Category Archives: Bicycle Adventures

4 Reasons to go on a Hiking Tour

WA_ODT_olympic-peninsula-scenic-trail

 
By: Chad Maurer

If you’ve ridden with us before then you know we love to incorporate other outdoor activities like kayaking, rafting, and hiking into our tours. That’s because we want you to experience our amazing destinations in the best way possible, and sometimes that requires getting off our bikes and taking a closer look.

It turns out that we are more than just a bicycle tour company, we’re adventure travel enthusiasts, and we’re very excited to expand our hiking tour destinations and offerings.

Still skeptical? No problem. Here are some great reasons to choose a hiking tour with Bicycle Adventures!

 

1. Tour Dates

Olympic NP_Tree 2

Our tour dates are selected to maximize your experience.

For instance, on our Olympic Peninsula Hiking Tours we look at more than just the calendar – we choose our dates based on low tides, so we can thoroughly explore beaches and coastline. To avoid the weekend crowds from nearby big cities, we operate our Mt. Rainier National Park and Columbia Gorge Hiking Tours only on the weekdays.

 

2. Local Naturalist Guides

Mt Rainier_View

It is easy to appreciate the amazing scenery at these destinations, but what about the story behind the beauty? All our hiking tours are interpretive and led by local naturalist guides whose goal is to create a deeper connection between you and the natural history of the area.

If you are inclined to wonder: How did that mountain get there? What was this place like 25, 100, 1,000, 10,000, or even a million years ago? Is Mt. Rainier an active volcano? Who lived here? How did they survive? Is that Mt. St. Helen’s in the distance? What tree, plant, bird, or animal is that? Why is it here? What is its role? How does it survive? Is this plant edible, medicinal, useful, poisonous, or dangerous?

No problem! Our knowledgeable naturalist guides have the answers to these questions on our Mt. Rainier Tour, and even more to share about the other wonderful ecosystems we visit!

 

3. Lodging

OR_timberline_lodge

Location, location, location.

Wherever possible we choose hotels which allow you to go for hikes or walks right outside your door, giving you the opportunity to explore and practice your newly acquired knowledge on your own. That’s why we stay at incredible places like the Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark perched upon the flanks of Mt. Hood, on our Columbia Gorge Hiking Tour. And even though there are several lodging options near Mt. Rainier National Park, the only one located at the aptly-named Paradise Visitor Center and trailhead is the historic Paradise Lodge – and we spend 2 nights there.

We’re all about incredible views, but also being up close to the amazing nature we’re there to explore. And don’t worry, we also build time into our itineraries to allow for self-exploration, or just plain relaxing.

 

4. Small Groups

Olympic NP_Mountains

No one wants to push their way through a crowd to see the views from Hurricane Ridge, and when you hike Olympic National Park with us, you won’t have to. We keep all our tours intimate and small (7 or less), so we can offer personalized service and great interpretation on the trail without affecting the experience of others or destroying the inherent peace of the places we visit.

 

Ready to Hike?

Our tours explore the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer! Often the most beautiful places are found beyond where the pavement ends, especially in our National Parks.

We hope to see you out on the trail this summer!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterestRedditShare

Preparing for a Bicycle Adventure: 5 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Athlete

Preparing for a Bicycle Adventure: Fitness Tips for the 50+ Athlete

First things first—congratulations on your decision to go forward and embrace one of the most rewarding challenges you’ll ever undertake. From personal experience, I can tell you that a bicycle adventure will change you for the better, both physically and mentally. And I applaud your decision to prepare yourself for the big event.

Whether you’re embarking on an epic adventure like the Empire Builder, a 700-mile trek from Montana to Seattle, or a flat 4-day “Rails to Trails” exploration of the Couer d’Alenes, a little preparation goes a long way toward enjoying your travels.

Of course, physical preparation isn’t just helpful for bike tours, it can have a positive impact on many aspects of your life.

Our president and resident fitness expert, Todd Starnes, who was a sports scientist before joining Bicycle Adventures, has some great words of wisdom for the 50+ athlete—

Getting old just plain sucks; our choice is either to grow or decay.

For me? I’ll take growth every time, and if you’ve read this far, then I think you will too! Your next bike adventure can give you the push towards your own personal and physical growth.

It doesn’t matter whether you choose to complete Oregon’s Crater Lake (the best bike ride in North America, according to Bicycling Magazine) or opt for a more cultural two-wheeled experience in Mexico, just enjoy the ride with smiles and sun!

I think it’s important to state up front that physical fitness doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. So many of the activities that contribute to a healthy body can be done right in the privacy of your home, like strength and resistance training, stretching, and even cardio.

The work you do toward preparing your body pays benefits in all sorts of unexpected ways, whether you’re training for a bike tour with the family or just want less stiffness and more stamina when you’re gardening, doing housework, or playing with your grandkids at the park.

