Category Archives: Trip Talk

5 Different Bike Adventures Right Here in the USA—What’s Right for You?

bicycle-adventures-usa

It’s vacation time and cycling enthusiasts are lining up their bike adventures for the summer.

Sure, it sounds exotic to visit another country and get another stamp in your passport, but we have some of the world’s most beautiful places – and bike rides – right here in the USA. National parks, scenic byways, and hidden gems off the beaten path offer some authentic natural experiences.

But how to choose the perfect adventure?

We’re betting you’ve got a tour type – and here’s a cheat sheet to help you figure it out.

 

If you can’t live without water, beaches and coast, you’ll love these tours.

5 Different Bike Adventures Right Here in the USA—What’s Right for You?

On Day 1 of our six-day San Juan Islands tour, you’ll get a taste of the magic in store for you: Gorgeous views of Mt. Constitution and the San Juan Islands, an afternoon browsing Friday Harbor’s eclectic museums and shops (Conde Nast Traveler named Friday Harbor—where you’ll spend a good bit of time—one of the Most Beautiful Towns in America), and a stay at idyllic Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes (did we mention the Fine Living Channel named Lakedale one of the 10 most romantic resorts in the world?)

And it only gets better from there…biking, hiking, kayaking, glorious mountain views, seal-watching, private gourmet feasts and a spectacular chartered floatplane ride over the islands and sound and back to Seattle. Is it any wonder Fodor’s Travel Guide gushes, “You won’t find a nicer place to ride than these islands in the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound.”

Of course, if you want more of the deep blue sea, why not spend six days in Hawaii riding the Kohala Coast and exploring Volcanoes National Park and the black sand beaches of Punalu’u? There’s also sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving, sea turtles and whale watching, a spa day if you like—and a chance to ride part of the IronMan course at Waikoloa Beach.

As Paul Theroux said, “Hawaii is not a state of mind, it’s a state of grace.”

 

Deserts more your style? Enjoy spectacular sunsets and breathtaking views on these tours of the desert southwest.

5 Different Bike Adventures Right Here in the USA—What’s Right for You?

If the colors of the desert stir your soul, ride the Sonora Desert in southern Arizona—land of saguaro cactus, fragrant mesquite, fluttering hummingbirds, and acres of flame-colored desert paintbrush blooms. Saguaro National Park is a magical place to ride.

You’ll also be tempted by the surprisingly excellent Elgin and Sonoita wines and the colorful birds and butterflies at Casa de San Pedro. A spa day, a ride up the fabled Mount Lemmon, and some of the best Mexican food you can imagine round out your Sonora adventure.

And if the mountains of the desert southwest set your pulses racing, why not travel the peaks of Taos and Santa Fe? It’s the land that inspired Ansel Adams’ stark photos and Georgia O’Keefe’s lush florals—awash in the most glorious jewel tones of nature. You’ll ride the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the mesas and hills of Chimayo and cap your adventure with the Enchanted Circle and the High Road to Taos.

There’s rafting the Rio Grande and three pampering nights at the Casa Benavides in Taos, ranked by Sunset Magazine as one of the best in the southwest.

Finally, the ultimate bucket-list adventure for every desert lover—the haunting landscapes and breathtaking panoramas of Bryce and Zion National Parks. Bicycling Magazine’s editor called it “the most awe-inspiring and unique landscape I’ve ever pedaled through.”

Hike the Fairyland Trail and get a glimpse of the famed hoodoos. Ride downhill beside Bryce Canyon and get an eyeful of them. The Zion Canyon Scenic Ride is a lifetime ride—no cars, just the quiet sounds and fabulous sights of massive red cliff canyons. You can spend some time hiking, or challenging yourself on some amazing rides. A quiet stroll to a stunning waterfall is also an option.

 

Love lakes and streams and emerald forests? Take a look at these delightful destinations.

