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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Active Travel: Biking

photo by Mike Cattell
Outdoorsy? Lots of energy to burn? You don't have to spend your holiday cooped up in museums and taxis. Instead, take it outside and discover a new place from the streets. A growing number of cities have bike rental facilities on the street for a small hourly fee--  Vienna and Montreal, for example, have well-established pathways, and bike-friendly cities such as Seattle and Amsterdam have more rental shops than can be listed here. It's even a good way to get out and explore smaller cities, like Caen (left) or the countryside. 

Take the Loire Valley castles circuit.  It's a standard bucket-list item that you can drive or hop on a tour bus to see. But when you go by bike, following the easy-to-spot signs marking the châteaux à vélo route, it becomes a memorable experience.  It's a brisk workout, and not for the faint of heart, but it's totally rewarding, and worth it for the dimension it adds to your travels.

If you're thinking more exotic or rural, it might be good to go with a guided tour-- BikeHike Adventures and Butterfield & Robinson are smart bets. To go it on your own, there's technology to guide you: Bikely and Ride the City are among the most popular mapping applications.

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