Category Archives: tour

Eco Tours Downunder

On the heels of posting about the somewhat unconventional tours of History Bike Tampa, we’ve discovered a series of upcoming Ecocity bike tours sponsored by The Squeaky Wheel in Melbourne, Australia.  For example, this Saturday’s (Feb 6, 2016) ride looks like this:

Hop on your bike with us, we take you on a free 2hr guided bike tour when Melbourne’s favourite community hubs are transforming into eco exploration precincts. Heading off from brand new Library at the Dock, we will come across creative ways of using waste, take a look at Melbourne’s leading Green Buildings and local hidden community gardens. Come and find out how to move mindfully through traffic and explore all things green, community and sustainable Docklands has to offer.

Includes coffee stop at artist run Waterfront Gallery Ari (bring some coins if you like to support Humble Coffee) and a free pastry!

Just like History Bike Tampa’s tours, these rides are free, BYOB (bring your own bike), involve coffee, and run by non-traditional bike tour operators.

Check their calendar for details on future rides.

 

 

History Biking in Tampa

We weretbh pleased to stumble across History Bike Tampa this week.  Florida cities, in general, don’t have as many bike tours as they might.  Humid summers and sometimes challenging cycling conditions may help explain that.  History Bike Tampa offers monthly two hour tours for free (with suggested $5 donation).  Rides are held on the first Saturday of the month and each ride focuses on a specific neighborhood or topic.  Bring your own bike (BYOB) or arrange a rental through City Bike Tampa.

Recent rides have been examining the history of the area soon to be impacted by the TBX makeover of “Malfunction Junction” otherwise known as the I4-I275 interchange.  If you’ve ever driven in Tampa, you’ve probably suffered this confusing freeway tangle.

Check out History Bike Tours’ upcoming rides and sign up early – rides are capped at 80(!) participants.

Miami Art Crawl: Street Art by Bike

Photo by Phillip Pessar
Photo by Phillip Pessar

This Saturday (Jan 30, 2016), Miami’s Pérez Art Museum is sponsoring a guided bike tour of murals in the Wynwood arts district, led by two of the artists.  Post ride drinks are planned at the Concrete Beach Brewery.  While many city bike tour providers cater to visitors, one-off city bike tours are a wonderful way to engage the local community.  I’d love to participate in this upcoming ride except for three little problems:

  1. I’m cheap.  The ride itself is only $30, but it’s only for PAMM Contemporaries.   ($200 annual single membership)
  2. I’m old.  PAMM Contemporaries must be between ages 21 to 41
  3. I’m too far away

But hey, if you’re young and can afford to be a PAMM Contemporary, I hope you can make what looks like a great ride.  Drop us a line if you go!  Otherwise, here’s a peak at some of the murals: http://www.brian-curtis.com/um_webpage/ART%20202-301/mfa_wynwood.html, courtesy of the University of Miami.

Photo by EL Gringo
Photo by EL Gringo

 

Austin’s TNSR – Thursday Night Social Ride

Social Cycling Austin sponsors  more than a half dozen weekly rides.  Several of their rides could be suitable for taking an unpredictable bike tour.  The Thursday Night Social Ride (TNSR) is the granddaddy of the social rides, sometimes attracting as many as 300 riders.  The rides start at Festival Beach, just under the I-35 bridge over Town Lake Lady Bird Lake near the heart of downtown Austin.

The ride departs around 8pm and lasts about tnsr1three hours, covering 10 to 12 miles, typically.  Sometimes the route is publicized in advance and sometimes not, but always stays within the general confines of central Austin.  The group typically stops for a mid-ride break at a local park.  And the ride generally ends at a bar or bike shop for, often discounted or free, adult refreshments.   Expect to see a tall bike or two, crazy curb-hopping BMXers, fixie bikes, tandems, bike stereos, and plenty of colorfully lit bikes.  The TNSR generally attracts a younger adult crowd, but some of us not-so-younger types ride it too.  TNSR is probably not appropriate for under 21, due to the latish hours/adult beverages.

Here’s a short video of riders departing Festival Beach.  Several ride leaders from Social Cycling Austin help keep riders on track with turns and ensure the group is remassed after being split at traffic lights.

For visitors to Austin, you’ll need to borrow or rent a bike (and be sure to borrow some lights!).  Check out Streamline Cycles and Eastside Pedal Pushers, the two closest rental bike shops.  Austin B-Cycle is a possibility, but the bikes are on the heavy side and it would get a bit expensive for the evening.

tnsr2In any event, TNSR is an opportunity to take a free, unpredictable city bike tour with a couple hundred of your new best bike friends.

Sometimes You Get Lucky – Bike Tours in Newcastle upon Tyne

There are now well over 350 city bike tours in BeenThereBikeTours‘s database.  We’ve been around for about 10 months now.  So, try as we might, we haven’t ridden all of them or even been to all seven continents (yet).  By the way, are there bike tours in Antarctica?  People do ride there and there’s even a fat bike expedition to the South Pole coming up in 2016!  It’s only $70,000 to ride (airfare not included), so sign up soon.

