Saturday, June 29, 2013

Special Announcement: Boston's Response to Obama's Speech on Climate Change

President Obama’s announcement this week of several federal climate change initiatives will reduce greenhouse gas emissions nationwide and help prepare the country for the impacts of climate change. As a coastal city, Boston is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Without significant national and international action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Boston and many other cities could face potentially catastrophic impacts within the next 100 years.

Boston has set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals—25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050—and we are working hard with residents and business to achieve them in order for Boston to lead by example. Greenovate Boston and the Green Ribbon Commission are demonstrating how collective actions can help meet these bold climate goals. However, our success as a leader is hinged on having partners beyond the city limits. President Obama’s message indicates the federal government is listening to the cities that are leading the way on climate change.

The President’s announcement of the development of regulations that will reduce emissions from some of the oldest, dirtiest power plants in the country, as well as the new investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate preparedness, provide encouragement and reinforcement to the City of Boston. Through long-standing programs like Renew Boston, the incubation of clean-tech companies and new policies such as the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance, Boston is simultaneously reducing its carbon footprint and investing in its green economy. As a result, we have a rapidly growing Innovation District with thousands of new jobs.

We are also working hard to ensure that the Innovation District and other new developments, as well as our entire existing waterfront, are prepared for more severe storms and other impacts of climate change. The new tools and assistance from the federal government will help support these efforts.

Finally, the President announced new efforts to engage the international community in finding equitable strategies to reduce emissions. Climate change is a global issue and we must work together; however the U.S., like Boston, must lead by example. We need action from Congress that demonstrates to the world that we have a long-term commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

The City of Boston has an aggressive plan to reduce our emissions and simultaneously prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change. Yet these efforts will not succeed over the long-term without collective action. We need a range of efforts – from national policies such as those announced today, to individual and business climate actions – to once again reach safe levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. On behalf of all those who live, work and play in Boston, as well as the City’s future generations, we are grateful to President Obama for his leadership in the fight against climate change and look forward to working together on the implementation of the President’s Climate Action Plan.

Thank you,
Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy, City of Boston

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fun Friday: Higher Ground is Boston's First Rooftop Farm

Courtney Hennessy, Founder of Higher Ground, Image Credit

So you've heard of green roofs, but what about rooftop farms? Boston's first rooftop farm opened this spring on top of the Boston Design Center in the Seaport District. If you've ever seen the building, you know its huge, which gives the rooftop farm 55,000 square feet of space, making it the second largest open-air roof farm in the world. This is simply amazing - think about how much food can be grown in a 55,000 sq. foot farm (well, if you're from the 'burbs this may not seem like a lot, but as a North Ender trying to grow as many herbs as possible in window boxes, I think this is incredible). 

I can't wait to go see Higher Ground for myself! The farm is yet another wonderful example of all of the recent environmental innovation happening in Boston.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pencil it in: Boston Mayoral Candidates Environmental Forum

image courtesy of The Boston Globe

WHEN: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 12 pm - 2 pm

WHERE: Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02108

WHY: As Mayor Thomas Menino steps down from 20 years of leading Boston, his leadership in the areas of energy and the environment will be missed. At the same time, the transition to a new mayor offers opportunities for enhanced programs and policies on climate protection, sustainable transportation, parklands, green jobs, air and water quality, urban agriculture, and coastal management and many more areas that so greatly affect the quality of life in our communities. At this forum, hosted by Coalition of Energy, Environmental, Transportation and Innovation Groups, the 12 mayoral candidates will be given a chance explore a variety of topics related to community, development, jobs, sustainability, and livability in our city. Learn more here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review Wednesday: Gabriel Moisturizing Liquid Foundation

Gabriel Moisturizing Liquid Foundation
Image courtesy of Gabriel Cosmetics

Pros                                                          Cons     
-Good coverage                                        -Wipes away easily
-Natural looking                                        -Not good for oily skin
-Cruelty Free                                            -Medium Price ($28)
-Company recycling program                     -Rated 5 on EWG
-No artificial fragrance                               -Rated 3.4 on GoodGuide
-Easy to apply                                         -Not widely available (try Whole Foods)

Conclusion: Well, I had to do some research on this one. Both third-party rating systems that I reference (the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database and Good Guide) say that this product is a medium hazard due to the ingredient Retinyl Palmitate. Um, what is that?!

