Adventure Local, Adventure Daily
Combining a work trip or family holiday with bikepacking can be a challenge, but city stays don’t have to mean no adventure. With a bit of preparation, you can find friendly bike shops, local hangouts and scenic loops around most cities. We call this Adventure Local.
Apidura’s head office is located in the heart of one of the world’s biggest cities, London. City living sometimes seems at odds with bikepacking and adventure cycling, but we know the city and its cycling culture well enough to know the interesting local loops and can find the fastest ways out into the countryside for a mid-week overnighter. It’s this invaluable insider advice we frequently find ourselves sharing with visitors to help them make the most out of their work trips or family holidays.
Adventure local is our way of making any city you visit feel like home in exactly the same way. We’ve asked locals that are intimately acquainted with the local cycling community to share tips on travel essentials, finding a bike, where to hang out to meet like-minded riders and even their favourite local loops. Explore the series below and get in touch if you’d like to offer to show us around your own city.
Annecy is the gateway to the northern Alps. Crossed by the river Thiou and its narrow canals that cut through the city streets, its old town is one of the most picturesque places in France, earning it the reputation of the ‘Venice of Savoie.’ Perched on the rim of its namesake lake, the centuries-old buildings and crystal clear waters serve as the perfect backdrop for recounted tales of adventure in the surrounding landscape.
There’s a rich history of cycling in Flanders, Belgium. From its infamous one-day races to the world-class talents that hail from the region and kilometres of cycle paths, its impact can be felt everywhere, and as a result, cycling has become part of everyday life. Whether you’re out riding the hundreds of kilometres of cycle routes that criss-cross the region, or inside the multitude of bike shops that inhabit every town, it can often seem like a paradise purpose-built for bikes.
To travel by bike in Bucharest requires two things: an open mind and an appetite for exploration. While still a city very much in development in terms of cycling infrastructure, what this southern Romanian metropolis lacks in bike paths, it more than makes up for in character. Littered with museums, beautiful gardens and a wealth of specialist coffee houses, Bucharest is a surprising and enchanting place to visit.
Budapest is surely one of central Europe’s cultural highlights. Set on the banks of the River Danube and steeped in both architectural beauty and historical significance, this city is a place that demands visitors get to know it below the surface. And from the infamous Széchenyi Chain Bridge to the many world-class museums and market halls, there’s no better way to take it all in than by bike.
Cycling culture runs deeps in the Danish capital. More than half of the city’s million residents ride a bike every day and there’s good reason why. Copenhagen is consistently ranked among the world’s top cycling cities, thanks to its designated bike lanes that criss-cross town, omnipresent rental city bikes and even traffic lights that are coordinated in favour of cyclists during rush hour.
Nestled between Exeter and Plymouth in the southwestern tip of England, Dartmoor National Park is arguably one of the UK’s last remaining wildernesses. Its 1,000 square kilometres of moorland, forests, river valleys and peaks offer endless opportunity for exploration, and provide an enticing mix of challenging yet accessible cycling terrain.
Istanbul is, without doubt, one of the most historic cities in the world. Located at a geographical crossroads between Asia and Europe, this huge, sprawling metropolis of 15 million spans vast continents and empires that have left indelible imprints on the city’s culture, customs, and people. Coming at a bottleneck between east and west, many long-distance cycle tourists pass through Istanbul, but there is plenty to merit a trip here for short-term travellers too.
Considering that London ranks as Europe’s second most populous urban area, it’s easy to see why the UK capital isn’t first on the list for an adventure cycling escape. But as a city base for a riding getaway, London is almost unrivalled, and the infrastructure for getting around the city by bike is improving all the time.
Occupying the headland across the bay from San Francisco, Marin County is one of North America’s most picturesque locations. It’s also a haven for bike riders of all kinds, with excellent road, gravel, and mountain bike options. In fact, the steep slopes of Marin Hills’ highest peak, Mount Tamalpais, are widely regarded as the birthplace of mountain biking as we know it.
Cycling culture in Melbourne has a long and impressive history. Location of the world’s oldest track race still in existence – the Austral Wheel Race – and birthplace of Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, it’s a city with cycling in its blood. Some of the earliest long-distance bike travellers, the Australian overlanders of the 19th century, often used Melbourne as a base before launching themselves off into the unknown outback too.
Bicycles are big in Japan – although not in the way you might expect. While there are an estimated 80 million bicycles in the country, the vast majority take the form of ‘mamacharis’, or what we know in the west as Dutch-style sit up and beg bikes. More functional than recreational, these machines are ubiquitous in the nation’s cities and villages, and Nagoya is no exception. But with its close proximity to the Japanese Alps, a trend of taking two wheels beyond the commute is prevailing.
Perth, by some definitions one of the most isolated cities in the world, is well-positioned to become an adventure cycling Mecca. Geographically closer to Jakarta than Sydney, this west coast outpost sits on a beautifully rugged coastline surrounded by verdant forests, remote river valleys, and tree-lined villages – all seemingly tailor-made for touring and adventure riding.
Queenstown has a long-established reputation as New Zealand’s go-to destination for adventure sports. With more than 220 ‘adventure tourism’ activities available for willing visitors – including bungee jumping, skydiving and, of course, mountain biking – it’s easy to understand why. Nestled on the banks of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by vast mountains, that reputation can only grow.
There’s a new wave of cycling enthusiasm rumbling through the Arabian Peninsula, and Riyadh – Saudi Arabia’s capital and most populous city – is right at the heart of it, with more people than ever before taking to two wheels. With endless deserts to explore and the chance of adventure around every corner, there’s much more to cycling here than the humble commute.
If you know your city and the local cycling scene and would like to share it with adventure cyclists the world over, send us an email on [email protected]