5 Different Bike Adventures Right Here in the USA—What’s Right for You?

There’s no more magical lake destination that Oregon’s Crater Lake. No, really—just check out these accolades:

  • Bicycling Magazine calls it one of the most spectacular one-day rides in the country.
  • PureWow Travel Pages calls it one of the 11 Most Zen Places on the Planet.
  • And our guest Lynn P. of Florida says, “If I had one last day on Earth, I’d ride the rim at Crater Lake.”

Need we say more? There’s also the stunning McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway, the lodgepole pines of Willamette National Forest, stellar hiking and mountain biking, a little flyfishing if that’s your jam, and a brewpub crawl in quirky Bend.

If low-to-no traffic and one of the most beautiful lakes in the world is more your style, spend four days biking the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes in Idaho. Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of the five most beautiful lakes in the world according to National Geographic, and there’s 109 miles of shoreline to explore and gorgeous rail paths and bike trails—including the Route of the Hiawatha Trail. And you’ll love every minute of your stay at the historic five-star Roosevelt Inn, just a short walk from the lake.

 

If weird but wonderful is more your ethos? Your taste? these tours will tickle your fancy.

5 Different Bike Adventures Right Here in the USA—What’s Right for You?

Bend, Oregon, is a place where nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts love to get their adrenaline pumping. Cyclists, climbers, skiers, snowboarders—there’s something for everyone in Bend. Ride the smooth pavement of the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway and Deschutes National Forest.

Test your skills in the high desert forest and volcanic peaks near Sunriver and spend a day enjoying the resort’s swimming pools and water parks. Pedal the Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway to one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon: Smith Rock, a climber’s mecca with over a thousand bolted routes. End your adventure with a trip up to the incredible volcanic moonscape atop McKenzie Pass.

For something a little more “out there,” don’t miss the Death Valley Ranch Bike Tour, four days in one of the most weird and wondrous scenery in the world. Where else can you see sailing rocks, abandoned mines, and of course, jump off from wacky Las Vegas?

Dante’s View, Ubehebe Crater, the Badwater Basin (the lowest point on the continent!), hiking onto immense salt flats and a lovely stay at Furnace Creek Resort are just a few highlights—plus a day riding Death Valley’s sand dunes.

Taking your family on a weird and wonderful adventure? Spend six days on the Mount Rushmore Family Tour pedaling “Big Mick,” the Mickelson Trail (dubbed by Bicycling Magazine the number one bike trail in the country). What kid—or his parent, for that matter—can resist active mammoth digs, Wind Caves, Wall Drug, waterslides, Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, Crazy Horse Monument, and the world’s largest indoor pool?

 

When only a challenge will do, get your adrenaline fix with these epic tours.

5 Different Bike Adventures Right Here in the USA—What’s Right for You?

Sometimes you just have to push yourself to the limit on a bicycle adventure—steep mountain climbs, 100-mile days, the sweet sense of accomplishment when you know you’ve done something truly awesome.

Our Empire Builder Epic, a National Geographic Adventures Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime, has everything you’d expect with a name like “epic.” Ten days, 700 miles, Glacier National Park the Cascades, 5,000-feet climbs, Lake Roosevelt and the Grand Coulee Dam,an 83-mile ride over the Continental Divide and an overnight ride on the Amtrak Empire Builder train back to Seattle. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for the true cycling enthusiast.

If the word “glacier” caught your attention, take a look at our eight-day Glacier-Banff-Jasper tour through the Northern Rockies and some of the most amazing scenery of your entire life. Ride Going-to-the-Sun Road past waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and sweeping glacial valleys. Canada’s Icefields Parkway is equally spectacular, winding past pristine mountain lakes and ancient glaciers; don’t miss the Weeping Wall, a 2,000-foot cliff decked with cascading waterfalls.

Have you figured out your type yet? Found your perfect match? Then let us help you arrange a date with your ideal tour and get your summer adventure underway – just fill in some details here!

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12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

cyclists

Sometimes it’s all too easy to snark on our fellow cyclists. You’ve probably seen several variations of the BikeSnob site or this none-too-subtle video or even had a good laugh over bike fashion disasters like these. (Hopefully, you’re not wearing them yourself!)

