Bicycle Travel > Urban Cycling

Urban Touring

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When riders talk of urban cycling they usually mean commuting or short pleasure rides.  I think urban ~touring~ is the cats pajamas.

I live on the northern edge of a major metropolitan area, and I love to tour down to the state park just beyond the southern side of the city.  I use a myriad of quiet streets and a few thoroughfares that on the weekends are eminently tourable.  At the end of the day, I usually camp and cook at the state park, but there are motel and restaurant options as well.  On the second day I take a different track home.  It makes a quick get-a-way and its a good way to shake out new equipment.

Leaving out my front door, I can ride through quiet neighborhoods, past landscaped McMansions, by the best parks and public art, along winding, shaded streets, through historic areas, across major bridges, to the base of impressive architecture, through the heart of down town; traverse university campuses and ride into areas where none of the signs are in English.  I can visit any of dozens of museums and notable locations, photograph great cathedrals and tent revivals, choose from countless street-side cafes with menus from the world, stop at quirky places, see how both of the other two halves live and even go by the gravesites of the famous and infamous.  I can see where the old money and power brokers live, visit locations recently in the news and observe how the city is evolving.  All this in just two 45-mile days.

I started doing this years ago by myself.  After I got married I brought my wife along, and she loved it.  Weve started inviting friends, who say they experience more of the city in a weekend than they have in twenty years of living here.  The route varies, and last time we took in Frank Lloyd Wrights only theater, a delightful little shop that offered 167 flavors of soda water and stopped on a street corner to point out and discuss the seven locations from which assassins fired at President Kennedy.

Urban touring  give it a try!


and speaking of animals, I think that "comtouring", AKA  "commute-touring" is the dog's bark.

We have a rustic cabin 27 miles outside of what Montanans would call an urban center. In the summer, I do my favorite type of touring - sometimes multiple days a week. I wake with the sunrise, pack my bags for a sleepover at a town-friend's home, and pedal the 1/4 century to work. I am awake and engaged when I get to work, spend Q time with friends that night, and after another day of work, get to take a great evening ride home to sleep in my own bed. It is "very tame" touring, but a great way for me to get a summer's-worthy does of exercise, decrease pollution, and have mini-tour adventures. As a result of this slower commute, I have found great swimming holes along one of the best rivers in the country, discovered little know pedestrian suspension bridges, made friends with mergansers, and legitimized a second breakfast of cookies after the great workout. Yum.

And yes, I've also got my partner into comtouring, and he carries our dog Sammy.

Happy bicycling,

Becky Douglas
Outreach and Education Coordinator
Adventure Cycling Association

When I move to a new city I tend to spend every forth of fith Saturday heading off to an area I've yet to visit, getting lost, and finding my way back and a nice, easy pace. I can't imagine a better way to get my bearings and take in my new city.

......... __ o

At the risk of sounding un-worldly, what is a "merganser"?  Are they tame? Soft and cuddly? Edible? lol


Sam, A Merganser is a breed of Duck. We have lots of them here in Maine


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