Retinyl Palmitate is a very common vitamin A supplement used in skincare products. High doses have been linked to cancer in lab animals. Adding to this concern, when Retinyl Palmitate is exposed to UV light, it can break down into toxic free radicals, which can also lead to cancer. So when wearing this product, or other products containing Retinyl Palmitate, make sure to avoid sun exposure (Hint: check your sunscreen labels to make sure they don't contain this ingredient).

On the upside, Gabriel Cosmetics has an awesome recycling program. For every 5 product containers you return, you get a free lipstick! So, not only are you recycling, you also get a free product - love it!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Green Tip Tuesday: 7 Steps to Shopping Ethically via Refinery 29

image courtesy of Refinery 29

I regularly check Refinery 29 for the best girly-girl stuff: shopping and style advice. Just a couple weeks ago they featured an article with some of the best shopping advice yet: 7 Steps to Shopping Ethically.
Their steps, which I briefly summarize here, are great basic principles to keep in mind whenever you're at a store of any kind.

1. Educate yourself.

2. Pressure brands to reform.

3. Go for quality, not quantity.

4. Go vintage/used.

5. Shop local.

6. Give back.

7. Choose goods from eco manufacturers and brands.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fun Friday: Sponsored Post from National Sheds Australia

While I am away at the Alt Summit, please enjoy this sponsored post / advertisement from National Sheds, and check back next week for my usual Boston-based content.

Having a backyard is such a great pleasure. It gives context to your house, separates your house from the rest of the world and also gives you your very own outdoor area. They are also very functional. Backyards provide some storage space, and can help save money and help your home run more sustainable by allowing you space for things like a water tank, solar panels, or an electricity generator. a shed increases the value of your property quite a lot, because of all these factors. Having a tank to capture rain water will become more and more valuable in the forseeable future. National Sheds make a variety of different sheds and barns that can accommodate all of these features. A shed can be anything really. You can even make your shed liveable, if you put some energy saving insulation in the walls (if your shed is a simple corrugated iron structure this will be a big project). If you want to make your shed multi-storied, with windows, electricity and a hot water connection and sound-proofed walls there's nothing stopping you. Just as long as it's safe and approved. If you just want it to be a solid steel box structure with a door and some hooks on the walls, that's ok too. Use your shed to your advantage, whatever your project!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pencil it in: Boston Health and Beauty Festival

image courtesy of panoramio

WHEN: Saturday, June 22nd, 2013, 8 AM - 8 PM

WHERE: Christopher Columbus Park, North End, Boston

WHY: NEWHBA-fest is a day-long festival celebrating the health and beauty of our wonderful city of Boston. Hosted by the North End Waterfront Health & Beauty Alliance and the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park and featuring several local health and beauty oriented businesses and musicians in Boston, this event will showcase the best in the city. Guest hosted by Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins, the FREE concert in the park will include several local bands and feature Charlotte Locke and Hadrian's Heroes as the headliner.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review Wednesday: Method Hand Sanitizer

image courtesy of

Pros                                                           Cons  
-Effective                                                   -Rated 5 on EWG (moderate hazard)
-Rated 8.5 on Goodguide                            -Contains artificial fragrance
-Company has envi policies                        -Contains dyes
-Price $4
-Widely available

Conclusion: I am a big fan of good old fashioned soap and water when it comes to hand-cleaning. But, when your colleagues are all coming down with colds and you want to be extra careful about germs, Method hand sanitizer is the way to go. Method has very thorough environmental and health commitments that almost make you forget it comes in a plastic bottle! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Green Tip Tuesday: Attending a Conference

image courtesy of

Later this week I will be attending the Altitude Design Summit in NYC. I'm looking forward to meeting fellow bloggers, networking with potential sponsors, and learning how to improve the design and functionality of my blog. However, conferences can have a large carbon footprint, so I'm going to try my best to make sustainable decisions while at Alt. Here is my plan for being an eco-aware conference attendee:

1. Take it easy on the swag - conferences are full of free goodies, but just because something is free, doesn't mean you need to take it. Are you really going to use that pen or read that pamphlet? Think before taking something so that it doesn't ultimately end up in the trash.

