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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.

The ultimate bicycle ride: 10 questions with bicycle tour outfitter Brad Barnard

Browns Guides’ Fred Brown chatted recently with Bicycle Adventures’ Vice President and co-owner Brad Barnard.  Who are your customers? What are your most popular trips? Is there a ‘biking season’? What’s your favorite tour?

Read on for his answers. http://brownsguides.com/the-ultimate-bicycle-ride-10-questions-with-bike-tour-outfitter-brad-barnard/

Brad Barnard2

Speak Up: The John Wayne Trail

John Wayne Pioneer Trail

Cyclist on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail

As most of you know, our Rails-to-Trails tours have been a huge success.  We have sold out dates in in North Idaho utilizing the Centennial Trail, Hiawatha and Coeur d’Alene bike trails.  In South Dakota we are on the Mickelson Trail.  In Missouri, the Katy.  In Western Washington, the John Wayne.

In Washington we have an opportunity for the longest continuous Rails-to-Trails in America.  It will run from the lush green Puget Sound over the snowy Cascade range, through the longest tunnel in North America available by bike (bring a coat), past wind farms, over the mighty Columbia river, through the alien scab lands and finish in the rich farm lands near the Idaho border.  It’s there and it’s available, but some access issues and land management hurdles are preventing us from offering amazing tours on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.

We have a lot of momentum and the interest is huge.  And when the gaps are filled in, we will be proud to show the world our most beautiful state from the seat of the bike.

Want to help? If you are interested in learning more, or writing to interested parties, here are some valuable resources.

I wrote to Randy Kline and he was very quick to respond and asked that I introduce myself at the next event. I can’t be at either of the two scheduled for this week, but I’m staying in touch. If you’re in Cheney, Washington tomorrow night – or Ellensburg, Washington on Wednesday March 9 – please feel free to show up and speak up. Details are on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail website.

See you on the bike – on the road, the trail or in the mountains –

Matt Paul

Operations Director | Bicycle Adventures

Matt Paul - one happy Operations Director! 2

 

Picture Gorge 03 by Sumio Koizumi

Above: Picture Gorge, Oregon (photo by Sumio Koizumi) 

Wallowa County, a spectacular area where we ride on the Hells Canyon bike tour, is considering a new idea: a Rail With Trail. 

The concept: Build a bike path near the 63-mile recreational train line that runs between Joseph and Elgin, Oregon. It would take time and not be cheap. But besides leaving a great legacy, a path like this will provide jobs for the community during construction – and then income, as companies like ours take advantage of riding it, bringing guests who need to eat, drink and sleep to small towns that don’t typically see a lot of tourism. It’s always great to have the option to ride a paved path with no cars – especially through the power-packed scenery of the areas where rails-to-trails options typically exist.  We’re definitely keeping an eye on it!

For the full article, click here.