But in truth, most of the cyclists we ride with are really wonderful people—and in the spirit of showing our appreciation, we’d like to acknowledge a few of our favorite bike personalities here. Recognize yourself or someone you know—or even one of our Bicycle Adventures guides? Let us know in the comments!

 

Mr. Fixer

This is the guy you never knew you needed—until he shows up, that is. Struggling with a flat? Slipped your chain? He’s right there fixing it up “because I can do it faster and get you back on the road sooner.” If you’ve ever ridden with Mr. Fixer, you know how indispensable he can be.

 

The Happy Host (or Hostess)

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

We’ve all ridden with this person before—the one who always has a friendly welcome greeting for everyone in the group. This person just radiates positivity with cheery salutations like “Beautiful day for a ride!” or “Isn’t this the most glorious sunshine you’ve ever seen?” And if your energy is flagging, you really appreciate the encouraging “You’re doing great!” the Happy Host tosses your way.

 

The Non-Sneaker

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

No one likes to be surprised by a rider approaching from behind. The Non-Sneaker takes care to always alert you he’s there with a few chimes of his bell, a considerate cough, or even a happy “Hey-o! On your left!” After a few rides with a sneaker or two, you’ll appreciate the Non-Sneaker even more.

 

The Fender Friend

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

On a wet or rainy day, have you ever ridden with someone who doesn’t have a bike with fenders? Then you know why we appreciate our Fender Friends so much—no one likes to be sprayed with brown street gunk! And bonus points for our Fender Friend: No unsightly brown “racing stripes” up the back of his bike shorts (ick!).

 

The Cheery-O

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

Don’t you hate that awkward moment when you encounter another rider going the opposite direction and it’s like you’re invisible? The Cheery-O always acknowledges you with a friendly wave or a nod in your direction.

Just a little gesture to let you know he appreciates the kinship of the bike. You’ve both made a choice to be outside, facing the elements (not overtaking cyclists like you in a car) and just a quick nod and a smile enhances that feeling of community. It kind of makes your day, doesn’t it?

 

The Light Show

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

There’s something reassuring about riding with the Light Show—visibility is always a good thing! Plus, it actually makes everyone more safe. And we salute our riders who use a tail light all the time, even during the day. Kudos to them! We’re all about safety on our rides.

 

The Snappy Dresser

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

Everyone likes to ride with the Snappy Dresser. He’s got a great kit and all the best accoutrements—a little bit of eye candy for the ride. Best of all, though, he’s got rock-solid bike shorts (because this is one place we really don’t need great visibility, if you know what we mean).

 

The Domestique

Even if you’re not on a racing team, you’ll love riding with the Domestique. Struggling a bit? She’ll let you tag onto her back wheel to help you catch your breath. She’ll even share a snack when you need a boost. Every group appreciates the Domestique—she’s got everyone’s best interests at heart.

 

The Fabulous Foodie

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

This rider is one of our favorites—because we’re all big fans of great food. The Fabulous Foodie has a knack for knowing where to find the perfect snack, whether it’s a freshly baked oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie or an ice-cold craft beer from a local brewery. And if you’re going to stop for a meal? You’ll definitely want the Fabulous Foodie’s recommendations for where to find the best burger you’ll ever have. (Trust us, he never disappoints.)

 

The Regional Expert

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

This is the rider who knows your route like the back of his or her hand—how to avoid a killer climb and where to find the five-mile add-on loop with a refreshing dip in the lake along the way. Riding to a new favorite destination? Try to include the Regional Expert in your group—you’ll be glad you did.

 

The Consistent Companion

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

This rider never lets you down—she’s as reliable as the sunrise. You know she’ll never fail to show up (ready and on time) for your weekly ride, rain or shine. And she’ll ride at your pace with you because that’s what the best cycling companions do. Need a little boost preparing for your bicycle tour? She’ll help you with that, too.

 

The Face Saver

12 Cyclists You’d Love to Ride With

OK, we’re all grateful for the Face Saver in our group. He or she’s the rider who kindly alerts you to the dirt mustache you’re sporting (you know, the one you got riding behind the guy with no fenders!) before you saunter into the brewpub after your ride.

