The afternoon I spent bouncing through Prague on a bicycle seat without springs didn't make for cushy cycling, but it was a memorable ride that combined sightseeing with the thrill of careening through a foreign city behind a fearless, 20-something guide.
Scout out a route that's relatively car-free in the morning or late evening, and even Bangkok or Beijing qualify as bike-friendly.
No need to sign up for an expensive tour or pack spandex or fancy gear. Renting a bike and exploring on your own is always an option, but my favorite way to get to know a big, foreign city is to spend a few hours on an organized small-group ride.
Get the lay of the land. Learn a little history. Make new friends. I think of these excursions as walking tours on wheels. Read about a few of my favorite rides in this week's Travel Wise column in The Seattle Times.