New York City is where I live and bike on a regular basis; hence this is the only continent that is listed out of chronological order. The 25th annual NYC Century Bike Tour in 2014 serves an example for this list. In the 21st century the city has come a long way in terms of making its streets bike friendly. This is largely thanks to the support and advocacy by organizations such as Transportation Alternatives that promote safety for all who share the city's streets.
Biking The Continents (Complete)
First ride "below" 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 this blog for suggesting the route. Although the government-run bike share system was "conveniently" closed for a holiday, the privately-run bike rental service sponsored by the Itau bank was available and open on the second floor of the Recoleta Design Building.
The second ride in South America occurred almost two years after the first. It was in the sunny city of Rio de Janeiro after a 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. The difficulty of riding through Rio was the weather. Having left wintery New York less than a week earlier, I found it difficult to adjust to the heat and the humidity. Big thanks to the wonderful people at Rio Electric for the 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.
My Cape Town, My Cape Town... Although I somewhat underestimated the climb up the mountain, the view from the top fully compensated for the required effort. I also finally got a hang of riding on the left side of the road. I am glad to have visited South Africa during the period of calm because this country had an opportunity to chose its own future and it chose a peaceful path towards reconciliation.
Sydney. One of the world's most livable cities according to The Economist. A stark difference from the jaywalking population of New York City. Australians don't dare crossing even a completely empty street until they see the walk signal. Just as with many other current and former British Commonwealth locations around the world, one has to get used to riding on the left side of the road, which makes the experience and the accomplishment even more interesting and exciting.
Melbourne is another city that must be mentioned when talking about cycling in Australia. With a bike lane running parallel to almost every street, the Capital City Trail, and scenic views of the ocean, this city is a cycling heaven. Swarms of cyclists patiently wait for green light at every intersection before storming the next segment of their journey. The bikes offered through the public bike sharing system are identical to the equivalent program in New York and London and similar time restrictions apply.
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 lack any training or ability to recognize or even distinguish the street names and signs written in Japanese. All that this means is that I had to watch my phone's GPS app more than usual at the expense of some of the surroundings. Still, an extremely enjoyable ride through a beautiful city!
Someday... For now, let's start with the permanently inhabited continents.