City cycling is an under-rated vacation activity. Cycling is not often considered when thinking about the next vacation yet there are some terrific cycle trips to be had. Cycling trips don’t always have to be out in gorgeous countryside, up hill and down dale; city cycling trips are a great way to get about some fascinating places and see all the key sights of your destination. Plus, you get the added benefit of getting some good healthy exercise as well as having a good time. The USA has some marvelous destinations and here is my pick of 7 American Cities for a Great Cycle Trip:
1. Chicago, IL
With 141 miles of marked lanes on Chicago’s roads, a cycling trip is a great way to see the Windy City. There’s also 12,000 public bike racks in this bike-friendly metropolis meaning you can leisurely make your way from sight to site and park your bake somewhere safe when you want to visit a particular attraction. Try the classic ride between the parks along Lake Michigan’s shores or tackle the 32-mile Fox River Trail.
2. Madison, WI
Madison is the state capital of Wisconsin and doesn’t readily spring to mind when thinking of typical American cities for a vacation. For cycle trips however, the city is a great option. Since the 70’s Madison has been developing cycle paths and there is now a network of 120 miles of bike routes as well as 60 miles of off-street trails. Some of the better rides encircle the city’s lakes or cut across the campus and arboretum of the University of Wisconsin.
3. Tucson, AZ
Tucson makes for a very interesting city cycling trip. Tucson might be the second largest city in Arizona but there’s a definite small town feel here where old west meets Spain. Lying in a flat valley surrounded by odd shaped mountains, the cycle paths in Tucson take you past 19th century buildings, along mountain foothills and through Saguaro National Park. A favourite cycling trip is the 15 miles Rillito River ride enjoying the stunning panorama of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
4. Portland, or
Portland is one of America’s most bike friendly cities and is a worthy advert for the Pacific North West as a tourist destination. A Portland cycling trip takes you through pretty neighborhoods and a buzzing downtown. The network of bike lanes and paths is extensive and much is car free. For an authentic view of Portland on two wheels, the Oregon Brewery Trail Bike Tour is a must.
5. Boulder, CO
Boulder residents love the outdoors and they’ve certainly made it easy for tourists to take a cycle trip. The bicycle infrastructure is extensive and impressive – it actually accounts for 15% of the city’s transportation budget – 95% of the streets are cycle-friendly. Once you’ve cycled the streets and roads of downtown, there’s plenty more trails along Boulder Creek and Flagstaff Mountain or in Wonderland Hills and Chautauqua Park.
6. Washington DC
The nation’s capital has always been tourist friendly. There’s a grid of bike friendly paths and roads linking the National Mall and the major sights that makes a sight-seeing cycling trip an easy-going affair. It’s made even simpler through Capital Bikeshare which provides low-cost access to 1,100 cycles.
7. San Francisco, CA
What better way could there be to cross the Golden Gate Bridge on a cycling trip to San Francisco. For the city that is synonymous with streetcars and steep hills, San Fran is surprising accessible on two wheels. The city boasts some 60 miles of bike paths and lanes used by 40,000 cycling commuters. There’s no need to worry about those hills either as the BART public transit system allows you to take your bike on board.
Cycling trips are a fun way to see a city. You don’t have to worry about the hassle of a rental car or finding your way around a complicated city transport network. You don’t have to worry about the cost of gas either. It does seem that many of the major US cities are waking up to the attraction of getting around on two wheels and bike lanes are starting to become a major feature in urban areas. Many are also making it easier for visitors to take cycling trips of the city by introducing easy-rent schemes. When you’re pondering your next vacation, you might want to consider these 7 American Cities for a Great Cycle Trip.
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