Does Your Next Vacation Include a Bicycle?

It is getting easier and more desirable to see new sights by bike thanks to the increasing access to loaner bicycles and bicycle infrastructure all over the world.

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Mia riding along the Embarcadero in San Fancisco, CA, 2014.

Does your next vacation or weekend excursion include riding a bike? It is getting easier and more desirable to see new sights by bike thanks to the increasing access to loaner bicycles and bicycle infrastructure all over the world.

Exploring a new city or town by bicycle was once deemed a fringe activity but has become an attractive and sought-after option. Bicycle travel reaches a wider audience of vacationers seeking fun – even family-friendly – adventures.

Bike share, city bike tours, social rides, bike-friendly hotels, bike maps, events, and attractions that cater to tourists (and locals) arriving by bicycle have all contributed to the fast growth of urban bicycle tourism. There are now more than 600 bike share systems around the world. While rental bikes are more suitable for all-day adventures, bike share gives the option to hop on and hop off throughout the day. Some bike share operators estimate that approximately 20-25 percent of trips on bike share are made by visitors.


Mia admires the Tel-O-Fun bike share system alongside the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv, Israel, 2013.

Canada and the US are home to more than 120 bike-friendly hotels. Many of these hotels have a loaner fleet of bicycles that guests can borrow during their stay – often included in the price of a room. The Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver even has a Bike Butler to help guests sign out bikes and navigate the city’s streets, parks, and seawall. With over 60 city bicycle tours (and growing) throughout the US and Canada, there are plenty of ways to experience one of the most fun options to get to know, and to get around, a city.

Most city tours by bike are 2-3 hours and no more than 10 miles (16 kilometers) long. I always suggest taking a tour at the beginning of your visit to become familiar with your surroundings and take note of places that you want to go back to. If you have yet to experience a city by bicycle, then be sure to consider the bike-friendliness of a place as a factor in your travel plans.

While walking is a fantastic way to take in a new place, you can see so much more in a relatively short time on a bicycle. You do not need to pack anything special to ride; all you may need is advice from a local and your sense of adventure. Do you explore new cities by bike? Share your travel tips with us!


  • The best way to really get to know and see any city is to start your vacation with a Bike Tour. When visiting Toronto, be sure to check out Toronto Bicycle Tours. #1 Outdoor Activity by TripAdvisor

  • I couldn’t agree more. If you come to Dumaguete Philippines we have a bike, helmet, snacks, and trails check out our site.

  • I definitely agree! You can bring your bike on the train to Santa Barbara, CA! And then, more than 25 hotels and activities offer special Santa Barbara Car Free experiences when you show your train ticket thru the end of 2015. has all the details. Viva Car Free-dom!

  • It is working this time ! – We spent 5 weeks this winter in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and biking daily. This city had good bicycle infrastructures and the Mexican Cycling Embassy ( Playa Bicicletero). Nice public beach to reach on bike ( Pueta Esmeralda). The best way to discover the city for the last 3 years.

  • Theron & Jill

    My wife and I plan our vacations around bike-friendly vacation locales. We would recommend the Florida Keys. There is a class 3 bike lane from Tavanier to as far south as Key West. The bike lane is separated from US 1 by a wide median strip for the most part, save the bridges, which are at least 6 to 8 feet wide. Islamorada is the best, relatively undeveloped, and you can ride on old US 1 that runs parallel to new US 1 and is shady and cool.

    • Louisa

      Agree. We’ve taken several three-week trips, stopping to bike in five cities along the way. Best was PA to New Orleans, favorite stops in Nashville on the way down and Chattanooga on the way home.

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