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Urban Exploration: A New Way to See the City

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You can tell amazing stories around the bonfire when you travel, and urban exploration makes you the life of the party.

No matter where you are, you can explore the city like never before and discover its history, culture, and more. Let’s hop on our e-bikes and dive into urban exploration. We’ll reveal its benefits, find some exciting places, and give you some tips for a smooth ride.

What is Urban Exploration? 

When explorers seek out overlooked spaces, venturing off the beaten path, it’s known as urban exploration. They aim to discover and navigate abandoned and forgotten sites in towns and cities, shedding light on their history. 

These man-made environments include:

  • Tunnels
  • Factories
  • Old hospitals
  • Rooftops
  • Underground spaces
  • Homes
  • Churches
  • School
  • Other similar places of interest

Urban explorers, often referred to as urbexers, document their journeys through photography or written accounts. They share these experiences on social media, blogs, or within community circles of like minded individuals.

If done safely, urban exploration offers a ton of benefits, including enjoyable physical activity, community building, and, for older people, a pastime beyond boring board games.

The Benefits of Urbex

Urban exploration goes beyond being just a hobby. Gone are the days when age kept you limited to reading books and doing crochet. Thanks to technological advances such as a lightweight mobility scooter, covering long distances becomes a breeze. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and enables exploration. 

Let’s see how urbex contributes to your overall well-being, regardless of age. Some of its benefits include:

Increased Physical Activity

With all the walking, climbing, and even crawling urban exploration can be a great workout. Opt for a more eco-friendly and healthier alternative, such as an electric trike, instead of the bus. Without pedal assist, when covering long distances, you can truly integrate a moderate workout into your exploration. 

This physical activity can help increase muscle strength and endurance, improve heart health, and even contribute to weight loss. No more worrying about those boring steps your Doctor asked you to cover every day. 

Improve Mental Health

By doing something you love, you provide your mind with the necessary self-care. Traveling through urban exploration can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. It offers a positive escape from your everyday life, providing a sense of adventure and accomplishment. 

Exploration also fosters mindfulness of your environment, pulling you away from worries and bringing you to the present moment. Besides that, you can also be more energetic and productive at work. 

Boost Your Creativity

Foreign experiences increase the integrativeness of thought, cognitive flexibility, and depth. During urban exploring, you find ways to access buildings and solve puzzles, which can help boost your problem-solving skills and creativity.  

Immersing in different cultural and historical aspects allows you to think more deeply and freely, giving your mind the flexibility to move between ideas. Additionally, as a form of self-expression and creative outlet, you can take exciting photographs. 

Formation of Community 

Love and belonging are fundamental human needs. At times, among your immediate circles—school friends, colleagues, or family—you may find it challenging to connect with people who share your interests. 

Urban exploration is also considered a social activity. You can join online communities and groups to share your experience and plan the next trip. Doing so can foster new friendships and increase your sense of belonging. 

Fascination Despite the Risks

Urban exploration is fascinating, even with all the risks involved. You can cycle up mountains with e-bikes and explore uneven terrains — what makes it so appealing? Well, urban exploration gives us a sense of freedom in a world that is more controlled and monitored. It helps us connect with the past and imagine the future.

Abandoned sites are not just places of loss, but also of hope and renewal. You’ll see plants growing in unexpected places like pavements, books, and desks, showing their strength in the toughest situations. This also makes us think differently about environmental issues and soil artificialization.

Safety and Precaution 

Urbex can be eerie and breathtaking at the same time. Explorers love the decay of these old structures and the stories they can tell. However, if you go into this thrilling hobby unprepared, you may get hurt and even face legal charges. So, to stay safe, we have some tips for you. 

Gear Up for Unstable Structures 

From bumpy roads to rotten buildings, urban exploration sites are in decay. No one is coming to repair them, nor are they up to code. Walls can have water damage, while the foundation of the building can have a termite infestation, running the risk of collapsing. In such a situation, keep your helmet on, even if you are not riding. 

Explore Off-Limit Areas with Caution

The best urban exploration sites are often off-limit. While we do not encourage you to explore them, we must inform you to be careful. Often, these locations are not monitored; however, officers can visit at any time, which may lead you to get in trouble for trespassing. To avoid this, you can always talk to your community about that space, or even ask locals if it’s safe to explore them. 

Chemicals, Pests and Wildlife

Exposure to dangerous chemicals such as lead paint, carbon monoxide, and asbestos can be extremely harmful to health. If you plan to explore in the winter months, consider wearing a balaclava winter mask under your gas mask for added protection and comfort. 

On the other hand, as mentioned before, it is not uncommon for flora and fauna to encroach upon unattended spaces. While smaller spaces can become home to pests and animals seeking shelter, in larger spaces, you may even find lions and bears raising their cubs.

Overall Safety Measures 

To avoid dangerous situations and injuries, you must: 

  • Always go exploring with friends or a group of people. They will be available for immediate help if something goes wrong. 
  • It is best to do your research before you go exploring. You can check maps, like other explorers, or just grab your electric scooter to scout the area.  Take note of local wildlife and uncertain landscapes.  
  • The locals know the area and can tell you what you should expect. So, to add to your research and to feel safer, take all the information they can give you about the history and structure of the building before you go in.
  • Pack practical items such as a first aid kit, tactical knife, pepper spray, and torch.
  • While exploring in the night may seem more fun, if you are a beginner start with exploring in the day time. This significantly decreases your chances of getting into difficult situations and ensures that you don’t get lost in unfamiliar areas or have any unexpected encounters. 

Final Note 

Urban exploration has a lot of benefits for your mind and body. You can also unleash your creativity and stay fit. But remember, like any other physical activity, you need to be safe and careful when you explore.

The secret is to challenge yourself, be aware of your surroundings, and get ready to discover new places and old spaces.

And most importantly, have fun. This is not a race. You don’t want to feel stressed, so go at your own pace.