Rio de Janeiro is a city with a natural landscape to take your breath away, and while the sun shines on Rio, there's really no excuse for staying indoors. One great way to see the Cidade Maravilhosa ("Marvelous City," as Rio is known in Brazil) is to take advantage of the city's many bicycle lanes and jump on your bike to take in the glorious views.
Cycle lanes run along Rio de Janeiro's spectacular beachfronts and circle the city's impossibly picturesque, mountain-flanked city lake. Many locals even top up their tan and keep their beach bodies in shape at the same time by cycling around the Zona Sul (the picturesque "South Zone" of Rio) in their swimwear.
Bikes can be picked up from Bike Rio stations across Rio — Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson
And thanks to a scheme between the city council and Itau Bank, it's cheap and easy to pick up bikes to rent in Rio. Cyclists can visit the Bike Rio website to register their credit cards and opt to rent bikes by the day (R$5) or by the month (incredibly affordable, at R$10).
Once registered, keen bikers can then pick up their bright orange cycles from points across the city.
The city council is actively encouraging use of bikes as part of a sustainability drive, and they've introduced new measures to make it convenient for bike users to get around the city on public transport.
While it's still a little difficult to take your bike aboard Rio's buses (which tend to be cramped), it's now possible to take them on the subway system, thanks to new City Hall legislation introduced at the tail end of 2014.
Cycling is an exhilarating way to explore beautiful Rio — Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson
Whizzing around the city with the warm tropical breeze in your hair is a wonderful way to see Rio, and there are few more rewarding ways to get your daily exercise while visiting the city.
Do take some precautions, though. While the cycle lanes are a joy to use, Rio's busy roads are not easily navigated by bike. Drivers race through the city, and drunk driving remains a problem despite the lei seco, total ban on alcohol for drivers. Coursing through the busy roads can be a terrifying experience.
Plan your route in advance, and definitely stick to cycle lanes. Lagoa and the beaches of Barra da Tijuca, Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana are all cycle-friendly, and you'll have a stress-free time on your bike, covering some serious kilometers and seeing more of the city than you could hope to see on foot.
For more info, visit Bike Rio's website.