Travel Cycles in Biking Cities
This past weekend, I stole away to Long Island for some seaside biking with my family. I spent the first hour-and-a-half jaywalking my bike across parkways, a quarter-mile behind my father (who, incidentally, was alternating between illegal sidewalk-riding and erratic wrong-way riding), because it turned out that a bicycle trailhead was nowhere to be found.
From the time we found the path, though, the ride was gorgeous: winding over sailboats and sea, with marsh grass blowing alongside, the route was well-maintained and not too crowded. I enjoyed the foray beyond my usual Brooklyn bike route so much that I’m determined to take this show even further afield. And what better time to plot a path around the world than today, Earth Day? I can’t think of a more enjoyable, healthy, and eco-friendly way to explore a new town than on bicycle, and I’m not the only one: W Hotels are offering free PUMA bike rentals to guests to mark Earth Day.
I’d start my two-wheeled tour in Manhattan, which boasts tons of bike-friendly acres in Central Park and along the rivers—even more on the first Sunday in May during the Five Boro Bike Tour. I’d urge visitors to rent a bike and see New York aboveground—and I can attest to the fact that even if you transport your bicycle on the subway, a friendly (maybe even cute) New Yorker will help you lug it up and down the stairs.
After NYC, I’d check off each of the 11 cities deemed “most bike friendly” by Virgin Vacations, plus one more: Paris. I haven’t been there in 5 years, and I’ve been wanting to bike Paris, Versailles, and Giverny ever since I discovered the area’s biking subculture when a friend worked as a tour leader there. Only now I want to take advantage of Paris’ several thousand free Vélib’ bikes. I love it when being environmentally conscious comes free. And safe—Portland also tops my wish list with its new bike boxes (and duuude, you have to watch the video explaining them).
What other places are prime territory for sightseeing by bike, and where have you had your favorite bike ride?
My name: Michelle Doucette
How I earn my keep: I'm an editor at IgoUgo.com.
Favorite way to get around: Some of my favorite trips involved renting cars in foreign countries and driving through the countryside, stopping on whims. You get a feel for the culture away from the big cities and meet interesting people on the road, including, I must admit, an embarrassingly high number of local policemen. I suppose it would be prudent to learn all of the traffic laws ahead of time.
Best meal I've had while traveling: Since a succession of gelato cones probably doesn't count as a meal, my favorite must have been a fresh crabmeat lunch prepared by a St. John sailboat captain while we took a break from snorkeling in the Caribbean. Sharing baklava as the sun came up over Paros, Greece, (while, once again, not technically a meal) was also memorable.
Travel ambitions: Since climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I've figured out that I'd like to keep trekking while traveling. I've got my eyes on epic hikes in Nepal, Bhutan, and Peru.