Country roads and lakeside trails have their appeal for biking, no doubt. If you’re more of a city mouse, however, your biking trips don’t just have to be through plain old streets and along highways. Many cities with a strong biking presence also have loops or tours that take you on great, unexpected paths to see local murals or public art. Infuse your next biking adventure with some artistry on one of these great public art bike tours.
Sometimes called “the outdoor art capital,” Philadelphia has more to offer than just the Liberty Bell. The City of Brotherly Love features over three thousands murals and public artworks, many of them concentrated in the neighborhoods of Fairmount and Manayunk. You can join a local bike tour group for a guided ride, or take the 7.5 mile loop on yourself, giving you more time to admire the murals at your leisure.
New York City:
In one hyper-packed 3.5 mile ride, you can take in everything from commissioned public works to some of Manhattan’s greatest legal graffiti murals. This relatively easy ride starts at one corner of Central Park, winds its way through the changing exhibits in the park and the Ancient Egyptian obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle, before changing course and heading toward East Harlem and the legal tagging area known as the Graffiti Hall of Fame. You’ll have to do this trek on your own, but it’s worth the effort!
In the city that’s a canvas for famed undercover artist Banksy, it’s no surprise that the public art displays in Old London Towne are among the best in the world. Join tour company Alternative London for a weekday bike ride through the always-edgy East End of London, where guides take you through regions famed for their legal graffiti and outdoor public artworks, including pieces by Banksy and Shepard Fairey
There’s really no such thing as a non-public art tour of Rome. The beautiful truth is, the city is so packed with incredible examples of classic art, sculpture, and fountains, you can trip over two masterpieces on any given block. Some of the best bike tours in the area cover the Roman City Center, where any leisurely ride will take you past the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and dozens of other outdoor artworks. Oh, yeah- plus the Pantheon. You can’t really go wrong!
Whether you’re stateside or exploring the world, a bike ride centered around murals and public art is a great way to get to know a city a little better. Alone or in a group, you’re sure to come away with a better understanding of the history and heartbeat of the city- all while getting your exercise!