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Sep 19

Cycle Friendly Hostels in Beijing and San Francisco

If you want to travel the world you don’t have to forget about being green, and it needed cost you a fortune. How about ditching the hire car and seeing the sites on a good old fashioned bicycle? You’ll get fit, save money and many cities offer great cycle schemes to encourage it. Go on, give it a go!

Fisherman's Wharf Hostel


There are 9million bicycles in Beijing, so says Katie Melua. Well however many there are, there are a lot. Cycling in Beijing is a rite of passage in visiting the city.

Bike rentals start from around 10 yuan (€1) per day plus a cash deposit. The Chinese Government plans to roll out an official city-wide bike rental scheme by 2015 with 50,000 bikes to hire across the capital. As well as updating old cycle routes and increasing the amount of bike parking available.

Cycling is so popular in Beijing that locals with an entrepreneurial spirit are seen with roadside stalls offering puncture repairs, tyre changes and offers to fix up anything else wrong with your bike. Be prepared to pay around 5 yuan (€0.50) for the pleasure. In Wangfujing you can even pay to get your bike guarded.

Beijing Perfect Inn

Cycle-friendly hostels in Beijing

Set in an ancient palace from the 1500s the 3-star Beijing Perfect Inn has boutique-style furnishings and is right in the centre of the city. Their bicycle rental service means you can be out on some wheels checking out the city within minutes of arrival. They pride themselves on delivering the best customer service possible and working in synergy to provide you with the best food, drink, accommodation and comfort. You’ll start your day with an American breakfast, included in the price, should keep you going for the day!

Each room has large beds, a walk-in shower and separate bath tub, air-con and heating, wi-fi, mini bar and incredible views across the city. They’re also impeccably designed and elegantly decorated in a contemporary design. If you’re too tired after all that cycling to make it out for the night there’s an ambient restaurant downstairs serving an a la carte menu and wines from around the world. Private rooms from €15.44pppn.

San Francisco

Cycling in San Francisco is becoming very popular, thanks mostly to the increase and care given to the cycling infrastructure. As far as the terrain goes, the city is extreme, it’s mostly completely flat but the famed steep hills can make cycling exhausting, and sometimes impossible.

If you’re right in the centre of the city, in the most densely populated area, it’s easy to cycle to the shops and entertainment in the area.

There’s still quite a way for San Francisco to go to complete the proposed 2009 Bicycle Plan, but the 60 near-term improvements are underway, including 34 miles of additional bicycle lanes, of which 11 are currently completed.

The Government has installed over 1500 bike racks and all new car parks must provide a relative amount of bike racks to car parking spaces. Around 16% of San Francisco’s residents class themselves as ‘frequent cyclists’ cycling on two or more days per week.

Green Tortoise Backpackers

Cycle-friendly hostels in San Francisco

To get the most for your money in San Francisco book into the Green Tortoise Backpackers Guesthouse. Here you’ll get free meals, free wi-fi and even a free sauna. It’s located in the city by the bay and the free bike rental means you can travel around the city in style the green way. You’ll feel at home at the Green Tortoise – there’s a kitchen, a pool table and foosball table, a piano, a stereo and quiet areas too – there’s also a bike rack to store your bike safely. There are private and dorm rooms with comfy beds, a lucky few have TVs and a huge selection of movies. The hostel is just a few minutes on a bike away from Chinatown, San Francisco Bay, Fisherman’s Wharf and Little Italy. The city is easy to navigate on a bike and the staff at Green Tortoise will be happy to give you a free map and directions. Dorms and privates start at €22.96pppn.

If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat to rest your legs after a busy day’s cycling you’ll find it at HI – San Francisco – Fisherman’s Wharf. Surrounded by gorgeous bay views, walking trails and National Park territory, you can even see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz from your bedroom window. With your bike you’re just a short cycle from the hustle and bustle of the city too.

At eco-friendly Fisherman’s Wharf you’ll get a free breakfast, free wi-fi and low-cost tours to Yosemite, Wine Country, Muir Woods and more. There’s bicycle storage and a games room with foosball and billiards, and a guest lounge with a wood- burning stove. Rooms are shared or private and the hostel has a large, fully-equipped guest kitchen with a spacious dining room and an outdoor deck. Dorms start from €20.87 and privates from €29.58.

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