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How Cambridge Became the U.K.'s Model Cycling City

It has loads of car-free areas in the historic center, for one thing.
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Prisoner 5413 / Flickr

The small city of Cambridge in the U.K. is known for its august and venerable university, founded in 1209; its magnificent medieval architecture; and the bucolic River Cam, which meanders through the town. It is less known for being a place where people ride bicycles.

That perception may be changing. The city of about 124,000 has been steadily becoming a friendlier place for those on two wheels. Official reports say 29 percent of Cambridge commuters cycle to work, and some advocates believe up to half of all trips in the city center are made on bikes. Those are numbers that rival some of the most cycle-friendly cities in the world. And as in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany, where overall ridership is high, the proportion of women who cycle in Cambridge is pretty much equal to that of men.