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Top 10 Countries with the Highest Bicycle Usage

Countries with the Highest Bicycle Usage

Cycling is incredibly popular worldwide, and as we move towards a fully green economy, that popularity will only grow. Cycling is an efficient way to avoid traffic on a hectic commute and is great for the environment.

How many bicycles are there worldwide?

Although this question is quite challenging to answer accurately, there were roughly 1 billion bicycles worldwide, twice as many as cars. That was before the pandemic-cycling boom, so the figure will probably have increased dramatically as people took to the cycle paths for exercise, recreation and well-being. Bicycle production has recently expanded to more than 100 million annually (compared to 50 million cars).

Facts about Bicycle Usage by country:

  • Since bicycles were introduced in the 19th century, they have been used for a variety of uses: recreation, work, military, entertainment, sports, etc.
  • There are an estimated one billion bicycles around the globe, making them the most common means of transportation.
  • The first bicycle, known as the “velocipede,” was invented in 1817 by Baron Karl von Drais of Germany. It was driven by the rider pushing off the ground with their feet because it had no pedals.
  • The first bicycle with pedals was invented in 1839 by Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan.
  • The Tour de France, the most well-known bicycle race in the World, was first held in 1903 and covered around 3,500 kilometres (2,200 mi).
  • The fastest speed ever achieved on a bicycle is 334.6 km/h (207.9 mph), set by Bruce Bursford in 1996. 
  • The World’s longest bicycle is 47.5 m (155 ft 8 in) in length and was achieved by Bernie Ryan (Australia) as measured and ridden in Paynesville, Victoria, Australia, on 14 November 2020. ( As of Guinness World Records)
  • Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of 85% head injury.
  • 364,000 bicycles are produced daily. That’s 15,000 per hour, or 253 a minute, or four bikes a second.
  • 47,670 bikes are being sold daily. Yes, every two seconds, someone will buy a bike.
  • The production numbers for bicycles are 2.5 times greater than for cars.
  • In 2016, Copenhagen declared there were more bikes than cars on its streets for the first time in history.

The following are the top 10 countries with the highest bicycle usage:

1. Netherlands

Bicycle usage in the Netherlands is very common, with Cycling being a common mode of transportation for both short and long distances. In fact, the Netherlands is known as one of the most bicycle-friendly countries in the World, with a well-developed cycling infrastructure and a strong culture of Cycling.

The Netherlands has actually had more bikes per capita than any other European nation since 1911, which is a long time ago. All around the World, the Netherlands is known as “the land of bicycles” – and for good reason. There are around 23 million bicycles (including about 2.4 million e-bikes) in the Netherlands – that’s more bicycles than people! This equates to an average of 1.3 bicycles per person in the Netherlands and about 680 bikes per square kilometre. In fact, data has shown that around 2.3 per cent of the World’s bikes are in the Netherlands!

The Netherlands is renowned for its notable cycling infrastructure and culture, with about 28% of all trips in the country made by bicycle. The country has made significant investments in creating facilities and paths specifically for cyclists because it believes that Cycling is an easy and healthful way to move around.

The Netherlands has also implemented various policies and initiatives to encourage Cycling. For example, many Dutch cities offer bike-sharing schemes that allow residents and tourists to rent bicycles for short periods of time. In addition, the Dutch government offers tax breaks to people who cycle to work, and many employers offer incentives for Cycling, such as bike storage facilities and shower facilities for employees who cycle to work.

2. Denmark

Bicycles are a very popular mode of transportation in Denmark, with many Danes using them to get to work, school, or run errands. It is said that “Danes are practically born on a bike”. In fact, Denmark is known for its extensive network of bike paths, which makes cycling a safe and convenient option for many people.

18% of all trips in Denmark are made by bicycles. Each person travels 1.6 kilometres on a bicycle on average. Denmark may not have the highest per-capita bike ownership rate in the World, but the country’s capital, Copenhagen, beat Amsterdam to the title of bike-friendliest city in 2015.

Denmark is a country that has a strong cycling culture. The Danish government has made significant investments in cycling infrastructure, including bike lanes, bike bridges, and bike parking facilities. In addition, many workplaces offer bike parking and changing rooms for employees who cycle to work.

