15 of the World’s Most Bike-Friendly Cities

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Biking is a great way to stay active and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some cities that are actively encouraging this green mode of transportation. 

1. COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 

Copenhagen is often considered the most bike-friendly city in the world. Tourists are often overwhelmed by the number of bicycles flying by, and children are taught to ride before they’re even old enough to go to school. Thanks to bicycle-friendly measures taken by the city, nearly half of all Copenhageners commute to work by bike, and 35 percent of all people who work in Copenhagen—those who live in the suburbs included—commute on their bicycles. Cyclists enjoy 390 kilometers (about 242 miles) of designated bike lanes, and Greater Copenhagen now has a “Cycle Super Highway” which connects the city to the town of Albertslund with plenty of amenities along the way, like air pumps, safer intersections, and traffic lights timed to average cycling speed to minimize stopping.

2. AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS 

You can’t really experience Amsterdam without taking a spin on a bicycle. There are over 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam, which means there are more bikes than people. The relatively flat streets often filled with bicycles: People use them to go to work, drop children at school, and cart around groceries. If you’re visiting, there are plenty of places for tourists to rent a bicycle and start exploring, not to mention guided tours and illustrated booklets intended to help newcomers learn how to get around efficiently. 

3. PORTLAND, OREGON 

It’s hard to beat Europe in terms of bicycle-friendliness, but Portland is trying its best. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is slowly making improvements to help citizens and tourists safely get around safely on two wheels. Cyclists can snag free printed city and neighborhood maps, safety information, and more to help better navigate when visiting. There’s also a public bike rental system that’s considered one of the greenest in the world; they’ve managed to cut down the need for excess kiosks by utilizing pre-existing bike corrals. The city offers other amenities, too, including bike lockers, bike riding classes, and etiquette guides. 

4. BOULDER, COLORADO

Boulder’s residents already have a reputation for their love of the outdoors, so it makes sense that cycling would be a popular way to get around. The city’s 300 miles of bikeways include on-street bike lanes, contra-flow bike lanes, designated bike routes, paved shoulders, multi-use paths, and soft-surface paths. There’s also a bike registration program to help protect bicycles from theft. 

5. MONTREAL, CANADA 

The bustling Canadian city of Montreal has an impressive 600 kilometres (about 373 miles) of bike paths—almost twice as many as Copenhagen. In the spring, cyclists take to these designated paths, making pit stops along the way at various food and drink stands. What’s more, each year the city hosts a bike festival, welcoming bikers of all ages and skill levels to take a tour around town. 

6. TOKYO, JAPAN 

About 14 percent of all commuters in Tokyo are bicycle riders. While that may seem paltry compared to Copenhagen’s impressive 50 percent, it’s impressive considering how large and dense Tokyo actually is. Those who choose to hop on a bike can enjoy ample parking, lots of bike paths, and cycling tours. Japan is also known for making wonderfully constructed bicycles that stand the test of time. 

7. RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL 

Rio got on board with bicycles in 1992, which is when they first started building bike lanes. Today, the city has a thriving cyclist population. Their new bike-sharing program boasts 60 stations and 600 bicycles distributed throughout the city. Bike Rio offers monthly passes for R$ 10,00 (that’s about $2.50 in U.S. dollars), allowing residents and visitors unlimited access to the program’s bikes. On the weekends, riders can take a trip on one of the beach avenues for a lovely view of the water as they ride. 

8. STRASBOURG, FRANCE 

The little city of Strasbourg is a great place to bike—mainly because it’s really, really pretty. Eight percent of the city’s population currently rides a bicycle, but the city is working hard to get that number up. They aim to double the number of cyclists by 2025. 

9. BARCELONA, SPAIN 

Barcelona is taking baby steps towards becoming a more hospitable place for bikers. They continue to expand their system of bike paths, and their bike share program is one of the most frequently used in the world. Bicycle safety is also a huge priority: city officials have recently instituted measures intended to slow car traffic. If you’re just visiting, there are a number of different bike tours you can sign up for—and plenty of scenic paths that pass right by the water. 

10. BUDAPEST, HUNGARY 

Residents of Budapest can currently get around town on 200 kilometers (124 miles) of cycling paths, which bring riders through the center city or in and around its many stunning parks. The city also offers a number of guided tours, including one that ends with a nice bowl of goulash.

11. AUSTIN, TEXAS 

Austin is committed to helping its residents live greener lives, and it shows in their biking initiatives. There are plenty of paths and hundreds of bike racks for riders to use. If you’re visiting, pick up a cycling map from one of the town’s many bike shops, then hit the trail. There are three major paths to help riders navigate downtown: the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, the Rio Grande Roadway, and the Pfluger Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge.

12. PARIS, FRANCE 

Thanks to flat roads, slow traffic, and conscientious drivers, Paris is a remarkably easy place to ride a bike. The city’s Vélib bike-sharing program is the largest in the world outside of China. (The name is a mashup of the words vélo, meaning bike, and liberté, meaning freedom). There are about 20,000 rental bikes available at 1800 stations throughout town. Since the introduction of the bike-sharing program in 2007, bikeways have begun to pop up all over the bustling city. 

