Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed recently announced that the city would be launching a bike-sharing program later in 2015, complete with 500 bikes for rent at 50 rental stations across the city, thanks to a deal struck between CycleHop and Social Bicycles. This is one headline of many in the burgeoning cycle tourism movement, proving that Amsterdam is no longer the only place where one can get to know a city on two wheels.
In addition to health benefits, cycling is an ethical, sustainable means of transportation for residents and tourists alike, affording one an opportunity to get a sense of place in a unique way—and with a low carbon footprint.
For travelers enthusiastic or curious about incorporating cycling into their trips, here are a few go-to resources:
The Copenhagenize Index 2013 is the “the world’s most comprehensive list of bicycle friendly cities.” Criteria for evaluation included bicycle infrastructure, bicycle sharing programs, perceptions of safety and bicycle advocacy. A great resource for the international cycling tourist, as the great majority of the top-level cities are, unsurprisingly, European.
Social Bicycles, or SoBi, is a social media application that allows you to locate, unlock (with a user PIN), and rent bikes in locations around a city that can include parks, college campuses and corporate campuses. Bikes can be returned to any rental station, and the application allows a rider to share their mileage, calories burned, and even CO2 reduction calculation. Already a fixture in cities like Ontario, Phoenix and Tampa, SoBi aims for an increasingly widespread presence in major U.S. and international cities.
A resource of cycle enthusiasts and novices alike, Momentum features an impressive cache of how-tos and and info pieces on gear, attire, cycle tourism, cycle commuting, and family cycling. Highlights for cycle tourists include “Tips for Solo Bicycle Touring,” “How to Crowdsource Your Next Bike Vacation,” and an ever-growing list of city bike tour profiles (including Portland, Honolulu, and Denver).
Sites like Bikabout and Momentum feature roundups and maps of lodging that will accommodate bikes for the cycling traveler, from campgrounds to hotels to Airbnbs. Bikabout is also cross-listed with Spinlister, a global bike, surfboard and snowboard sharing program.
Adventure Cycling Association
This nonprofit manages a comprehensive website for members and visitors alike, with resources regarding bike tours, bike advocacy, routes and maps, online communities and how-to/info guides. The “How To Department” page is especially noteworthy, with information on how to pick the right touring bike to how to document your trip.
It’s clear that cycle tourism already encompasses rich communities of participants—and it only stands to grow as a travel movement as more and more cities seek to diversify their tourism and transportation offerings.
What are your thoughts and experiences regarding cycling and travel? Please share in the comments below.
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