Murals and Bike Tours – Is This a Thing?

We hope so, it’s a perfect combination.

Remember the Miami Art Crawl we mentioned back in January?  It seems that things are warming up enough in Philadelphia to follow suit.  This Saturday, there’s a Mural Arts Tours 2016 Spring Launch Event featuring a couple of bike tours (free) and a walking tour ($22).  Spots are going fast, so sign up now.

The tours will be lead by Philadelphia Eagles DE Connor Barwin.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that there are any regularly scheduled mural bike tours.  But the event is cosponsored by Philly’s bike share, Indego…..so maybe that will be changing?

The DIY Route is Not a Tour (But It Could Be)

We’ve talked about many DIY city bike tours, including a few of our own.  Bikabout is probably the biggest database of rolling your own bike tours.  We love both the “official” commercial tours as well as the random, local, sponsored-by-whomever tours.

Barcelona "Route"
Barcelona “Route”

What we hadn’t considered is the Strava-fication of the city bike tour.  To wit, here’s a great looking “tour” of Barcelona on Bikemap.net.  This is the first we’ve heard of bikemap.net even though they’ve been around since 2008. Of course, there’s Strava, MapMyRide, RideWithGPS, et al.  But, all of these great services have ROUTES, not TOURS.  What’s missing is the information that goes with the route.  The sights, historic details, where to eat and drink, the cool local spots – those are what make a nice route into a great #citybiketour.

The various mapping apps/websites seem oriented to training, racing, and commuting.  Bikemap.net, though, appears to be a bit more angled toward touring, both longer distance as well as city “tours”.  But without the research, writing, and presentation of details along the route, at best it’s still just a pleasant route.

(You didn’t think we were going to say “curate“, did you?)

So, if you’re headed to a city and find a cool route online…ride it!  And take some notes, do some research, and write your own city bike tour.   And, send it to us to publish on BeenThereBikeTours!

Stats – How Many City Bike Tours on Earth?

Wow, there are now nearly 500 bike tours in our worldwide database:

TOTAL 182 478
Cities Tours
North America 70 134
Europe 74 204
South America 11 23
Africa/Asia/Australia 27 67

And this is just counting each tour company/link as one tour.  Many have two or even several tours!

bikeline1

Let’s Get Gangsta (on a Bike Tour)

Bobby’s Bike Hike in Chicago has a half-dozen fun, themed tours.  But one stands out…the Southside Gangster Bike Tour.

I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t want to roll the mean streets of Chi-town’s Southside?  OK, maybe it’s changed from my family’s past, but it’s still got it going on even though today’s gangstas are likely a far cry from the gangsters of the ’20s.

Tours start up for summer in a couple of weeks, so don’t wait.  Here’s the full description:

Chicago’s seedier side will be unveiled on this ride through the Southside’s most notorious areas, including the old Bridgeport neighborhood.  Learn about the history of the Chicago Outfit as we roll by famous mob hangouts and homes, Chicago’s old red-light district, and Al Capone’s old stomping grounds.  This tour will explain the history of the outfit and how it has transformed over the years into what it is today. Plus, we’ll sample some of Chicago’s finest Italian Beef.  Highlights include: Bridgeport, Chinatown, hidden Palmisano Park, old Italian Outfit hangouts, The old Levee District (Chicago’s Red Light district), The McCormick Place, Prairie Ave District, Museum Campus and the Lakefront.

Go Slow in Oslo

Does that rhyme?  No?  Well, it should.  Go – Slo – Os – Lo!

We always like finding an independent review of a bike tour.  Oslo Bike Tours has a bunch of great reviews on Tripadvisor.  But, finding a blog or media review outside of the travel sites is always a treat.  The Bald Nomad (!) has a well written review with a bunch of great photos.

A quote like this sums up a great bike tour:

“But a bike tour lets you enjoy the city for very little money, and if you plan it right, you can see most of the city’s sights in a single day (museums excluded, of course).”

Walking is wonderful and we do it all the time.  But you can only hoof it so far in one day.  Tour buses?…yeah, nope.  But bikes… bikes bring out the leisure of walking amplified by the relative speed and access of a bike.

And who wouldn’t sign up for VIKING BIKING?!

Viking Biking

 

 

Fitness on Wheels in Mumbai

Mumbai isn’t exactly the first city we think about for a bike tour.  Known for crowds and congestion, Mumbai is a busy place.  Sure enough, though, there are at least two tour companies there, see our Asia directory for details.

Photo by Sanyambahga

Although it doesn’t seem to be related to the tour companies, Harjinder Kukreja recently lead an international cycling delegation to promote cycling in Mumbai.  Their four hour tour started early in the morning to watch Mumbai awake.  The group stopped often to explore markets, temples, and other sights as well as to encourage drivers to consider cycling once per week to reduce congestion.

There are some commuters in Mumbai with group rides becoming more popular on the weekends.

Martin Wright said:  “The potential for cycling in Mumbai is massive,” says Martin. “It’s almost completely flat, for nine months of the year it doesn’t rain, and you’ll never get cold here. It’s a fantastic place to cycle.”

So, are YOU game?

Oh, That Caribbean

We have to admit, if we dropped a finger on a map of Europe, we might miss a city like Bratislava by 100 miles.  We’ve started working on some maps of cities which have bike tours, to help you better visualize how far you might be from your next tour.

So far, we’ve started on North America:

Cities in North America with Bike Tours

And we kind of noticed Cuba, Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean down in the bottom right.  Hmm, they probably have bike tours…yep, so they do.  And so does Mexico City and a few other spots in Central America.  Our bike tour database is growing again!

Manchester Themed Tours

Bike Tours Manchester has a series of “Themed Tours” available this season.   Tomorrow’s ride is the Suffragette Ride and Tea Party:

The bicycle has long been associated with Manchester’s suffragettes and is a powerful symbol of women’s liberation. As the city gears up for International Women’s Day, we are holding a Suffragette Ride from Chorlton via the Pankhurst Centre and Alexandra Park to celebrate the bicycle’s role in women’s history and highlight today’s gender imbalance in cycling, largely due to fears around road safety. Sign up now for a limited number of places on a led ride (Edwardian costume and suffragette banners encouraged) or cycle the route yourself and meet us at Alexandra Park for tea and cake, talks, activities and a small exhibition.

This is, of course, Manchester, UK.  The rides vary in price, but the Suffragette ride is free.  RSVP on Eventbrite.

Bike on the Edge of Greatness in Belgrade

“It’s a big city with roughly the same population as Toronto, and walking it would take a week. On a bike, Van der Zijden showed me the meat of it in an afternoon.”

What a GREAT quote!  We love walking a new city nearly as much as biking it.  But that’s a tall order in any medium to large city.  And riding is always more fun and easier on the feet.

Bike Elevator

Bert Archer of the Toronto Star wrote about spending an afternoon with I Bike Belgrade‘s Van der Zijden.  The city is mostly flat, making for an easy ride.  But with the Danube and Sava Rivers meeting in town, there are many bridges.  Belgrade’s making it easy for cyclists by installing bike elevators to get from the river to the bridge.

Be sure to read about all of Belgrade’s cool sites.  And it looks like Bert is planning to take some more city bike tours.  He made:

“a silent promise to myself to see more cities this way.”