 

So why should we exercise?

Preparing for a Bicycle Adventure: Fitness Tips for the 50+ Athlete

Physical exercise can slow the effects of aging and prevent muscle atrophy and bone loss, too—a real concern for 50+ women. I think it also gives you more physical confidence to try new things…and I love what it does for my energy level.

If you’re ready to get started, here are five tips to help 50+ athletes prepare for a bike tour and some advice on how to ramp up to the next level for those who are steady 30-miler cyclists.

 

Let’s Begin With Strength Training

Preparing for a Bicycle Adventure: Fitness Tips for the 50+ Athlete

Strength training sounds complicated and even a bit intimidating, especially if you’re out of practice. But it really comes down to these five simple motions:

  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Planking
  • Sitting
  • Bending

You’ll notice “lifting weights” isn’t mentioned—because it really isn’t necessary! Although if you want to join a gym and work with machines and free weights, that’s always an option. I’m going to give you exercises you can do at home, with no complicated machines, and a far lower risk of injury.

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests activities to strengthen each of the six main muscle groups: Chest, shoulders, arms, abdomen, back, and legs. Strength training will come in handy on a bike adventure in so many ways—supporting your back, chest, arms, and posture during the ride itself and giving you the muscles you need to pedal up hills (like the cliffs and canyons in our Southern Utah National Parks tour).

Pushing
The classic “push” exercise is the push-up, which strengthens your arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, and back—it’s an all-purpose exercise powerhouse. If you aren’t strong enough to do a classic military version, you can try this four-step planPulling
A good strength routine balances pushing and pulling. You don’t need a pull-up bar to build your pulling muscles, but a set of lightweight dumbbells is helpful. I like the
alternating dumbbell row because you can really feel results with just a few reps. (Don’t own dumbbells? Substitute cans of soup or milk jugs.)

Planking
Planking is great for strengthening your core, which underpins pretty much everything you do. If you’re a beginner at planking, you can learn good technique and modifications with this video, plus variations for more advanced moves.

Sitting
No, this isn’t a “gotcha,” there really are sitting-type exercises to help you build strength. I’m talking about squats and lunges, which are great for developing your abs, legs, and back. Even if you have knee problems, you can do these exercises at home.

Bending
I don’t have to tell you how important it is to strengthen your lower back and core—doing laundry, tying your shoes…we’re bending all day long. Some great home bending exercises are back extensions and bicycles.

 

Build Your Endurance With Cardio and Feel the Benefits

Preparing for a Bicycle Adventure: Fitness Tips for the 50+ Athlete

The CDC recommends that healthy older adults get at least two-and-a-half hours (150 minutes) of moderate aerobic activity (like brisk walking) every week, or 75 minutes of high-intensity (running, jogging, cycling) activity. The heart benefits of aerobic activity are not in dispute.

But the added benefits of increased endurance will help you on your bicycle tour, so you can fully enjoy the gently rolling hills of the San Juan Islands.

Simple things to do now to improve your cardio endurance:

  • Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
  • Pursue an active hobby like tennis, swimming, or riding your bike (especially riding your bike).
  • Take a brisk walk on your lunch break instead of snacking at your desk.
  • Go kayaking or paddleboarding.
  • Get a jump rope and skip rope to music.
  • Dance!

 

Add Some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Preparing for a Bicycle Adventure: Fitness Tips for the 50+ Athlete

Although it sounds complicated, HIIT really isn’t. It’s simply combining brief intervals of intense exercise with longer periods of less strenuous work. You can incorporate HIIT just by running for a few seconds every few minutes when you take your daily walk—or pedaling extra hard for 10 to 30 seconds periodically on your training bike rides.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends HIIT because it:

  • Improves aerobic (and anaerobic) fitness.
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol profiles.
  • Reduces belly fat and body weight while preserving your muscle mass.

Sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. And the best thing is that HIIT can be modified to suit any fitness level and you don’t have to do it every day to see results. Our fitness guru Todd Starnes recommends observing these rules:

  • Aim for “comfortably challenging,” there’s no need to make yourself miserable.
  • Think quality over quantity—if you are working hard but struggling to keep the pace you had after your first couple of intervals, you’ve done enough for that workout.
  • Four to six intervals no more than twice per week is more than enough to experience the benefits of HIIT.

 

Don’t Neglect the “4 Rs” of Recovery

Preparing for a Bicycle Adventure: Fitness Tips for the 50+ Athlete

Recovery is even more important for the beginning or older athlete, so pay extra attention to the four “Rs” of recovery—

Rehydrate. If your exercise period is 60 minutes or shorter, rehydrating with water is probably enough. For longer sessions, use a sports beverage with carbs and electrolytes.

Refuel. You need to eat to replenish the fuel your body spent and provide nutrients to help your body recover. For adults over 50, that means protein—at least 15 to 25 grams in the hour after exercise. Protein bars and shakes are a convenient option if you don’t feel like preparing a snack.

