Last week I was in Vancouver for work and I stayed at the Georgian Court hotel. One evening, I had about an hour of free time and was hoping to pop up to a couple shops of Commercial for some Christmas shopping. I didn’t feel like paying for a taxi, so I mapped it out and found it was a a 50 minute walk and half-an-hour transit trip with a couple of transfers. Then I remembered something I’d seen on the website while booking my hotel- free bikes. And according to my app, only about twenty minutes of pedal time to get to my destination.
So off I went. It was faster than walking, less stressful than driving, free, and I didn’t have to worry about transfers. Most of my trip was along an ocean path and then residential side streets, so it was a lot more pleasant, as well.
I had the same experience on my vacation in Quebec City earlier this year – free bikes at the Chateau Frontenac let me take a morning tour of the Plains of Abraham in less than half the time walking would take, but still with the ability to stop and snap photos along the way. A car couldn’t have made that trip at all.
I’ve rented bikes in other cities, but the complimentary bike system is great. You’re not always sure you’re going to need it, and sometimes you only want it for a trip rather than the full-day excursions most bike shops rent for. When it’s at a hotel, you just give them your room number, grab a helmet and a key, and off you go.
Bike riding is a great way to explore a new city. And from now on whenever I’m checking hotel options, complimentary bikes are going to be high on my list of priorities.
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