Sadly, there are no cities in the Antarctic, so we’re not including the South Pole ride in our listings.  But, we did just add a cool-looking city tour in Newcastle, UK.  Since we’re not independently wealthy, we find many of our tours with old fashioned creative Googling.  Recently, we’ve been working on Australia.  Plugging major (and not so major) cities into Google along with “bike tours” is usually a good start.  Newcastle, New South Wales is a city of about 150K in Southeastern Australia that appeared likely to have a city bike tour.  And a quick Google of “bike tours Newcastle” turned one up, however it was the aforementioned Newcastle Cycle Tours in northeast England, only about 1000 miles from being on the other side of our planet from Newcastle, NSW.

Photo: JimmyGuano
Photo: JimmyGuano

Newcastle upon Tyne is the home of Newcastle Brown Ale , a beautiful series of seven bridges crossing the Tyne, Grainger Town, and the Quayside district.

Fortunately, it turns out that BOTH cities of Newcastle have city bike tours.  And Newcastle Bicycle Tours is your destination for the downunder Newcastle.

Now, who wants to try to ride both of these in a weekend?

Medellín Bike Tour is All Right

The owner of Medellín Bike Tour is a former Austinite, home of BTBT….all right, all right, all right!

Most of us probably think of Medellín, the second largest city in Columbia, as the home of Pablo Escobar and his drug cartel.  It was once the most murderous city on the planet, but has rebounded in many ways and continues to reinvent itself.

Dan Egger-Belandria‘s bike tour company is the top outdoor activity in Medellín on Tripadvisor.

We haven’t had the opportunity to visit Medellín yet, but it looks great.  If you go, be sure to check out the free EnCicla bike share.

Munich Solo Ride

Who would have guessed that I’d return to Munich for Oktoberfest for the second year in a row?  Last year, we took and enjoyed Mike’s Bike Tour (review).  Lenny’s was a possible option for this year but the route looked pretty similar to Mikes.  My one free day was forecast for showers and rain all day.  After being turned away from Mike’s new rental office (the weather forecast was not good, happily it was also wrong), I quickly rented a bike from the original location and set off on my own tour.  Munich has an emerging craft beer scene that could warrant a tour of its own and I wanted to visit at least a couple of small breweries.

Giesinger GlassRiding south out of the Altstadt, the first stop was to be Brauerei im Eiswerk. It was easy to find but sadly not open until 17:00.  Next up was Giesinger Bräu.  Armed with both a printed map and GPS, the brewery was tough to find.  A friendly Frau sensed my uncertainty.  After a mishmash of English, German, finger pointing, and head nodding, I set off up the only hill for miles around.  And found Giesinger at the top, next to the all important “kirche” (church) landmark.

Following a couple of beers and a very tasty smoked fish salad, I headed back downhill and rode  towards the Oktoberfest “Wiesen” grounds.   The map showed the most direct route was via the busy Humboldtstraße.  As I looked for a suitable side street to avoid traffic, I crossed Humboldtstraße and discovered generous bike lanes and no need for taking the back roads.  Munich’s reputation as a bike friendly city is well deserved.

OktoberfestI rode around the exterior of the Oktoberfest grounds to get a better sense for the scope of the festival and took some photos from the Bavariapark hill on the west side.  I continued a short distance west through Bavariapark, the mostly empty Wirtshaus am Bavariapark beer garden, and the Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum  and stopped at at the Endless Staircase in front of the KPMG building to get a shot of this stairway to nowhere….or is it art?

Endless Staircase
Endless Staircase

Front entranceFrom here, I rode north and east to the main pedestrian entrance to Oktoberfest.  Many visitors, including my group, arrive via the U-Bahn and miss the photo opportunity at the walking entrance.

Continuing east, I rode past the Hauptbahnhof, numerous Trachten (Germanwear) shops, and a constant flow of Lederhosen and Dirndl clad revelers headed to the festival.

Finally, I rode into the Altstadt, stopped for an obligatory selfie with the wild boar in front of the German Hunting and Fishing Museum and worked my way back to Mikes.

Rub His Nose for Good Luck!
Rub His Nose for Good Luck!

Here’s the map:


The route is about 10 miles; it took me about four hours, with frequent stops for photos and lunch.

A couple of notes if you decide to take a similar ride:

  • The Thereisenwiese grounds are home to Oktoberfest as well as a few other festivals.  Depending on the time of your visit, there may be nothing there to see.
  • If I rode this again, I’d continue up the hill past Brauerei im Eiswerk and look for the bike paths that appear to connect more directly to the Giesinger area.  But do ride down using the route shown through the woods.
  • Another fun alternative would be to ride from Mike’s across either the Maxilimilian or Ludwigsbrücke bridge and visit one of the beer gardens shown on the east bank of the Isar River.  Or go the other way around and end your ride there.
  • There’s nothing magic about the route I took through the Altstadt and there are places on the pedestrian malls where bikes must be walked.
  • Finally…..if you haven’t taken one of other Munich bike tours…do that BEFORE you venture out on your own.
  • Have fun!