Rest. I’m not just talking about a short break after exercise (although that’s always important), I’m talking about a healthy amount of deep, restorative sleep at night to give your body time to recover and repair.

Repair. The recovery process looks different in everyone, but for older adults, alternating heat and cold therapy, soft tissue massage, or even therapeutic soaks are helpful for encouraging the muscle repair that occurs after exercise.

The tour guides at Bicycle Adventures take recovery seriously with an appropriate schedule of hydration, nourishing snacks and drinks, healthy breakfasts, and even special accommodations for your own diet and nutrition routine.

 

What You Eat Matters More than You Think

Preparing for a Bicycle Adventure: Fitness Tips for the 50+ Athlete

Your changing nutritional needs become even more noticeable once you hit 50. For one thing, your body may not absorb essential nutrients as well as it did when you were younger—and strenuous exercise impacts digestion, a potential “perfect storm” of nutritional deficits.

Here are some foods to eat if you want your body to be ready to go when you are:

  • Probiotics set the stage for a healthy gut, the gatekeeper to a healthy body. Some people use a probiotics supplement, but you can naturally introduce these healthy bacteria into your gut by eating yogurt with live active cultures (look for the LAC stamp), fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, and aged cheeses.
  • Fiber feeds the healthy gut bacteria and aids digestion. Get what you need with easy-to-eat foods like barely ripe bananas, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and asparagus.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, help you burn fat, and are good for your heart. Incorporate more servings of fatty fish like salmon to boost this important nutrient.
  • Protein helps repair and grow muscles and maintain bone and joint strength. Try to get some protein at every meal with foods like dairy, fish, poultry, meat, or plant-based sources (lentils, nuts, seeds).
  • Vitamin D is essential to muscle recovery and maintaining healthy bones. Unfortunately, aging skin isn’t as effective at synthesizing vitamin D from the sun, so it’s important to add it to your diet with either supplements or fortified dairy products.

 

How to Ramp up to the Next Level If You’re a Steady 30-miler Cyclist

Preparing for a Bicycle Adventure: Fitness Tips for the 50+ Athlete

So you’ve progressed to a great level—30 miles is a brilliant achievement—well done! But what if you just want to challenge yourself a little more and break through the 30-mile plateau?

Rest assured, you are not alone and there are several ways of getting to that next level, which I would love to share with you.

  • Get More Power Behind Your Pedals
  • Add plyometric training (or jump training) to your weekly workout. Research has shown that in just one month, you can increase your power endurance by a healthy 17%! To avoid injuries, starting slow is the name of the game— so try squat jumps twice a week.

  • Think Smart When you Climb
  • Pick a gear in which you can pedal smoothly, not mash. Think about pedaling across the stroke rather than simply up and down. When you are out of the saddle, if you feel your bike is swinging from side to side, shift to an easier gear.

  • Avoid The Dead Zone
  • Brought on by repeated training at a single, moderately hard intensity. The dead zone can affect enthusiasts who push the pedals hard but don’t follow any training program. In order to improve, the body needs to adapt, which is achieved by a program that hits your personal extremes.

  • Get the most from your speed
  • I know it sounds simple, but always remember to make yourself as aerodynamic as possible on your descents. You will maximise every ounce of speed you have gained. So sit back on the saddle and ride with your hands in the drops. Then tuck your knees and elbows into the bike and lower your head for better results.

  • Resting Heart Rate (RHR) : a number you should know
  • It’s one of the best ways to monitor overtraining. If your beats per minute are 10% higher than normal, when you take your RHR in the morning (before you get out of bed), then you might want to have an easier day.

  • Get Creative with Incentives
  • We all need a little something as a reward in order to remain focused, so when you achieve one of your goals, treat yourself—you deserve it!

Hopefully, I’ve given you some practical tips and pointers to help you get started on a physical program of preparation for your tour. You’ll notice that none of the exercises I suggest require pricey equipment, a gym membership, or hours of your time—you can do them at home and on your own schedule.

 

Ready to Ride?

If you have any questions about fitness, preparation, and recovery, I’m always here to talk to you. And if you’re still looking for the perfect bicycle adventure for you—I can help you with that, too! Get in touch to start planning the trip of a lifetime.

If you’d like to find out more about how to go about planning your bicycle adventure, sign up to our free email course. It’ll teach you everything you need to know.

Top 10 Cycling Trends for 2018

10 Top Cycling Trends for 2018

We all remember our very first bikes, and think about how much has changed in the cycling world since!

Remember downtube shifters of the 70s? Those things are now in the past. The advancements in cycling over the years have made our rides smoother, faster and more comfortable, and bikes more durable and light.

