If you live in Seattle, you’ve seen a lot of infrastructure pop up to accommodate bikes: Bike racks, then bike lanes, then bike traffic signals. Now there are bike sharing programs in the city.
Getting around on two wheels is often more common outside the United States. KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley says it can give people a new perspective when they’re visiting foreign cities.
Brumley has biked in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Paris. He finds a rental bike and, after a swipe of the credit card, he’s off and rolling. His advice:
Sit and watch. Different places have different rules. So before you hop on the bike, get a feel for what the local customs are. “I sit in a café and watch everybody for a bit,” Brumley said, “and just kind of observe how things are done.”
BYOH. Bring your own helmet. Brumley saw lots of bikers without them in Europe, so you might want to chuck one in the suitcase.
Find a group. Local bike companies will take you out on tours for a few hours, a day, or longer. Often times they include museum entrances, markets, and local history. Looking for a longer expedition? Brumley suggests Butterfield and Robinson, which is based in North America, as well as Backroads, which is based in California. For trips in Asia, try Grasshopper Adventures.
Take in the sights. “I lived in Paris and I was seeing neighborhoods I’ve never seen before,” Brumley said. “I was thinking ‘How did I miss this?’” Bikes are a good way to cover a lot of ground but still have the view you’d get on foot.
Have you rented bikes in foreign cities? We’d love to hear the ups and downs you’ve encountered.
"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.