles is growing, so a 3-level parking lot for more than 13 bicycles has been built near Utrecht Central Station. There are practically no facilities of this purpose and of such a scale in the world.

 Malmö (Sweden): cycle paths with names

47 euros were invested in the development of cycling culture in the city of Malmö. High-quality bike paths were built at the expense of these budgetary funds, a network of parking lots was created, and theme days were organized (including the Day Without a Car). As a result, the standard of living in the city has risen, the influx of tourists has also increased, and the cost of maintaining the roads has been significantly reduced. The organization of cycling once again proved its economic benefits.

The Swedes gave proper names to many of the city’s bike paths – it’s easier to find the route in the navigator. And more fun to ride!


UK: corporate cycling culture with showers and parking

The British set an example of a local solution to the main problem of cyclists – when a person refuses to ride a bike to work because he cannot take a shower after it and leave the bike in a safe place.

Active Commuting has eliminated this problem with modern technology and industrial design. A small 2-story building has been built in the parking lot near the main office, where about 50 bicycles can be placed, storage rooms, changing rooms and several showers have been created. Compact dimensions allow you to install this design quickly and efficiently. Now the company is looking for global projects and sponsors to implement its technology. Who knows, maybe the parking lots of the future will be just like that – with showers and places for bikes. 

Christchurch (New Zealand): fresh air, pedals and cinema

And finally, one of the most carefree countries in the world. Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand. The stunning nature of this remote corner of the world, combined with a pleasant climate and people’s concern for their health, are harmonious incentives for the development of cycling. But the New Zealanders remain true to themselves and come up with completely unusual projects, which is probably why they are so happy.

An open-air cinema has opened in Christchurch. It seems nothing special, except that the audience sits on exercise bikes and is forced to pedal with all their might in order to generate electricity for the broadcast of the film. 

The active development of bicycle infrastructure has been noted in the last 20 years. Until that time, no one cared about organizing comfortable cycling. Now more and more projects of this format are being implemented in different cities of the world: special paths are being built in large centers, companies like Nextbike (bike sharing) are expanding their geography. If history develops in this direction, our children will definitely spend more time on a bicycle than in a car. And that is real progress! 

It’s time to take action! Cycling will soon go global!

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