Difficulty Ratings

When deciding on your tour, it’s important to keep in mind that our difficulty ratings are relative to the trips that we offer, as it can be somewhat challenging to come up with a comprehensive rating system that applies to every rider. 

On our trips, every participant rides at their 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 opting to zip through the miles may linger over coffee. Typically, folks who ride at similar levels end up as riding buddies, sharing each day’s ride.

Although our supported tours are accompanied by vehicles that are available for your use should you find the going too tough, we strongly encourage each tour participant to come prepared to complete each day’s ride.

If you have any questions, or want to discuss any tour in more detail, please feel free to give our office a call at 1.800.755.2453 x3.

Beginner

Characterized by flatter terrain and comparatively shorter distance (25–45 miles a day), these tours have minimal hill climbing and are optimal for newer or easy-going cyclists, or for those traveling with friends or family members unaccustomed to cycling. Beginner+ rides may have a few extra miles or a little bit of climbing compared to the beginner level. For riders wishing to challenge themselves, extra mileage can generally be tacked onto the day’s route. Exception: Family Fun trips tend to have mileages in the 20–30 mile per day range.

Intermediate

Characterized by rolling terrain and medium-distance days (40–60 miles), intermediate tours can involve some climbing, but the climbs are usually shorter (1–2 miles), and the grade tends to be no greater than 6% for an extended period. These tours are best for individuals who are regular or semi-regular cyclists and, like our Beginner+ tours, additional mileage can be added for those who desire an extra challenge. An Intermediate+ tour often has slightly more climbing or a few longer days as compared to our intermediate trips. A few of our self-contained Intermediate+ tours are ranked as such not due to high mileage or heavy climbing, but because riding loaded for several consecutive days can be physically taxing.

Advanced

These tours are characterized by consistently undulating terrain and relatively longer-distance days (60+ miles). Advanced tours may also feature steep grades (greater than 6%) for extended periods. These tours are best suited for more experienced cyclists or folks with a higher fitness level. An Advanced+ tour might involve some exceptionally hilly terrain, high-mileage days, and/or take place at higher elevation.

Most of our self-contained tours are rated as Advanced or Advanced+. This has less to do with high mileages or unrelenting climbs, and more to do with the tour length (The TransAm is 93 days long!), group roles and rotations, and the added challenges of riding loaded bicycles on lengthy tours.

Technical Difficulty

This rating is relevant to our dirt-based tours, referring specifically to bike-handling skills. Most paved and many dirt/gravel roads don’t require any special technical handling skills — if you are comfortable on your bicycle, you’ll be comfortable on the tour. However, some of our rougher-road or singletrack backcountry tours do require a high degree of technical riding ability.

Tour Team Top Picks

2017 Great Smoky Mountains Adventure - Van
2017 Great Smoky Mountains Adventure
Sep 16, 2017 - Sep 24, 2017

Van Supported. This eight-day, van-supported tour explores the challenge of the terrain and the awe-inspiring beauty and diversity of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina.

2017 WA San Juan Islands - Inn to Inn
2017 WA San Juan Islands
Sep 09, 2017 - Sep 16, 2017

Inn to Inn. This week-long inn-to-inn tour weaves along the glorious northwestern coastline of Washington’s Puget Sound and through its famous San Juan Islands, offering an irresistible combination of manageable daily mileages and world-class scenery.

2017 Great Divide Colorado Alpine I
2017 Great Divide Colorado Alpine I
Aug 05, 2017 - Aug 14, 2017

Self Contained. The Alpine section of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route winds through Colorado past some of the Rocky Mountains' biggest peaks, with most of the riding at elevations above 9,000 feet. Bring along your lung capacity, and come pedal among many of the most spectacular "fourteeners" in Colorado.

Latest Tours Blog Posts