Two of my favorite activities are 1) exploring a new city, and 2) riding my bike. As a kid, I biked the streets of Flint, Michigan with my buddies – south to north, east to west – in a never-ending search for adventure. That passion has never left me, but the cities have changed.
This past Spring, I fulfilled a longtime ambition by traveling to Lisbon, Portugal. I took my folding Brompton bike with me, ready to explore. I found parts of Lisbon fairly hospitable to bicycle travel, but there were parts that were downright scary. Some sections had hills that were steeper than those in San Francisco. And then there were the cobblestone streets and tiled walkways. The cobblestones made it nearly impossible for my narrow-tire bike to navigate some streets, and the tiles, though lovely, could be extremely slick when wet.
No worries though! At around noon on March 4, 2023, I set out from my hotel in the Fontana Park neighborhood and headed for the Belém district of Lisbon. I traveled down one of the main arteries in the city until I reached the shore of the Tagus River, then I rode along the river to Belém. I covered a round-trip distance of about 20 km (12.5 miles). The ride was scenic, invigorating, and enlightening. I passed many historic sights, had an absolutely delicious meal, and met a fellow Brompton bike owner who produces a YouTube channel about his Brompton adventures! My destination, the Monument to the Discoveries, honors the Portuguese exploration of the world in the 15th and 16th centuries. (Never mind that Portugal’s “exploration” often involved subjugation and enslavement of indigenous peoples – I’ll leave that alone for now).
A really good day
I’m so glad I took the time to see some of Lisbon by bike and look forward to seeing even more of Portugal by bike on a future visit. The ride was invigorating and inspiring, and I returned to my hotel completely satisfied. I recorded the ride on my GoPro camera and my iPhone. If you want to get a feel for what the ride was like, I invite you to check out the video, below. Warning – the video lasts for about an hour! I hope you enjoy whatever portion you are able to watch, and I strongly encourage you to visit Lisbon if you are so inclined.