Next Step in the Journey
September 23, 2022 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Want your suggestions on where to end my year of urban bike adventures. So far this year I have bike adventured in Portland, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Westchester County and Seattle. Looking for suggestions anywhere in the world. My requirements are : moderate to good bike infrastructure including trails, and non-freezing temps above 32 degrees F, as I will be going in December. Places currently high on my list are Kyoto and Vancouver.

My adventures are usually about 5+ days in length. I usually rent a bike from a recommended bike shop for a week. I stay in hotels-airbnb, but wont be adverse to staying in a different place each night. Don't want to go to locations like Rome where maniac drivers are the rule not the exception. Also not adverse to highly populated areas not usually seen as bike meccas.
posted by Xurando to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I had a fabulous time biking around Kyoto. The affordable monastery I stayed at in the northwest end of the city (Shunkoin Temple) included free upright comfort bikes with the housing, which I loved, although I wasn't very picky at the time and you might want a fancier or different style bike?

I was in Kyoto during monsoon in the summer (and getting wildly soaking wet on all my rides), not in winter, so can't comment on that aspect.

I also enjoyed biking the Shimanami Kaido in the Seto Inland Sea in Japan, and can recommend doing that, ideally more slowly than I did (take 2-3 days to bike it rather than 1, enjoy the sites and explore), but it's not really "urban" so that recommendation might be off-target.
posted by cnidaria at 1:27 PM on September 23, 2022 [3 favorites]

Mexico City can actually be quite a pleasant place to bike around, though the drivers do tend to be a little more aggressive than one would like. Fortunately, there are more and more protected bike lanes being added and lots of neighbourhoods with relatively low-traffic streets. A whole bunch of major streets are closed on Sundays for biking as well. You would want to stick to the relatively central areas of the city, but there's plenty to explore, lots of good food and the weather is definitely pleasant in December.

Vancouver is very nice and a great city for biking, but December is not the right time of year for a biking vacation as it is often quite rainy and cold.
posted by ssg at 2:22 PM on September 23, 2022 [5 favorites]

Barcelona would be nice. The Netherlands wouldn't be warm, but I think warmer than freezing...Utrecht would be fun, or any Dutch city, and there are good paths between cities.
posted by pinochiette at 3:17 PM on September 23, 2022

For some alternative Japanese places to consider biking, I'd highly recommend Shikoku. It's a beautiful place, with a number of different long distance bike routes, including circling the entire island following the Shikoku 88 pilgramige route and the Shimanami Kaido route, as cnidaria mentioned above. The weather should be pretty mild, especially along the coastal areas.

Kyoto definitely is a great choice too, and it isn't too far from Osaka, Nara and a number of other interesting areas...

Otherwise, I'd also consider Hiroshima, and the island of Kyushu. Fukuoka and Kagoshima are both fantastic smaller cities, with plenty of things to bike to around them and awesome food to boot! Amami is another island worth checking out, it is beautiful and warm my wife and I fell in love with it when we visited it one early Spring.
posted by rambling wanderlust at 3:31 PM on September 23, 2022

What are you looking for in this bike adventure?

For Vancouver, yes it'll be drizzling most of the time, but you will also have less competition when it comes to the popular trails like the seawall. We have lots of bike paths and trails, but during that time of year most of them will have an accumulation of leaves, and they can be slick with all the rain. That is just Vancouver in December, in general, though!

You have to have good gear - waterproof jacket, pants, shoe covers. A cover/visor for your helmet, also for rain protection. Wind and waterproof gloves (otherwise your hands will be cold even if dry, and it'll be miserable!). And something to cover/warm up your ears and nose during your rides.

I'm not sure if I'm really selling this :) But I mean riding here in December can go from doable to even fun if you are kitted out correctly! On a clear day, going around False Creek or over the bridge is breathtaking! But if all that gear/prep is too much hassle for you, then yes, come back in the summertime, when people are nearly elbowing each other out of the way biking around the Stanley Park section of the seawall.
posted by tinydancer at 3:33 PM on September 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

Vancouver also has miles of easy gravel forest paths through the university endowment lands, for a change of pace from city riding.
But yeah, you'll be wet in Dec.
posted by cfraenkel at 4:03 PM on September 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'd say Vancouver or even Victoria and surrounds. I live and bike in Portland and am so jealous of what both cities have going on.
posted by bluedaisy at 4:08 PM on September 23, 2022

I haven't ridden a bike in Kyoto in 10 years. I've been back since but didn't keep my eye out for what the infrastructure is like now. There are some bike lanes and also paths along the rivers that are good for travelling with minimal interruptions but otherwise you're on the roads or sidewalks both of which aren't that fast. But that's fine because it isn't that big of a city so it won't take long to get anywhere and if you go too fast you might miss things anyway. It's a compact fairly flat city filled with things to see and do. Also lots of normal people ride their bikes around their so there isn't as much of a cyclists vs pedestrians vs cars mentality. I would lock my bike but I was never worried about theft in the same way that I am here in Toronto where even when my bike is locked I don't let it out of my sight if I can help it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:29 PM on September 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

Where you from? Do a staycation bike trip!
posted by aniola at 6:00 PM on September 23, 2022

Japan is on my bucket list, but I can help you with things to do in Vancouver. Feel free to MeMail me if you decide to stay closer to home! 🇨🇦
posted by Juniper Toast at 10:10 PM on September 23, 2022

you’ve got to do DC at some point! probably too cold in December, but come in early May after blossoms.
posted by haptic_avenger at 7:52 PM on September 24, 2022

Puerto Rico (example). Hawaii (example).
posted by oceano at 11:17 AM on September 25, 2022

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