Biking in Europe can be a very rewarding experience. Cycling is widely accepted as a major mode of transportation in most major cities, where rental bikes are widely available to visitors. So what do you need to know? Lets take a look.
Transporting your bike overseas is a hassle, but fortunately renting a bike is pretty affordable. Expect to pay roughly 50-90 Euro per week for a bike rental. Since listing the benefits of each city would take far too long, let's take a look at what Munich, Germany has to offer.
For bikers who are just looking to see more of the city, a guided bike tour is one of the most unique ways to get around the city. This service is not unique to Munich, and can be a great way to get your bearings if you're planning on staying in the city for an extended period of time. It's also a great way to see the 'touristy' sites in a non-traditional, yet fun way. If you want to take some relaxing rides by yourself, look to the parks around Munich. For the casual explorer, parks like the Englischer Garten, and Nymphenburg Palace offer fine paths and car free walkways. Or, you can head out and explore the banks of the River Isar with a picnic lunch!
Cyclists who wish to stay on pavement will find no shortage of groups to ride with, challenging climbs, or thrilling descents. All over Europe, there are people ready to offer advice on the best routes, so do some searching online to get an idea of where might be the best for you. Check out what the folks at Cycling Forums have to say. Once you have your destination, be sure you learn the rules of the road, and learn how to interpret road signs. Thankfully, these are almost universal.
It goes without saying that there are ample roads for your road bike. After all, this is the continent that hosts the most famous bike race in the world. You may associate Europe with the road bike, but that doesn't mean that the mountain bike culture isn't thriving as well. If you're looking for a great MTB experience, the wilderness of Europe is filled with all kinds of terrain just waiting to be ridden. In a city like Munich, you could take your bike to the Bavarian countryside for some trail riding. Many mountain bikers will want to tackle the 'Bike Crossing Black Forest' route, which is over 450km long! Fortunately, it can be split up into various lengths and day stages. Doing intense mountain bike rides means you're probably not a beginner, so be sure you pack your helmet, gloves, shoes, shorts and water pack. Don't forget your helmet cam!
You may be tempted to bring your own bike to Europe. Most people don't need to do this, but it all comes down to cost benefit analysis. As stated above, rentals are relatively affordable, so if you are only over for a short period of time, it may be best to go this route. Most places that rent bikes will have bike racks available as well, so if you have to drive to your starting point, you can usually stick the bike to the back of your rental car and be on your way. Storing your bike inside a rental car means having to rent a minivan, which will be more expensive. If you do bring your own bike, figure out the best way to transport it by asking someone at your local bike shop.
Whether you're looking to see the city, hit some trails, or follow your favorite stage of the Tour de France, cycling in Europe can be a very rewarding experience. What's your ideal bike trip in Europe? Leave a comment, and maybe we will feature it in a future post!