Posted on June 26, 2017
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One of the things we love to do on a Lola Bicycle is go out for a spin. Like Manu Campa, an artist we admire, says while riding to his studio each morning in Madrid, the streets of his city and the life that fills them are where he finds inspiration. The same is true for us, so we put together a list of a few great urban rides, including two right here in our Singapore backyard that we think worth exploring.
The Park Connector Network (PCN) is a series of bike paths string together parks and green spaces interspersed with cafes and restaurants. The paths are smooth, wide, and ideal for an outing any time. Our two favorites are the Northern Eastern Riverine Loop and the Eastern Coastal Loop.
The 26 km Northern Eastern Riverine Loop wanders through the Buangkok and Lorong Halus Wetland. Coast along and check out the fun at Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk. Take a break riverside at the Whisk & Paddle with a coffee or one of their all-day breakfasts. Those looking for scrumptious seafood should keep an eye out for Ponggol Seafood and their delightful buffet.
Another local favorite is the Eastern Coastal Loop. This 17.5 km trail runs from Pasir Ris Town Park to East Coast Park through open grasslands and freshwater wetlands. The beauty of this trail, though, lies not just in its natural features, but for the chance to try some excellent local food. Settle in for brunch at Wawawa, a bistro with views over the reservoir, or refresh with a cool pint at Full Pint Brewery in Parkland Green.
Photo credit: National Parks Board, Ulu Sembawang Park Connector
Bogota is home to one of the most extensive bicycle path networks in the world, just over 300 km in total, and a weekly event, Ciclovia, that embodies the best of urban cycling.
On Sundays and national holidays, a circuit of more than 110 km of interconnected roads in the city are closed from 7am to 2pm to all but foot and cycle traffic to create a festival atmosphere. Started in 1974 by cycling enthusiast Jaime Ortiz Mariño and a group of friends, Bogota’s city government signed it into official status in 1976. It’s been running ever since and has spread throughout Colombia to fifteen other countries including Australia, Israel, and Peru.
Two women on bikes https://www.flickr.com/photos/carlosfpardo/
Further north in the Americas is another city brimming with bicycles, good food, and gorgeous scenery. While there are any number of bike paths running around and through the city, here are a couple rides that we think are ideal.
Those wishing to avoid San Francisco’s notorious hills can glide between the Mission District and the Presidio along on what’s famously known as The Wiggle. Originally carved by a creek, this relatively flat 1.5 mile mural-lined route has been popular for more than 1,000 years.
Valencia Street in the Mission District is historic and hipster, and those looking for a pleasant cruise with plenty of interesting things to see and eat need look no further. Stop at one of the many cafes for a coffee, craft beer or regional wine and soak in the local atmosphere.
Wiggle mural https://www.flickr.com/photos/dianneyee/
Markets to charming shops to riverside rolling with a castle or cathedral thrown in for good measure – what’s not to like about cycling in London? Historic, natural and urban are all here when pedals start moving. Our favorite rides take cyclists around the lovely Richmond Park and traveling between some of the city’s most famous markets.
At 2500 acres Richmond Park is the largest of London’s eight royal parks and its largest enclosed space. The park has changed little since the mid-thirteenth century when it first became part of the royal landholdings, and as such is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Families can choose an easy five-mile route, while those looking for something a bit longer and more varied in terrain can challenge themselves with the Perimeter Ride. All guarantee lovely views into the city, deer, and tasty food.
Cyclists looking to snack and shop should consider a self-guided ride suggested by Transport for London (TFL) Leisure Routes series. One begins near fun-loving Camden Market and runs along a canal to historic Exmouth Market (don’t miss the Exmouth Arms Pub, from which it takes its name) and on to peruse Spitalfields Market.
Richmond Park Photo Courtesy of Royal Parks
If pedaling through a city steeped in history with beautiful scenery, stunning architecture, art and some of the world’s best food is your goal, then Verona, Italy is our recommendation. Excellent rides of varying length are easy to find and navigate.
A city center tour takes riders past some of Verona’s most historic and splendid sites, including an enormous Roman amphitheater called simply The Arena, the Museo di Castelvecchio, the ancient Roman gate Porta dei Borsari, and ends at the quiet Piazze del Erbe.
The River Mincio Cycle Route follows the river for 35 kilometers for glorious scenery with intermittent cafes in picturesque villages along a delightful paved cycle path. Beginning in Peschiera del Garda, a walled city Dante references in The Inferno, the ride only becomes more heavenly as it progresses.
Photo courtesy of Italy Cycling Guide
We would be remiss to not include the world’s most bicycle friendly city in our list. Starting in the early 1970’s, Holland made a concerted effort to focus on the bicycle rather than the automobile, and citizens have never looked back down the bicycle lane. This made choosing favorite routes or two something of a challenge, but we managed.
A three-hour ride, not including pauses for photographs or lounging at one of the city’s bountiful cafes, takes riders through an architectural and historical cross-section of western Amsterdam that time travels from the 17th to the 20th century.
Another ride devised by The Cycling Dutchman, offers visitors a chance to cruise the historic areas alongside the canals and venture out to the suburbs for a taste of real cycling life in the Netherlands. Starting at the Central Station, riders stop at Neruwmarkt Square, cross the Magere Brug and eventually ride alongside the Amstel River.
Got a favorite local route and want to share the details? Send us the route, its highlights, and any recommended treats and beverage stops along the way. If chosen for posting, we’ll send along a Lola T-shirt to wear on your next cruise!
Autumn photo of amsterdam https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/