Will 2010 be the "summer of cycling"?

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The Independent Travel

It seems that for holiday-goers who love to experience the great outdoors, seeing the world on a bike is getting easier and easier.

Earlier this year, a French holiday company partnered with the Tour de France to launch a cycling-themed holiday package along the route of the legendary race, allowing guests to cycle parts of the race only hours ahead of the professional cyclists sweeping through the course.

For those more focused on experiencing life from the saddle at a slower pace, cycling tour operator DuVine Adventures has recently launched a "Chef On Wheels" series of tours, matching travelers to celebrity chefs and sending the groups on cycling tours through Italy's stunning Piedmont region.

By day, the routes take in the vine-covered Langhe hills, the Barolo and Barbera vineyards and the stunning Italian landscape, before stopping for fine Italian food and wine created and chosen by husband and wife duo Josh and Jennifer Ziskin.

Even for those that prefer urban breaks, cycling is the hottest way to see the city. On July 30, London will launch its public bicycle sharing scheme, modeled on the Paris Velib system, which allows residents and tourists to borrow bike for short periods from only £1 (€1.16) a day.

2010 has already seen new systems implemented around the world, such as those in Denver, Colorado, Valence in France, Mumbai in India and Mexico City.

If the city of choice doesn't provide public hire bikes borrowing one from the hotel may also be an option for travelers. Once the preserve of hotels in Dutch cycle-heaven Amsterdam, more and more hotels around the world are offering guests the use of a bike during their stay.

The Hilton Hotel in Nagoya, Japan started offering bikes to guests this year, whilst luxury chain Four Seasons says that its concierge teams are "ready to help you swap four wheels for two".

The Four Seasons Hotel New York will pack a picnic and rent a bike for guests, whilst The Biltmore Santa Barbara provides complimentary beach cruiser bicycles for guests to enjoy the 4.8-kilometre coastal bike route.

For visitors to busy Budapest, the Four Seasons Gresham Palace even provides daily tours from March 15 to November 15.

Some destinations, however, are mindful that all this pedal-pushing isn't for everyone. In Tokyo, visitors to the Sakurajosui district can now rent solar bikes complete with electric motors to help with those exhausting hill climbs.

More information

Tour de France Vacations: http://www.discoverfrance.com/tour-de-france.html
Cycling tours in Europe : http://www.duvine.com/
Cycling in London: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/11598.aspx
Hilton: http://www.hilton.com
Four Seasons: http://www.fourseasons.com/

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