MobilityCyclingCycling: How to Get Started as an Intermediate City

Cycling: How to Get Started as an Intermediate City

Cornelia Forsthuber
Cornelia Forsthuber
I'm passionate about including the next generation of CityChangers into the conversation, exploring my city, and meaningful conversations. In my free time, I enjoy the other good things in life: literature, hiking, and eating my way through Vienna.

In your city are many people who love cycling, but a real cycling culture does not yet exist, as the existing cycling infrastructure is still insufficient for many? Here you’ll find the steps to take to increase cycling further.

Intermediate cities have a committed number of people cycling, ranging between 10 – 30%, but do not boost of a widespread cycling culture. These cities need to build upon the infrastructure they already have, maintain political support and target demographics individually. 

Example cities to be named here include London, Bern, Bogotá and New York.

Just like with our tips for beginner cities, what needs to be done next highly depends on your local context and on what has already been tried and done in your specific city. Don’t expect changes to happen overnight – but you’d be surprised how much can change in a matter of 12 to 24 months.

Recommended next steps to increase cycling are: 

1. Extend your cycling network

Enable cycling throughout the city by filling in the gaps of your city’s cycling network. Ideally, you have already mapped out the cycling routes that exist so far – make connections, and make sure to equally distribute cycle lanes throughout all districts and neighbourhood demographics.

Just like with your initial efforts, traffic calming measures, cycle lanes and tracks can be used to achieve this.

2. Targeted cycling campaigns

Having raised general awareness, campaigns need to be tailored to the different demographics. Find out which user groups you want to focus your next campaigns on, and who you want to encourage to cycle (more).

For ideas, see our articles on inclusive cycling for: 

3. Specific measures

They are many measures a city can put in place to increase cycling. It is not one or the other; to improve your cycling infrastructure you eventually need to take all of these steps which often intersect and compliment each other.

3.1. Bike Sharing Schemes

Allowing city goers to pick up and drop off bikes as an easy way to get around. For help, see ‘How to Implement Bike Sharing’. 

3.2. Bike parking

Increase the number of bike parking stands around the city for the convenience of bike users. Check out this article by the Cycling Embassy of Denmark to learn why good bike parking is not that difficult. To find out why Mexico City serves as a best-practice example for bike sharing, click here.

3.3. Winter Services for Cycling

Enabling cycling all year round allows for the bicycle to be a reliable means of transport. See ‘How to Cycle in Extreme Conditions’ to read

3.4. Park and Pedal Schemes

Think about Providing access to a city via a park and pedal scheme to heighten awareness of cycling.

3.5. Bike Repair Stations

Dot bicycle pumps and toolkits around the city to help out people on bicycles in need.

3.6. Bicycle Theft Prevention Measures

Fear of a bike being stolen will deter people from cycling, so taking measures like establish a tracking system or police unit can help. Read about Denmark’s fight against Bicycle Theft in this article – for tips to prevent your own bike being stolen, click here.

4. Connections to Public Transport

Link cycle routes to public transport stations, with bicycle parking and access onboard. To find out how Malmö integrated cycling with public transport, read this report from the EU-project SMILE.

For even more information, check out this paper by the International Transport Forum on Integrated and Sustainable Urban Transport.

5. Cycle Highways

Create high quality commuter cycle routes to link the outskirts to the city.

For the basics, see ‘A need to know Guide on Cycle Highways’.

For more advanced information, see ‘A Nice to Know Guide on Cycle Highways’.


Again, this is not a bulletproof prioritization of what steps to take first. You’ll have to see what’s best for your city. Especially targeted cycling campaigns often go alongside specific measures as they draw attention to the steps taken to improve cycling infrastructure.

Curious to see where you could head after implementing measures like the ones we listed? Welcome to the champions league!

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