Two-Wheeled Tourism

Themed Red Bike rides for sports fans, art appreciators and winos

Red Bike, Cincinnati’s extremely successful bike-sharing system, now has more than 440 bikes spread across 56 stations in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky — which means if you’re in/near the city, there should be a Red Bike Station near you. And for just $8, you can cruise around town on a day pass.

As of April 1, the average distance of a Red Bike ride was about 3 miles between check ins*. With that stat in mind, we’ve curated a collection of themed excursions utilizing Red Bike, conducted in short spurts with the added bonus of fun things you can put in your attached bike basket.

*Note: You must check in your bike every 60 minutes or incur additional fees up to $20 -— still cheaper than buying a bike.

Ride 1: Greatest Hits

Tourism at its finest. Start across the river and trudge uphill (or do it in reverse if you want to be less punishing on your quads).

Stop 1: Newport Aquarium

At 11 a.m. daily, the aquarium hosts a Penguin Sunrise event with its African penguins and two question-answering biologists. For an added cost, spring for an up-close 20-minute penguin encounter — take pictures with the penguins, watch them waddle and maybe even pet one. It’s half price through May 25. 1 Aquarium Way, Newport, newportaquarium.com.

RIDE: Newport on the Levee station (55 E. Third St., Newport) to Smale Riverfront Park station (5 W. Mehring Way, Downtown); 1.5 miles 

Stop 2: Smale Riverfront Park

This 45-acre park along the riverfront is home to a playground, splashable water feature, labyrinth, a Portland Loo (a freestanding potty-break machine) and Carol Ann’s Carousel. Take a ride on one of the 44 Cincinnati-centric creatures for $2 or rest your legs while gliding on the river-facing Rosenberg Swings. W. Mehring Way, Downtown.

RIDE: Smale Riverfront Park station (5 W. Mehring Way, Downtown) to Findlay Market station (1715 Pleasant St., OTR); 1.8 miles. 

Stop 3: Findlay Market

Stop at the Findlay outpost of Eli’s BBQ for a pulled pork sandwich and a side of “dirty” macaroni and cheese (aka topped with pork crispins). Eat it on a picnic table in the OTR Biergarten, where the Craft Beer Series highlights a different local brewer each weekend. For your basket? Buy a Maverick Chocolate espresso dark chocolate bar for a snack on the way to you next destination: It’s very uphill. 1801 Race St., OTR, findlaymarket.org.

RIDE: Findlay Market station (1715 Pleasant St., OTR) to Eden Park station (2105 Fulton Ave., Eden Park); 2.3 miles

Stop 4: Krohn Conservatory

This Art Deco plant conservatory is hosting its incredibly popular butterfly show, The Majestic Monarch, through June 18. During the weekend of May 13 and 14, it’s Krohn Marketplace Weekend, featuring Earth-friendly products and crafts from local artisans. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, butterflyshow.com.

Ride 2: Sports of all Sorts

Sportz day! Time to gear up before heading out to various ball-throwing/kicking events.

Stop 1: Cincy Shirts 

Created by local comedian Josh Sneed, this apparel company highlights the sports, history and oddities of Cincinnati. Grab a unisex Big Red Machine shirt with the names of “Pete & Ken & Joe & Tony…” on it, plus the greatest “Get Djiby With It” FC Cincinnati shirt. Then put them in your bike basket! 1435 Main St, OTR, cincyshirts.com.

RIDE: Main & Orchard station (1422 Main St., OTR) to 15th & Vine station (1420 Vine St., OTR); 0.3 miles

Stop 2: Taft’s Ale House 

Grab lunch and a pint of 1882: Opening Day Ale (baseball!) on draft or a very on-point Red Bike unfiltered pilsner (if they have it). 1429 Race St., OTR, taftsalehouse.com.

RIDE: 15th & Vine station (1420 Vine St., OTR) to Ball Park station (Second and Main streets, Downtown); 1.1 miles

Stop 3: Reds Hall of Fame and Museum/Great American Ball Park

The museum’s Red & Bronze: The History of Reds Statues gives a behind-the-scenes look at the eight life-size in-action statues of famous Reds situated around Great American Ball Park. The ninth bronze statue, one of Pete Rose, will be dedicated on June 17. The Reds take on the Rockies at 4:20 p.m. May 20. Buy a $5 ticket, get an Adam Duvall bobblehead and eat a Queen City goetta and sauerkraut sandwich. 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, cincinnati.reds.mlb.com.

Stop 4: Moerlein Lager House 

Spoiler: You’re not staying for the whole Reds game, so walk to the Moerlein Lager House before getting on your bike. Fortify yourself for a ride to Clifton with Moerlein’s FC Cincinnati Blood Orange IPA. No one encourages skirting laws about drinking in public, but a growler of the stuff would fit nicely in your Red Bike basket… 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, moerleinlagerhouse.com.

RIDE: Ball Park station (Second and Main streets, Downtown) to McMillan & West Clifton station (174 McMillan St., Clifton); 2.3 miles

Stop 5: FC Cincinnati vs. Bethlehem Steel FC 

Watch Djiby score on Bethlehem Steel starting 7 p.m. May 20. General admission tickets are only $10. Whoop it up with the hooligans and then take an Uber home or to the bar (like to official pub partner Rhinehaus); you’ve ridden enough. Nippert Stadium, 2700 Bearcat Way, Clifton, fccincinnati.com.