Think back to last year, since then road bikes have become faster, shifting is going digital, and mountain bikes are changing their frame geometry. It’s exciting to see what changes and trends will continue into 2018 and beyond.

So whether you’re a newbie to cycling (maybe considering your first tour), or a committed cyclist take a peek at a few of our predicted top cycling trends in 2018 before you hit the road or the trail.

 

1. Manufacturers Are Going Aero

Time trial/triathlon bikes are no longer the only bikes being built for speed and aerodynamics. Ever since the UCI has declared a 6.8 kg minimum race bike weight limit, many top-of-the-line road bikes can’t get much lighter, but they can continue to get faster through better aerodynamic design.

For example, Giant’s new Propel Disc aero road bikes are first of its kind for the popular bike manufacturer. First seen last year in the Tour de France, the Propel Disc is now available on the public market. Giant claims it has the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any bike in its class, and has lower drag coefficients due to the addition of disc brakes.

The Specialized Tarmac has a new D-shaped frame and new seat tube and seatpost design that makes it more aerodynamic. The new Orca Aero from Orbea is a beautiful aerodynamic design that pushes the boundaries of speed. You’ll start seeing many of these new bikes at all the big cycling tours in the coming racing season.

 

2. Disc Brakes Are Becoming Mainstream in Road Cycling

Once the brake system just for mountain bikes, disc brakes are continuing to become more mainstream in road cycling. The pro cyclists are still trialing the disc brakes in the peloton, but they are likely to become standard in road bikes in the coming years.

German pro cyclist, Marcel Kittel, road last year on a Specialized Venge ViAS Disc on the Quick-Step Floors team. He became the first rider to win a stage of the Tour de France on a bike with disc brakes. Many of the high-end 2018 bikes come standard with disc brakes, like the Trek Emonda, Giant Propel, Scott Foil, and more.

 

3. Gravel Bikes Continue to Gain Popularity

We said it last year—gravel bikes are becoming more popular worldwide in 2018. Gravel bikes are a versatile bike on and off the road making it attractive to a variety of riders. Last year gravel bikes exploded in popularity across the United States and they are growing rapidly into the international market.

Gravel events are also popping up everywhere—there might just be one on a forest road near you!

 

4. Wheels and Tires Are Still Getting Wider for Road Bikes

10 Top Cycling Trends for 2018

Once again, we predicted this last year. The trend is still continuing into 2018. While 25mm wide tires are still the standard for road bikes, 28mm isn’t uncommon.

Unlike like traditional rim brakes, disc brakes allow manufacturers to offer more clearance for wider tires and wheels. We predict that the 27.5 x 2.6 width will become the momentary “standard” this year.

 

5. Power Meters For All Budgets

Power meters are no longer for just the pro cyclists and the wealthy. With new technology and new manufacturers jumping into the market, power meters are becoming more affordable. Shimano, one of cyclist’s largest component manufacturers, has finally decided to dip their toes into the game this year.

While the jury is still out on the new Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P power meter, Garmin has released the new Garmin Vector 3, which measures leg power independently. The budget-friendly Vector 3S, which measures one leg and doubles it for total power, will gain more attraction this year due to its price tag under $600 USD.

 

6. Indoor Training is Getting Smart

Smart trainers are becoming more popular, like Zwift, TrainerRoad, and other apps. The new Wahoo Kickr Climb is the first of its kind by simulating climbing. The indoor trainer adjusts the front end of your bike to simulate real-time grade changes. You can ascend hills up to a 20% grade and descend down to a -10% to mimic real road conditions.

 

7. Mountain Bike Frames Are Changing

10 Top Cycling Trends for 2018

Not only are road bikes getting more aerodynamic, but mountain bike frames are changing. The top tubes are getting longer and the head angles are getting slacker. With the changes in the top of the frame, offset forks are becoming shorter to adapt to the wheelbase. The Transition Sentinel is pushing the design of mountain bikes with its new steeper seat tubes.

Longer travel 29ers are becoming popular. The Orbea Rallon is an innovative design that is leading the trend of slacked out 29ers enduro race bikes. The new geometry turns these popular cross-country and enduro racing bikes into a fun all-mountain trail bike, too.

 

8. Shifting to Digital Shifters

Both mountain and road shifter are continuing to go digital. While we predict that digital shifting is not going to stick for mountain bikes in 2018, it will continue to grow in the road cycling industry.

FSA just released their new K-Force WE groupset and Shimano has updated its Ultegra Di2 set this year. While we’d like to see digital electronic shifting on the lower end models of bikes, that is probably not going to happen this year.

 

9. Integrated Cockpits Are Coming

Once mainly reserved for TT/triathlon bikes, integrated cockpits are becoming more popular in road bikes as road bikes continue to become more aerodynamic. Integrated cockpits have their pros and cons. They can help tidy up cable routing and save weight. But, if you ever want to change the length of your stem or make any changes to your bar angle, you can’t do that without swapping out the whole assembly.