In Denmark, one of the most popular cycling events is the Tour de France-inspired race, the Tour de Denmark, which attracts professional cyclists from around the World. Additionally, the Copenhagenize Index, which ranks cities based on their bicycle-friendliness, has consistently ranked Copenhagen as one of the top cities for Cycling in the World.

3. Germany

Germany has a vibrant cycling culture, with an expected 81 million bicycles in the country as of the year 2021, Cycling is a common means of transportation for both commuting and leisure, and many communities have made investments in cycling-specific facilities and lanes.

Bicycles are used for 9% of all trips in Germany. The daily distance travelled by each resident is 0.9 kilometres. Compared to the UK, Germany shows significantly greater consideration for bicycles on the road.

One of the most well-known cycling events in Germany is the annual “Deutschland Tour “, which takes place in August. On this day, people are encouraged to cycle to work or school, and many cities organize events and activities to promote Cycling.

Germany also has a strong tradition of cycling tourism, with many people choosing to explore the country’s scenic countryside and charming towns by bicycle. There are numerous cycling routes throughout Germany, including the famous “Romantic Road” and the “Berlin Wall Trail”.

4. Sweden

Sweden is similar to 10.52 million(2022) people, 64 per cent of whom are also cyclists. The bicycle in the Sweden family is something as necessary as a television.

Sweden is another country with a vibrant cycling culture and extensive cycling infrastructure. Approximately 12% of all trips in Sweden are made by bicycle, and many cities have invested in dedicated cycling paths and facilities.

In cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö, many people use bicycles to commute to work or school, run errands, or enjoy the outdoors. As a result, these cities have well-developed cycling infrastructure, including dedicated bike lanes and cycle paths, as well as bike parking facilities.

Cycling tourism is also popular in Sweden during the summer months, particularly in scenic areas like the West Coast, Gotland Island, and Öland Island. In addition, many Swedish cities also have bike-sharing programs, allowing visitors and residents alike to rent a bike for a day or longer easily.

5. Norway

Bicycle usage in Norway has been increasing steadily over the past few years. While Norway has traditionally been known for its love of cars, the country is now making a conscious effort to promote Cycling as a viable alternative mode of transportation. In Norway, with a population of 5.43 million people, 61 per cent of people in the country are cyclists.

The number of people cycling in Norway has increased significantly. In Norway, counted cycle trips increased by 11% from 2018 (100, 100–100) to 2020 (111.0, 106.2–115.1), with large geographical differences. In Southern Norway, there was a significant increase of 23%, and in Northern Norway, there was a nonsignificant decrease of 8% from 2018 to 2020. 

Another factor that is contributing to the growth of Cycling in Norway is the popularity of e-bikes. E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular in Norway, especially among older people and those who live in hilly areas. E-bikes provide an added boost when Cycling, making it easier to tackle hills and headwinds.

6. Finland

Around 14% of all trips in Finland are now made on bicycles, demonstrating the country’s developing cycling culture. The country has made investments in facilities and paths specifically designed for cyclists, and Cycling is seen as a practical and environmentally friendly means of transportation.

One of the factors why Cycling is so popular in Finland is the country’s natural beauty and vast outdoor areas, which offer excellent opportunities for cycling enthusiasts. In fact, cycling tourism has become a significant industry in Finland, with many visitors coming specifically to explore the country’s scenic cycling routes.

In Oulu, around one in five of all trips made are by bike, a figure that falls to 12% during the winter. In contrast, around 2% of all trips are made by bicycle in London. In Copenhagen, just a third of trips are made on a bike, compared to 50% in the Dutch cities of Utrecht and Amsterdam. Cycling accounts for 9% of trips in Helsinki, the capital city further south.

7. Japan

Bicycle usage in Japan is quite common, particularly for short trips and commuting in urban areas. Many Japanese people choose to cycle because it is an affordable, healthy, and convenient way to get around. In Tokyo and other large Japanese cities, bicycles are a popular mode of transportation due to the relatively short distances between destinations and the heavy traffic congestion.

