When it comes bicycle friendly cities, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Paris regularly make the top ten lists. With free bikes and dedicated cycling lanes these are the gold standard for cities worth exploring on two wheels. However, there are other cities across the globe that in recent years have become worthy of that title. So, with a nod to as broad a geographical spread as possible, here’s our guide to some of the unsung heroes of the biking world.

Its proximity to the Netherlands may have something to do with its fondness for cycling, but this traditional merchant port with architecture ranging from 16th century guildhouses to modern Law courts designed by Richard Rogers, perfectly lends itself to exploration by bike. Take a spin over to the to the Diamantkwartier (Diamond Quarter), where over 84% of the world’s uncut diamonds pass through and take a peek at the shops. Just don’t go on a Saturday as everything is closed.

Buenos Aires
Thanks to its bike share scheme and the development of over 100km of lanes, the Argentine capital has in recent years seen residents take up cycling in huge numbers. By-laws to ensure garages have dedicated parking areas have increased security measures, however, if taking your own wheels with you holiday insurance to cover theft is a must. Two wheels good, four wheels bad? Free entry to the Museo del Automóvil Club Argentino might rekindle your respect for the humble motorcar.

In a recent survey, Minneapolis was ranked the No.1 friendliest city for bikes in the US. With over 100km each of on-street and off-street bike paths and trails, it is easy to get around both in the city centre and further afield. Worth checking out is the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge which has over 14,000 acres of protected wildlife. Take in the scenery before heading back into the city centre to enjoy one of the 250 free concerts held in the city’s parks during the summer.

Rivalling Barcelona, the Andalusian capital with its Moorish architecture and sultry weather has 120km of bike lanes to help you take in the city’s delights. A visit to the Museo de Bellas Artes with free admission will have you looking at paintings by some of Spain’s finest artists including Velazquez and El Greco or take a spin around the Plaza de Espanaand pretend you are Miguel Indurrain. Just don’t forget your sunblock in that almost 40°c heat.

Cheaper than a taxi, less crowded than the metro, Tokyo’s residents have really taken to the newly sponsored electric-assisted bike share scheme. For a city as densely populated as Tokyo, these have become a workable alternative to public transport, particularly given the locals’ obedience to the 30km/h speed limits in built-up areas. Take in a Noh or Kabuki performance at the National Theatre of Japan and the free admission will leave you feeling totally zen.