 

Ready to Go?

Thinking about your next bicycle adventure? I bet you’ll find more than a few of these cycling personalities on your ride. Why not sign up to our email course – How to Plan Your Perfect Bicycle Adventure – it’s a totally free 6-part series that will get you thinking about all aspects of your next vacation.

And if you’re ready to speak to us about your next cycling vacation, get in touch. We’d love to help you find the tour of your dreams.

Most of the cyclists we ride with are wonderful people—and in the spirit of showing our appreciation, here are a few of our favorite bike personalities.

The Truth about Electric Bikes: Why Everyone Should Love an E-bike

bicycle-adventures-e-bikes

We recently published an article about e-bikes vs road and mountain bikes, and it caused quite a stir amongst some of you. So, as owner and president of Bicycle Adventures, I thought I’d throw my 2 cents into the debate…

First of all, an e-bike is not a motorcycle disguised as a bike. It does not have an engine to start – or a throttle – and you do still have to actually pedal it. Or at least you do if it’s a good one.

 

Here is why an e-bike is so great…

I have been around bikes most of my life – for recreation, fitness, travel, commuting, athletics and as a profession – first as a bike racing coach, then owning a bicycle touring company. And in many ways I would consider myself a purist when it comes to bicycling.

To me, ‘purist’ means someone who loves to ride their bike for the sake of riding a bike. You won’t find me worrying about the latest technology or debating the merits of road biking vs. mountain biking. Just give me a bike to ride. That is the bottom line: be it fast or slow, short or long, riding a bike is just…fun.

But why is it fun?

Most people would say, “Because I know HOW to ride a bike.” Just about everyone knows how to ride a bike.

So let’s think about that a bit. When I was coaching bike racing back in the 80s and 90s, people would say, “You coach bicycling? What does that even mean? Doesn’t everyone know how to ride a bike?”

 

So what does it mean to know how to ride a bike?

love-e-bikes

The truth is, there’s a lot to know in order to really enjoy riding a bike – and to me, enjoying riding a bike is to not have to think about it.

I have mastered the skill. I have gone through the 4 stages of mastery.

I often use the analogy of a hockey player: hockey players are not thinking about skating; they are thinking about the game. They just happen to be skating.

  • Stage One: Unconscious Incompetence. You do not know what you do not know.
    Developing skill starts with not knowing what to do, or what’s to come. We’re unconsciously incompetent, ignorant of what lies ahead. Moving from stage one into stage two only requires that we read a book on the subject or talk to someone with experience. In the case of learning to ride a bike it’s incredibly simple: moving into stage two usually involves someone showing and telling us what we need to do.
  • I probably don’t need to say that riding a bike is all about balance. To ride a bike you need to be going fast enough, keep the wheel straight and distribute weight evenly.

    But most of you are beyond this stage.

  • Stage Two: Conscious Incompetence. You actually know what you do not know.
    By gathering information and watching others ride a bike you now know what you don’t know – you have been enlightened by the opportunity to ride a bike. This might not seem like much but it is progress.

    Getting to stage three is where the real work begins. This is the one thing that is required to be successful in any endeavor, whether it is riding a bike or managing your career. You must take action and you must practice. A lot. I’ve tried to get better at cycling by just watching the Tour de France but it doesn’t work.

  • Stage Three: Conscious competence. You can do it, but you need to think about it.
    Being consciously competent at something means you’re able to perform the act, but you still need to think about what you’re doing. This is where things become more interesting. You’re now able to ride a bike.
  • This can be incredibly satisfying, and this is where many – if not most – people stop.

    When I was learning, I remember when I was finally able to ride a bike for a few minutes without stopping. I had to concentrate extremely hard. I would think about keeping the wheel straight, not leaning too much to one side and making sure that I didn’t go too slowly – all at the same time. I could ride the bike, but I was far from an expert.

