Grab a bike, don a helmet & let’s go!
One of my favorite ways to explore cities are on two wheels. Biking through a new city on a beautiful day, I have to double check that there aren’t cartoon birds fluttering behind me!
You’re in control of your destination.
Instead of having to follow a schedule or stick to the road, you can hop that curb and head into uncharted territory — like a park, a restaurant or a photo op-and take as much as time! In a recent trip to Atlanta, I spent the afternoon cruising up and down the Beltline with my sister and was able to jump off to admire some urban murals and indulge in a refreshing popsicle.
Most urban cities have bike sharing options.
From Denver to NYC to DC (love my Capital Bikeshare), more and more top travel destinations have well-established bike sharing system and designated bike lanes. For a small daily fee, you can grab a bike for 30–45 minutes time periods before docking the bike at convenient locations, usually right next to the main attractions. I’ve used numerous systems in U.S. and have loved the convenience of not having to worry about locking up rental bikes. Download their apps to get dock locations and route guidance at your fingertips.
It’s cheaper and quicker than a car.
If you’re already staying in a central location, there’s no need to spend extra money on a rental car or cabs. Most main attractions are in the heart of the city themselves. Living in NYC, I’m constantly zigzagging through rush hour traffic to make it from one side of Manhattan to the other. It’s such a satisfying feeling to speed past gridlock traffic and make it downtown in record time!
Save your feet.
Let’s face it: walking all day is exhausting. Rather than hobbling by Day 3 of your trip, keep your feet happy and see the sites in less time. When traveling from one place to another isn’t eating all your time, you get to see more of the city. In Thailand, I’ve never seen more travelers renting motorbikes or scooters to see the countryside — or even to travel from one city to the next. The 792 curve ride from Chiang Mai to Pai was the highlight of my Southeast Asia backpacking trip.
It’s just plain fun!
Remember how much fun racing the neighborhood kids around the cul-de-sac was? It’s even a bigger blast when you’re older. One of the best tours I’ve ever been on was a bike tour through Vancouver. Not only was our guide extremely knowledgeable of the local history (shoutout to Jeremy and Vancouver Bike Tours!), but it’s a great group activity or a way to meet fellow travelers. So channel your inner kid and spend an afternoon with the wind blowing through your hair.
Now that I’m an expert bike tourist, I desperately want to explore Europe this summer! And for those who love biking themselves, leave me a comment with what is your favorite city to explore on two wheels?