Paris. You ride a bike along a narrow boulevard with aged buildings to your sides. A soft breeze blows over you and you feel the sun on your skin. The smell of freshly baked bread from a nearby bakery wafts past you. You decide to stop to investigate, and end up having the best croissants of your life.
That’s a beautiful moment, isn’t it? But that moment is actually a very possible reality, and would be just one of many such scenes if you were to explore a city by bike. In fact, the benefits of riding a bike as a way of exploring a new locale are nearly countless.
Most importantly, nothing quite beats the speed and control of a bike. Most cities would take too long to explore by foot, and public transit limits you to areas and stops it services. A bike lets you move fast, but in whatever way suits you.
That said, here are four of the top reasons to explore by bike, put together by Lifehack’s Quynh Nguyen. Enjoy!
1. Avoid the crowds and go where most others don’t.
Remember the time you were stuck in an over crowded underground in London? Or when you couldn’t manage to take a photo with Eiffel Tower. No longer the case.
Besides, some paths are much more enjoyable when you are exploring on a bike. Think about exploring Machu Pichu, a small village along the Mekong River, the deserted archaeological sites in Turkey, or Tuscany on the pedal – That is just to name a few.
2. Find peace and truly soak in the world around you.
Amidst the rush of modern life, a journey on a bike gives you the chance to slow down. You are able to soak in the fresh air around you. You can hear, see and smell things differently out on a bike, compared with being boxed in a car or a train. Moving your muscles gets your circulation going, releases stress and clears your mind.
3. Keep your body happy and healthy.
Cycling is a great way to improve your health. It gets your legs moving and your heart pumping without stressing your body too much. You can cycle for a long time and regularly, which is the best way of exercise. Besides, fresh air and cool breeze have good effect on your health and your mood.
4. Have the freedom to do absolutely anything you want.
You can stop at any time you feel like, to pet a horse from the farm by the road or to take a photo of a stunning sunset. Such freedom is not feasible when you travel by public transport. You can go as fast (or as slow) as you want, take a random turn when you see anything intriguing. You stay in the moment with your focus on where you are rather than where you are going to.
So the next time you’re out abroad, or even in your own city, hop on a bike and turn down some interesting streets. See what’s out there and experience it, stopping whenever you like along the way.
You can find Quynh’s full list of reasons to explore by bike at Lifehack.