Having found myself on a beach recently in Binibeca, Menorca during a holiday with family, I lay back in the sand with paper in hand, tasked with the challenge of writing my next blog.
Chewing on my pen, staring up at the sky with the sun in my eyes, I was struck with an idea – what do people love more than the sun? Weather conditions and the amount of sunlight in a day can certainly make or break a bicycle tour and frustrate and stymie even the most resolute of cyclists. So, after some research and careful compilation of a list, here it is: the Top Ten cities in the Cycle Cities network, rated by the amount of sunshine hours their city gets in a year! The list features a pleasant mix of our partner cities from all over the world, with both the US and Australia being well-represented, in addition to some of the classic European holiday destinations that you’d expect. It was put together through various sources online, and is not intended to be entirely exhaustive/accurate – just a good rough guide for a bit of fun!
Before we get into the list though, here are a few Honourable Mentions – cities that just missed out on the list, but that can more than legitimately consider themselves ‘hot stuff!’
Barcelona, Spain – 2,591 hours, Rome, Italy – 2,473 hours, Melbourne, Australia – 2,362 hours, Istanbul, Turkey – 2,218 hours.
10) SAN ANTONIO, UNITED STATES – 2,629 HOURS
Home to the legendary basketball side the San Antonio Spurs, San Antonio kicks of our list with over two and a half thousand hours of golden sunshine a year. The team at Bike World offer the best bicycle tours in the city.
9) AUSTIN, UNITED STATES – 2,643 HOURS
Capital of Texas, this Southern gem asserts its presence at number nine on the list in with an amount of yearly sunshine hours that mirrors its big personality (and even bigger hamburgers). Link up with Austin Bike Tours and Rentals if you’re in the area, and make the most of this booming city (and it’s incredible weather) with a bike tour!
8) CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA – 2,738 HOURS
Not to be confused with the setting of the famous French film festival, Aussie diamond Cairns is a gorgeous coastal city with a unique spirit and character. In addition to its 2,738 hours of sunlight per year, Cairns also boasts some of the most fascinating and iconic nature in the world, and is home to the famous Great Barrier Reef. After checking it out, dry off with a bike ride around the city with Cruising Cairns!
7) ATLANTA, UNITED STATES – 2,739 HOURS
This is where things start to really heat up. Home to my favourite show The Walking Dead and capital of Georgia, Atlanta narrowly pips Cairns to claim seventh spot on the list. If you’re a fan of aquatic life, head to the Georgia Aquarium, while the Atlanta Botanical Garden will appeal to those of a green fingered constitution. Cycle Cities partner Bike Tours Atlanta offer guided bike tours to cap off the perfect American excursion!
6) MADRID, SPAIN – 2,769 HOURS
Nestled at the very heart of Spain’s enormous landmass, Madrid is a city rich in culture and history. With its stunning architecture and vast array of enchanting inner city parks and royal palaces, Madrid is a city best explored on bike. Thankfully, our partners at Trixi have you covered, offering both bike rental and guided tours on two wheels.
5) LISBON, PORTUGAL – 2,806 HOURS
With a sandy coastline, numerous ancient castles, and a number of hills and winding roads, Lisbon is the ideal place for a cycling holiday under the sun. Our partners on the ground there – Lisbon Bike Tour – offer guided bicycle tours and will also be able to recommend great routes and tracks via which to explore this incredible capital city on Portugal’s southern shores.
4) MARSEILLES, FRANCE – 2,836 HOURS
Feeling hot yet? Marseilles, a southern coastal French city, in addition to its 2,836 hours of sunlight, offers culture and history in spades, boasting awe-inspiring cathedrals and a mesmerising Old Port. For a relaxing excursion in or around Marseilles, get in touch with our partners at Marseilles City Electric Bike Tour for bike tours, rental, and inspiration!
3) ATHENS, GREECE – 2,848 HOURS
While boasting almost 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and being an incredibly popular tourist destination, Athens isn’t just for the heliophiles – it’s the heart of one of the oldest and most influential civilizations ever to have graced the planet. The city is still full of remnants and tributes to a way of life that has captured hearts and ignited imaginations for centuries, with the Acropolis and the Parthenon still standing in reverence for the benefit of the excited traveller. Sound interesting? Take a tour with our partners Athens By Bike and soak up the history!
2) BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – 2,968 HOURS
As we get to the pointy end of our list, Steve’s very own Australia chimes back in with Brisbane, a fun and urbane city that doesn’t do too badly at all in the sunshine stakes, and that is also home to our Cycle Cities partner, the aptly-named Brisbane By Bicycle. Check out the surfing on the Gold Coast if you find yourself there, or go absorb yourself in the local culture by watching a rugby league match at the enormous Suncorp Stadium. Up the Broncos!
Fair warning though: as its placing at Number Two on the list suggests, it is hot, so remember to apply the sunscreen liberally – as a demonstration, here’s a pic of me from about ten years ago looked perturbed, walking on the beach in Brissy and holding my new, neat pair of Australian jandals.
- SAN DIEGO, UNITED STATES – 3,054 HOURS
Sunny San Diego! With over a whopping 3,000 hours of golden rays per year, San Diego tops our list of the sunniest cities in the Cycle Cities network. With golden beaches, crystal clear waters, and an array of zoos, theme parks, and wildlife sanctuaries to keep all ages entertained, San Diego is one of the most popular US cities with tourists from around the world. To book a bike tour, reach out to Bike Ride San Diego to explore this hot, hot city via the seat of a bicycle, with exclusive, high end bike tours that cover a variety of routes through and around San Diego.
That’s all from me for now – thanks for reading, and never stop riding!
By Rob Binns (Kiwi).