In the winter I love to plan a spring vacation. I can’t wait to get back on a bike and meander the streets of some amazing city. The ideal way to do this is to just get on a bike and don’t stop til your whims allow!
Take the long way, pedal down roads off the beaten path and take every detour you can find. See a cute cafe? Stop in for some coffee. Come across a concert in a park? Park the bike and lie in the grass. Look at the architecture, people watch, take is slow. This is how I want to vacation.
Brooks England came out with an excellent collection of Metropolitan Detours, International Bike Tours for some of my favorite cities in the world. New York, London and Berlin. The collection features 15 detours planned out by experienced locals. Many of them pass by little known inner city nature, local happenings, or amazing hidden architectural treasures.
I picked out a few of my favorites, I’ll be going to London in the Spring this year, so I know I have a great list to reference. We’ll rent some bikes and head out on the city in a way we’ve never seen it before!
Brooks London is not only the host of these tours, but they also create the beautiful bags featured with each detour creator. Each bag in the Metropolitan collection is made of water resistant organic cotton textile and vulcanized rubber; High quality, long lasting materials! “The bags are designed for those who are on the go, have a love for style and appreciate the power of aesthetics. They dress stylishly, live passionately and make the most out of every day.”
Katiushka Melo, Chef
Riding to the beaches in New York is absolutely the best way to learn about Brooklyn and Queens. Whether you’re heading to the Rockaways, Tilden or Riis; Coney Island or Brighton Beach, you will see so many neighbourhoods on the way – and that means there are treasures everywhere.
1. Di Fara’s (1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn, NY 11230) Some of the best pizza in the city and a line to prove it. Don’t worry though, it’s totally worth the wait. Pro tip: Go to the window and order $5 slices. You’ll spend more money but save about 90 minutes.
2. Ditmas Park I love to go off book and toss Google’s direction to the wind and go through this neighbourhood. It’s rare in NYC to find yourself surrounded by huge Victorian houses. Always worth the trip. And cute little main strip as well.
3. Brighton Beach I just love biking down there and seeing this Russian neighbourhood always alive and packed with people that remind of you of a New York that’s mostly in the past. The detour here is just getting off the bike and walking around. It’s just timeless whether on the street or the board-walk.
I’m a private chef in Brooklyn and I also host a monthly supper club and an ice cream tasting event at our house. Always on my bike no matter what I am shopping for or the weather.
Marsh Take-out Picnic
Nic and Myfanwy, Designers
On a sunny evening we sometimes arrange to meet up after work in Dalston, extending our ride home with a quick detour to pick up a falafel dinner and a couple of beers from Dom’s Place, our favourite Turkish take-out in Clapton. From there it’s a quick hop across the River Lea, to Walthamstow Marshes where there’s a great spot that overlooks the criss-crossing railway lines, and catches the last sun of the day. The marshes – where cattle graze in the summer, and we once saw a kestrel swoop down from the pylons to catch it’s dinner! – are a world away from the bustle of East London, and the perfect place to shake off the stress of a busy day before heading home.1. Dalston Roof Park (The Print House, 18-22 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL) A roof garden in the heart of Dalston offering their own brewery, middle eastern barbecue and a separate French inspired menu.
2. Dom’s Place (199 Lower Clapton Rd, Clapton, London E5 8EG) Opposite Clapton Pond is this airy little Turkish, a handful of tables, beers from the Kernel and proper traditional cuisine (also to take away!).
3. Walthamstow Marshes (between Lea Bridge Road, Clapton E5, and Coppermill Lane, Walthamstow E17) Walthamstow is not known for tranquilly, but this is genuine green space!
About Nic and Myfanwy
We moved to Walthamstow 3 years ago, after living and working in Hackney for 8 years. Now our daily cycle commute involves a trip across Walthamstow Marshes, past the reservoirs and down the river Lea. We both love the freedom cycling gives us to get around London at our own pace and under our own steam. To not have to rely upon public transport is very liberating, and it feels great to arrive at our desks in the morning having already been outside in the elements (good or bad), refreshed by a good few lungfuls of London air.
“ I love nothing more than exploring, I feel so connected with the city on the bike and I especially love watching the seasons change around me ”
Gleimstraße 55, 10437
Occupying an area once notorious as “no man’s land” between west and east, Mauerpark has been and remains an area for free expression where you find many number of Berliners enjoying their free time. Impromptu concerts, sports activities, and graffiti, are just a few of the reasons to pass by. On Sundays, the city’s largest flea market draws tens of thousands.
A beautiful, leafy street lined with fashion boutiques and cafes. And if something catches my eye, I sometimes like to stop inside for a bit of a browse.
3. Rosenthaler Platz
Rosenthaler Strasse 72, 10119
I pass the intersection at Rosenthaler Platz and admire the TV tower reaching toward the heavens. I love the way it sparkles in the sun on a clear morning.
One of my favourite streets in Berlin lined with galleries, boutiques and exclusive restaurants. If I’m in this area, I always peek into the historic Clärchens Ballhaus, an old dance hall unchanged for a hundred years.
5. Neue Synagogue
Oranienburger Str. 28-30, 10117
I have a few favourite cafés I like to work from, like Distrikt Coffee in Mitte, where I love the interior design and friendly service. I’ll work for a few hours and might get some lunch there before heading off, detouring past Oranienburger Strasse to admire the gleaming gold Neue Synagogue if the sun is shining.
Bring along an overnight bag like the Weekender Holdall, and you could stop in a bed and breakfast if you fancy! That would be my perfect weekend.
See more bike tours and beautiful water resistant, Organic Cotton bags at Brooks England Metro Tours Page: www.brooksengland.com/metropolitan/