13. SEVILLE, SPAIN 

Seville is no match for cities like Amsterdam or Copenhagen, but they’re quickly becoming a contender in the battle to be “bicycle friendliest.” Seville offers 160 kilometers (100 miles) of bike paths, and sees about 70,000 bicycles hitting the streets every day. Compare this to the measly 6000 bicycles being used just a few years ago, and it quickly becomes apparent how much effort the city has put into upping their cycling game. They too offer a bike-sharing program (Sevici), which has been running for eight years, and bike shop owners claim that lately, they’ve been struggling to keep up with demand as more and more residents have taken to pedaling the streets. 

14. DUBLIN, IRELAND 

Dublin’s bike-sharing program, dublinbikes, features more than 100 stations across the city, and an annual subscription costs just €20 (about $22). A number of tour companies in Dublin offer guided excursions too, tailored to both beginner and advanced cyclists.

15. BERLIN, GERMANY 

Bikers in Berlin make the most of the city’s flat terrain, wide streets, and numerous bikeways. The 900 kilometers (about 559 miles) of cycling paths make it easy to get around without worrying about car traffic. There are plenty of themed tours for tourists, often geared towards sports or food.

15 Delicious Facts About Pizza Hut

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iStock.com/RiverNorthPhotography

For more than 60 years, Pizza Hut has been slinging hot, cheesy pies to hungry consumers all over the world. (There are more than 16,000 locations worldwide.) Whether you're a meat lover or vegetarian, here are 15 things you should know about the popular pizza chain.

1. It was founded by two brothers who were still in college.

Dan and Frank Carney borrowed $600 from their mother in 1958 to open a pizza place while attending Wichita State University. The name was inspired by the former bar that they rented to open their first location.

2. Pizza Hut franchising was almost instant.

A year after the first location opened in Wichita, Kansas, the Carney brothers had already incorporated the business and asked their friend Dick Hassur to open the first franchise location in Topeka, Kansas. Hassur, who had previously gone to school and worked at Boeing with Dan Carney, was looking for a way out of his insurance agent job. He soon became a multi-franchise owner, and worked to find other managers who could open Pizza Huts across the country.

Once, when a successful manager of a Wichita location put in his notice, Hassur was sent in to convince the man to stay. That manager happened to be Bill Parcells, who had resigned his Pizza Hut job in order to take his first coaching job at a small Nebraska college. Of course, he later went on to coach numerous NFL teams, including leading the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories. "I might have been wrong there," Hassur said of trying to convince Parcells his salary would be better as a manager than as a coach, "but I'm sure he'd have been successful with Pizza Hut, too."

3. There was a mascot in the early days.

image of vintage Pizza Hut restaurants featuring mascot Pizza Pete
Roadsidepictures, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Before the iconic red roof logo was adopted in 1969, Pizza Hut had a mascot named Pizza Pete who also served as its logo. The mustachioed cartoon man wore a chef’s hat, neckerchief, and an apron while serving up hot meals to hungry customers. Pizza Pete was still used throughout the 1970s on bags, cups, and advertisements, but was eventually phased out.

4. Pizza Hut perfume was a thing that existed.

It was announced late in 2012 that Pizza Hut had plans to release a limited edition perfume that smelled like "fresh dough with a bit of spice." One hundred fans of the Pizza Hut Canada Facebook page won bottles of the scent, and another promotion around Valentine's Day gave American pizza lovers a chance to own the fragrance via a Twitter contest. The packaging for the perfume resembled mini pizza boxes, and a few later surfaced on eBay for as much as $495.

5. They struck gold with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

image of people dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

When a group of crime fighting turtles that love pizza become huge pop culture icons, it's a no-brainer that a pizza company should do business with them. Domino's was featured in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in 1990, but ads for Pizza Hut were included on VHS when the film hit home video. Pizza Hut also reportedly spent around $20 million on marketing campaigns for the Turtles during the 1990 "Coming Out of Their Shells" concert tour and album release. The partnership continued all the way up to the 2014 release of Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

6. Pizza Hut Easy-Bake ovens were also real.

Children of the '70s were lucky enough to own small toy ovens shaped like the restaurant in which they could bake tiny little Pizza Hut pizzas under a 60-watt light bulb.

7. Their vintage commercials are star-studded.

An 11-year-old Elijah Wood got his start flinging potato salad at his co-star; Ringo Starr and the Monkees marveled at the stuffed-crust pizza; and former Soviet statesman Mikhail Gorbachev had a very odd, political pizza pitch, appearing along with his young granddaughter in a Russian Pizza Hut (though the ad was not set to run in Russia).

8. The Book It! program is 35 years old.

In 1984, Pizza Hut kicked off the BOOK IT! program, an initiative to encourage children to read by rewarding them with "praise, recognition and pizza." It was such a success that First Lady Barbara Bush threw a reading-themed pizza party at the White House in 1989. The program is now the "longest-running corporate-supported reading program in the country" and has reached over 60 million children.

