By Steve Kopandy - Bike Tourist and Cycle Cities Manager
I took a bike tour in Barcelona. I don’t make this up- I’m actually a bike tourist, so I’m the right person to be blogging about this!
The year was 2004. I travelled Europe a lot. I would mainly go on 2-3 day trips from my base in London, where I was living and working as a finance contractor. As my city breaks were generally short, I quickly discovered that bike tours were the way to get to know a city.
I had barely enough time to get from the airport, check in to my hostel, and join the morning bike tour meeting at the end of the famous Las Ramblas. I’m not sure if it still starts here, check out Bike Tours Barcelona for the actual start points and times.
The first thing I noticed different about this tour and the other cities I’d taken bike tours in was the age of the audience. Barcelona’s a young and lively city. I was in my early 20′s and I felt mid age range. I also think that 10 years ago, before bike tours were universally popular, it was an activity that only the young seemed to be taking up. These days, in cities all over the world, people of all ages and abilities are taking to bike tours. Less and less people are going on bus tours, walking tours, instead opting for the sensible choice. Why sit in traffic when you can glide through alleyways? Why walk when you can fly?
My tour (about 15 people) was great fun. The guide was great at setting the fun atmosphere and making sure everybody got to know each other and enjoyed the company. I was in Barcelona alone, so it was great to meet some people. I remember the alleyways, the monuments and the typical tourist sights.
Interestingly enough though it wasn’t the sights that blew me away in Barcelona, it was the vibe; the people. And I’ll start with the guide. Young guy, passionate about the city, with so much advice for young solo travellers like me, from what pub crawl to go on, to how to avoid being robbed in the street (don’t play football with strangers!).
We finished the tour by the beach. Chicken, chips and beers. It really was a great day out. And the night out was just as good, as most of us that were on the bike tour, decided to do the pub crawl as well.
Barcelona is a youthful city. And if you’re not into Gaudi, go for the buzz. And meet your friends on a bike tour. It turned the rest of my weekend into a party.
Steve Kopandy spent his 20's taking short trips to Europe from his base in London, and has taken guided bike tours and cycle trips in, and to, many European cities. He works as the Business Manager for London Bicycle Tour Company and started Cycle Cities to give more profile to bike tours worldwide.