2. Bring your own mug - coffee is a conference necessity, but avoid plastic, paper, and polystyrene by bringing your own coffee tumbler.

3. Bring an extra bag - so maybe the swag all looks good, bring a reusable back to carry your new goodies in so that you don't need a plastic bag.

4. Take public transit to/from the conference.

5. Pick the meat-free option at lunch.

6. Use business cards made out of 100% post-consumer recycled paper.

7. Lead by example. People will be inspired by your green lifestyle choices.

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Perspectives: 3 Organizations that Have Seen the Light

image courtesy of

As the cost of photovoltaic technologies have decreased, more and more organizations and residents are investing in the future. While some countries are experiencing cuts to subsidies in regards to locales, such as the European Union's cut from open field arrays, other locations are being able to flourish without them. In the Boston area, some organizations are pushing for a cleaner and renewable form of power as they mount panels to become energy efficient establishments. It is from this cue that others may follow in order to keep with the standards of competition.

1. Boston Scientific - In April of 2013, Boston Scientific Corporation unveiled the roof-top marvel of 3,900 solar arrays to produce roughly 1.7 megawatts of power. The solar array is able to sustain approximately 25-perfect of the facilities power needs thus decreasing its independence of the power using the traditional grid. The medical device manufacturer is now benefiting from currently the third largest roof-top photovoltaic system in Massachusetts. The project is estimated to produce enough to power 145 homes annually.

2. IKEA - In Stoughton, the furniture giant IKEA stepped up and completed its 38th U.S.- based project of converting its locations into power-producing structures. This latest addition is estimated to generate enough to supply power to 94 homes annually. As IKEA has always been a supporter of eco-friendly products and techniques, it is no surprise that this company would produce an amazing feat such as this. Each installation developed by IKEA is owned and operated by the company itself without the use of a third-party lease or financing. The company proves that corporations can be responsible for the economy and communities they belong to in order to promote an improved way of living.

3. First Wind - Although responsible for nearly 1 gigawatt of power stretched across several states from wind turbines, First Wind is also starting to invest in opportunities for solar power methods. Although based in Boston, the company's wind turbine projects are located in New England, Washington, Utah, and Hawaii - which is where First Wind is rumored to be looking for solar expansion of its projects. Currently, the company does not produce power in any fashion within the State of Massachusetts. However, this could change as popularity and reduced costs are fueling the market since mid 2012.

Solar power is the most abundant energy sources publicly known. Every day that the human species wastes without the use of solar arrays is another day longer that we'll have to wait for a method of complete self-sustainability. If manufacturers can continue to reduce the cost of producing photovoltaic technologies, those who can afford the installation may do so in mass quantities.

Author Bio:
Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fun Friday: Interactive Endangered Species Search Tool

What do you know about endangered species? After discovering this tool, I realized I didn't know much. But the 100 Most Endangered Species Interactive Search tool makes it fun and simple to learn about these precious creatures. Check it out! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pencil it in: Challenges and Opportunities at the Intersection of Water, Energy, and Commerce

Offshore wind farm
image courtesy of 

WHEN: June 20, 2013, 5:30 PM

WHERE: Greentown Labs, 337 Summer St., Boston, MA

WHY: The link between energy and commerce is well established, but what is less widely known is the key role of water on these systems and the increasing effects of water scarcity on the US economy.  NEWIEE invites you to join a stimulating panel discussion of current water trends and the commercial implications of converging water and energy challenges.  Julianne Zimmerman, whose investment company helps start-ups tackle “unsolvable” challenges, will moderate a panel of four water experts who provide an array of perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in the quickly developing water sector.

