A photo album of the 12 cities and trails in North America we hope to experience this year
Call it a bucket list or travel dream, these are the cities and trails that have made our 2016 list. We chose them because of the following:
- Bikeability for people who want to take casual, under 20 mile trips
- Scenery and local amenities best experienced by bike
- Bike culture and connection to local businesses
- The region has a desire to attract bike tourism
I don't know if we can fit them all in this year, but regardless, we hope you think of wandering by bike in these fantastic locations!
With an 18 mile Bermuda Railway Trail, beaches, a short 3 hour flight from the east coast and a tourism authority that's motivated to attract bicycle tourists, Bermuda is calling our name.
Greenville, South Carolina
The Swamp Rabbit Inn, a bike friendly lodging institution in Greenville, was an early fan of Bikabout and anxious to get me riding the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The mid-sized city has also been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a bronze bike friendly community.
LA is a slightly contentious debate within our household because during a 12 hour layover back in 2007, we were lucky to get a 25 mile bike tour by our friends. Although we were treated to some of the best food in the U.S., we had a too many buzzes by people driving. 9 years later and after numerous Mayoral declarations on progressive transportation policies, the crazily popular CicLAvia and the gold-standard beach communities, we realize we were too quick to judge and can't wait to return to experience the culture.
New Albany & Oxford, Mississippi
The William Faulkner Scenic Byway connecting the neighboring cities of Oxford and New Albany courses the border of the Appalachian Foothills and the Deep South. William Faulkner knew this better than anyone being born in New Albany and later moving to Oxford, both of which hold his spirit: Rowan Oak is his house in Oxford (aka, Ole Miss college town) and his great grandfather built the railroad which has been converted to the 43.6 mile Tanglefoot Trail that begins in New Albany. Knowing how small cities like Athens, Georgia can be just as tasty, cultural and bike friendly as the large cities, we expect nothing less from these two cities.
Philadelphia first pinged me in my previous career life in sustainability. I was wowed by their mayor's commitment to their climate action plan. Now after a successful bike share launch, a friend's planning pilgrimage and the buzz of the Rail Park (Philly's High Line), in the words of Will Ferrell channeling Harry Caray, I'm curious like a cat.
Okay (deep breath), but I'm over the top excited to see Pittsburgh. Back up context: I have a curse when movies are set in cities; I can't pay attention to the plot until I figure out the setting. So when we watched Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) last year, the opening scene featured an American city in the rust belt with a river and cliffs? I got so frustrated that we had to pause while I IMDBed it. PITTSBURGH!? I was intrigued.
This affordable, cultured city is also setting a trend that I'm coining: Brooklyn's expat train stop after the Hudson River Valley. One of my favorite quotes this year that I'll paraphrase from Jonathan Growall of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, "Certain working class Pittsburgh neighborhoods, such as the South Side were largely if not completely ignored for urban renewal projects and highways after the 1950s." This means that the historic building stock and original human scaled streets are pretty much intact. Pair all this with its presence of major foundations and its location being the origin of the GAP Trail (next section) and hopefully I've recruited some fellow crazies excited to see the Steel City.
We've gotten some grief as an east coast based business for publishing Portland, OR before Portland, ME but in our defense, the former was the inspirational city for Bikabout and they have one of the most vibrant bike cultures. However, the latter is only a 3 hour bike friendly Amtrak ride away from Boston, is known for having the best food and beverage scene per capita and is one of the most quaint cities in America.
san francisco Bay area
I would say that the Bay Area is the Godfather of urban biking destinations and because we want to respect the institution, we've waited until our 3rd year to tour this beast. In the past, we've done the obligatory rides up Mount "Tam", through the Presidio and across Golden Gate Bridge but this time, we look forward to getting into the neighborhoods and cities of Oakland and Berkley. We predict that San Francisco will be one of the next Platinum designated cities by the League of American Cyclists (and Minneapolis will go straight from Gold to Diamond, skipping Platinum).
As a former Georgian, Savannah has always been on the short list. Much like Bikabout's other city, Charleston, the southern city is rich in history, urban planning, architecture, parks and food.
2016 Travel Map
The map below represents current and future Bikabout cities. The 18 cities marked by our bell logo are current and those marked with a bike are future.