     

    From competency to mastering the skill.

    every-loves-e-bike

    So how do we get from consciously competent cyclist to the next stage? That’s easy. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

    Not everyone wants to be an expert, and that is OK. Most of us have ridden bikes enough that we have reached that magical point where keeping the bike upright, balanced and moving does not require a lot of concentration as long as we are on a safe flat bike path. However, as our environment changes (steep hills, other riders, traffic, stop signs, shifting) we no longer feel quite so competent.

    This is the point where an e-bike comes in.

    An e-bike levels the playing field and allows you to leap ahead in your competence because it takes away the need to worry about several things -like your pedal cadence, which gear you’re in, and how to pedal up or down that hill.

    Let’s face it. Maybe you’re a runner or tennis player who is coming to cycling later in life. You may not have the time or desire to become an expert, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice the joy of riding a bike that you loved when you first learned how. Or that you should have to forego a cycling vacation with the wind in your hair, the fresh air, exercise and the perspective you gain from the seat of a bike – the perspective that you can’t ever get from sitting in a car or bus.

  • Stage Four: Unconscious Competence. Complete mastery. You can do it without thinking about it.
    In cycling, reaching this stage means you can ride a bike without having to think about stopping, starting, shifting, standing, sitting, signaling in traffic, looking over your shoulder, listening for cars, riding next to another rider, or questions like, ‘Am I pacing myself? Do I have the fitness to get up this hill?’
  • Mastery on a bike is not just the skill of riding a bike but knowing how to ride in traffic, how to ride with other riders, how to ride up a hill, down a hill, descend, ride in various sorts of terrain, how to ride at various speeds, how to pace yourself, when to shift and when not to (without thinking, “Should I shift now?”). Shifting has become as automatic as it is in your automatic car.

    An e-bike will make up for a lot of things when it comes to mastering riding a bike, but more importantly it will help you master a bike tour – because you’re doing those things on multiple days.

     

    Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!

    I had someone show up to a scheduled bike ride the other day who was a very fit individual. He was excited about the tour; he wanted to get some exercise, and he was too proud of his fitness to need an e-bike. I know this gentleman fairly well. I said, “Don, you are very fit and strong, especially for your age, but you don’t know how to ride a bike.”

    He said, “What do you mean I don’t know how to ride a bike?”

    “Well, you don’t understand how to pace yourself on a hill, or pedal in the right gear, or how to start and stop safely. Or how to anticipate unconsciously what to do next. You are having to think about all these things instead of simply enjoying the ride. So I recommend using an e-bike. Although it doesn’t get you past all the skill training, it gets you past most of the things that prevent people from enjoying a bike ride the way I do. Just give it a try.”

    He agreed to give it a shot, just for the day. I spent a few moments showing him how to use the e-bike. Then off we went with about a dozen other riders.

    Being as fit as he is, Don wasn’t about to give up on a workout. So he spent the first couple of miles experimenting with the amount of electric-assist. None. A little. A lot. Full power. Back to none. “Wow!” he exclaimed. “You can actually get a great workout on this!”

    He spent the second third of the ride sneaking up behind his cycling buddies in the group, then upping the e-assist to full power and blasting past them, gleefully announcing, “On your left!”

    By the last third of the ride, he was cruising joyfully ahead of everyone as he led the charge to the finish line. And by the time we caught up with him in the parking lot, he was already working on where to purchase a couple.

    everyone-love-e-bike

    Don with his e-bike!

    And that’s what I mean by being a purist, by the hockey player not thinking about skating. Don had gotten back to the fun. The point where riding a bike had nothing to do with traffic, or hills, or shifting. It was just plain…fun.

    What’s not to love?

     

    Still on the fence?

    Here are the four things an e-bike will do for you to speed up or eliminate the learning curve – which, coincidentally, are the four “fears” we hear the most about riding a bike.