 

10. eBikes Will Continue to Become Popular

It doesn’t matter if you think riding an ebike is cheating or not. They are continuing to become popular for both mountain and road bikes. The Market Urbanism Report predicts that 2018 will be the year of the ebike.

Many bike manufacturers are making them now, like Giant, Bianchi, and Focus. Cities like San Francisco and New York City have electric bike share programs that are a huge hit with commuters and tourists.

eBikes are not just commuter bikes either. The Focus Project Y looks just like your fancy road bike, but with a hidden motor inside. It just might be the perfect commuting or touring bicycle. Our bike partner, Orbea has a collection of road, mountain, leisure, and urban ebikes to meet all your riding needs.

Give an eBike a try—we think everyone should love them.

 

Are You Ready to Ride?

With over 30 years of cycling tour experience, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry. If all these 2018 bike trends are making you excited to ride, why don’t you get in touch today and start planning your ultimate bicycle adventure? We’d be happy to talk shop and share a few more of our favorite new trends this year. We offer awesome bike trips around the world, and you can even try some of the latest technology with our top-of-the-line Orbea bikes.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can go about planning your ultimate cycling adventure, sign up for our free email course.

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

Mid-winter blahs are the perfect excuse to begin planning your next vacation—there’s no better way to banish the blues and give you something new and exciting to look forward to.

If you’re a passionate cyclist who is also an avid traveler, your thoughts naturally turn to the most exotic, exciting, and exhilarating places to ride your bike when the weather turns (or, better yet, where the local season is already summer). So, to make it easier for you to get the most mileage from your bicycle daydreams, we’ve compiled our own list of memorable and unique destinations for you to consider this year.

Of course, it’s not an exhaustive list—just a few our crew knows and loves. Take a look and tell us what you think about these awesome places to cycle. If we’ve missed your favorite (or a place you’d like to go), be sure to let us know in the comments.

 

1. Take a KOM at Taiwan’s stunning Taroko Gorge National Park.

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

If you’ve got a passion for the Far East, it won’t take much to convince you that Taiwan’s “marble mountains” are the perfect place for your next bicycle adventure. Taroko Gorge National Park is connected to Taipei by the Central Cross-Island Highway—considered one of the most scenic and thrilling roads in the world.

Taroko Gorge is the most stunning of all Taiwan’s national parks; it’s also the site of the annual Taiwan Cycling Festival. You’ll climb the stony cliffs past colorful temples and shrines on the Taiwan KOM challenge, some 105 kilometers and 11,000 feet into the heart of Taiwan. Tackle as much or as little of this gorgeous road as you like, in a country teeming with history and culture, there is something for everyone here.

 

2. Bike through Rovinj, the “Pearl of the Adriatic” on Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula.

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

Lonely Planet calls Rovinj the star of the Istrian Peninsula—and we definitely agree. Ornate Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance architecture, narrow, cobbled streets, and charming city gates make a gorgeous backdrop for cycling.

Nearby Lim Bay, a protected estuary, once divided the Roman provinces of Dalmatia and Italia; today, it’s a sanctuary for birds and waterfowl, and a fabulous place to find delectable mussels, oysters, and fish. Rovinj is an adventurer’s paradise—cycle, kayak, fish, or just while away an afternoon along the coast on one of the town’s gorgeous beaches.

 

3. Cycle into the heart of ancient Patagonian forests on Chile’s Seven Lakes route.

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

What comes to mind when you think of Patagonia? Glaciers? Arid tundra? Forbidding icefields and windblown steppes? That’s just the beginning. Patagonia is also gorgeous fjords, lush forests, and incredible geoparks and nature preserves. It’s every outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

The Route of the Seven Lakes is one of the most spectacular circuits in an area known for breathtaking beauty. Glassy sapphire water, snow-capped peaks, emerald forests, and even volcanoes—all of nature’s best on one incredible ride.

 

4. Cruise the Ironman circuit on Cozumel’s dramatic coast.

You may think of Cozumel as a lovely Caribbean resort destination, a place to swim, snorkel, scuba, and just soak up sun, but it’s also the place where serious cyclists and athletes of all stripes come to test their mettle. This beautiful island hosts an annual triathlon, an Ironman competition, and the Gran Fondo Cozumel.

Imagine riding the island’s dramatic coastline—a full 30 miles of which is completely dedicated to bicycle track for the annual athletic competitions. Cycle this flat section – at your own pace – along the turquoise sea with the gentle Mayan breeze at your back. Is there a more picture-perfect sight to chase away your winter doldrums?

 

5. Work off a wee bit of whisky with a ride around the Isle of Arran loop.

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

The bicycle was born near Glasgow, Scotland, and the island remains a paradise for those on two wheels; that it’s a paradise for whisky lovers is just a bonus. The Isle of Arran is known as “Scotland in miniature,” and there’s no better place to experience the lush moors, craggy coasts, ornate castles, and towering peaks the country is famous for—all in one place.

