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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.

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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.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

oregon-rides

Love spectacular scenery and challenging rides? Unbelievable views and unforgettable natural wonders? If that’s your idea of a perfect ride, you’ll love Oregon. From the coastal areas to the incredible Willamette Valley wine country—and, of course, Crater Lake, the crown jewel of it all—Oregon is heaven on a bike.

Thinking of your next bicycle vacation? Think Oregon! Check out these one-of-a-kind rides in the beautiful Beaver State.

 

1. Ride through the eerie 2,000-year-old lava flow moonscape surrounding McKenzie Pass—don’t miss spectacular views of Mount Washington.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

How many times have you ever heard “you’ve never seen anything like it” and written it off as hype? Well, in the case of the lava rock fields that surround McKenzie Pass, it’s actually true. Barren…stark…eerily beautiful. And definitely a ride to remember, with blood-pumping climbs and pine-scented breezes and majestic Mount Washington rising in the distance.

This isn’t a ride for beginners—it’s an epic adventure for passionate cyclists. If McKenzie Pass is calling your name this year, check out our fitness tips to help you prepare for the climb.

 

2. Fall in love with the Willamette Valley wine country.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

The Willamette Valley Scenic Byway is 134 miles of tranquil scenery and winding routes that follow the curves of the Willamette River. The Cascades stand sentry to the east and the Coast Range to the west; it’s a lovely ride to invigorate your soul.

That it also passes through some of the finest wine country in America is an irresistible bonus—what could be better than an Oregon wine tour to sample the renowned Pinot Noirs (and maybe a little gourmet chocolate, too)?

 

3. Follow the path of the pioneers on the Grande Tour Scenic Byway—keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

Pass through Oregon’s Big Sky country and enjoy expansive views and amazing wildlife sightings as you pedal along the Oregon Trail. The Grande Tour Scenic Byway is perfect for riders of any level, wide roads with few cars give you plenty of freedom to enjoy the pastoral farmlands and mountain views.

Don’t be surprised if you encounter a bit of native wildlife—antelope, elk, even a soaring bald eagle or two—along with fields full of grazing cows and horses.

 

4. Peer into America’s deepest gorge cycling the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

The Snake River carved an impressive gorge through the snow-capped Wallowa Mountains in eastern Oregon. Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America and the views along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway are simply staggering. Even better, you can ride to the canyon floor and dip your toes in the Snake River.

The area around nearby Joseph is a mecca for adventure enthusiasts. Try your hand at paragliding, hiking, or even canoeing. And if your tastes are more epicurean, visit Arrowhead Chocolates for a handmade treat featuring locally sourced ingredients.

 

5. The snow-capped Cascades will blow your mind as you cycle the Three Sisters Scenic Byway.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

There’s no such thing as a bad view of the Cascades, but the Three Sisters volcanoes have an appeal all their own. A subgroup of the Cascade volcanoes, these 10,000-foot peaks form a dramatic silhouette across the lava fields leading to the Three Sisters Scenic Byway near Bend.

Like a little mythology with your mountains? It’s said that the sisters, North Sister (aka “Gnarly Northy,” “Faith,” and “the Black Beast of the Cascades,”), Middle Sister (aka “Hope,”), and South Sister (aka “Charity,” or “Big Sister,”) all developed an infatuation with nearby Mount Bachelor. Their raging squabbles for the Bachelor’s affections caused fire to rise up inside them, spewing over and destroying the area around them with their molten lava flows.

Afterward, their father (Three-Fingered Jack) offered them each a finger from his hand to stop their fighting. They agreed, and he christened them Faith, Hope, and Charity, and from then on, they vowed to subside their fiery passions and protect the surrounding land. They’ve been quiet ever since (or so the story goes).

 

6. Chase the meandering McKenzie River on the Aufderheide Scenic Byway.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

The Aufderheide Scenic Byway is one of the most serene and naturally beautiful sections on the West Cascades Scenic Byway. Moss-covered stones, gurgling streams, and in the autumn, impossibly colorful maples in glowing oranges, reds, and golds—it’s hard to fight the temptation to stop to snap a picture or two.

It’s the sort of road every type of cyclist loves to ride, a definite bucket-list adventure for the nature-lover in you. And if you’re wondering how you really feel about putting in the mileage, there’s always an e-bike to give you an extra boost.

