The Big Apple is packed with rides for everyone, from a laid-back Sunday loop around Prospect Park to biking to the Palisades Interstate Park.
As diverse as NYC’s bike network is, the world is full of fabulous places to spin your wheels. Meet three cities that are home to unexpectedly awesome urban trails. When you feel the need to get out of town, consider the following under-the-radar urban cycling hotspots: Boston, Houston and Santa Monica.
Enjoy scenic views of the Charles River as you meander the Dudley White Bicycle Path. This breezy route takes you along both sides of the river as you complete the 17-mile loop. If you prefer a curated experience, consider Urban AdvenTours. They offer guided group rides that will have you feeling like a Beantown local in no time. Bike, helmet, and water are included in the rate, staring at $55 for the three-hour City View Tour. Hubway, Boston’s bike share system, has over 155 kiosks scattered around town.
The stylish Godfrey Hotel is the new kid on the block. It’s quickly gaining a loyal clientele thanks to high-tech amenities and winning service.
History oozes from this city’s pores and there’s no better way to glimpse its past than by strolling the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail. The brick path is packed with 16 historically significant sites including Boston Common, Paul Revere House and the Massachusetts State House.
See oM’s Boston Transportation Guide.
Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre natural paradise in the center of Downtown Houston’s Blade Runner-esque skyline. It recently completed a $58 million makeover, transforming it into one of the country’s great urban parks. Visitors and locals meet Bayou-side to enjoy a brisk spin along the serene waterfront bike trail. After you’ve worked up a sweat, enjoy the colorful public art displays, catch a live musical performance, watch the daredevils in the skate park or kayak in the lake. Rent your wheels at Bike Barn or hop on a B-Cycle, Houston’s efficient bike share.
The Lancaster Hotel is an intimate downtown property. The complimentary breakfast will help you power through any bumps in the road. If you need to work out any post-ride kinks, mosey over to the Four Seasons Hotel Houston. The onsite Spa offers indulgent body treatments infused with locavore scents like Cowboy Crush, Houston Dream and Texas Green Tea into top-of-the-line products.
Houston is flooded with over 10,000 restaurants and culinary geeks fly here like bees to honey. Ford Fry’s State of Grace is not to be missed. It is located across the street from Chef Fry’s alma mater, Lamar High School, so he’s intimate with Houston’s richness of native ingredients. The stylish crowd isn’t afraid to chow down Texas-style on Twice Fried Chicken, sublime pasta and Brussels sprouts as sweet as candy. A strawberry rhubarb tart with a feathery crust and sticky toffee pudding are the desserts of your dreams.
Catch a plane from LGA and you’ll be in Houston in three hours.
Los Angeles may be the ultimate car-crazed metropolis, but laid-back Santa Monica is a biker’s utopia. Cycle the coastal Marvin Braude Beach Trail and soak up 22 miles of palm-sprinkled scenery. Ambitious riders may bike the entire trail from Pacific Palisades to Torrance or stay local and glimpse visual delights like the Santa Monica Pier and Muscle Beach. The city enjoys a plentiful web of bike lanes and pedal perks such as bike valets. Borrow a shiny green two-wheeler from Breeze Bike Share or rent a cruiser from any of Perry’s convenient beachside locations.
The LEED Gold certified Shore Hotel is an eco-friendly place to rest your head. Gorgeous rooms with prime Pacific Ocean views are beachy-keen.
The coast-to-coast journey takes 5½ hours.
Photo credits:Lee Toma, Dylan Pech, Urbanadventours, Visit Houston, Visit Santa Monica
Allison is a native New Yorker, who has lived in Rome, Tuscany, Melbourne, Toronto and Los Angeles. She frequently contributes travel pieces to Family Travel Forum, using her own children as guinea pigs as they travel the globe. She is fluent in Italian and Spanish and laughably adequate in French. Her background as an Early Childhood Educator gives her an added understanding of what it takes to travel with kids in tow. She firmly believes that the most important part of education takes place outside of the classroom, on the road, around the world. She never misses a chance to sample local delicacies, as her love for travel goes hand-in-hand with her love for food and wine. Follow Allison at @gourmetrav.