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Each week, KCUR's Adventure! newsletter brings you a new way to explore the Kansas City region.

Want to explore Kansas City by bike? Here's where to start

Photo by Xochi

Hop on a bike for your next Kansas City adventure, from North Kansas City down through Brookside and into Overland Park.

This story was first published in KCUR's Creative Adventure newsletter. You can sign up to receive stories like this in your inbox every Tuesday.

Navigating a city by bicycle offers a different experience than driving or walking through it. The refreshing pace enables cycling enthusiasts and recreational bike riders alike to fully absorb their surroundings.

Certainly, applying pedal power still requires observing the rules of the road, but riding along a path or through streets and avenues allows riders to take in sights, sounds and even smells in ways that are muted when whizzing past in a vehicle.

Don’t own a bike? The RideKC Bike program through BikeWalkKC has electric-assist and pedal-powered bikes available to rent throughout the city. Simply register via the app for walk-up, day pass, or longer-term memberships. The program also offers service at several Johnson County parks and Lenexa as well.

BikeWalkKC’s Tour de Bier KC also runs through the month of September. The event is a self-guided tour of Kansas City’s brewing past and present in historic neighborhoods. Whether you rent a bike or use your own, it’s easy to explore several areas of the city for exercise, food, drink and sightseeing.

Go North

North Kansas City's sixth annual Fall Pint Path on Saturday, Sept. 25, is a great way to explore local businesses by bike.
Pint Path NKC
North Kansas City's sixth annual Fall Pint Path on Saturday, Sept. 25, is a great way to explore local businesses by bike.

Downtown North Kansas City consists of many blocks worthy of bike-riding jaunts. Cyclists in downtown Kansas City can cross the Missouri River via the Heart of America Bridge to easily enter NKC.

Once there, you can cruise to Velo Garage and Tap House, which combines a bike shop and craft beer taproom under one roof. Swing by The Little Store and Cafe — the cutest place in Northtown — for a quick bite to eat. And FM Music Vintage Sounds is an aural oasis for browsing music and movies.

Iron District is an entire dining and retail destination unto itself, replete with fun spots like Kind Food, Thaiger’s Far East comfort food, Tiki Huna’s cocktails, Bombshell Boutique, 3&Me women’s boutique and more. Take a break to play Jenga, cornhole or dominos before venturing further.

Chicken N Pickle is a fun stop to play pickleball and yard games, grab a bite to eat and rehydrate. Of course, NKC is home to Cinder Block Brewery, The Big Rip Brewing Company, Callsign Brewing and kombucha at The Brewkery. If you have time, catch a film and bite to eat at Screenland Armour. And if vino is more to your taste, pop over to Sail Away Wine, a nearby wine bar.

North Kansas City’s sixth annual Fall Pint Path on Saturday, Sept. 25, is a perfect opportunity to explore these local businesses and many others.

Trolley Trail By Bike

Trolley Track Trail
Chris Prewitt

The six-mile Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail extends from the Country Club Plaza south through the Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods. Paved with asphalt and crushed stone surfaces, the trail is shared with walkers and joggers and runs along the former Country Club route of Kansas City’s last streetcar, which ceased service more than 60 years ago.

Now cyclists can peep at the city’s famed fountains in and near the Plaza before cruising southbound. Replenish your strength with a pastry from Cafe Europa, browse Underdog Wine Company’s selections, pick up a fresh bouquet at Crestwood Flowers, and meander into other Crestwood shops and restaurants.

Further south, Brookside is packed with charming shops. A Store Named STUFF contains work from artists and makers to explore for gift shopping or sprucing up your abode. Geek out at Brookside Toy and Science, a beloved toy store. Inhale deeply and pick up scented votives at The Corner Candleshop.

Need food and drink? Treat yourself to Topsy’s Popcorn, a Kansas City tradition for more than 60 years. The Brookside Farmers Market is a great place to pick up locally and sustainably grown produce every Saturday. Get your caffeine fix at The Roasterie Cafe, nosh on sushi at Sayachi or indulge in Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard.

A bit further south, Waldo is home to Kansas City Bier Co.’s Bierhalle and Biergarten right off the trail. The 29th Annual Waldo Fall Festival on Saturday, Sept. 18, is yet another reason to hit the trail and partake in a seasonal tradition. Waldo Pizza and Betty Rae’s Ice Cream are some of the many places in Waldoto eat, drink and replenish your strength as you bike across the metro.

Troost Boost

Kevin Collison
CityScene KC
On Troost Avenue, you'll find plenty of shops, eateries and more to explore.

Small business development along Troost Avenue is slowly revitalizing this section of the urban core. Explorers can start their adventure at Soulcentricitea, located at the Wonder Shops and Flats. Formerly a historic Wonder Bread factory, the Wonder Shops and Flats is also home toThe Combine deli, pizza, and taproom, Ruby Jean’s Juicery and Solid State Pinball Shop and Arcade.

From there, head west on 30th Street to grab coffee, juice and nourishment at Filling Station. Once you've had your fill, head south on Cherry Street, where you'll pass 816 Bicycle Collective. Take a right and head west on 31st Street to check out Made in KC Cafe and Neighborhood Shop and The Black Pantry for local goods and gifts.

Peruse plant-based sustainable products and inquire about spa treatments at Hand & Land. Scoot over to Penn Valley Park via 31st and Wyandotte Streets to roll through green space, and visit The Scout.

Biking Overland

Downtown Overland Park, Kansas, offers a number of spots to explore via bike.
City of Overland Park
Downtown Overland Park, Kansas, offers a number of spots to explore via bike.

Downtown Overland Park is yet another destination packed with retail shops, boutiques, eateries, bars and attractions worthy of a biking expedition. From the west, you can bike there via side streets and bike lanes on 79th Street or Santa Fe Drive. But if you're coming from the east, avoid Metcalf and take side streets or drive to a nearby spot, then bike from there.

Visitors will find Buffalo State Pizza Company, the upscale Strang Hall food court, olive oils and balsamic vinegar at The Tasteful Olive, tasty brews and food at Brew Lab, and classic neighborhood spots like The Other Place.

Some notable retail shops include Harper’s Fabric and Quilt Company, Penzey’s (known for its spices) and the women’s boutique Ensemble. The Overland Park Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays attracts large crowds for fresh produce and locally-made goods.

Want more adventures like this? Sign up for KCUR's Creative Adventure Email.

Pete Dulin is a Kansas City-based writer and author of four books, including Expedition of Thirst and Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland.
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