 

7. Rushing rivers, pine forests, hot springs, even fossil beds—the Old West Scenic Byway has it all.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

You don’t have to be a cowboy to love life in the saddle—you can see the best of Oregon’s Old West from the saddle of your bike. Giant ponderosa pines line your route through a virtual cornucopia of terrain with more than a few heart-racing climbs. You can even check for fossils at the John Day Fossil Beds, one of the top paleontology sites in the world.

If you’re craving an epic adventure through the best of Oregon’s amazing scenery, this is the ride for you.

 

8. Revel in the vast ocean views on the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Byway.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

Bracing ocean breezes blowing on your face turn a “nice” ride into an exhilarating adventure, complete with cranberry bogs, coastal lighthouses, lonely dunes, and sandy beaches along Oregon’s South Coast. The Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Byway is the ultimate ride for the water-lover in you.

Rejuvenate in Paradise Lodge, perched atop Mount Rainier, for a relaxing retreat in the mountains before exploring where Mount St Helens famously erupted in 1980.

 

9. Marvel at the magnificent views on the Madras Mountain Scenic Byway.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

This rolling 29-mile ride through Oregon’s sunny Central Basin is packed with breathtaking scenery and stunning views of Mount Hood, the Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mount Bachelor as the Cascades rise up in the distance. The stretch along the canyon rim of Lake Billy Chinook is equally astounding. If you’re riding the Madras Mountain Scenic Byway, you’ll definitely want to take a few photo breaks, it really is that amazing.

Looking for a ride you can enjoy with your entire family or group? The Madras Mountain Scenic Byway is definitely one of the best.

 

10. Don’t miss the ride of your life around the rim of Crater Lake, Oregon’s crown jewel.

Cycling in Oregon: 10 Spectacular Rides

If you’re going to ride Oregon, you can’t miss Crater Lake, a route that definitely deserves its accolades—”One of the most spectacular one-day rides in the country,” by Bicycling magazine, and “one of the most Zen places on the planet,” by PureWow. It’s no wonder this ride tops Bicycling’s “Dream Rides” list. One look at this gorgeous sapphire-blue lake caused by an eruption of Mount Mazama 7,000 years ago is an experience you’ll never forget.

 

Ready to Ride?

Are these fabulous Oregon rides calling your name? Are you itching to cruise the Cascades, peer into canyons, and soar along the coast? Is Crater Lake on your bicycling bucket list?

Get in touch today and let’s start planning your next big adventure. Or if you’d like to learn more about bicycle tour vacations, sign up for our free email course for answers to all your questions.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

road-rides-fall

Just because summer’s drawing to a close, there are still some awe-inspiring travels and trips you can enjoy in the cooler autumn weather—especially if you love riding a bike. In fact, fall is the perfect time to explore the fantastic scenery this country has to offer from the saddle of a bike.

So if you’re a dedicated road rider and you’re looking for something exciting and out-of-the-box to challenge and refresh you, take a look at these incredible road rides calling your name this year.

 

1. Do a “dream ride” around the rim of Crater Lake.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

Oregon is a top destination for adventurous cyclists for good reason—its rugged coast, and of course, its crown jewel, Crater Lake. We think the 35-mile ride around the rim of Crater Lake is one of the most spectacular one-day road rides in the world, an opinion confirmed by Bicycling Magazine.

From an elevation of 6,500 feet, the views are simply breathtaking, and with plenty of climbs and descents, it’s an exhilarating challenge you’ll never forget. If you’re thinking of a bicycle trip in September, Crater Lake should be at the top of your list.

 

2. Watch the whales and smell the flowers on San Juan Island.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

In just a single day, you can have two incredible lifetime experiences: Pedaling past (and touring, if you’d like) acres of sweetly scented lavender fields at Pelindaba Lavender Farm and hugging the coast on the Whale Trail at Lime Kiln State Park to see pods of killer whales. Did you know that Lime Kiln is one of the best whale-watching spots in the world?

 

3. Marvel at the Columbia River Gorge on the Mark Hatfield Trail.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

With Multnomah Creek to the left and Mount Defiance to the right and the Columbia River below, the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is eye candy for the nature enthusiast. The 60-mile trail is closed to vehicle traffic and packed with interesting details such as the elaborate Depression-era stonework that forms the trail’s guardrail. It’s another Bicycling magazine top pick for road-riders. You won’t want to miss the views of the Columbia Gorge from the seat of your bike.

