Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sign up for an Adventure Cycling tour?

You must fill out an Application Form and make a deposit to reserve a spot on an Adventure Cycling tour. Reservations cannot be made over the telephone, nor can we hold spaces without the application form and deposit. You can sign up online, download an application (PDF) and send it in, or call us and we can send you the proper forms by email, mail, or fax. Contact the tours department at 800-755-2453 x3.

What is the deposit amount for an Adventure Cycling tour?

Reserving a space on an Adventure Cycling tour requires a non-refundable deposit of $200 for trips that are less than 30 days, and $700 for trips that are 30 days or longer.

What is Adventure Cycling Association’s cancellation and transfer policy?

If you need to cancel your reservation for any reason, you must notify Adventure Cycling Association immediately in writing via U.S. mail or email: tours@adventurecycling.org.

Please note: All deposits are non-refundable.

Adventure Cycling Association's cancellation policy is as follows:

  • Cancellation more than 90 days before trip: Loss of full deposit
  • Cancellation 90 to 0 days before a trip: Loss of full trip cost

No refund will be given:

  • For maps received by a participant;
  • For a participant's late arrival for an activity;
  • If a participant chooses to leave an activity for any reason after the activity start date;
  • Once an activity has started, for food, services or overnight lodging for which a participant paid but did not use;
  • For membership fees unless an activity is canceled by Adventure Cycling Association.

Adventure Cycling Association reserves the right to cancel or combine activities. If this results in a revised departure date unacceptable to a participant, the participant's tour fees will be refunded. In addition, the number of participants on a tour may be adjusted in response to demand or facility availability.

Transfers between activities are allowed within the same calendar year with a transfer fee of $100.00, and will be subject to approval by the Tours Department.

In order to maintain reasonable activity prices, Adventure Cycling Association will not make exceptions to the above policy.

NOTE! Avoid purchasing non-refundable travel tickets before confirming through Adventure Cycling Association that your activity is a definite go 60 days prior to the activity start date.

Does Adventure Cycling recommend travel insurance?

Adventure Cycling Association's tours team sincerely wishes for every trip participant to attend and complete the tour of their choice. In an effort to plan for unexpected personal emergencies, health issues, weather, and transportation problems that might cause you to cancel or shorten your trip, travel insurance is strongly advised. Adventure Cycling recommends that you purchase travel insurance from MH Ross Travel Insurance Services, Inc.

How do I choose a tour?

Each individual tour's web page includes a short description of the tour, trip details (dates, cost, difficulty level, etc.), the itinerary, and testimonials from past tour participants. Use the ‘Compare Tours’ matrix to compare all of our tours by location, date, cost, number of days, level of support, and more. On the matrix, you can easily sort the tours by each variable by clicking on the column headers.

Who goes on Adventure Cycling tours?

The average age of our tour participants is around 50; however, you can expect participants ranging from their 20s to their 80s. People come from all walks of life — from all over America and the world — to participate in our tours. Participants ride every type of bike you can imagine, and skill levels vary. Most people come to see new things, meet new people, and challenge themselves.

What kinds of riding conditions can I expect?

One participant likened our tour routes to stringing together the best day rides of each area. Road surfaces and shoulder widths vary greatly along our routes, but most of the routes are through rural American countryside. We select our routes to avoid high traffic and metropolitan areas when possible, though groups may choose to take side trips into urban centers. You may ride in rain or in brilliant sunshine, and most likely will experience headwinds and tailwinds during a tour. It may get very hot, cold, extremely dry, and incredibly humid all in one tour, especially on our longer rides.

What will my tour leader/staff members be like?

The goal of Adventure Cycling leaders and staff is to make your trip the best experience possible. They attend to the logistics of your tour and ensure that the day runs smoothly. All are certified in first aid and CPR, and many are trained bicycle mechanics. Supported tours are complete with roving mechanics who patrol the route in order to assist you if you have a problem, as well as staff members who’ll provide you with snack breaks along the way.

