Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tourist Biking

Years ago my job took me to Washington DC about once a year. The free time of my first visits was typical: museums, monuments, tours. After many visits there, I still found things to see and do, but I wasn't that excited to be there. Then one trip I checked into my hotel and asked the concierge where I could rent a bicycle. I easily rented a bike, and along with the bike the shop gave me a local bike map and a lot of recommendations on where to ride. I spent every free hour of the next few days pedalling around the city. It was amazing. A whole new city opened up for me. I was hooked on tourist biking.

Think about it. How many of the "tourist attractions" of the city and area where you live do you actually go to? Not many if you are like us. Those places are destinations only when you have out-of-town company you need to entertain. Using a bike as transportation in a city you are visiting pushes you into going to and enjoying the places where locals go and hang out. Something a simple as going out for a coffee or a sandwich is interesting. And, believe it or not, people talk to you like you actually live there!

Being a bicycle tourist is easy. If you don't want to rent a bike, you need to carry your bike with you. An alternative to carrying standard bikes on a bike rack is carrying folding bikes. They come in their own suitcases. They have smaller tires than regular bikes, but they ride pretty much the same. Remember, this isn't fitness biking, so nothing fancy is needed. Our favorite travel bikes are by Citizen Bicycles. They are the model they call Gotham.

Our folders hang in their suitcases till we need them for a trip.

My Gotham folder in the suitcase.  That's my road bike to the left for a size comparison.
Each bike weighs about 27 pounds. Easy to carry around with a shoulder strap in it's soft suitcase.

Like most winters, we've planned a series of short city trips. Our first will be to my favorite Florida city, Miami.