Sarah Schmalbruch

The 50 best US tourist attractions you’ve never heard of

The 50 Best US Tourist Attractions You've Never Heard OfFlickr / Erik DrostCleveland, Ohio’s West Side Market.

Each state has its iconic landmarks, but there are plenty of attractions that fly under the radar.1

New York has the Empire State Building, but it’s also home to Letchworth State Park, unofficially known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.”

We’ve rounded up the most worthwhile but lesser-known tourist attractions in every state.

While some of these places have a significant amount of visitors each year, they remain hidden gems to many out-of-state travelers.

An earlier version of this post was written by Jill Comoletti and Eliza McKelvey.

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  1. ^ iconic landmarks (
  2. ^ One Page (
  3. ^ Slides (

Are electronic groupsets necessary?

Is battery-powered shifting something we really can t live without? We investigate…

Are Electronic Groupsets Necessary?

The advantages of mechanical-free, electronic gear shift systems like Shimano s Di2 and Campagnolo s EPS include more precise, quicker gear changes, reduced chain wear, and the facility to allow multiple locations for shifters, making the process of swapping cogs as simple as the press of a button. But will an electronic groupset benefit all of us? Ben Hillsdon, PR officer for Shimano Europe thinks so. The slick, precise shifting operation that comes through electronic gears is unrivalled. And the maintenance involved is minimal, he says. When it was on Dura-Ace only, it was in the realms of aspiration, but now it s on Ultegra it s within the reach of sportive riders as well as pros.

>>> Shimano Ultegra Di2 6870 groupset review1

One major benefit of electronic shifting is that its performance doesn t worsen over time or in poor conditions, as cables can. On this, Hillsdon states: There s no way pro teams would be able to use Shimano Di2 in the Classics if it wasn t up to battling through the weather. Luke Rowe of Team Sky2 has his own take on its effectiveness on cobbles: If your hands are vibrating all over the place it s hard to change with a mechanical lever because you can t feel if you re engaging it. And no matter how cold you are, you can always feel the sprint shifter buttons on the inside of the drops.

But what are the benefits away from the unique demands of the cobbles? When you re sprinting or going over the top of a climb, and it s touch and go whether you get on the wheel, you know you won t jump a gear when you most need it, Rowe adds.

>>> The five best bike throws3

But we ve all seen that video of Sir Bradley Wiggins abandoning his bike at the Giro del Trentino two years ago, with a seemingly electronic shifting-related tantrum. So is the reliability of electronic systems in question?

Are Electronic Groupsets Necessary?

It made a great bike throw, but did it call into question electronic s reliability? Lee McKay, workshop manager of Rutland Cycling, says no: If it was to go wrong it can be more expensive but it tends not to. I ve only seen one total rear mech failure, and then it just gets stuck in a gear. You can still get home.

On the subject of reliability, Hillsdon offers: Remembering to charge your battery is the key. But if you re involved in a heavy crash you might need to adjust the gears, just as with mechanical. McKay reckons we ve come a long way in a few years: The problems we saw on the earlier systems where the batteries are mounted on the down tube came from water and salt ingress. In terms of actual faults, we see very few.

>>> Are you using your bike s gears efficiently?4

But is there still a time and a place for mechanical shifting? Hillsdon says: Using mechanical gears is more of an art. You might have to coerce the chain into position, and for those who like to take their bikes apart and know they can fix every aspect of it at the roadside, mechanical might still have its place. McKay adds: If you can afford to go electronic, it works excellently and very few things go wrong with it, but if you re mechanically minded and want to understand the systems of a bike then it might not be for you.

Are Electronic Groupsets Necessary?

Ryder Hesjedal s Cannondale-Garmin team bike 2015, with mechanical derailleurs

And what about the elephant in the room? Electronic groupsets cost more than mechanical, but the gulf between the two is reducing all the time. McKay says: The price is certainly coming down, plus the advent of electronic gears on mountain bikes is only going to drive that price down even further. Indeed, a search of online shops at this time of year can find Shimano s Ultegra Di2 discounted to less than the full asking price of the mechanical equivalent. Can you afford not to fit it?

Our take

It doesn t so much boil down to your financial means but more the type of person you are. If the idea of tinkering, spending hours re-cabling, building and lubing in your garage is what gets you through the working day, then the idea of battery assistance is likely to be beyond the pale. If, however, you want the slickest-shifting bike at all costs, there s only one way to go.

Are Electronic Groupsets Necessary?

Team Sky s Classics bikes as with all their bikes came with Shimano Dura Ace Di2. Photo: Gregor Brown

For: Luke Rowe Team Sky rider

There s no one on Team Sky still using mechanical, and for me if there was ever a choice I d never go back to it. I ve ridden electronic for four or five years, and it s not until you hop on a bike with mechanical shifting and change gear a few times that you realise how much poorer it is. It takes a while for you to remember just how bad it was. It s a no-brainer I never want to go back.

Are Electronic Groupsets Necessary?

Luke Rowe: all for electronic shifting. Photo: Graham Watson

Against: Lee McKay Workshop manager, Rutland Cycling

It does take a bit of the purity away from home mechanics. I like the mechanical systems because a bike to me is a mechanical thing; it s something that I m powering.

Pressing a button isn t what cycling is all about. A lot of people like to change cables, like to know they ve made their bike run nicely. I like to know that I ve made that mechanical shift myself and it s me who s made the difference.

Words by Marc Abbott.

This article first appeared in the April 23 edition of Cycling Weekly5


  1. ^ >>> Shimano Ultegra Di2 6870 groupset review (
  2. ^ Team Sky (
  3. ^ >>> The five best bike throws (
  4. ^ >>> Are you using your bike s gears efficiently? (
  5. ^ April 23 edition of Cycling Weekly (

The 10 most tourist-friendly cities in the US

The 10 Most Tourist-friendly Cities In The USJackman Chiu / FlickrChicago loves tourists the most.

Anyone who lives in a city that’s a popular travel destination knows that tourists can get slightly annoying. However, chances are, most of us have been a tourist at some point in our lives, which is a good reason to treat them nicely. Some cities are better at this concept than others.

The private jet charter company Stratos1 conducted a study2 where they looked at a collection of #tourist tweets on Twitter from locations across the US to see where the most positive and negative tourist-related tweets came from. Chicago won by a landslide, and the other cities that welcome tourists with open arms span the country from Atlanta to Portland. There’s plenty for tourists to do in Chicago3, whether it’s the Skydeck at the Willis Tower, Oak Street or North Avenue Beach in the summer, the Art Institute, or one of the city’s music festivals such as Lollapalooza or Ravinia. Chicago is also home to some delicious cuisine that’s best when sampled there, think deep dish pizza, Italian beef, and famous Chicago hot dogs. Plus, like most other Midwesterners, Chicagoans are friendly, a little more laid back, and easy to approach.

Here are the 10 most tourist-friendly cities in the US:

1. Chicago, Illinois

2. Atlanta, Georgia

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4. Miami, Florida

5. Portland, Oregon

6. Seattle, Washington


Washington, DC

8. Houston, Texas

9. Paradise, Nevada


Nashville, Tennessee

Take a look at the graphic below to see the full results of the study.

The 10 Most Tourist-friendly Cities In The USStratos Jet Charters4


  1. ^ Stratos (
  2. ^ study (
  3. ^ tourists to do in Chicago (
  4. ^ Stratos Jet Charters (