You’ll love the fresh air and dramatic scenery as you pedal around the island. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a craft beer and a tour of Arran Brewery or visit the famous Arran Distillery for a wee bit of whisky.

 

6. Ever been to the Center of the Universe? You’ll find it in a Seattle neighborhood.

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

Flanked by the majestic Cascade Mountains to the East, and sparkling Puget Sound to the West, Seattle is a popular destination by virtue of its views alone. The city’s creative culture is not limited to its world-famous music scene. Its Fremont neighborhood is an art hub, where you’ll find a large-scale sculpture of a troll holding an actual Volkswagen bug, a 7-ton, 16-foot statue of a communist revolutionary, and a cold-war era rocket’s fuselage on display.

Fremont proudly claims the title, “Center of the Universe,” made official by the local county council’s 1994 proclamation. Bike the rails-to-trails Burke-Gilman alongside Lake Union into Fremont – or better yet, start your ride in the Cascades on the John Wayne Trail and coast down into The Emerald City.

 

7. Forget Tour de France! Climb Alto de Jaizkibel on the Clasica San Sebastian circuit in Spain.

Who needs Mont Ventoux, where the legendary Tom Simpson made his last stand, when you can make like Michal Kwiatkowski and climb Alto de Jaizkibel in Basque Country? This San Sebastian staple is an 8 kilometer climb with countless hairpin turns and 15% gradients—and marvelous views of the Bay of Biscay.

And there’s nothing like Spanish wine, fresh seafood, and mouth-watering Basque cuisine to help you relax and refuel after your ride.

 

8. Explore previously inaccessible roads on the north face of Triglav in Slovenia’s Julian Alps.

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

We couldn’t neglect the mountain bikers in the group—and nothing is more perfect for an MTB adventure than the Julian Alps. On an e-mountain bike, it’s not so daunting climbing “The Wall,” mighty Triglav’s north face, and a national symbol of pride in Slovenia. At 1,000 meters tall and 4,000 meters wide, it’s the highest peak in the Julian Alps.

The best part? You don’t need to be Hans Rey to ride the Julian Alps. With an e-bike, you can ride to incredible places even cars can’t go—places you’d never make it on your own.

 

9. Conjure your inner “Dances with Wolves” as you ride through Spearfish Canyon.

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

If you loved the stunning winter scenery in this Oscar-winning film, you can see it up close and personal biking through South Dakota’s pristine Spearfish Canyon. Once accessible only on horseback, now you can cycle past Bridal Veil Falls and Roughlock Falls as you wind through the canyon’s limestone cliffs.

Biking South Dakota’s amazing canyons is a feast for the eyes—oceans of brilliant wildflowers in spring and summer and masses of jewel-toned leaves in fall. There’s never a bad time to see this spectacular state.

 

10. Marvel at Fox Glacier as you cycle New Zealand’s Western Coast.

Glaciers might not be the first thing that come to mind when you think of New Zealand, but Fox Glacier, on the western coast of South Island, is a place you’ll never forget. Over 13 kilometers long, and situated in the Tai Poutini National Park, Fox Glacier is the crown jewel of New Zealand’s Glacier Country.

In addition to marvelling at the glacier from the seat of your bike, why not explore the glacier’s ice caves and arches on a heli-hiking expedition?

 

11. Bike Colombia’s Alto de Letras, the “Longest Climb in the World.”

Top 11 Unusual and Awesome Places to Cycle in the World

If you’re into challenge, you won’t want to miss the “longest climb in the world,” an 80 kilometer slog to over 12,000 feet in Colombia’s famous Paramo. Colombia is one of only three countries in the world where you can find this dynamic and quickly evolving ecosystem, a mix of moorlands, mosses, and rare orchids and trees.

Wind down with a muscle-soothing soak in volcanically heated thermal pools at Los Nevados National Park and start fresh the next morning with a cup of fragrant Columbian coffee.

 

Ready to ride?

Something catch your eye on our list of dream destinations? Then get in touch today and see how easy it is to visit one of these unusual and awesome places to cycle for yourself. You can always sign up for our free email course if you’d like more information about planning a bicycle adventure. And don’t forget to let us know your favorite unusual biking destination in the comments.

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

Winter blues got you down? Don’t feel as up to biking when the temperature is below freezing? Can’t even bike since there’s so much snow and ice on the street? There’s an answer to your problem—go where it’s warm!

Wouldn’t you love to follow the sun and get training again before a third of the year has gone by? So forget the snow, and consider these nine winter and spring tours to get you back on your bike:

 

1. Ride and snorkel your way around Hawaii’s Big Island for a Spring Break you won’t forget!

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

What’s better than taking a spring break vacation to Hawaii? And not only vacationing there, but getting to ride your bike around the Big Island, seeing all of its sublime sights.

