Bicycle

BikingRenting a Bike When You Get There
A bicycle is a great way to see the city and even get out into the country-side. This is a great first-day activity (for multi-day stays) because it gives you a chance to see the overall view of the area you are staying in. Renting a bike allows you to cover plenty of ground, yet still remain immersed in the country's culture instead of racing by on a bus, and you'll see plenty as you peddle around. You are also able to go wherever you please, unlike a train or bus system. Back allies and beach roads are yours for the riding.

Many cities, particularly in Europe, offer bike rental services. These services may be found at  private agencies, hostels, hotels or even at train stations. Check your guidebook for availability.

Be careful when riding a bike in some cities. The road systems and traffic patterns will probably be unfamiliar to you. My bicycling rule of thumb is to ride as though you are invisible. Assume that cars won't see you and will probably cut you off and make turns in front of you. A helmet is a good idea if possible. As well, make sure that the bike comes with a lock to avoid theft hassles. If it doesn't have a locking device of some sort, don't bother. A stolen bike is sure to blow your travel budget.

Taking Your Bike With You
These sites will definitely help you plan your cycling adventure:

  • Bicycle Maintenance Guide - includes a packing list designed for cyclists, airline and train tips, and also comments on good and bad airlines for taking your bike
  • Bicycle Tour Checklist - a minimal packing list for cyclists
  • GORP Cycling - strategies for packing for bike tours, including what to pack, how to pack and where to put it all. An essential resource if you plan to travel by bike!
  • Trento - a collection of pieces of information about bicycle touring and off-road (mountain) biking in Europe and the Mediterranean
  • Warm Showers List - list of internet cyclists who offer hospitality to touring cyclists. Submit your name into the data-base too.
  • Yahoo! - Yahoo's offering of bike-travel sites

Bicycle Tour Companies
Whether you are looking for a tour company to escort you around, or you are already touring by bike and need some help, these guys may be what you are looking for.