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How to visit cities during a cycle tour?

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WS Member WS Member's picture
How to visit cities during a cycle tour?

The more I've been cycletouring, the more I tend to avoid big cities. It's not that I don't appreciate wandering around in a beautiful city for a day or two from time to time, it's just that I find it such a hassle with a bicycle: the traffic, the bike/pannier storage when trying to visit something, the wardrobe switch, etc.

Should I just book a hotel? What do you do? Any practical tips? Also, what are some bike friendly cities to visit besides Amsterdam and Copenhague ? Thanks.

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WS Member WS Member's picture
visit cities

 campground is not always fun is big cities 

I try to find WS hosts (not always easy as many doesn 't answer ) 

I can also stay in hostel with bike storage 

berlin is also a bike friendly city 

 

 

WS Member ceo's picture
how to secure bike and gear

when I am on tour and going through a large city; I ask a local bike shop if I can store my bike there for a few hours. They are more receptive to touring bicyclist and are glad to help out. Your bike will be a lot safer with them. Tailwinds always

                                                                                                                                                   Chris  -  CEO

 

WS Member WS Member's picture
As an Australian who lives in

As an Australian who lives in the country, visiting cities is an essential part of my touring experience. I have visited and enjoyed cities in France, India, and Japan in previous tours. Unless you are from a city and just need rural experiences, i think cities are well worth the effort. 

I don't just go to any city. This is where pre-trip planning and research comes into it. I decide what cities and my routes are before leaving home. If you travel on the fly, it might be too hard to bother with. I think cities require some research and planning becuase they are otherwise just overwhelming.

I think its important /will save you much worry and perhaps bother and money, if you figure out your accommodation and maybe even book it in advance. With some modern booking methods which are cost free, there is nothing to stop you booking in advance without feeling too locked in. For paris, which I was arriving in, i booked my camping accom in advance of leaving home and then again i think when i was there for hte end of my tour. I figured out the route to and from the city to reduce stress as well. 

For india, apart from arrival, it is easy enough to find accommodatin if you've got a guidebook though these days with apps and phones you can do it from the road fairly easily. 

Japan required advance bookings and I used booking.com. As i said you can cancel without charge if you have to. I also camped in the city and in Kanazawa and Nara. 

 

Ultimately it comes down to pre-trip research and thought. If you can't be bothered with that, then it might be best to skip the cities. But i think its worth the extra effort as i enjoy discovering the high culture of a country which is usually found in cities.

WS Member WS Member's picture
hi, i'm doing this a lot and

hi, i'm doing this a lot and it works perfectly (currently at host's place in bratislava ) :

i choose the cities that i want to visit. then i find a ws host who is willing to host me 2 or 3 night. i explain the situation. ask properly. i generally arrive early evening the first night and stay with host. on next day i take my bike no loaded and go visiting. ( all my stuff at WS's house ). during he day visiting i buy food for everyone in the house and cook it for the second dinner. finally i leave early morning for my next destination.

You just have to find the good person

WS Member WS Member's picture
Get Up Early

Hello Geert,

My suggestion is to enter/leave a city at 4:00 or 5:00 AM. I love visiting cities by bike; we've ridden though Istanbul, Cairo, Bombay, Tokyo, Bangkok, New York, and on and on. We generally try to arrange our schedules so we are entering or leaving the city in the very early hours and try to be off the road before rush hour. Of course, you'll want very good lights to make sure drivers can see you in the dark.

Next, we always look for trails to take rather than roads...we don't always find them, but we look.

WS Member WS Member's picture
This

Agree, love visiting cities on bike. Try to get somewhere within 60-70km (or closer depending on the city) the day before and then be up around 4am and packed and on the bike as first light begins to appear. Even if you plan to move on the next day you'll still have a full day to explore once you get checked in somewhere (I never bothered with arranging accommodation beforehand but that's certainly a much more viable option these days). Tried and tested in Jakarta, Nairobi, Sao Paulo, Delhi, Johannesburg, Dakar and many others.

WS Member Bonedoggie88's picture
Cities: only if I must

Unless there is a specific reason, I try to avoid cities. It's just a personal preference but I find small towns far more friendly & interesting.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I actually really like

I actually really like visiting cities along the tour, but I do it either as a stop along the way, taking 3-4 hours to have a coffee and do some sightseeing, or I spend two nights in a place nearby (10-20km distance). On the other hand, what I count as city is probably not what you mean: I mean places with a population of 150.000 and upwards... The only two "big" city I've cycle-travelled to so far were Lyon and Toulouse and in these cases I spent two nights in town or in the neighboring community.