Cycling Around The World: The Ultimate Eco-friendly Adventure
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Maybe it´s because the days are getting longer (for the Northern Hemisphere) or maybe it´s because some of us really miss riding our bikes, but there is bicycle love in the air.
And, why not? What better way to see the world than on a bike? It´s environmentally friendly and physically challenging. It´s much quicker than walking so you can get from point A to point B much faster, but slower than driving so you can still take in the sights.
This article at MSNBC attributes the rise in riding as a result of the increase of fuel costs and environmental awareness. For this purpose, it compiled a list of top-ten bicycle-friendly cities around the world.
Can you imagine leisurely gliding on your two-wheeled whip in Bogotá? With only 13-percent of the city´s population owning cars, bicycles have become the necessary means of getting around. Of course, some European cities made this list, not only due to their forward-thinking, but likely because their streets are so narrow cars are out of the question.
Amsterdam ranked number one as the most bike-friendly city as 40 percent of all commutes are done on bike. If you are the traveling cyclist, from beginner to Lance Armstrong, the list provides some city havens to feel comfortable in.
If you feel like toughing out some hills, you should check out San Francisco where bikes are becoming the commuter culture. Maybe it´s because of the perfect biking weather, but San Fran seems to be a perfect city to ride through. Not only is it a beautiful city, but it´s compact and riddled with bike shops. Professional riders Posy Dixon and Juliet Elliot created three routes — difficulties: one easy, two medium — to take in the wonder of the city. Included on the routes are names of bike shops, places to eat, and where to crash once exhausted. Doing something like this would make you feel engaged and connected with the bike-loving San Fransiscans.
If you are up for a real challenge, you could always ride through ten African countries over the period of 120 days. It´s called the Tour D´Afrique and it is the longest bicycle event. Reeling in a record number of 61 participants, the 12,000km (almost 7,500 miles) tour has already commenced. Although grueling, there is no doubt the kind of experience one would have riding from Cairo to Cape Town, Mount Kilimanjaro, deserts, the wildlife of Namibia, or having ¨a cup of coffee overlooking the Red Sea.¨
Aimed at increasing bicycle awareness, this is not the only tour of its kind. Similar ones are the Silk Route, Istanbul to Samarkand (4,000kms – 44 days) and Vuelta Sudamericana, Rio de Janeiro to Quito (12000 km – 134 days). Sounds pretty inspirational.
For my fellow, savvy cyclists, there really are endless opportunities to jump on your steel steeds and see the world, one less car at a time.
By Brit Weaver
About the Author
Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog, TheBubblesAreDead.wordpress.com.