Intro to Road Touring - Virginia
As the experts on self-contained bicycle travel, we’d like to share our knowledge by offering our Introduction to Road Touring (IRT) course. Two days of open-air, informal campground discussions will be followed by a fun, four-day tour of the Williamsburg area, home to the Historic Triangle — with Jamestown and Yorktown — and Colonial Williamsburg, a living history museum. This short tour will give you the chance to experience live, in-the-field situations and provide the opportunity to test ride what you’ve learned in camp the first two days.
Note that you’ll need to come to this intro course with some cycling skills and experience under your belt. But after graduating, you’ll be ready to hit the road on a loaded tour, whether it’s a solo outing, a trip with friends, or another Adventure Cycling group tour! Upon completion, you will qualify for our Learn and Earn tour incentive!
"Getting to know a new group of people is always a highlight. As the trip begins the biggest thing we have in common is our bikes and our interest in touring. By the end of the trip we discover other interests and even differences that make for a fun and interesting dynamic."
Day 1. Williamsburg, Virginia, 0 miles
We'll begin our Introduction to Road Touring with an orientation and discussion of the course schedule and general housekeeping rules. Once we're all acquainted and have a general idea of the framework of the course, we'll prepare dinner and begin learning how to live on the road in comfort and style. After sharing our first meal, we'll cover the week's schedule, cooking rotations, group gear, and budgeting, among other topics essential for bicycle touring. Once we know the basics, it will be time to hit the hay.
Day 2. Williamsburg Shakedown Ride, 20 miles
At 7:00 AM sharp, it's up and at 'em! Your advisors will cook up breakfast before we delve into discussion about bike-touring equipment and what a savvy bike traveler should pack. Then we'll address how one should best carry all this critical stuff (and we'll attempt to settle the classic trailer vs. pannier debate). After we sort out the gear issues, it will be time for a hearty lunch. Following the lunch break, we'll discuss what it's like to live on the road, exploring topics of safety, attitude and etiquette, and general touring rules. Once we have all of this under our belts, we'll put some of this newly acquired knowledge to work on a shakedown ride for our multiday adventure that begins tomorrow. We'll also stop at the market and buy food for the next day. Learning what food to purchase will be important; there's almost nothing worse than a hungry cyclist! Returning to camp, we'll enjoy an evening meal before settling in for discussions about map reading, trip preparation — including preparation for inclement weather — and roadside repairs. After a full day, it's time to catch a few winks before we head out on our tour.
Day 3. Williamsburg to Surry, 22 miles
As we embark on four days and three nights of field work, we'll not only have a chance to learn more about the theories and skills specific to bicycle travel, we'll also apply all that we've learned in a practical way to give you a real bike touring experience. We'll travel and live as a typical Adventure Cycling tour group, sharing meals, campsites, and friendship. The route will ease us into the experience with healthy doses of scenery and adventure, taking us through Colonial Williamsburg and into Jamestown where we'll cross the James River by ferry. We'll continue to our campsite for the night, tucked in on Cobham Bay.
Day 4. Surry to Williamsburg, 39 miles
We'll take a new route through rolling terrain heading back to the James River ferry on nice country roads through Surry County. Arriving back in Jamestown, consider a visit to the Historic Jamestown Visitor Center before jumping on the Capital Trail to our next overnight spot, which is once again by the water. On part of today's ride, you'll be the TransAmerica Bicycle Route, which starts or ends in nearby Yorktown.
Day 5. Williamsburg to Newport News, 34 miles
With one more pass through Jamestown onward to our next overnight, you'll be able to take in anything you may have missed. We'll ride part of the Colonial Parkway which connects the Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial Williamsburg, and Historic Jamestown. We'll close out the day's riding feeling confident and practiced as we enter our final day.
Day 6. Newport News to Williamsburg, 29 miles
We'll spend time today riding trails through the largest park in Newport News before taking the Colonial Parkway back to Williamsburg. Be sure to take a break and check out the sights as you pass through Yorktown — maybe you'll even catch a bicycle tourist starting or ending their cross-country journey! We'll return to Williamsburg, accomplished and maybe a little tired, but excited to plan our next adventure!