Please RSVP.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review Wednesday: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

image courtesy of

Pros                                                                       Cons    
-Very effective moisturizer                                      -Not rated by SkinDeep Database
-Rated 8 by Goodguide                                          -Moderate price ($28/6oz)
-No petroleum, parabens, fragrance, dyes                -No company policy re sustainability
-No animal testing

Conclusion: FAB Ultra Repair Cream is my favorite item from the Blog Better Boston Style Summit swag bag. I would definitely purchase this product. It works wonderfully on my sensitive skin without toxic ingredients. While FAB doesn't seem to have any specific environmental policies - the company is still on the right track - none of their products contain artificial fragrances, petroleum, or parabens. They have never tested on animals, and avoid animal by-products wherever feasible. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Green Tip Tues: 10 Actions Recommended at The Future of Water Panel

Last night I attended a panel discussion on the Future of Water hosted by the Nature Conservancy and WBUR. The panelists explained and debated the complicated, fascinating issues of water distribution at both global and local scales. All panelists emphasized that urban water conservation is key to solving the global water crisis. With that in mind, here are some water conservation tips for Bostonians:

1. Be a thoughtful consumer. Panelist Sandra Postel explained that approximately 700 gallons of water is needed to make one cotton T shirt. Water is used in the production of almost everything you buy - so shop wisely, and if possible, consume less.

2. Learn where your water comes from. Most Americans don't know where their water is sourced beyond the tap. Knowing the source of your water will help you be wary of specific conservation issues in your area.

3. In the same vein, find out where your water goes after its flushed down the drain. For many Bostonians, the answer is Deer Island, and then 9 miles out in the ocean.  You can even take a tour of the waste treatment facility! (I did this a few years ago, and it was fascinating!)

4. Buy food from small, local farms (and ask them about their irrigation practices). According to Panelist Brian Richter, irrigated agriculture accounts for 93% of wasted (unrecycled) water use.

5. Track your water use. The average American uses approximately 2,000 gallons per day. Peter Brabeck, CEO of Nestle (one of the world's largest sellers of bottled water) has said that humans should only have a right to 8 gallons per person per day - could you live on that?

6. Be a squeaky wheel. The third panelist, Steven Solomon, stressed the importance of being loud about water issues because they are largely ignored by politicians. Such citizen concern has been the spark of many  anti-fracking policies across the U.S.

7. Change corporate behavior. Companies are huge water consumers. Find out if there are water conservation policies at your workplace, and consider how you could make them more effective. 

8. Education. Spread your knowledge and passion for water conservation to others. 

9. Be open-minded about paying more for water. Rate-payers (aka consumers) obviously don't want to pay more for water, but if we don't, our water infrastructure will continue to deteriorate as no funding is going towards fixing leaky water mains, and making efficiency upgrades. 

10. Get engaged. It was great to see such a good turn out at The Future of Water panel, and I look forward to see similar crowds at upcoming water-themed events around the city. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Perspectives: Eco-Friendly and Economical Dishwashing

As any efficiency expert will say, water is one of the most wasted resources in the home. In addition to washing bodies (showers) and washing clothes (laundry), humans use an enormous amount of water washing dishes. So, when you want to go green in the kitchen, an immediate savings can be found by addressing issues in the dirty dishes department.

Here are a few suggestions to get you on track.

When a Machine Does your Dishes:
Purchasing an energy-efficient dishwasher is a great way to reduce costs and eliminate waste. However, if you can't upgrade to an Energy Star dishwasher, there are still ways to maximize your efficiency:

Only operate your dishwasher when you have a full load.

Scrape your dishes and rinse them off before loading the dishwasher – even if your model has a food compactor, it can become clogged or have to work that much harder to dissolve the particles of food.

Strategically load your dishes – many older models only have lower jets rather than jets below the top and bottom rack. This means if you have bowls or cups (anything to block the flow) on the bottom, the water never reaches the top rack and half of your dishes are not getting clean. Thus, by keeping slim, non-obstructive plates and pans on the bottom rack and bowls, cups and mugs on the top, you are giving all of your crockery a fair shot at cleanliness.

Along the same lines, make sure your cutlery is contained in the basket – utensils can become dislodged and fall to the bottom, directly in the path of the spinning jets, and cause not only permanent damage to the motor but also require a second wash to thoroughly clean that load.

