Urban cruising or rugged touring? You decide—with the help of two writers who’ve tried it.
Heather Burt & Damian Jakibchuk
Saddle up! Summer calls for a cycling adventure (obvs)—but what kind? Are you ready to pedal over mountainous countryside? Or would you rather explore your city using Freddie Mercury’s favorite mode of transport?
Heather Burt was already a commuter cyclist when she headed to Scandinavia to learn what makes Danes and Swedes so famously prone to pedaling around town.
Damian Jakibchuk was a novice touring cyclist when he decided to bike 3,728 miles from Argentina’s northern tip to the southernmost city in the world (and stick to his vegan diet while doing it!).
Here’s what they learned from two very different cycling reconnaissance missions. Use it to fuel your own bike adventure this summer.
Heather’s snapshot of cyclists in Copenhagen: Even on a drizzly morning in Copenhagen, the bicycle lanes are thronged. Most of the bikes are basic utility models kitted out with baskets and bells, rat traps and mudguards. The riders are strikingly diverse: school kids and seniors, bankers and baristas, a dad hauling three kids in a cargo bike, two women smooching at a stop light.
Feel like Copenhagen’s chill cycling vibes are for you?
Damian’s snapshot of cycling in Argentina: In the desert, I battled relentless 60 mph winds with the power to roll my entire bicycle, and I hid from hailstorms. I carried up to 3 1/2 gallons of water, still begging for more and collapsing by the road. Elsewhere, small-town fruit stands would often give me fruit and vegetables, and the fruit in Argentina was the best I’d ever had! With more fresh and fewer processed foods in my diet, I was eating healthier than ever before.
Feel like you’re ready for the rush of a longer trip by bicycle?
Bicycle commuting confers a wide range of health benefits, including lower incidence of disease and improved cardiovascular fitness.
Switching from car driving to active commuting improves your psychological well-being.
Children who walk or cycle to school are better able to concentrate than those who are driven.
Still need convincing? Go find a six-year-old whose training wheels have just come off and ask how it feels.
Create your own travel spice kit by rolling spices up in resealable airtight storage bags. Do the same with vegetable stock for homemade soup!
Don’t forget your pocket can opener. Some shops only sell canned produce.
This handy travelers’ staple comes in vegan options now. Buy a few packs for when you need something vitamin-packed and delicious.
Looking for a more thrilling bike ride? Make like a Dutch cyclist and get an electric bike. Last year, for the first time ever, e-bike sales surpassed sales of regular bikes in the Netherlands. The little boost of speed and ease you get from an e-bike can take your summer rides from “pretty good” to “can’t stop grinning (and zooming).”