What better way to experience a city’s wine bar scene than pedaling to each one? Several urban corridors have unveiled guided bicycle tours that dish insider information about the best places to sip wine.
“We go much slower than cars, we are on pretty safe streets and bike paths, and we spend at least an hour between wineries,” says Jon Zalon, founder of East Bay Winery Bike Tours in Oakland, California. “With about 600 riders so far, we have only had one fall of any consequence—not serious and not attributable to either wine or traffic.”
The company takes cyclists on a five-hour tour, including lunch, in the East Bay area. Departing on Saturday mornings from near Jack London Square Ferry Terminal, the tour visits three or four boutique wineries’ tasting rooms in Alameda and Oakland, where there’s been a spike in urban wineries within the last few years.
Further south, in Long Beach, Velo Vino is a three-hour tour offered by Cali Bike Tours on weekends that showcases the best in local wine bars. The focus is Long Beach, but there are plans to expand into nearby communities. At each stop, after you’ve removed your helmet, founder Elizabeth Williams encourages you to not only sample a mix of imported and regional wines, but chat with each establishment’s sommelier or wine director, too.
In sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico, places to drink are plentiful. Hop onto a bicycle for a three-hour Culinary Bicycle Tour from Rent the Bicycle, where wine is poured at the third of four spots visited (nonalcoholic tropical drinks are served at the first two stops).
“The restaurants we visit are the very best in town,” says Tony Santiago of Rent the Bicycle. With its lower alcohol content, wine is the perfect wrap to the tour: “We don’t want people to buzz around on the tour and maybe have an accident,” he says.