Cycling through new areas can be one of the best ways to explore them. As you leisurely pedal the streets, you’ll be getting exhilarating exercise, while using all five of your senses to take in the region. When you’re contained in a rental car or taxi, you miss the smells of restaurants and flowers, and only see a portion of the blue sky, terrain, and architecture. On a bicycle, you become a part of the city or countryside, not just a spectator.
Experience the Art
When you don’t have to worry about parking, you can zip in and out of art museums and galleries easily. Not only that, you will probably pedal past street art, murals on buildings, and sculptures in the center of parks, or in surprising locations. For example:
- • Tucson, Arizona: You can ride across a bicycle bridge sculpted into a huge rattlesnake. You pedal through it, and when you exit the snake’s mouth, it rattles.
• Portland, Oregon: There is much public art in the city of Portland. You’ll find sculptures swaying in the breeze outside a large bookstore, murals on the sides of buildings, yard art made from car parts, and donut shops that make voodoo dolls from donuts, icing, and pretzels.
• Long Beach, California: In Long Beach, you can hear artfully played live music at bookstores and coffee shops. This is an extremely bicycle-friendly city, so enjoy.
Take in the Aroma of Food
There’s no better way to sniff out a good restaurant than to smell the food being prepared. When you’re on your bike, you can do just that. You can stop and dine whenever you’re hungry, or make note of the most delicious aromas and pedal back at mealtime. What sort of food might you run across?
- • In Texas, you’ll probably smell BBQ ribs, chicken, and brisket.
• In Durham, North Carolina, be ready to inhale rich fresh-brewed coffee.
• In Bend, Oregon, get ready to sample micro-brewed beer.
Be Safe in New Areas
Whether you’re traveling with cross-country bicycle tours, or pedaling on your own, you’ll want to become familiar with rules and regulations of the various regions. Every area has written and unwritten traffic rules, so it’s important that you learn both sets. A good way to educate yourself about regional bike-safety is by contacting a local bicycle advocacy group. Also be aware of potential theft of your bike. Carry a small U-lock and use security skewers for a protective measure, as well.
Once you’re armed with knowledge and a map, you’ll be set for an adventure you’ll always remember. You can see, smell, taste, hear, and feel so much from the saddle of a bike.