“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of the country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” –Ernest Hemingway
There is an excellent book that I recommend called Rising Son, by Charles Scott. It’s about a father-son bicycle ride across the length of Japan from north to south, and how the author and his son, Sho, truly learn about Japan’s contours.
My son, Jason, and I learned about Tennessee’s contours by riding our bicycle across Tennessee in the Tennessee Capitols Ride celebrating the bicentennial of the state. Jason (4 years old) rode a trail-a-bike connected to my bike. I can attest to Hemingway’s statement about bicycling being the best way to learn about a county or state’s contours. It is also the most fun way to spend quality time with your children while they are young.