    • Hills. Do I stand up? Can I stand up? What gear should I be in? Can I pedal slowly without tipping over? The biggest challenge with hills is not having the technique – it’s not always comfortable standing up, or maybe you haven’t quite got the fitness. An e-bike picks up where you left off.
    • Shifting. Unlike your car, bikes aren’t automatic. They don’t know when to go to a harder gear with fewer RPMs, or an easier gear with more RPMs. Those are challenging decisions for someone who may not be comfortable spinning with a high cadence or powering through with a low cadence. An e-bike makes those decisions for you – the motor kicks in when you get into a situation where you need a bit of an assist.
    • Keeping up. A lot of people’s biggest fear about going on a bike tour is of not being able to keep up, of holding others back, of getting stuck riding alone and being the last person to arrive. An e-bike fixes all of those fears. It gives you the flexibility to decide how hard you’d like to work without missing out on the fun.
    • Safety. With an e-bike, a longer ride will be more stable because your legs won’t get to the point of fatigue. You can self-regulate, manage your fitness so you’re not in over your head. This allows you to continue on and ride more miles – farther than you might usually – without the worry of over-exerting.
    e-bike-love-everyone

    Don’t just take our word for it: This is Jan M., at the top of Logan Pass, also known as Going to the Sun Road, an iconic climb in Glacier National Park. Her husband is a strong cyclist and talked her into doing the Glacier-Banff-Jasper trip for her first bike trip ever(!) The e-bike made all the difference, and they have now taken 3 trips with us as a couple – and are looking at a fourth.

     

    So why not give it a shot…

    So, as you can see e-bikes and purists can get along just fine. The 3 things to remember are that riding a bike is great for the environment, great for your health and overall it’s just a better way to see the world.
    But what it boils down to in the end is that it should be fun.

    We have plenty of tours where an e-bike is an option. So whether you’ve been turning your nose up at e-bikes because you see yourself as an expert, or you aren’t confident in your cycling abilities but were afraid to put your trust in the equipment, get in touch today and hopefully you’ll be e-riding off into the sunset very soon.


    Todd Starnes, Owner & President, Bicycle Adventures

    Here's why Todd Starnes, owner and president of Bicycle Adventures thinks everyone can learn something by getting on an e-bike.

    Guided Bike Tours vs. Independent Travel: Pros and Cons

    group bike tour

    When it comes to exploring a new destination by bicycle, you have the option of doing it on your own, or you can participate in a group cycling tour. While there isn’t a wrong choice, there are obviously pros and cons to both. You might find one option fits your personal preferences more than the other. Here are a few pros and cons for guided tours vs. self-guided tours.

    Guided Tours

    Pros:

    If you’re heading to a new destination for the first time, your best option might be to reserve a spot with a guided tour.

    • With a guided tour, your days will be set around a structured schedule and pre-planned route—which means that you’ll be able to see and do a great deal in a short time frame.
    • Since you’ll be riding with a guide, your chances of getting lost are slim to nil. On a guided tour, your luggage and equipment are typically hauled for you in a support van so you won’t have to worry about toting additional weight and supplies.
    • Many guided tours include a bicycle in the trip fee, so you won’t even have to worry about shipping your bike. If you do bring your own bike along, some tour companies actually offer repairs, or at the very least a set of tools.
    • Guides are often extremely knowledgeable, offering a wealth of information about local culture and history. Guided tours often feature side activities—like wine tastings or hikes—so you can really experience the best of an area.
    • Since guided tours are usually structured around groups, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to chat and socialize with other participants and locals too.

    Cons:

    • If you’re on a tight budget, you may find a guided tour too expensive for your tastes—although there are plenty that are priced affordably.
    • A bike tour relies heavily on a guide, and a guide who isn’t experienced or professional is a big disappointment. (Seeking out a vetted and popular tour company can prevent this.)
    • Lastly, with a group tour, your days and activities are structured. You may not have as much of an opportunity to head out on your own, and flexibility concerning what you do and who you associate with can be minimal.

    Solitary Travel or Self-Guided Tours

    Pros:

    • Bicycle touring on your own is relatively inexpensive.
    • Solitary travel is extremely flexible; you can ride as much or as little as you wish.
    • Since you don’t have much of a schedule, you can take as many detours as you like, which can lead to plenty of spontaneous—and likely memorable—experiences.
    • And traveling alone in a new area is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.