When YOU are the Dishwasher:
Since the biggest cost of washing dishes comes from the energy required to heat the water, most people believe that washing dishes by hand can save more hot water. However, if you wash dishes several times a day, you may be eliminating any surplus you created. You can keep more of your savings if you:

Only wash dishes once a day.

Use a clean, double basin sink if you can – fill up one side with hot, sudsy water. Allow the dishes to soak and remove them one at a time, scrub them and move them over to the empty side. When you're done with the soaking, drain that side and rinse the soapy dishes with clean water at one time. Move them to a drying rack as you go.

Always air dry!

Whether in the kitchen, bathroom or elsewhere, what are some other cost-cutting and eco-friendly ways you have started saving water by going green?

A Home Depot sales associate in the Chicago suburbs, Jay Harris provides kitchen and bathroom tips to homeowners ranging from kitchen faucets and bathroom cabinets to sinks and light fixtures.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fun Friday: Ethical Gift Guide for Fathers Day

1. Experiential gifts usually have less of an impact than material items. How about sailing lesson with dear old dad with the Boston Sailing Center?

2. If you think your dad would appreciate a more traditional gift, maybe a Jaan J. vegan tie would be up his alley.

3. Is your dad a big skiier? This wine rack made from upcycled skis is amazing!

4. A phone case is always an easy last-minute gift - make it an eco-gift as well by choosing a case made out of bamboo.

5. Not sure what dad wants? An open table gift certificate by using your open table rewards points is a great way to treat him to dinner while letting him choose the place. (BONUS: encourage him to choose a green restaurant).

6. Red Sox tickets. Who doesn't want to catch a game with Dad?!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pencil It In: The Future of Water

image courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

WHEN: Monday, June 10, 2013, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

WHERE: Virginia Wimberly Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

WHY: Join The Nature Conservancy this Monday for a panel discussion on The Future of Water. Sadly, this is, the last in The Future of Nature series. I went to the Future of Food Event in April, which was informative, thought provoking, and inspiring, so I am looking forward to attending The Future of Water to get a better sense of all sides of the issue, and hopefully feel inspired to take action!


Sandra Postel, Director, The Global Water Policy Project
Steven Solomon, author of Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization
Brian Richter, director of Global Freshwater Strategies, The Nature Conservancy
Moderator: Meghna Chakrabarti, WBUR, co-host of Radio Boston

NOTE: Tickets will NOT be available at the door, so please register ahead of time.

image courtesy of RohDesign

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review Wednesday: Seventh Generation Unbleached Bath Tissue

I'll spare you my specific pros and cons of my toilet paper use and just jump to my conclusion: Seventh Generation Natural Unbleached Bath Tissue is a great product! Not only is this bath tissue 100% recycled, (which all TP should be, why should we use virgin paper for something we use for 10 seconds!) it is also unbleached. Its a little odd to see toilet paper that isn't bright white, but after the initial shock, the feel and effectiveness of the product is the same. 

So why purchase unbleached TP? The chlorine gas used to make paper white is extremely toxic and an environmental hazard. Chlorine pollutes waterways, destroying fisheries and threatening water-based industries. 

The unbleached bath tissue is also a product that supports the company's Campaign for a Toxin-Free Generation, which is specifically aiming to reduce childhood exposure to chemicals. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Green Tip Tuesday: Have a Picnic

Last week, my book club met at Christopher Columbus Park and had a picnic - and it struck me that it was a very green meeting (though I need to remind some of my friends to use reusable shopping bags). Since the weather has been so amazing in Boston over the the past couple days, now is the perfect time to discuss green picnic tips!

1) We are lucky that Boston has lots of green space, so pick a park nearby for your picnic - no driving, or train needed!

2) Pack vegetarian snacks to share - preferably with locally grown ingredients.

3) Reusable tumblers, plates, and flatware are ideal, but if that is too heavy or fragile to carry to your picnic spot, try the stylish green disposables by Susty Party. (available at Whole Foods and online). 

4) Clean up after yourself! Dispose of trash and recyclables appropriately. And, bring extra reusable containers to split up the leftovers among the attendees. 

