Warm days are here, and we can't think of a better way to explore a new place than by bike. So we're highlighting some great locales for biking, and the most scenic paths to take in them. And as an added bonus, here are the nearby hotels that loan bikes to guests for free. Vacation, spring, biking, and free stuff -- a beautiful combination of all the things we love.
Hotels in this story
BBQ is a beloved attraction in Austin and it turns out, you can bike to it. Seriously, a bike sharing station is out front at Franklin’s Barbecue, and there’s even an annual Tour de Meat that ends in a glorious barbecue party every summer. But on a non-meat related note, the city has some very scenic urban trails. Take in the waterfront and city skyline at the Boardwalk Trail at Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. It’s part of the city’s longer Hike and Bike Trail, a popular spot for biking, jogging, and walking. The trail connects to the crosstown Lance Armstrong Bikeway, which interested visitors will be happy to know is also car-free.
Hotels: Free bike rentals are part of the offbeat charm of the Heywood Hotel, a boutique property in East Austin. They’re one of the personal touches, along with locally made art and handmade furniture, at this intimate seven-room hotel. On the south side of the Colorado River in downtown Austin, the Hotel Saint Cecilia makes Papillionaire bikes available to its guests. We love their vintage style, one of the hotel’s many cool design choices.
New York City
New York has seriously upped its bike game in the last few years. One of the best rides in town is in Hudson River Park, an urban oasis on the west side of the city. The miles-long bike path stretches all along the edge of Manhattan. Take a leisurely ride along the Hudson, cruise past sunbathers and kayakers, and marvel at the gardens and views of the New York City waterfront and skyline. Central Park also has a bike loop around the park’s grassy knolls, historic landmarks, and lakes, that is downright bucolic.
Hotels: There are a handful of hotels in New York City that offer free bike rentals, ranging from boutique properties like the Bowery to chains like the Hyatt Union Square and the Element New York Times Square. We especially like the location of the Jane, the James Hotel and the Maritime Hotel — all of which loan out bikes, and are minutes away from the west side.
The back roads of the Hamptons are calling. A leisurely Saturday bike ride to the farmer’s market, followed by the beach? Or a seafood shack? Yes to all of it. Biking is actually the best way to get to Hamptons beaches, where parking goes quickly and usually costs a good chunk of change. Velojoy.com recommends biking through the Northwest Woods to the marina in Sag Harbor. Once there, there are plenty of coffee shops and antique stores to browse.
Hotel: Bright red cruisers with baskets and back rack are available at the C/O The Maidstone in East Hampton. The picturesque cottage is a short bike ride from the beach.
San Diego is a great place to bike any time of year, thanks to its warm climate and miles of beaches. For a quintessentially SoCal experience, bike along the paths at Mission Bay. Depending on where you start, you’ll pass by public parks, wildlife preserves, the sandy shores of Mission Beach, and the boardwalk. Getting fresh seafood, watching the street performers on the Mission Beach boardwalk, and stopping to catch the sunset over the water are must-dos along the way. To see downtown on two wheels, begin in the Gaslamp Quarter and continue along the bike paths through the Marina District.
Wine and biking don’t always mix, especially not on some of the rougher roads in Napa Valley. But Napa’s Riverfront District is a relaxing ride. Cruise past historic homes, and stop by the Napa Mill and riverfront promenade. There are also lots of restaurants and stores to stop in along the way.
Hotel: The Napa River Inn is located in the heart of downtown, right next to the historic Napa Mill. Guests can borrow bikes to explore the neighborhood — including local boutiques, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, and the Oxbow Public Market — for free.