Our staff’s main purpose is to facilitate your touring experience. They will provide leadership and support, but in some ways you must rely on yourself. On our tours, even a novice will learn how to read a map, set up a tent, and repair a flat tire. We believe this enhances everyone’s sense of accomplishment, adventure, and enjoyment.

When is indoor lodging available?

Fully supported tours will have indoor lodging options whenever there is a hotel/motel within a reasonable distance of our campsite – an option is available on almost every night of each of our fully supported tours. A list of these indoor options will be provided in the Information Packet sent to participants 60 days before the start of the tour, and we will transport you and your luggage to and from these accommodations at no additional cost. Please check with the Tours office, (800) 755-2453 x3 or send us an email if you are concerned about the availability of indoor lodging on your tour. Adventure Cycling will supply you with lodging contact information, but we will not reserve or pay for the cost of the hotel.

Self-contained and van-supported tours will primarily rely on camping for overnight accommodations, and indoor options will not be available most nights. Cross-country tours will have a hotel stay about once a week. The rest of the time, overnights will be spent camping.

Inn-to-inn tours will use motels/hotels and an occasional hostel for overnight accommodations. Price includes double occupancy; please check with the Tours office, (800) 755-2453 x3 or send us an email if you are interested in a single supplement.

What is the food like on Adventure Cycling Association tours?

We realize that the quality of our meals is of major importance to our tour participants and, on our fully supported tours, we strive to ensure that our caterers maintain exceptional standards. Meals high in carbohydrates are the norm, and these are supplemented with salads, vegetables, breads and desserts. Lunches usually consist of sandwiches, cookies, fruit and drinks. Breakfasts are often a combination of hot foods such as pancakes, breakfast meats, eggs, cold cereals, breads/muffins/pastries and juice. If you require vegetarian meals, or have special needs, please let us know! We’ll do our very best to accommodate you.

On our self-contained and van-supported tours, riders will participate in a cooking rotation. It is not necessary to be an experienced cook for this purpose, but if you’d like to bring a favorite camp recipe along to prepare on your cooking night, please feel free to do so. The food will be purchased, as a group, during the course of the trip. Due to limitations imposed by time and equipment simple, nourishing one-pot dinners with lots of carbohydrates are the norm, supplemented with salads, vegetables, bread and dessert. Lunches usually consist of sandwiches, cookies, drink mixes, fruit, etc. Breakfasts are typically comprised of dry cereal and/or oatmeal, fruit, bread and hot or cold beverages.

On our inn-to-inn tours, breakfast and dinner are taken at local restaurants. Lunch is prepared by the group in the morning and carried by each rider during the day.

What does the term "shared cooking" mean?

Group members (including the leader) work in pairs, and share food-purchasing, cooking and cleanup responsibilities on a rotating schedule. Food for group meals is purchased with group funds provided by the leader. You do not have to be a gourmet cook to go on a self-contained tour; we only ask that you are adaptable and open to trying new recipes!

Grocery stores in smaller towns often have quite limited stock; because of this, and since food is purchased for the entire group, you’ll need to be flexible about your diet. It is common to have people who do not eat meat; in such cases, meat may be cooked and served separately or mixed into only a portion of the main dish. It is not possible to cater completely to any one type of food preference, be it vegetarian, macrobiotic, junk food, or whatever. There will, however, be sufficient and nourishing food for everyone. Please contact the Tours office, (800) 755-2453 x3 or send us an email if you have dietary concerns.

When can I buy an airplane ticket? When is the trip a guaranteed “go?”

The Adventure Cycling Association Tours Department determines whether a tour is a guaranteed “go” 60 days before the start of the tour. We do not recommend buying non-refundable airplane tickets until a tour is officially a “go."

If you can’t wait to purchase your plane ticket, please contact the tours office at (800) 755-2453 x3 or send us an email. We can probably tell you if it is safe to buy a plane ticket or if you should wait until the official “GO/NO GO” date.