9. They were early to the pan pizza create.

image of someone removing a slice from a personal pan pizza
iStock

Pizza Hut introduced pan pizza in 1980, nine years before their competition, Domino's, added the style to their menu. In 1983, they introduced personal pan pizzas, which are still the coveted prize of the BOOK IT! program and the only pizza option at smaller Pizza Hut cafes (like those inside Target stores).

10. They were also early to online ordering.

In 1994, Pizza Hut and The Santa Cruz Operation created PizzaNet, an ahead-of-its-time program that allowed computer users to place orders via the internet. The Los Angeles Times called the idea "clever but only half-baked" and "the Geek Chic way to nosh." And, the site is still up and running! Seriously, go ahead and try to order.

11. Pizza Hut pizza has been to space ...

image of the International Space Station hovering above Earth
iStock

In 2001, Pizza Hut became the first company to deliver pies into space. Before being sealed and sent to the International Space Station, the pizza recipe had to undergo "rigorous stabilized thermal conditions" to make sure that it would be still be edible when it got there. Pizza Hut also paid a large, unspecified sum (but definitely more than $1 million) to have a 30-foot-wide ad on a rocket in 1999.

12. … but not to the Moon.

In 1999, Pizza Hut's then-CEO Mike Rawlings (and current Mayor of Dallas) told The New York Times that an earlier idea for space marketing was for the logo to be shown on the moon with lasers. But once they started looking into it, astronomers and physicists advised them that the projected image would have to be as large as Texas to be seen from Earth—and the project would also have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Better to stick with Super Bowl ads.

13. They once offered pizza engagement packages.

image of someone proposing marriage
iStock

What's the perfect way to pop the big question? In 2012, Pizza Hut suggested that grooms- (or brides-) to-be order the engagement party package that included a $10 dinner box, a limo, a ruby ring, fireworks, flowers, and a photographer, all for $10,010. In keeping with the theme, only 10 of the packages were offered. But, to be clear—if you bought a Pizza Hut engagement package, you would have spent $10 on food and approximately the cost of a wedding on the proposal.

14. Pizza Hut accounts for three percent of U.S. cheese production.

With all those locations and cheese-stuffed crusts, Pizza Hut needs a lot of dairy. The company uses over 300 million pounds of cheese annually and is one of the largest cheese buyers in the world. To make that much cheese, 170,000 cows are used to produce an estimated 300 billion gallons of milk. Something to think about the next time you order an Ultimate Cheese Lover's pizza with extra cheese.

15. There are a lot of repurposed Pizza Hut locations.

An empty, former Pizza Hut building
Mike Kalasnik, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Franchise locations of companies are not always successful, and when they close, the buildings are often left untouched by their new owners rather than being demolished and replaced. Because the hut-shaped stores have become synonymous with the company, their former locations are easy to spot. The blog "Used to Be a Pizza Hut" has an interactive map of more than 500 ex-huts submitted by people all over the world. There is also a successful Kickstarter-funded photo book—called Pizza Hunt—documenting the "second lives" of the restaurants.

5 Fast Facts About Sake Dean Mahomed

Today's Google Doodle will be many people's first introduction to Sake Dean Mahomed, a noted traveler, surgeon, author, and entrepreneur who was born in Patna, India in 1759. Though he's been left out of many modern history books, Mahomed left a profound impact on Western culture that is still being felt today.

In honor of the 225th anniversary of the publication of his first book—The Travels of Dean Mahomed, a Native of Patna in Bengal, Through Several Parts of India, While in the Service of the Honorable the East India Company—on January 15, 1794, here are some facts about the figure.

1. He was the first Indian author to publish a book in English.

In 1794, Sake Dean Mahomed published The Travels of Dean Mahomet, an autobiography that details his time in the East India Company's army in his youth and his journey to Britain. Not only was it the first English book written by an Indian author, The Travels of Dean Mahomet marked the first time a book published in English depicted the British colonization of India from an Indian perspective.

2. His marriage was controversial.

While studying English in Ireland, Mahomed met and fell in love with an Irish woman named Jane Daly. It was illegal for Protestants to marry non-Protestants at the time, so the pair eloped in 1786 and Mahomed converted from Islam to Anglicanism.

3. He opened the England's first Indian restaurant.

Prior to Sake Dean Mahomed's arrival, Indian food was impossible to find in England outside of private kitchens. He introduced the cuisine to his new home by opening the Hindoostane Coffee House in London in 1810. The curry house catered to both British and Indian aristocrats living in the city, with "Indianised" versions of British dishes and "Hookha with real Chilm tobacco." Though the restaurant closed a few years later due to financial troubles, it paved the way for Indian food to become a staple of the English food scence.

4. He brought "shampooing" to Europe.

Following the failure of his restaurant venture, Mahomed opened a luxury spa in Brighton, England, where he offered Eastern health treatments like herbal steam baths and therapeutic, oil-based head massages to his British clientele. The head massages eventually came to be known as shampoo, an anglicized version of the Hindi word champissage. Patrons included the monarchs George IV and William IV, earning Mahomed the title shampooer of kings.

5. He wrote about the benefits of spa treatments.

Though The Travels of Dean Mahomet is his most famous book, Mahomed published another book in English in 1828 called Shampooing; or, Benefits Resulting from the Use of the Indian Medicated Vapour Bath.

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