Most people believe that city-living and outdoor adventures are contradictory lifestyles and that never the two shall meet. But the fact is: an urban location and desire to play outside can easily exist synonymously and an outdoor urban adventure is usually just around the corner.
Obviously, every city-slicker-slash-outdoor-adventurer needs a bicycle. But if you want to get a little bit more extreme or closer to wilderness, you actually don't have to look as far as you might think. Sure, you can resort to buildering, urban climbing or structuring and risk catching a ride downtown in a black-and-white or falling off a skyscraper, but with a little research, any city visitor or resident can find the perfect spot for the outdoor urban adventure of his or her flavor and speed. Here are a few examples of such urban outbacks:
With acres of parks, preserves and historical sites dating from the Revolutionary War, Philly's a city known for its bucolic side. Valley Forge National Historic Park boasts more than 3,600 acres of rolling hills and uninterrupted trails, magnets for runners and cyclists. The space connects the Schuylkill River Trail and the Horse Shoe Trail, which links Philly to the Appalachian Trail. Pick one of many campgrounds in the area to sleep under the stars.
Among the many running and cycling events Ben Franklin's city has to offer, every September cyclists gather in front of Philadelphia Museum of Art for Bike Philly, where they can participate in rides ranging from 10 to 35 miles, car-free.
But look just a hop, skip and a jump outside Philly in any direction and you'll find beaches, lakes, rivers, creeks, woods, ski-mountains—not only with snow but great for mountain biking and day- and nighttime canopy tours in the off season—and rural countryside in Bucks, Chester and Delaware Counties.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco epitomizes the "urban hike" with a total of 44 named hills and communities nestled within them at all elevations. Possibly the hilliest city in America, this Pacific Northwest metropolis can provide a daily hike for some of its residents who simply want to take a load of laundry down to the Laundromat or pick up a few things at the grocery store.
And even if you don't choose to participate in events like the 12-mile Peak2Peak walk from Mt. Davidson (the highest point in the city), pick one of the other highest points on hills like Twin Peaks and Mount Sutro as your destination and begin at a point downtown.
The bike culture that exists in the city is big, friendly and tight-knit. More and more people every day are adopting a bike-everywhere mentality and you can choose from a plethora of annual cycling events.