Whether it is done for fun, exercise, or economic reasons, cycling through congested city roads can be quite tricky. The dream of kerb-squeezed cyclists came true when a growing number of countries like Denmark and the Netherlands paid more attention to “architecture for bikes”. Urban planners and designers started to diverge from designing car-oriented roads to more bike-friendly pathways of excellent architecture and infrastructure. For safer cycling conditions, and to make it more inviting, many of these paths have clear markings, smooth surfaces, and signs as well as lights for bicycles. The pathways are made wide enough to allow the passage of multiple bikes side-by-side.
1. Brygge Bridge – Copenhagen, Denmark
The 190m bridge was built for both cyclists and pedestrians across Copenhagen Harbor. The swing mechanism of the bridge allows its opening for the passage of boats and ships. It was designed by Dissing and Weitling, and it is now a popular place for attaching love padlocks.
2. Hovenring – Eindhoven, Netherlands
This floating roundabout is composed of a 72m-diameter disc suspended by 24 steel cables. It was designed by IPV Delft to separate bikers from the busy road below.
3. Melkweg Bridge – Purmerend, Netherlands
It is an impressive solution by Next Architects to the different heights of the banks of North Holland Canal. The zig-zag bridge allows the passage of boats in the canal underneath by opening in the middle and folding to one side. There is also a 12-meter-high arch which offers as a shortcut for pedestrians.
4. Peace Bridge – Calgary, Canada
The 2.5m-wide bicycle path runs down the center of the bridge with a pavement for pedestrians on either side. The 126-meter-long bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava, has a helical steel structure with a glass roof and lighting for night-time use.
5. Cykelslangen – Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish designers Dissing and Weitling created a snake-like path upon the request of Copenhagen riders who needed a way to facilitate carrying their bikes up steep stairs. The 220-meter-long fancy orange bridge links Kalvebod Brygge and the Island Brygge.
6. Tjensvollkrysset – Stavanger, Norway
While its Dutch counterpart, the Hovenring, is far more famous due to its futuristic design, this floating roundabout has a conventional concrete structure with a diameter of 72m. Its fence is clad in a seemingly random pattern of colored tiles from the inside.
7. LightPathAKL – Auckland, New Zealand
A stretch of 600 meters that was part of a disused highway in Auckland was transformed by Monk Mackenzie Architects and Landlab into a contemporary urban space for cyclists and pedestrians. The asphalt highway was given a make-over by using pink resin flooring and aggregate surfacing.
8. Lex van Delden Bridge – Amsterdam, Netherlands
The bridge, designed by Dok Architecten, connects not only the Boelelaan and the Gershwinplein streets but moreover the city center to the suburb across the Boele Canal. In addition to its function as a pathway for bikes and pedestrians to cross he river, the bridge also offers pedestrians the chance to slow down and admire the surroundings.
9. Twisted Valley – Alicante, Spain
This bridge, designed by Grupo Aranea, is a network of trails which fold, bend, and stretch. It was introduced as a mean to facilitate accessibility and multiply the public use of those steep slopes in Elche district. Vegetation was taken into consideration by planting native species of trees to offer shade for the bridge users.
10. Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bicycle Path – Nuenen, Netherlands
In celebration of Vincent Van Gogh’s 125th birthday and in tribute to the Starry Night painting by the great artist, Dutch designer Dan Roosegaarde designed this sparkling path for cyclists between Nuenen and Eindhoven. “Dynamic Paint” was used as a coating for thousands of stones that line the path. The paint absorbs daylight and emits it as a fluorescence over an 8-hour-period at night.