Why You Should Take a City Bike Tour on Day 1

So, you’re visiting a new city. As a former regular business traveler, I sincerely hope you’re there for pleasure. But, even on a business trip, you might be able to squeeze in a few hours for a bike tour. Why?

  • You’ll see more in a couple of hours than you could all day on foot, and have more fun.
  • You might make some new, like minded friends
  • Many tours stop for a snack and tasty liquid refreshments.
  • Your tour guide will be a valuable source of local tips, haunts, and hidden treasures. These are great starting points for the rest of your visit.
  • It’s green. Wouldn’t you rather be slowly cruising through town on a comfortable cruiser bike than stuffed into a tour bus with 60 people?
  • Fresh air and just a little exercise.
  • It’s fun!
Photo: Born Bike Barcelona

Check out what Brett Archer of the Toronto Star had to say about his first bike tour in Belgrade:

“It’s a big city with roughly the same population as Toronto, and walking it would take a week. On a bike, Van der Zijden showed me the meat of it in an afternoon.”


He made “a silent promise to myself to see more cities this way.”

Rick Steves is a kind of famous travel guy. He wants you to take a bike tour too:

“For a quick but meaningful spin around town, consider a bicycle tour. You’ll find fun and memorable guided bike tours in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bruges, Budapest, Munich, and Paris, as well as many bike-friendly countryside areas. You’ll get a young, entertaining, often foul-mouthed, sometimes informative guide who will give you a breezy introduction to the city and a close-up look at back streets few tourists ever see. Tours are typically fun, reasonable (roughly $30), and an easy way to meet other travelers as well as get a new angle on an old city.”
Photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

There are well over 500 city bike tours around the world. Most are commercial bike tour operators. For a first time bike tour, I suggest that you go with an established bike tour company. ESPECIALLY if it’s been a while since you’ve ridden a bike. They’ll help you get fit to your ride, make sure that you are comfortable in the saddle, and deal with any mechanical issues. Some friends took a bike tour in Munich a few years ago. Just the two of them, and one bike broke down. The tour guide handed over his bike and then RAN ALONG for the rest of the tour. That’s the kind of devotion to their guests that can make bike tours special!

Beyond the commercial bike tour operators, “DIY” and self-guided tours are quickly gaining popularity. Spinlister and Bikabout are two great starting points for organizing your own city bike tour.

So, taking a vacation to a new city? I urge you to take a city bike tour on your first day. It will set the stage for the rest of your visit. And, very likely, be one of your best memories. And, business travelers? Add on a half day, if you can…or sneak out of the meeting bit early. I only wish I had discovered touring cities by bike earlier in my traveling career.

Either way, ride safe and have fun!

Mike’s Bike Tours of Munich -Photo: BeenThereBikeTours