Best U.S. Cities to Explore by Bike
Monday, May 12, 2014
We love to explore this great country. What better way to see the sights in a new city than by touring it by bike? Biking is both a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to get around town. Not to mention the fact that it is also a fantastic workout! Whether you prefer a mountain or road terrain, here are four cities that are perfect for your next bike tour.
1. Portland, Oregon
Portland was named America’s Best Bike City in 2013 by Bicycling Magazine and we think visitors will agree. Visit Clever Cycles, Veloce Bicycles, or Fat Tire Farm to rent a bike and hit these popular trails.
- You’ll love the city views on the Eastbank Esplanade Loop. This 2.9-mile trail begins at Waterfront Park, then crosses over the Steel Bridge and into Eastbank Esplanade Park. This is a great, quick option for families or novice riders.
- Head to Forest Park if you are looking for a mountain bike excursion. You can bike under massive tree canopies and along the Columbia River on this 11.2-mile dirt trail.
- If you are looking for a challenge, the Willamette River Loop is a 30-mile trek to the south of Portland. Just try not to be distracted by the gorgeous river views!
2. Washington, D.C.
Perhaps the easiest and fastest way to see all the monuments and attractions in Washington, D.C. is on two wheels! You’ll have no problem finding a bike to rent with the Capital Bikeshare program. With hundreds of rental stations throughout the area, you’ll have more than 2,500 bicycles to choose from as you test ride on one of these fun trails.
- The Mount Vernon trail is 18 miles long and follows the Potomac River to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. You’ll also enjoy several other attractions along the way, like Olde Town Alexandria, Arlington National Cemetery, and Gravelly Point Park.
- Rent a bike at Fletchers Boat House and follow the Capital Crescent Trail for a 13-mile trail built on an abandoned rail bed.
3. Austin, Texas
Austin is so bike-friendly that you can even ride on a 15-foot butterfly! The Austin Bike Zoo is a fun way to see bicycles in an artistic way. After you ride the bicycle carousel, take your bike and hit one of these fun trails:
- Austin is home to the 6-mile long Lance Armstrong Bikeway. This bicycle path and marked bike trail runs through the heart of town from Veterans and Lake Austin Boulevard to East 5th Street and Shady Lane.
- Starting at the famous Zilker Metropolitan Park, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is often referred to as the “Crown Jewel of Austin.” This mountain bike trail is about 7 miles long and is located right in the heart of the city.
4. Louisville, Kentucky
The bike culture in Louisville has really gained momentum over the past few years. The city has become a bronze-rated bicycle friendly community, according to the League of American Bicyclists, and is dedicated to safety as well as offering a network of trails. Here are a few you should check out:
- Couples and families will love to rent a fun bike, such as a covered 3-wheel surrey, at Wheel Fun Rentals and go on a self-guided tour of the city.
- Louisville also offers more challenging rides, like the Cyclocross at Eva Bandman Park. This path offers nice views of downtown and the Ohio River, but also has treacherous obstacles, including sand mounds.
Regardless of the city you decide to bike in, be sure that you understand bicycle safety and laws. You’ll also need a delicious breakfast to fuel you for your long rides, so book your stay at a Country Inns & Suites By Carlson and enjoy a free, hot breakfast each morning.