What are my chances of getting on a fully booked tour?

That really depends. Our rate of attrition on tours tends to be around 20%, so if you sign up for a “full” tour early on, your chances are relatively good. We’ll put you on the waiting list, and we won’t charge you anything. Then, if a spot opens up, we’ll contact you, and if you’re still available you can take the available space. If you’ve already made other plans, you’re under no obligation.

When do I get more information about my tour?

Logistical information, including the start point and time of the first meeting, airport shuttle options, a bike shop to which you can ship your bike, and more, come to each participant at 60 days before the tour starts. We wait to send the information until this date so as to insure that all the information is as up to date and correct as possible, while still giving the participants time to plan all the logistical aspects of their trip.

What are self-contained and inn-to-inn tours?

On a self-contained tour, you carry your own gear. Traditional self-contained tours have around 14 participants who share cooking duties and camp for the vast majority of overnights, although there will generally be one indoor night ever 10 days. To get more information on our self-contained tours, check out our Before You Go: A Handbook for Adventure Cycling's Self-Contained Tours booklet (PDF/732 KB). A hard copy of the handbook will also be mailed to all self-contained tour registrants prior to trip departure.

On inn-to-inn tours, riders carry their gear, but there’s a lot less of it because participants stay in hotels and eat in restaurants every night, so no camping or group cooking gear needs to be carried. To get more information on our inn-to-inn tours, check out our Before You Go: A Handbook for Adventure Cycling's Inn-to-Inn Tours booklet (PDF/732 KB). A hard copy of this handbook will be mailed to all tour registrants prior to trip departure.

Note: There is NO sag support on any self-contained or inn-to-inn tour.

What are fully supported and van-supported tours?

Fully supported tours are larger groups, typically between 40 and 120 riders, who will camp together and enjoy catered meals.

To get more information about our fully supported tours, check out our Before You Go: A Handbook for Adventure Cycling's Supported Tours booklet (PDF/696 KB). A hard copy of the handbook will also be mailed to all supported tour registrants prior to trip departure.

Van-supported tours have an average of 13 riders who camp on most nights and share rotating cooking duties, akin to a self-contained trip but with the security of luggage support.

To get more information about our van-supported tours, check out our Before You Go: A Handbook for Adventure Cycling's Van-Supported Tours booklet (PDF/736 KB). A hard copy of the handbook will also be mailed to all supported tour registrants prior to trip departure.

Am I physically prepared to go on an Adventure Cycling tour?

We have tours to suit all kinds of riders. While less experienced riders may opt for lower mileage tours and more experienced riders might choose higher mileage tours with more climbing, there’s generally nothing that a little training and a healthy appetite for adventure can’t prepare you for! For a full explanation, read our Difficulty Ratings.

On our trips, every rider is allowed to ride at his/her own pace, so you'll generally have all day to complete the distance. Slower riders (or those planning on lots of photo ops!) can plan to leave earlier in the morning, while those expecting to zip through the miles may linger over coffee. Typically, folks who ride at a similar pace end up as riding buddies, sharing each day's ride.

Adventure Cycling strongly suggests consulting a physician prior to participating in an Adventure Cycling Association tour. Please contact the tours office at (800) 755-2453 x3 or send us an email if you have any questions or concerns.

How can I get in shape to go on an Adventure Cycling self-contained tour?

Start Early

Four months before the start of your tour you should be riding a bike, whether it is inside on a trainer, on the road or on a mountain bike. If you have had a long layoff from riding, work on riding at least three days a week, even if it is only for 30 minutes at a time.

Build Gradually

Check the itinerary for your trip to find out what the longest day of your trip will be. Over the course of the next four months include a longer ride once or twice a week. Build your long ride mileage so that it is eventually 5-10 miles longer than the longest day you will ride in your tour. You should be built up to that mileage at least two weeks before your tour.

