Traveling by bicycle can be one of the most fullfilling ways to get from one place to another as it is healthy, stimulating, eco-friendly, and allows the traveler to experience more of the places that he/she travels through. Bicycle travel does however present certain difficulties. This article is meant to assist CouchSurfers with tips and local information about traveling by bicycle anywhere and everywhere in the world.
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Traveling by bicycle in the United States both locally and long distances can be a great challenge primarily for safety concerns. However, the US has much to offer with varied landscapes and a large geography unimpeded by borders.
- Many cities require that one ride on the roadway with other forms of traffic following all normal traffic laws. This is the safest and often most worry free way to travel. Riding on the sidewalk is dangerous for you, pedestrians, and to automobile traffic.
- Distances between locations is far greater than in Europe and other regions, keep this in mind when traveling between cities in the US. Pack enough food, water, and extra tire tubes.
- Road conditions in the United States are generally of very high quality however the high amount of broken glass and other debris mean that you'll want to carry a few extra innertubes.
- Because of the domination of automobile traffic and such a small number of cyclists, many drivers do not now how to properly deal with bicycles present on the roadway and often don't even see them until it is too late. for this reason:
- Be aware of automobile traffic
- Wear a helmet
- Signal turns
- and avoid large motorways wherever possible.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic, 2-lane 440mile (700km) asphalt roadway with low speeds and little traffic for those traveling between Nashville and Natchez, Mississippi. The road is commonly traveled by cyclists and has great views. There is free and open camping anywhere along the road and automobile traffic is limited.
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Famous for its bicycle friendly geography and culture it should be of no surprise that the Netherlands has a huge network of well marked bicyle routes (fietspad), as well as plenty of parking. The system is very friendly towards bicycles but the rules are strict (see article for details).
All but the southeastern corner of the country is quite flat which makes for very easy long distance riding. The country is, however, dominated by a marine climate with very strong winds pretty much throughout the year. When planning a trip the direction and strength of the wind is always good to know. Bicycle theft is extremely common and if you want to keep your ride you must lock it up. The Netherlands has plenty of CouchSurfers within a very small area meaning travelers can easily travel by bicycle between hosts.
A large network of national bicycle routes, LF-routes, provides an enjoyable and carefree way to travel across the country. The LF-routeplanner(in Dutch) is one of several useful ways to plan a bike trip. You can also find plenty of resources at any tourist office (VVV).
The wikivoyage article has all the general information you need about travelling in the Netherlands.
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The Munda Biddi is a well-maintained trail specifically for biking which runs along the south-western coast of the continent from Perth to Albany. Every 35 to 40 kilometres between towns are purpose-built shelters with composting toilets. The trail is easily accessed by car. Different sections suit anyone's cycling ability and pace.
The wikitravel article has some Infos about travelling in Siwtzerland by bike. There are several well described routs through Switzerland. You can get special maps for about 15 Euros. In Zurich you can rent bikes for free, near the Bellevue-Tramstation/Stadelhofen-railway station.
Tips, info and resources for Cyclo-tourists
- Many cities have white/yellow bicycle projects or bikeshare initiatives both public and private offering bicyles for use free of charge. some of these may require you donate some amount of work to fix old bicycles.
- Communicate with your host. If you will be arriving by bicycle make sure to tell them. Don't be afraid to ask if your host has an extra bicycle, or tools to lend you. You may also want to ask if your host is located within biking distance of shops or a long-distance bike route.
- The Cyclists group is probably the best single resource for CSers traveling by bicycle.
- Warm Showers The Warm Showers List is a list of Internet cyclists who have offered their hospitality towards touring cyclists. The extent of the hospitality depends on the host and may range from simply a spot to pitch a tent to meals, a warm (hot!) shower, and a bed.
- HCVELO: Hospitality Communities Bike Tours