Yesterday, I shared with you some of the key sights and bites from Valencia, Spain. Today, I want to share my experience of getting off the beaten track and exploring Valencia on two wheels.
Before we moved to Spain I had daydreams of exploring Madrid on bike, of getting from one place to another in my cute little frock with my trusty dachshund sidekick in the basket (note: we do not have a dog, despite my near-constant requests, but that hasn’t stopped me from including one in all of my daydreams. I’m trying to Secret my way to a puppy). It was in my plan that we would get settled in Madrid and then I’d find myself a bike and my daydreams would be a reality.
But after a week of exploring the city on foot and fearing for my life at every crosswalk as the drivers sped toward me braking so incredibly late, I changed my mind.
I shoved the idea of biking in Spain from my mind and carried on my merry way. Exploring on foot seemed like the sensible (and safe) choice to me.
That is until we travelled to Valencia.
When my friend first threw out the idea of renting bikes in Valencia I was reluctant and, in all honesty, nervous. Spanish drivers are significantly more aggressive than I’m used to. Couple that with the fact that in Valencia they are notoriously aggressive towards cyclists and the fact that I’m not familiar with the city, and it just seemed like a recipe for disaster. So, I did pretty much everything I could think of to avoid this whole cycling thing.
And then, I did some research. Which is what I should have done before jumping to conclusions. Worst-case scenario Kate strikes again.
After a bit of reading and research, I discovered that Valencia is actually a cyclist’s paradise.
In the late-1950s, the Turia River flooded, damaging much of the city of Valencia. To prevent this from happening again they decided to divert the river around the city and converted the old riverbed into a verdant sunken park. TheGarden of the Turia, as it’s now known, boasts numerous ponds, gardens, cafes, and paths that allow cyclists and pedestrians to traverse much of the city without having to set foot on a road.
Cycling without traffic, sign. me. up.
For our final day in Valencia, the sun was shining, and my friend and I decided there was no better way to enjoy the day than to rent bicycles and explore the city on two wheels.
Bike shops are plentiful in Valencia–offering hourly, daily and weekly rates. For less than €10/each, we were suited with bikes, baskets and locks and were on our way. Just a few minutes ride from the bike shop and we found ourselves riding down the ramp to the Garden of the Turia.
The path was flat, making it a breeze to cruise through the park; before we knew it we had ridden all the way from the Torres de Serrano to the City of Arts and Sciences. Although we’d walked through it the day before, approaching the City of Arts and Sciences on bikes gave us a different perspective and appreciation for the detail and design of these impressive buildings.
After a quick coffee break, we were back on our bikes and riding back towards the city.
We spent the afternoon cruising up and down the paths of the garden. It was the perfect way to see another side of Valencia and to indulge in a few hours of peace and quiet in the middle of Spain’s third largest city.
Thank you RP for snapping these awesome action shots of me!
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