The humble bicycle can be a city-dweller’s best friend, ideal for navigating congested commuter traffic and for exploring the concrete jungle without resorting to public transport or using a car. Whilst many of us think of cycling as either a sporting activity or a hobby to indulge in on weekends, the popularity of lightweight fold-up bikes during recent years points to an enduring trend for inner city cycling amongst regular commuters.
There’s also the widespread implementation of public bike sharing schemes across the world which suggests people from all walks of life are interested in using these green machines to go about their daily business. Cities as far apart as Melbourne, Wuhan, London and Austin currently have in place highly successful and incredibly popular bike borrowing schemes, and the Netherlands and several Scandinavian countries famously have a long history of public bicycle availability.
We’ve become so used to accessing a wide range of goods and services via the internet that most people think nothing of borrowing a public use bicycle using a custom-made app. Listening to a Monday morning playlist through a music streaming service, playing favourite games like blackjack and roulette online, and catching up with the day’s weather report through a specialised app have become normal components of modern life. Paying to borrow a bike for a few hours is just one more service made accessible through the universal availability of mobile data and corresponding technology.
So, when exactly does the humble bicycle come in useful whilst living in the city? Let’s take an exploratory look.
Perhaps the most obvious application for a bike in the city is for use in getting to work and back. Busy and overcrowded public transport systems never seem particularly appealing and taking your own car can prove expensive both for your own pocket and for the environment. If you’re able, then commuting via bike is a great alternative option. Once you’ve paid the initial costs of buying and servicing a bicycle, each journey afterwards is free! Add to this the fact that travelling by bike can often be quicker due to less congestion and the presence of handy cycle lanes, and you’ll start to wonder why you’ve never tried it before. This is a great way to sneak in some extra exercise without really thinking about it, and it’s one of the best ways to naturally wake yourself up in the morning. There’s nothing quite like getting in the saddle first thing to set yourself up for the day.
Bicycles are also convenient modes of transport during your downtime. Whether you’re heading out to do a weekly shop, visiting some friends on the other side of town, or going on a date at the theatre or a restaurant, a bike will get you there with minimum fuss and expense. This is perhaps not the best option if you’re all dolled up in your poshest finery, complete with trailing skirt or freshly pressed trousers, but for every casual engagement it’ll do just fine. Many bike friendly cities have multiple bike racks situated in helpful spots around the centre. In fact, businesses such as restaurants and bars are now getting in on the act too, placing bike storage areas outside their front doors or even within their premises in order to encourage greener living. If you don’t have your own bicycle just yet, then this is the perfect opportunity to pick up one of those bike sharing vehicles and zip your way into town.
City breaks are one of the most popular short stay vacation options for people who are pressed for time but still wish to explore a different place and a different way of living. When on holiday in a city, the best way to get about is by bike. This way, you are able to explore the new area quickly and easily, cycling between neighbourhoods and from the city centre into quieter suburban areas. You could even ride your bike out to nearby natural landscapes like the coast or a mountain range. If you don’t fancy working out foreign public transport or hiring a car, then this is the perfect opportunity to explore the region without resorting to plodding along on foot. The sense of freedom felt when cycling along the country roads of a region totally unknown to you is hard to match, and it gives you the ability to explore at your own pace rather than sticking to a preordained schedule.
Wherever you choose to ride your bicycle, we hope that you enjoy yourself. This can be a great opportunity to explore routes in your local area that you’ve never thought to venture along before, just as much as it can be a tempting alternative for your daily commute. And if you choose to go by bike when on vacation, then you’ll be joining such lofty names as Hemingway and Barack Obama. Happy cycling!