Cruise down the Kohala Coast through lush vegetation to a lookout point over the Waipio Valley. This valley served as the home of many Hawaiian kings and is known for its nioi tree. Trees and other flora surround the ancient grassland on three sides, with the sapphire sea on the fourth, providing this valley with total protection. Cruising through banana and papaya plantations sweetens your final ride for the day.

Thrills are around every bend on the island. Hike your way through Thurston Lava Tube and across Kilauea Crater to get your heart pumping. Then hop back on your bike for a 25-mile downhill drive to Punalu’u black sand beach. You may just see a green sea turtle sunning on a rock!

Coffee-lovers rejoice—you can cycle through Kona Coffee country! And not only cycle, but sip the deliciously caffeinated beverage at a tasting. The volcanic soil of this region provides an ideal landscape for growing the coffee beans, which become the smooth, medium-bodied drink.

You can’t go to Hawaii and only stay on land. Jump into the Pacific Ocean for snorkeling, scuba diving, or simply swimming adventures. In March, there’s a good chance of spotting a humpback whale from your catamaran while sailing around the island.

 

2. Warm up from the winter cold with a ride through Death Valley National Park.

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

There’s no better place in the country to escape from the winter than Death Valley. Located in California’s desert, this national park is the largest of all the parks in the lower 48 and has the highest temperatures and lowest elevation in all of North America.

But don’t let those statistics fool you—Death Valley is temperate in the spring and has plenty of hills to ride up and down, such as Daylight Pass. Climb to 4,317 feet of elevation for fantastic views of the sun-bleached terrain. Your descent takes you into Furnace Creek Resort, a spring, oasis, and village you can choose to stay at should you be so inclined. Fun fact: Furnace Creek Resort sits on the location where the hottest temperature in North America was recorded—a whopping 134 degrees fahrenheit! Thankfully, it will not be that hot during the springtime.

You can’t miss Zabriskie Point while visiting Death Valley. Vibrant, colorful bands stretch out through the earth like waves in the ocean, only on land. It’s one of Death Valley’s most popular landmarks, for good reason. Another “must see” spot? Check out Badwater Basin, North America’s lowest point.

Looking for a little more adventure? Get off your bike and hike around the mile and a half perimeter of Ubehebe Crater. Or for those with an artistic side, head to Dante’s Point, a great place to capture with your camera all of the places you rode through in Death Valley.

 

3. Travel through trendy Palm Springs and find peace in tranquil Joshua Tree National Park.

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

Palm Springs—playground of Old Hollywood’s elite. Home to the Rat Pack. And now, making a huge return as the trendy place to be once again. And it’s great for cyclists, too.

Bike through the Whitewater Preserve, situated between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. The conservancy protects abundant flora and fauna as well as the Whitewater River. Then head to the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm, one of the oldest and largest wind farms in the United States.

Cycle around the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, which has more salinity than the Pacific Ocean. Nearby Salvation Mountain features a modern masterpiece of folk art at the top made of concrete and adobe.

Joshua Tree National Park’s namesakes are certainly worth a ride. The twisted and spiky trees (they look like they are straight out of The Lorax), and all the desert animals make for a fascinating journey.

 

4. There are so many wonders to see at Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

Ancient ruins, lush jungles, warm waters, and a colorful coral reef are just a few examples of the splendors of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Explore this remarkable paradise both off and on your bike.

Cycle around Isla Mujeres, sacred to the Mayan goddess, Ixchel. Dramatic cliffs turquoise waters, and coral-crushed beaches are your sights outside of the water. When you reach the ocean, grab some snorkeling gear for views of the tropical fish below.

On the mainland, Chichen Itza awaits. This Mayan ruin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll be amazed at the detail and skill of their architecture.

Riding through the jungle opens up the possibility of unique animal sightings. Listen for the calls of the Yucatan Jay, singing in the tree tops. Be sure to check the ground for any iguanas scurrying by. And you may just see a gray fox dart across the path in front of you!

From the coast, to the jungles, to the incredible Mayan sites, the Yucatan offers an exciting cycling experience.

 

5. The spring cactus blooms in Arizona and Sonora are here today and gone tomorrow, so get there fast!

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

What symbolizes America’s Southwest better than the cactus? And the biggest and best of all the cacti is the famous saguaro, which can grow to be as tall as 50 feet! These desert giants are only found in the Sonoran Desert, which ranges from Arizona into Mexico. Enjoy a ride through Saguaro National Park’s impressive cacti forest.

Springtime is special for the colossal cactus. The saguaro’s flowers bloom in April and only live for a little while, so it’s important to take advantage of the season. The nectar from the milky white blossom feeds many different species of bats, who in turn spread seeds across the desert. The bloom is so lovely, Arizona chose it as the state flower.