Spice It Up

Our tours often contain many different kinds of terrain. Training on short steep hills, flat windy roads and long sustained climbs will help you prepare for anything you might encounter on an Adventure Cycling tour. Don’t be afraid to tackle the biggest hill or windiest valley then turn around and do it again, in reverse.

Consistency Matters

Try to ride as often as you can. You may be surprised, but riding for 45 minutes a day six days a week will leave you in better shape than one six hour ride a week. You may not have your legs used to long rides, but you will be accustomed to getting on a bike every day, and that’s what touring is all about.

Other Options

Don’t fret if you can’t get on a bike for some time; staying active is key to a fun tour. Hiking, elliptical machines, swimming, stair climbing, cross-country skiing, and running can all help you maintain your fitness while away from the bike. While biking is always the best choice, these alternatives are much better than resting on your laurels, waiting for the chance to get on the road again.

What type of bike should I use on your off-pavement tours?

On trips that include rail-trails and/or bike trails, we recommend at least a 700x28 tire with an aggressive tread.

For more aggressive off-pavement tours, we recommend a mountain bike with 26-inch wheels, front suspension, and knobby tires. It is possible to use a hybrid bike (700c wheels) or even a cyclo-cross bike in certain areas, but a mountain bike is the most versatile choice. For more detailed information about equipment selection, check out the article titled "Choosing a Bike for the Great Divide."

Are trailers really a good way to carry your gear on self-supported tours?

Absolutely. The model we recommend most is the BOB Yak. It is the most tried-and-true model for self-contained travel, on both pavement and dirt roads. This trailer is indeed a good alternative to panniers, and the fact that it can easily mount to most any bike makes it very appealing to most cyclists. There are certainly pro's and con's of trailers versus panniers (believe us, we've heard it all), and the deciding factor is usually personal preference.  

How do I apply to be a tour leader? What are the qualifications?

Find out about how to become a tour leader from our Become a Tour Leader page.

What is a "My Adventure Cycling" account and why do I need one?

Creating a "My Adventure Cycling" account allows you to manage your Adventure Cycling Association account and mailing information, submit a trip to our Ride Registry, as well as offering more streamlined submittal of map corrections. It also provides access to members-only content. You will need an account to do most financial transactions such as becoming a member or signing up for a tour. 

Here are some of the features of a "My Adventure Cycling" account:

Everyone

  • update your name, mailing address, and email
  • set your communication preferences (types of emails you’d like to receive)
  • download catalogs and sample issues
  • contribute to the Ride Registry
  • streamlined submittal of map correction information

Members Only

  • submit Companions Wanted listings
  • view and download the most recent issues of Adventure Cyclist
  • check your membership status
  • get the latest membership affiliate benefit discount codes
  • get member pricing on maps
  • view your upcoming and past tour participation and see payment status

How do I create a "My Adventure Cycling" Account?

If you have given Adventure Cycling your email address, an account has already been created for you. You can set your password by entering your email address into the Forgot Password field.

To create a new account click on "My Account" at the top of the page or click on the "My Adventure Cycling" link and follow prompts.

What if I forgot my password?

You can reset your password by entering your email address into the Forgot Password field.

How do I log into the Adventure Cycling Forums?

Your username and password for discussion forums are unique to the forums. Your forum login information is separate from your My Adventure Cycling login information. However, to make things a bit easier, you can use the same email and password for both accounts. Please note: Your login information for the forums is not connected to your Adventure Cycling membership number.

I had a My Adventure Cycling account before April 15, 2013. Can I still use that information?

Your account will be registered with us, but the first time you log in, you will need to reset your password.

How do I add my photos to Adventure Cycling's Guided Tours Group on Flickr?

You will find step-by-step instructions in this blog post.

Other Questions?

If you're looking for an answer that you can't find here or elsewhere on our tours pages, please submit your questions to our staff. We'll do our best to get you an answer right away.