 

4. See some splendid limestone palisades as you cycle through Spearfish Canyon.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

South Dakota is known for its unusual and eerily beautiful Badlands landscapes (and Mount Rushmore, of course). But if you’re looking for a view with a truly spectacular “wow factor,” there’s nothing like the palisades in Spearfish Canyon. Did you love the waterfalls and canyons in the movie “Dances with Wolves?”

You’ll see it all—and lots more—in an amazingly up-close-and-personal way on a bicycle tour of South Dakota’s western frontier.

 

5. Cross the Continental Divide on the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Logan Pass) in Glacier National Park.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

You can guess just by the name that riding Going-to-the-Sun Road is going to be awe-inspiring. This 50-mile stretch crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass and is flanked by towering glaciers, cascading waterfalls, explosions of blooms, and rugged wildlife like bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

It’s an epic adventure from the saddle of your bike—a bucket-list experience for the thrill-seeking cyclist inside you.

 

6. See the hidden side of Hawaii riding through Pahoa and Kalapana.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

Imagine yourself cruising along a quiet network of roads through banyan trees with the heady fragrance of the eucalyptus forest surrounding you, your ride punctuated with alluring peeks of the sparkling blue ocean and pounding surf. That’s the Hawaii the locals love best and you can experience it yourself en route to Volcanoes National Park on a tour of Hawaii’s Big Island this fall.

 

7. Find your cycling heaven on the Hell’s Canyon Scenic Byway.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

The views from the rim of Hell’s Canyon are simply staggering—it’s the deepest canyon in North America. And even if you can’t see the Snake River far below, you won’t really care. Carved by millions of years of erosion, the canyon plunges nearly 8,000 feet in places, easily dwarfing the 6,000-feet drop of the Grand Canyon. Of course, you’ll want to descend to the river level below for even more spectacular views (and maybe a little whitewater rafting if the spirit moves you).

 

8. Ride the High Road to Taos through the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

Want a taste of Old Spain right here in the United States? Love the jarring juxtaposition of snow-capped mountains against a jewel-toned desert landscape? The High Road to Taos is all that and more, a dream ride for fans of Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keefe. You’ll love meeting the artisans practicing their ancient crafts in the remote hilltop villages—and a few nights in Casa Benavides, an inviting adobe inn, will refresh your soul. Can you think of a better way to spend a week in September? (Honestly, we can’t).

 

9. Cycle in the shadow of the spectacular saguaros on the Starr Pass.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

Is there a more iconic symbol of the desert southwest than the Saguaro cactus? Imagine cycling the serene roads through Saguaro National Park with these prickly giants, some soaring 50 feet into the sky, towering over you, casting their shadows across the road. There are actually very few places to see these rare cacti up close—and Arizona’s Sonoran Desert just outside Tucson is the only place to see them clustered in dense Saguaro “forests.”

 

10. Glide through the Lost Coast in California’s redwood forests.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

Dream of riding California’s gorgeous coast but hate the idea of masses of car traffic? You’ll love cycling the Lost Coast, the only piece of Cali’s coastline unmarred by a major highway. Picture yourself lost in redwood forests, coasting through tranquil valleys, and cruising past panoramic views of the turquoise ocean and milky beach.

And if you’re up for a challenge, tackle the “Endless Hill,” an 8-mile climb that forms part of the “Tour of the Unknown Coast,” one of California’s toughest century rides.

 

11. Cruise in technicolor through Utah’s Kodachrome Basin.

11 Incredible Road Rides You Really Have to Try This Fall

It took 180 million years to create the stunning spires and hues in the Kodachrome Basin (and yes, it really is named after Kodak’s color film). And the name is utterly appropriate, because it’s a location that begs to be photographed. Unimaginably blue skies, gold and crimson sandstone chimneys and “hoodoos” all punctuated by brilliant evergreen scrub. Is it any wonder Kodachrome and its neighbor Red Canyon are two of the most picturesque of Utah’s national parks?

Are you itching to climb on your bike this fall for one of these incredible road rides? Why not get in touch today and let us help you bring your dreams to life? And if you’re not quite ready to have a chat, sign up for our free email course to learn everything you ever wanted to know about planning a bicycle tour vacation.