Around 1.5 million bicycles, with a sales value of nearly 88 billion Japanese yen, were sold in Japan in 2022. In 2022, Japan produced about 750 thousand bicycles or almost half of the domestic demand. Over the course of the same year, more than five million bicycles were brought into the nation. 

Cycling is also popular for recreational purposes in Japan, with many people enjoying weekend bike rides or participating in cycling events and races. One particularly famous cycling event in Japan is the annual Shimanami Kaido bike ride, which takes cyclists on a 60-kilometre journey across a series of bridges and islands in the Seto Inland Sea. The Tour of Japan is also a well-known cycling event that attracts professional cyclists from around the World.

Japan has a unique bicycle culture that has developed over the years. For example, many Japanese people decorate their bicycles with colourful decorations or accessories, making them stand out on the streets. In addition, there are specialized bicycles designed for specific purposes, such as the “mamachari” (mom’s bicycle), which is designed with a large basket and child seat for carrying children and groceries.

8. Switzerland

Cycling is quite popular, particularly for recreational purposes in Switzerland. Many people enjoy cycling through Switzerland’s beautiful countryside, which features stunning mountain ranges, lakes, and forests. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, around 4% of all trips in Switzerland are made by bicycle, which corresponds to about 700,000 bicycle trips per day.

Switzerland has a well-developed network of cycling routes, including more than 12,000 kilometres of signposted bike paths, trails, and cycleways. These routes are often separated from motor vehicle traffic, making cycling a safe and enjoyable experience.

One unique aspect of Cycling in Switzerland is the popularity of e-bikes or electric bicycles. E-bikes have an electric motor that helps the rider pedal, making it considerably simpler to go uphill or into headwinds. E-bikes have become increasingly popular in Switzerland in recent years, particularly among older adults who want to continue Cycling but may have physical limitations.

Switzerland also has a strong tradition of competitive Cycling, with many famous professional cyclists coming from the country, such as Fabian Cancellara and Stefan Küng. Cycling races, such as the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de Romandie, are popular events that draw crowds of cycling enthusiasts from around the World.

9. Belgium

Bicycle riding is very popular and widespread in Belgium. In fact, Belgium is known for its cycling culture and infrastructure, and many people use bicycles as a primary mode of transportation. The cities of Brussels, Antwerp, and Ghent, in particular, have invested heavily in cycling infrastructure in recent years, making it easier for people to cycle in these busy urban environments.

8% of all trips are performed by bicycle in Belgium. The average distance travelled per person per day is 0.9 km. Cycling is a national sport for Belgians.

Belgium has a long history of professional Cycling, and the country has produced many world-renowned cyclists, such as Eddy Merckx and Philippe Gilbert. Cycling is a popular spectator sport, with many people turning out to watch professional races such as the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

10. China

China, known as the “kingdom of bicycles”, owns nearly 500 million bicycles. Bicycles are a common means of transportation in many Chinese cities, particularly in urban areas where traffic congestion is common.

Bicycle usage in China has a long history and has been an important mode of transportation for many decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, China’s cities were known for their high levels of bicycle usage, with millions of people commuting to work and running errands on two wheels. However, the popularity of bicycles has declined in recent years as China has undergone rapid urbanization and modernization.

Some people might be surprised to see China on this list, given the size of the country’s population and the fact that it is per capita. 

In Shanghai, the most populated city in China, 60% of local cyclists go by bicycle each day. 9.43 million bicycles and 19,213,200 persons live in the city.

In China, there has recently been an increase in interest in promoting bicycles as a viable and environmentally beneficial method of transportation. Several cities, such as Hangzhou and Chengdu, have implemented bike-sharing programs that allow people to rent bicycles for short periods of time, making it easier for commuters to use bicycles for part of their daily journeys.

What are the benefits of bicycle riding?