    Cons:

    • A solitary bike tour can be risky—and expensive. While the initial costs are minimal, paying for bike repairs and hotels can add up quickly.
    • Hauling all your gear and tools with you can be a pain.
    • Also, if you’re in a new country, you may get lost easily, and wandering around on your own in a new place can be dangerous.
    • Even if you’re able to navigate successfully, it can be easy to miss the must-see destinations and sights in a new area simply because you’ve never been there before.

    All in all, there are pros and cons to both guided and self-guided tours. It’s a good idea assess the pros and cons to find the option that fits best with your personal preferences.

    For more information on our guided tours at Bicycle Adventures, check out our Tour Finder.

    Cycling in New Zealand

    From its rugged mountains to its gorgeous coastline, New Zealand is a breathtakingly beautiful country that’s best explored on a bike. If you’re interested in checking out New Zealand—and remember, there’s a reason why Peter Jackson decided to film his Lord of the Rings films in his native homeland—consider signing up for one of our bicycle tours. Here’s a brief breakdown on some of the things you can expect to see during the ten-day bike trip through New Zealand.

    Starting just outside Christchurch, you’ll ride through a lush and verdant valley over towards the small town of Rangiora. The area, rich in farmland, has an abundance of flora, so make sure to take pictures. Watch for herds of sheep crossing the road – they’re the most common kind of traffic jam here. As you’re riding, you’ll pass through Canterbury, home to a number of fascinating Maori historical and religious sites. You’ll also have an incredible view of some of the nearby snow-capped mountain ranges. After stopping off at the Heritage Hotel in Hammer Springs, bicycle on to Reefton up near the Lewis Pass. Reefton, a bustling small town, was originally a gold-rush settlement during the late 1800s. If you’d like, you can sign up for a tour of some of the old gold mines that surround the town. You can even try your hand at panning for gold!

    Pancake Rocks Punakaiki

    From Reefton, pedal along the coast to Paparoa National Park to check out the park’s stellar rainforest and beaches. This area is famous for the Pancake Rocks – odd sandstone formations – as well as its caves and limestone karsts. Heading further south, visit Westland National Park, home to Lake Mapourika as well as several stunning snowcapped mountain ranges. Up for an adventure? Don a pair of hiking boots and hike up Fox Glacier. If ice and snow aren’t your thing, there’s tropical rainforest practically across the street at the Okarito Lagoon, home to an incredible number of rare birds. Spend a half day paddling the lagoon, watching for birds and wildlife and soaking up sunshine and tropical flora and fauna. Interested in exploring New Zealand’s pristine beaches? Ride out to Jackson’s Bay, a remote stretch of coastline famous for its quaint fishing villages and austere beauty.

    Your bicycle trip finishes with a couple of nights on the shores of Lake Wanaka. If you’re planning on doing this trip with your spouse or partner, you might consider taking a little more to explore the famous Wanaka and Central Otago wine regions. Both areas offer excellent fully guided half-day and full-day winery tours, and the Otago region was actually used for filming Middle Earth landscape scenes for The Lord of the Rings films. Stop by the pub that posed as the Prancing Pony in the film series – it hasn’t changed much since they ran off the orcs.

    Lake Wanaka and Mt Aspiring

    Another possibility for extending your time on the South Island is to shuttle south to Queenstown, which is especially popular with outdoor enthusiasts. You can do just about every outdoor activity here, from rafting to winery tours to ziplining to bungy-jumping. It’s also the perfect start point for heading farther south to stunning Milford Sound and the fiordlands – a stunningly beautiful and remote region well worth a few additional days if time allows. Several well-regarded tour operators offer tours of the fiordlands, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, with pick-up and drop-off in Queenstown.

    New Zealand is famous for its natural beauty, and if you decide to take a biking tour of this magnificent country, we know you’ll have a fantastic time. Ready to pedal through New Zealand for the trip of a lifetime? Book today!