Two Wheels and Two Legs – The Only Way To Travel

Wearing high heels and a long dress for work today and wondering how to travel to work?  Not an issue in Sapporo – just jump on your beautifully maintained, customised bike and simply pedal away.

If you have travelled to Amsterdam you will appreciate how user friendly a city can be for cyclists.  Well, in Japan, Sapporo absolutely compares to the most bike friendly cities of Europe. Indeed, if you are not riding around Sapporo dressed in your finest outfits then you are just not cutting it!

Bikes of all shapes and sizes transit the sidewalks and cycle paths.  From bikes that have matching frame, tire and saddle colours (pink, orange, blue and yellow are among them) to bikes that are complete with two baby carriers.  Bikes for looks and bikes for practical use can be seen all around the city.

Unfortunately the Japanese cyclists in Sapporo don’t seem to care to much for their heads because non of them wear helmets – not a fashion statement in this part of Japan.  However, these two wheeled commuters do look stylish in their business suits, goth outfits and latest fashion attire.

And what do you do with your bike once you arrive at your destination?  Just put a simple lock around the rear tire.  It doesn’t have to be secured to any fixed object because crime here is so low that it would be extremely rare for someone’s bike to go missing.  Indeed, we started to wonder why anyone would lock their bike up at all.

And if you are wondering whether all of these bikes create congestion on the sidewalks it seems not.  Friendly security staff come along and carefully align them and pick up any bikes that have fallen over.  You have to love the Japanese!

Finally, if you are wondering whether it is safe to walk around with all these cyclists on the footpaths and roadways you can rest assured that you won’t get hurt.  The Sapporo cycle commuters are expert at negotiating pedestrians, other cyclists and traffic.  Indeed, we don’t even remember any bells are “excuse me’s” the whole time we were there.

If you want to join the locals on their bikes you can hire a bike from one of the bike rental shops or pick one up from the bike rental racks on the streets. Check out the Sapporo Community Bike Blog here.

And just in case you were wondering what happens to all the cyclists during the long Sapporo winter you can check out this site to see that the weather doesn’t slow the locals down! And here’s a great video to watch too.

Oh, for a bike friendly city like Sapporo.  Western cities and many Asian cities could learn a great deal from this city!

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