Amsterdam is nicknamed "the Venice of the North," but rather than gliding down canals in gondolas, the residents of the Dutch capital prefer to pedal on the pavement. According to recent statistics, there are more bicycles than people in Amsterdam, and 40 percent of all travel there is done by bike -- compared with about two percent in London. Amsterdam is so into pedal pushing that an enormous system of bike paths has been developed to allow cyclists to go anywhere they like, shunning what little car traffic is still stubborn enough to exist. And it's not just Amsterdam -- most of the Netherlands is all about bikes. The nation has around 22,000 miles (35,406 km) of cycling paths, and all of the larger Dutch cities employ civil servants specifically tasked with maintaining and improving the daily lives of riders.
Bike by popular demand:
- There are approximately 1 billion bikes in the world, with China leading the pack at roughly 400 million.
- Bicycles existed before the word "bicycle" did; in their original 1830s form they were called "velocipedes."
- The fastest speed recorded on a bicycle is 167.044 mph (268.831 km/h), set by Dutch cyclist Fred Rompelberg in 1995.