Picnics are a great way to have fun and enjoy the outdoors. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Perspectives: Ten Great Cycling Trips from a Seasoned Travel Pro

Douwe Osinga, founder and CEO of Triposo,  will do just about anything to see a new place through the eyes of a local. Triposo is also, admittedly, an office of cycling enthusiasts. We can combine our interest in travel with our love of bikes, all the better! This year, as summer travel season gets underway, we present a selection of some of our favorite places to go biking all over the world. Not all of these are for beginners (for example, Dehli), but all promise to offer a memorable experience for those looking to savor a new place in one of the most authentic - not to mention efficient - ways possible!

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Netherlands is a relatively flat country, and there really is no better place to ride your bike than Amsterdam (except maybe when it’s raining). The canals and alleys of Amsterdam are more bike-friendly than you might expect, and the piles upon piles of bikes, not to mention the streams of locals and tourists whizzing by you in the street, will quickly validate this city’s reputation as one of the most bike-friendly on earth.

2. Marrakech, Morocco
The high Atlas mountains loom in the background behind the city, but Marrakech and its surrounding areas are actually surprisingly flat. Bikes are a very popular mode of transport here and a pretty good way to get around. That is, unless you want to venture deep into the Medina, or old city, where the streets are too narrow and crowded for most cyclists. Of course, that doesn’t seem to stop the locals!

3. Kasghar, China
Kasghar is an oasis town in China, located along the famed Silk Road. As you probably know, bicycles are quite popular in many parts of China, but they are a particularly great way of exploring this area. The less than three mile ride from Kasghar to the Abakh Khoja tombs is a fun way to spend an afternoon, and a great way to see the surroundings, not to mention much less dangerous than riding your bike in the town center.

4. Delhi, India
Delhi is filled with bicycles, particularly rickshaws. Once, while in Delhi, I got to ride a rickshaw bike (I actually had to pay extra.) Although I’m quite an experienced cyclist, maneuvering a rickshaw through Dehli traffic during rush hour is not for the faint of heart. Still, it was an unforgettable experience. I definitely recommend it for the intrepid among you.

5. Brussels, Belgium
Cyclisme is a quintessential Belgian sport. While visiting, I had a lot of fun (and a few scares) while riding through the different neighborhoods of the Belgian capital, eventually winding my way down to Tervuren to visit the amazing Royal Museum for Central Africa. Bicycling through Brussels is a great way to get a feel for what it’s like to be a local, and a fantastic way to see the sights as a tourist.

6. Paris, France
It took a lot of worker strikes by angry Metro employees, but Parisians have finally started to embrace la bicyclette. They have set up a great network of bikes called Velib that allows anyone to a bicycle by the hour. You can pick them up almost anywhere in the city and drop them off at the other end (Bonus: the first 30 minutes are free.) Paris has also added bike lanes to many of its notoriously busy streets, giving cyclists plenty of leeway to enjoy the City of Lights on wheels.

7. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is a hipster mecca, so it’s no surprise that bike culture is alive and well here. Some of San Francisco’s streets are certainly on the steep side, but with a little bit of planning, you can find routes all over the city that won’t murder your thighs (or that will, depending on your preference...) Moreover, riding over the Golden Gate Bridge on a bike is an experience not to be missed. Yes, it’s a touristy activity, but even locals will admit that the view is unbeatable. And if you’re too tired to bike back afterward, you won’t be the only one on the boat back from Sausalito.

8. Berlin, Germany
Since Triposo’s headquarters is located in Berlin, I ride my bike all over this city. Going through the famous Brandenburger gate on my way to Einstein CafĂ© to chat with our lawyer one day almost made me yell out with pride, “Ich bin ein Berliner!” Rent a bike while visiting this seriously cycle-friendly city, and you’ll fit right in.

9. Kathmandu, Nepal
Escape the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and explore the nearby valley by bike. There are stunning temples on all sides, and with a bit of luck you may catch sight of Mount Everest looming in the distance. 

10. Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Most tourists would never consider it, but a bicycle is the perfect way to explore Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, which is lined with the tombs of ancient royalty. Pro tip: wake up nice and early to get started riding before the sun is at its hottest. This is the desert, after all.  When we did this, it was so hot on the way back that we had to stop into a few shops and pretend we wanted to buy souvenirs just to get some tea.