Your Guide to Bike Tours and Cycling Holidays in the USA

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2024 is shaping up to be the perfect year to achieve new fitness goals while satisfying your wanderlust. Bike tours are an ideal way to combine the thrill of sport with the joy of leisure travel. Not only do they provide a fantastic workout, but they also allow you to explore new destinations up close and personal. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best cycling destinations in the USA and share tips on how to make your bike tours truly unforgettable. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just looking for a new way to see the sights, there’s a USA bike tour out there that’s perfect for you.

What are Bike Tours and Guided Cycling Trips?

Biking Holidays, bike Tours, and guided cycling trips are organized adventures that allow you to explore a region or country on a bicycle. There are many bike tours, from leisurely rides in the city to challenging treks over mountain passes. Guided trips often come with the added benefit of a local expert who can provide background on the area’s history, culture, and natural beauty, making the journey physically rewarding and educational.

Cycling Holiday Must-Haves

Before going on a cycling holiday, ensure you have the right gear for a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here’s what you need:

  1. Comfortable Clothing—Invest in moisture-wicking and padded cycling shorts, jerseys, and gloves to stay cozy on long rides. Visit our sportswear deals page to find deals on high-quality sportswear and cycling apparel, including Hirmer.

  2. Helmet—Safety first! Remember to buy a good-quality helmet to protect you from serious injuries. For bike accessories and safety apparel, Velotric offers stylish helmets with lights to support you in biking weather and visibility.

  3. Bike Tools and Spare Parts—You must know how to care for your bike. Carry a basic repair kit for long bike tours, including tire levers, a spare tube, a pump, and a multi-tool. Keep your bike in tip-top shape by regularly cleaning its body and chain. Check out Muc-Off for bike cleaning essentials and get up to 15% off on your first order.  

  4. Hydration and Nutrition—When biking tours, staying hydrated is essential. Bring water bottles or a hydration pack and energy snacks to stay fueled.

  5. Navigation Tools – A GPS device or smartphone with maps can help you stay on course. 

  6. Weather Gear – Even with weather apps and updates, you’re never sure when it will suddenly rain, so it’s better to pack a lightweight jacket and layers for varying weather conditions.

  7. Sunscreen and Sunglasses – Protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. For lightweight sunscreen and tinted moisturizers, check out MDSolarSciences

Best Biking Tours and Cycling Destinations in the US

There are many bike tours in the US, each showcasing unique landscapes and experiences. Here are some of the top options and what each destination has to offer:

1. Pacific Coast Highway (California)

This iconic route offers stunning ocean views, rolling hills, and charming coastal towns. From San Francisco to Los Angeles, cyclists can enjoy a blend of challenging climbs and exciting downhill rides. Self-guided tours with accommodations, luggage transfers, and route maps can cost around $1,500 to $2,500 for a week-long trip.

2. Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia and North Carolina)

Known for its breathtaking vistas and lush forests, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a popular cycling route for nature lovers. The route runs through the Appalachian Mountains, providing scenic beauty and historic sites. Guided tours can cost between $1,500 and $3,000 for a week-long trip, including accommodations and some meals. Self-guided options are typically less expensive.

3. Natchez Trace Parkway (Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee)

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile scenic ride that follows a historic travel corridor used by Native Americans, European settlers, and soldiers. The gentle terrain and rich history make it ideal for a leisurely ride. Guided tours usually range from $1,500 to $3,000 per week, including accommodations and meals. Self-guided options are available for less.

4. Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath (Pennsylvania to Maryland)

This continuous 335-mile trail runs from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC. It’s a traffic-free route that passes through picturesque towns, forests, and along rivers, perfect for a multi-day adventure. Guided tours typically range from $1,500 to $2,500 for a week-long journey, including accommodations, meals, and luggage transfers. Self-guided options are more budget-friendly.

5. Katy Trail (Missouri)

Stretching 240 miles across the state, the Katy Trail is the longest-developed rail trail in the country. It offers a flat ride through scenic farmland, forests, and small towns. Guided tours range from $1,200 to $2,000 for a week-long trip, including accommodations and some meals. Self-guided tours are available at lower prices, often under $1,000.

6. 5 Boro Bike Tour (New York City)

The 5 Boro Bike Tour is a legendary annual event in NYC that takes cyclists through all five boroughs: Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. This one-day event covers 40 miles of car-free roads, offering an unparalleled way to experience the city’s iconic sights. Registration typically ranges from $100 to $150 per person, depending on the time of registration and any additional VIP packages.