Did you know vineyards thrive in a part of Arizona? Elgin, a small wine town, has rich soil, similar to Burgundy, France. Make a point to stop at the vineyards for a wine tasting to cool off from the road. To add some more romance to your day, continue on to Casa de San Pedro, known for its wildlife. Over 350 species of birds reside there as well as hundreds of butterflies. Escape to this idyllic estate for a relaxing ride.

 

6. Pedal past the glistening glass-like pools in Chile’s lake district.

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

Just a couple countries south of Colombia is Chile, the skinny country covering much of South America’s western coast. But within the thin borders of Chile lies the lovely Lake District in the Andes Mountains. Biking through rolling hills, green meadows, and many national parks makes for an amazing spring tour.

While the Andes are magnificent to look at, they are challenging to climb. Ride over 14 miles and up serious grades to the top at an elevation of 6,181 feet. But that difficult ascent was worth the breathtaking views at the top of the Andes and surrounding landscapes.

Chile’s Seven Lake Route may be the most beautiful ride in the entire country. The road takes you by several mirror-like lakes as well as a handful of volcanos. Hullo-Hullo Biological Reserve provides an array of activities to excite the adventurer in you. Zipline through the rainforest canopy, hike one of four scenic trails, or learn something new on a nature walk.

But for the most challenging adventure of all, look no further than Osorno Volcano, one of the steepest rides in the world. And if a challenging climb doesn’t sound like a good time to you, don’t sweat it! There are vans and chairlifts to take you to the top for amazing hiking or simply to see the views.

 

7. Cycle through Colombia’s exotic rainforests and discover the “City of Eternal Spring.”

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

Looking for some international travel this spring? Look no further than Colombia, South America. This equatorial country’s climate means there is good cycling weather year round.

Trek the Alto de Letras, also known as “the longest climb in the world.” Your ride takes you from the sea-level Mariquita to the Páramo at over 12,000 feet. During the ascent, bike through many different ecosystems, concluding in the unique cloud-high environment of the summit.

What better place to be in Columbia’s spring than Medellin, the “City of Eternal Spring.” Medellin is the country’s second largest city and is known for its temperate climate all year long. The culinary scene is booming here—try a superbly-seasoned roasted pork shank or plantain-crusted “fish of the day” for a delicious dinner. And forget french fries: yuca chips are where it’s at!

 

8. Bike past baby bison in South Dakota’s national parks.

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

Are you a history buff? You will love riding through the national parks of South Dakota. Begin in the Badlands, 244,000 acres of prairie dotted with spires, buttes, and pinnacles. This area was once home to the saber-toothed tiger as well as the rhinoceros—so cool, right? These days, you’ll come across less ferocious beasts like the bighorn sheep, prairie dog, and black-footed ferret.

It’s Custer State Park, though, that has the most exciting animals to see. In the spring, baby bison and their parents roam the hills at the southern end of the park. These majestic mammals once covered all of North America, and while their numbers greatly decreased in the 1800s, they have made a comeback thanks to land preservation and the National Bison Legacy Act.

As you ride through South Dakota’s “wild west,” you may come across some familiar faces. Mount Rushmore lies within Black Hills National Forest. The four presidential faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were carved seamlessly into the southeastern face of the mountain. Seeing this iconic American landmark adds a little something extra to your day’s ride.

Nearby, another mountain monument is in progress. The impressive carving of Crazy Horse, though not yet finished, is absolutely worth a glance. At this time, it is the largest sculpture in progress in the world.

Sci-fi fans will instantly recognize Devils Tower National Monument, which was featured in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This dramatic butte was the first landmark to be declared a national monument in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt. Take a short ride over the border, into Wyoming, for an out-of-this-world experience.

 

9. Raft the Rio Grande in New Mexico’s Wild West.

9 Best Bicycle Tours in the Winter & Spring

New Mexico is an adventurer’s paradise. From the mountains to the canyons to the rivers, the state boasts natural wonders just waiting to be explored. Start your cycling out in Santa Fe, which has amazing art and culinary scenes. Dive into a delicious dish for dinner or peruse the halls of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Ride through New Mexico’s mesas and red hills to Chimayo, famous for its weavings and church, El Santuario de Chimayo. The church is said to have a healing power—like France’s Lourdes, many Catholics make a pilgrimage to the western church.

The scenic High Road encapsulates the beauty of New Mexico. On this route, your ride overlooks endless panoramas of pine forests, the snowy white tops of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and valleys filled with cottonwoods.

Arguably the most exciting event during your New Mexico vacation is a ride down the rip-roaring rapids of the Rio Grande, known for its class II and III rapids.

 

Ready to Ride?!

Looking forward to getting out of winter’s cold and cycling into spring? Get in touch to join us for an adventure! Or if you’re interested in getting more information, sign up for our free email course today.