Ride 3: Art Excursion

Public art: We have a lot of it. Here’s a route so you can whiz by some on a bike. 

Stop 1: Contemporary Arts Center

Wellmann’s Brands’ Bottle & Basket café recently opened in the CAC lobby. Breakfast — like the egg and white cheddar on Sixteen Bricks baguette — is available all day. Protein up and then check out the surreal and superb lifelike clown sculptures in Ugo Rondinone: Let’s Start This Day Again (May 6-Aug. 20). Admission is free. 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org.

RIDE: Aronoff Center station (Seventh and Walnut streets, Downtown) to P&G station (551 Broadway St., Downtown); 0.5 miles

Stop 2: Taft Museum of Art

Park and walk to the Taft in Lytle Park. Exhibit Bijoux Parisiens: French Jewelry from the Petit Palais, Paris ends May 14 and Color + Rhythm, new paintings from local Cedric Michael Cox, is up through June 25. There are docent-led tours of the exhibits at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays, and if you happen to be there at 2:30 p.m. May 13, it’s the final concert in the annual Chamber Music Series. 316 Pike St., Downtown, taftmuseum.org.

RIDE: P&G station (551 Broadway St., Downtown) to Main & Orchard station (1422 Main St., OTR); 1 mile

Stop 3: ArtWorks + Keep Cincinnati Beautiful New Line Series Murals

Do a quick bike check-in before taking a riding tour of 12 vibrant and contemporary small urban murals along the streets and alleyways of OTR. Notable and photo-op-worthy murals include Yoyo Ferro’s colorful chickens fighting over a worm at Goetz and Plough alleys, Terrance Hammonds’ block of red and blue jacquard on Woodward and Main streets (right by Collective Espresso…) and Loraine Wible’s Miami Beach ’90s neon geometrics at Goetz Alley and 14th Street. artworkscincinnati.org.

RIDE: Main & Orchard station (1422 Main St., OTR) to Aronoff Center station (Seventh and Walnut streets, Downtown); 0.6 miles

Stop 4: Cocktail Terrace at 21c Museum Hotel

Stop into 21c to view the current exhibit A Global Gathering: The 21c Collection, featuring contemporary works that address everything from politics and identity to the environment. (Also a good time to play around on the Healing Tiles lighted floor installation on your way to the bathroom.) Then pop up the secret outdoor elevator to the rooftop terrace for city views and a Gidget slushie with vodka, lemon and orange blossom. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 21ccocktailterrace.com.

RIDE: Aronoff Center station (Seventh and Walnut streets, Downtown) to Main & Orchard station (1422 Main St., OTR); 0.6 miles

Stop 5: Please

Did you make a reservation? If not, head for the bar at this creative and au courrant eatery. The interesting dishes — artful in and of themselves — are worth a visit, but so is the bathroom. Please’s potty (recently featured in Dwell) is full of colorful, abstract hand-painted tiles and a circular mirror — perfect for taking selfies. 1405 Clay St., OTR, pleasecincinnati.com.

Ride 4: Girls’ Day Out

Brunch! Shopping! Nails! It gets your estrogen pumping just thinking about it. 

Stop 1: Brunch

This is kind of up to you. If you want something substantial, like chicken and waffles with a dollop of ice cream, there’s Commonwealth Bistro (621 Main St., Covington) or for violette-flavored mimosas and a bagel and lox, there’s Otto’s (521 Main St., Covington). 

RIDE: MainStrasse station (529 Main St., Covington) to Washington Park station (14th and Elm streets, OTR); 2.8 miles

Stop 2: The City Flea 

The City Flea runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 20. Get some coffee, buy some succulents, try on some vintage denim and walk around looking cute. Anything you buy, put in your bike basket! Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., OTR, thecityflea.com.

RIDE: Washington Park station (14th and Elm streets, OTR) to 12th & Vine station (1208 Vine St., OTR); 0.3 miles

Stop 3: Spruce Natural Nail Shop 

This eco-chic and non-toxic nail salon offers a range of services, from a quickie mani (soak, shaping, cuticle care, polish) starting at $20 to a BioSeaweed Gel polish and nail art, all in a light, bright wood-and-plant-adorned storefront. 1235 Vine St., OTR, sprucenailshop.com.

RIDE: 12th & Vine station (1208 Vine St., OTR) to 15th & Vine station (1420 Vine St., OTR); 0.2 miles

Stop 4: Swoon OTR 

You could just walk two blocks, but why walk when you can ride? Stop into Swoon for organic cotton panties, badass mesh and peek-a-boo bodysuits and vintage kimonos. Then continue your shopping spree at several other female-owned businesses on the street, includingContinuum (1407 Vine St.), which carries local Working Girls Co. and boob-printed totes and towels; the high-end hippie-ish Idlewild Woman (1230 Vine St.); and the posh Sloane Boutique (1216 Vine St.), which has a new line of Sloane Baby items. 1421 Vine St., OTR, facebook.com/swoon.otr.

RIDE: 15th & Vine station (1420 Vine St., OTR) to Elm & Henry station (1952 Elm St., OTR); 0.6 miles

Stop 5: Skeleton Root 

This grape-to-glass working winery and industrial-vintage tasting space in OTR has all you need to wrap up your ride: house-crafted wine flights, local cheese plates, library-style leather couches and, depending on when you’re there, yoga pop-ups, live music and Lil’s Bagels. But mostly wine. 38 W. McMicken Ave., OTR, skeletonroot.com.