Ever since I moved to Washington, DC three years ago, I’ve wanted a bike. I thought it would be a fun way to commute to work. Plus, driving in this area is intolerable and public transportation can be unreliable. I did it.
I bought a 1980’s blue Fuji road bike with a headlight and quick release wheels from a local bike co-op. As you can imagine, I’m very excited with my purchase and have been enjoying riding it around my neighborhood and for quick trips to the market.
If you live in a big city, getting a foldable bike makes a smart choice. Foldable bikes are easy to pack and to tote. This makes it super convenient and easy to take on public transportation. It’s also easy to store the bike in smaller spaces (in an apartment) and to bring in your office when you use it to commute to work.
When on vacation, it’s important to consider cycling tourism as well. Perhaps you can rent a bike to get around town instead of relying on public transportation or renting a car.
Not enough bike lanes
The only problem? DC, like many big cities, is full of daredevil bus drivers and sleep-deprived, caffeine-fueled commuters in a hurry to get to work on the Hill and K Street. There is also a definite shortage of bike lanes. I’ve had my bike for two months now, and I have yet to ride it to work. I’m just too afraid for my safety and my sanity.
Find a bike route near you
- Check online. It is always a good idea to look online for the parks and recreation department in the town in which you live or are visiting. They should have all the trails mapped out so it will be easy to find a bike route.
- Use Bikely. Another great way to find a more practical, utilitarian trail to work is to use Bikely.com. This is a wonderful free website which enables you to find a bike route. It is community-based and offers easy-to-use mapping. The best thing about it? It is created by cyclists for cyclists to enjoy. It lists over 175,000 public bike routes, and that number increases each day as users contribute to the database.
A nice feature is because Bikely has contributions from all over the world, you should usually be able to find a bike route. Bicyclists around the world log in and share their favorite routes, which are shown on Google maps.
You can even add comments along the route, like “lots of traffic on this street” or “watch out for potholes here,” which is very informative for cyclists new to the trail.
My success finding a bike route with Bikely
My favorite thing about Bikely is that it is searchable. In less than 10 minutes, I found a route that will get me from home to work. This week, I think I’ll take the plunge and bike to work.
Looking for more information on bikes and cycling?
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Why Tourists Find Exploring Vienna by Bike Fascinating
Find a bike route and lessen your carbon footprint
Interested in bike co-ops? Find a community bike program in your area. You can check your local bike shop for group rides. Take the time to find a bike route that is doable and safe, and enjoy the benefits of good health and of being greener.
Depending on where you live, bike riding can be done at least several months of the year, maybe more. It’s a great family activity and great exercise too!
How do you find a good bike route? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments below.