Cycling is getting more and more popular in Iceland. Although the country only has 320,000 inhabitants, Reykjavik alone has ten bike shops. The increase in demand is due to the same set of factors that is powering the bicycle boom in other European countries: green issues, worries about traffic congestion, the price of fuel, and personal health. With fierce winds during winter storms, Iceland can be a tough place to ride a bike, but increasing numbers of residents are taking to two wheels anyway.
Even though Reykjavik has one of the highest per capita levels of car ownership in the world - a staggering 680 cars per 1000 residents - there’s a noticeable increase in the number of inhabitants who cycle to work and to the shops, said Morten Lange, president of the Icelandic Cyclists' Federation, Landssamtök hjólreiðamanna.
“Outside the capital there is virtually nothing in the way of bicycling facilities,” said Lange. Within Greater Reykjavik there are more than 100 kilometres of shared-use paths. Reykjavik has built a 7 kilometre cyclist-only segregated path, with more to come, thanks to increased government spending on cycle infrastructure. There is even more good news for cyclists. Sales manager of one of the biggest bike shops in Reykjavik, Ragnar Ingólfsson, says that the government is starting to plan all roads with cyclists in mind and Reykjavik is to spend billions of Icelandic kronur on bike paths for commuters.
Source: Bike Biz
Photo by Andreas Tille (GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons