New York City is where I lived and biked on a regular basis for many years, so North America is the only continent that is listed out of chronological order. The 25th annual NYC Century Bike Tour in 2014 is among my most memorable rides and serves an example for this list. Thanks to the advocacy and support by organizations such as Transportation Alternatives that promote safety for all who share the city's streets.
Biking The Continents (ca. 2014 - 2017)
New York, NY, USA
Buenos Aires, Argentina
My first ride south of the equator was in Argentina. Buenos Aires is a wonderful city for a bike ride in the streets filled with historic architecture and the scenic views of the river. Big thanks to the Buenos Aires Discovery blog for suggesting the route. Although the government-run bike share system was closed for a holiday, the bike rental service sponsored by the Itau bank was available and open on the second floor of the Recoleta Design Building.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The second ride in South America occurred almost two years after the first. It was in Rio de Janeiro after my wife and I completed a river cruise through the Amazonian jungle. Rio has a very extensive network of interconnected bike lanes. Most are dedicated and separated from traffic by a barrier. Having left wintry New York less than a week earlier, I found that I needed to take it easy at the beginning of the ride so I could adjust to the heat and humidity. Big thanks to the wonderful people at Rio Electric for their bike rental services.
London has an almost identical public bike sharing system as New York City so I felt at home, except for riding on the opposite side of the street. Luckily most of the ride was in a park with few or no cars. In addition to using the same bicycle design, NYC and London bike share programs are both sponsored by banks and are called CitiBike in NYC and Barclays Cycles [later renamed to Santander Cycles] in London.
Cape Town, South Africa
My Cape Town, My Cape Town... Although I somewhat underestimated the climb up the mountain, the view from the top and the subsequent ride down and along the beautiful ocean shore fully compensated for the required effort. I also finally got a hang of riding on the left side of the road. Thanks to the folks at Cape Town Cycle Hire for their rental services.
My adventures in Australia started in Syndey where my future wife and I climbed the Harbor Bridge, ate an inordinate amount of sea food, and prepared for our subsequent trip to The Outback. I mapped out my cycling route ahead of time to ensure that I can cover 10+ miles. What a truly enjoyable ride!
After Sydney, my Australian cycling adventure continued in Melbourne. With lots of bike lanes running along many streets, the Capital City Trail, and scenic views of the ocean, I truly enjoyed my cycling experience here and it is no wonder that Melbourne was considered the world's most livable city by the Economist. The bikes offered through the public bike sharing system seem identical to the equivalent programs in New York and London so I was already familiar with the bikes, time restrictions, and other program rules.
In Tokyo, bikes are everywhere and everyone seems to be riding a bike typically on a sidewalk, whether they are wearing a suit or a t-shirt. Big thanks to the folks at Cycle Tokyo for suggesting the route upon which my adventure was based. Additional thanks to Tokyo's bike sharing system. After planning my route, one of my primary challenges was finding my way around because I cannot read the street names and signs written in Japanese. All that this means is that I had to consult my phone's GPS app more often than usual at the expense of seeing more of the surroundings. Still, an extremely enjoyable ride through a beautiful city!