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Self Contained Tours

Self-contained camping tours have been an Adventure Cycling tradition for 40 years. To many cyclists, this style of travel is the ultimate way to travel. Relying on your own power, cooking your own meals, and carrying your “home” with you — it’s a sense of freedom that must be experienced to be understood.

An Adventure Cycling leader accompanies each group of up to 14 riders traveling between 40 and 70 miles per day. Our self-contained trips have fixed itineraries, but on our longer self-contained trips, there is some flexibility to make adjustments as a group to accommodate the weather, terrain, and attractions along the way. Schedules typically include a rest day every seven to 10 days. Riders share cooking duties and camp for the vast majority of overnight stays.

“The extra day in Martha’s Vineyard was a real treat. We had plenty of time to explore the highlights of the island at a leisurely pace. Our free morning in Provincetown gave us time to visit the beach and watch the humpback whales breaching about one mile offshore … a definite highlight of the trip.”

Learn More about our Self Contained Tours

What is included in the price?

  • An Adventure Cycling Tour Leader
  • All meals*
  • Accommodations**
  • Maps and cue sheets (most tours have digital mapping available)
  • Safety triangle and a gift
  • Park entry fees for National and State Parks
  • Use of group cooking equipment, tool kit, and first-aid supplies

*Meals typically start with dinner on day one and end with lunch on the last day, and include group meals. You may choose to supplement our traditional meal schedule with other meals on your own.
**The overnight for the last day of the trip is typically not included.

Level of Support

Our self contained tours require you to carry all of your own gear, as well as a portion of the group cooking equipment and food, which are split up between all members of your group. There is no vehicle support on our self contained tours. We typically have one tour leader who traditionally rides 'sweep' as the last person in the group. Our rotating group cooking and shopping help create a bond within your group like no other.

Before You Go

Upon signing up for an organized tour, you will receive confirmation and preparatory materials, including a copy of Before You Go: A Handbook for Adventure Cycling's Self-Contained Tours  (PDF/2,082 KB), which contains a packing list and training tips. About 60 days prior to your trip, you will receive a Tour Information Packet with specific logistical details about your starting location, the designated bike shop, shipping your bike, making travel arrangements, and much more.

Meals and Group Cooking

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided for each day of the trip. Your group shares responsibilities for food purchase, preparation, and clean up on a rotating basis. Food and group cooking gear are also distributed among group members and each participant must set aside approximately one-fourth of his or her total carrying capacity for this purpose. Vegetarian and special dietary needs will be accommodated, though food selection may be limited in some locations.

Accommodations

Most of the overnights will be at private or public campgrounds with a variety of amenities. Depending on the nature and location of the trip, these facilities could range from RV parks with hot tubs, to wilderness locations without running water. Indoor facilities such as motels/hotels, hostels, and churches are used occasionally, but on our more remote trips, some primitive camping is possible. You will need a good freestanding tent with a ground cloth, a sleeping bag rated appropriately for the season and elevation of your tour, and a sleeping pad. We strive to find showers as much as possible, but there may be some nights that they are not available.

Being Prepared

Adventure Cycling tours are a great way to get out and explore new places and meet new friends. You should plan on coming to your tour prepared to ride, both physically and with the correct equipment. Check out our Before You Go booklet  (PDF) for more information on training and packing. You shouldn't come to your tour planning to ride into shape, as coming to the trip ready for anything will have you enjoying it from day one.

Be sure to read the full tour itinerary, including the Adventure Level, Terrain, and Technical Difficulty ratings to make sure that you prepare fully for the tour. If you have additional questions about the tour, please reach out to us at tours@adventurecycling.org.

Weather on our trips is highly variable and can be unpredictable. Your Tour Information Packet will have some information about weather for your tour, but you should come prepared to ride in all riding conditions no matter where your tour is or what time of year it takes place.

Mechanical Support

Self Contained tours require a degree of mechanical self-sufficiency. You should have the tools and skills necessary to change flats and perform minor mechanical adjustments. We will carry a group kit with general tools that will work for most bikes. You should bring any specialty tools and parts that you may need, especially on more remote tours where access to bike shops is limited. Our leaders have some basic mechanical skills, but are not trained mechanics.

Disclaimers

Participation on an Adventure Cycling Association tour is physically demanding, strenuous, and potentially hazardous. By registering and joining the tour, you assume the risk associated with your participation.

While we strive to find routes that are off the beaten path, many of our trips must use roads that can be heavily trafficked in order to get us to our overnight location, a grocery store for grocery shopping, or an attraction along the way. Your leader will cue you in to these sections during your daily map meetings. Traffic volume, shoulder width, and road conditions are not part of a tour's difficulty rating system.

The number of participants on a tour may be adjusted in response to demand and facility availability. Adventure Cycling reserves the right to make route and accommodation modifications without notification and to make alterations and substitutions to the itinerary as needed to improve the quality of the tour or to accommodate the comfort and well-being of our guests.

Adventure Cycling Association is an equal opportunity recreation provider that is an authorized permittee with the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and departments of transportation. Adventure Cycling Association is working cooperatively with these agencies to secure the appropriate permits.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call 202.720.5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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September 2021
October 2021

Photos by Tom Robertson | Steve Powell

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