7. Holiday Valley Mountain Biking

Holiday Valley, located in Ellicottville, New York, transforms into a mountain biking haven during the warmer months. With a variety of trails catering to all skill levels, from gentle forest paths to challenging downhill courses, it’s a great destination for those seeking adventure on two wheels. Access to the biking trails is usually included with a day pass or seasonal pass. Day passes cost around $30 to $40, while seasonal passes can range from $150 to $200.

8. VBT Biking Tours

VBT (Vermont Bicycle Tours) offers a variety of guided and self-guided tours not just in Vermont but across the USA and beyond. Known for their excellent service and value, VBT tours often include cultural excursions and local culinary experiences, making them a favorite for many cycling enthusiasts. Prices for a 6-day tour generally range from $2,000 to $4,000 per person, including accommodations, meals, and cultural activities.

9. Backroads Bike Tours

Backroads is a leading provider of high-end, guided cycling vacations. They offer diverse itineraries across the US, from the rolling vineyards of California’s Napa Valley to the stunning landscapes of Utah’s national parks. These tours often include luxury accommodations and gourmet meals. Prices vary significantly depending on the destination and duration. An all-inclusive 6-day tour can range from $3,000 to $5,000 per person.

Self-Guided Bike Tours and Cycle Tours

Self-guided bike tours are also an excellent option for those who prefer independence. These tours provide you with maps, accommodations, and sometimes even luggage transfer, and the best part is that you ride at your own pace! Some popular destinations for self-guided tours include the Blue Ridge Parkway, the San Juan Islands, and the Katy Trail in Missouri. Bonus tip: if you’re traveling from another state, save on travel fees by learning how to get free flights!

Guide to Picking a Bicycle for Your Next Bike Tour

You must pick the right bicycle when joining bike tours to ensure a comfortable and efficient ride. Here’s how to pick the best bike for your adventure:

1. Consider the Terrain

Road Bikes are best for smooth, paved surfaces since they are lightweight and fast. However, these are not suitable for rough terrain. Mountain Bikes are ideal for off-road trails and rugged terrain. They have durable frames and suspension systems. Hybrid Bikes are a mix of road and mountain bikes, excellent for varied terrain and longer rides.

Check out Unlimited Biking for a wide selection of road, mountain, and hybrid bikes that fit your needs. They also offer nutritional products like gels, sports hydration, and snacks that are perfect for your next bike tour.

2. Focus on Comfort

It’s important to ensure the bike fits your body size and shape. The professional fitting can make a huge difference. Second, make sure the saddle is comfortable, picking a good saddle can prevent discomfort on long rides. Lastly, invest in good handlebars. Choose drop bars (for varied hand positions and aerodynamics) and flat bars (for a more upright, comfortable ride).

Your best investment is making sure your bike provides comfort while riding. Suppose you’re looking for E-Bikes for city tours. In that case, it is worth checking out Aipas Ebike, which offers a variety of E-Bikes perfect for both city and off-road terrain.

3. Gear and Accessories

When selecting a bike, ensure it has a range of gears to handle different terrains, consider models with mounts for panniers or bike packing bags for carrying gear, and opt for disc brakes, which provide better-stopping power, especially in wet conditions.

FAQs

Do I need to be an experienced cyclist for a bike tour?

  • Experience is not required. However, different tours may assign you a specific tour according to your skill level. It’s essential to choose a tour that matches your fitness and experience level as well. 

Can I rent a bike for the tour?

  • Yes, many tour companies offer bike rentals. It’s a convenient option if you don’t have a suitable bike or want to try cycling first. 

Are bike tours expensive?

  • Costs vary depending on the tour length, destination, and inclusions like accommodations and meals. Budget tours are readily available, but guided luxury tours with all amenities included can be pricier.

Can I join a bike tour solo?

  • Of course! Bike tours are a great way to stay active and meet like-minded people. Many companies do not charge a single supplement, or they offer to match you with a roommate. 

Embark on a bike tour to experience the US like never before, combining physical activity, stunning landscapes, and cultural exploration. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a casual rider, a perfect bike tour awaits you. Happy cycling!

Daniel de Vries
“Daniel believes that finding the best deals doesn’t have to be difficult. That’s why he started VoucherAlarm in 2016. Here you can find the best deals from top brands.”