There are many benefits to riding a bicycle, both for society and individuals as a whole. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Health benefits: Cycling is a fantastic cardiovascular workout that also strengthens bones and muscles while lowering the risk of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Cycling can be a fun and enjoyable activity that can help reduce stress, improve mood, and increase overall well-being.
  2. Environmental benefits: Cycling is a sustainable and eco-friendly mode of transportation that produces no air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions, making it an excellent choice for reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.
  3. Economic benefits: Cycling can help reduce the cost of transportation, as bicycles are much cheaper to purchase and maintain than cars or other motor vehicles. In addition, Cycling can help reduce traffic congestion and the need for expensive road infrastructure.
  4. Social benefits: Cycling can help create a sense of community and social connection, as people who cycle often interact with others on the road or through cycling events and clubs.

Which country is the biggest manufacturer of bicycles?

The World’s largest producer of bicycles is still China. Despite having relatively low cycling rates, it produces more than 60% of all bicycles. A large number of those automobiles are exported, primarily to the USA. China is the source of 86% of the bicycles sold in the US. 

How has the pandemic changed the bicycle industry?

As we are all painfully aware, our lives have taken a turn in the past few years. According to Statista, the amount of money spent on bicycles and accessories grew from $6 billion to $8.2 billion in the span of a year. The growth and pandemic combined led to another problem – a shortage of bikes. The “Bike Boom”, as many called it, was a nuisance for both manufacturers and customers. It was a combination of many factors:

  • problems with shipping
  • shortage of components
  • lockdowns
  • increased need for bikes, and so much more

Top 10 Cycling-Friendly Cities in the World

The following list is according to the Global Bicycle Cities Index 2022:

1. Utrecht, Netherlands

2. Munster, Germany

3. Antwerp, Belgium

4. Copenhagen, Denmark

5. Amsterdam, Netherlands

6. Malmo, Sweden

7. Hangzhou, China

8. Bern, Switzerland

9. Bremen, Germany

10. Hannover, Germany

10 Best Cycling Destinations in the World 

  1. Girona, Spain
  2. Cape Town, South Africa
  3. Dolomites, Italy
  4. Morzine, French Alps
  5. Pyrenees, France & Spain
  6. Cozumel, Mexico
  7. Boulder & Aspen, USA
  8. Peak District, UK
  9. Patagonia, Chile
  10. Manali – Leh cycling, India

The 10 Best Bicycle Brands in the World 

  1. Trek
  2. Specialized
  3. Cannondale
  4. Santa Cruz
  5. Scott
  6. Giant Bicycles
  7. Rad Power Bikes
  8. Marin Bikes
  9. Ride1Up
  10. Kona Bikes


1. When is World Bicycle Day?

World Bicycle Day is celebrated annually on 3 June. This day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 to promote the use of bicycles as a sustainable and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. The celebration of World Bicycle Day aims to increase awareness about the benefits of Cycling and inspire people to use bicycles as a mode of transportation for commuting, exercise, and leisure.

2. Who invented the bicycle?

German aristocrat Karl von Drais created the modern bicycle as we knew it today in the 19th century. His invention called the “running machine” or “dandy horse,” was a precursor to the bicycle and made of a wooden frame with two wheels and a handlebar for steering, but without pedals. The rider would propel the machine forward by pushing off the ground with their feet. Later, in the 1860s, pedals were added to the front wheel by Frenchman Pierre Michaux, which led to the creation of the first true bicycle.

3. What is an electric bicycle?

An e-bike, also known as an electric bicycle, is a bicycle using an electric motor that provides additional power to the pedals. E-bikes usually have a rechargeable battery and a controller that regulates the assistance provided by the motor

4. What is a mountain bicycle?

A mountain bicycle, also known as a mountain bike or MTB, is a type of bicycle that is designed for off-road Cycling on rough terrain. Mountain bikes are typically built with sturdy frames, wide tires with aggressive tread patterns, and suspension systems that absorb shock from uneven terrain. They also have a wide range of gears that allow riders to climb steep hills and descend steep slopes. Some mountain bikes also come with disc brakes for improved stopping power in wet and muddy conditions. Mountain bikes can be used for a variety of activities, including trail riding, cross-country racing, all-mountain riding, and downhill racing.

Read More: World’s Most Bicycle Friendly Cities (Top 90 Cities)

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