Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing a Trip

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.

Who goes on Adventure Cycling tours?

The average age of our tour participants is around 58; 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.

Can my non-riding spouse/partner/friend join a tour? With a personal vehicle?

No personal vehicles or non-riding participants are allowed to accompany any of Adventure Cycling’s van-supported, self-contained, inn-to-inn, or educational tours.

Personal vehicles and/or non-riding participants are allowed on Adventure Cycling’s fully supported tours under the following circumstances:

  • The non-riding participant must pay 75% of the tour fee.
  • The non-riding participant must make all their own vehicle arrangements at campgrounds.
  • The non-riding participant may, alternatively, ride in our support vehicle.
  • Personal vehicles may not be used as SAG support for any rider.

Registering for a Trip

How do I sign up for an Adventure Cycling tour?

You must fill out a registration 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 registration form and deposit. You can sign up online, download a registration form (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 800.611.8687.

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 payment, cancellation and transfer policy?

Our full payment, cancellation and transfer policy is located here

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 Generali Global Assistance.

Are there minimum age requirements to register for an Adventure Cycling tour?

Families with cyclists less then 18 years of age are encouraged to join us on our Family Adventure tours. The minimum age on these tours is 8 years old, and minors must be accompanied by an adult.

Participants between the ages of 15 and 18 may be able to join one of our Fully Supported events as long as the minor is attending with an adult guardian and both are aware of the physical demands of the tour as well as the level of support available. Pre-approval from Adventure Cycling is required.

Participants on our small group tours — Van Supported, Self Contained, and Inn to Inn — should be 18 years of age or older. If you have questions, or would like to discuss the possibility of someone under 18 joining a small group tour, please contact the tours office at 800.611.8687 or send us an email.

Any participation on an Adventure Cycling tour by someone less than 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult guardian, and participants must be 8 years or older by the tour start date.

Levels of Service

What are self-contained 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 every 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/2,082 KB). 

Note: There is NO SAG support on any self-contained tour.

What are inn-to-inn tours?

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/3,533 KB). 

Note: There is NO SAG support on any inn-to-inn tour.

What are fully supported tours?

Fully supported tours are larger groups, typically between 40 and 60 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/2,961 KB). 

What are van-supported tours?

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/3,675 KB). 

What to Expect on Tour

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.

Does Adventure Cycling provide GPX files for their tours?

For tours using the Adventure Cycling Route Network, GPX data will be made available for use on a GPS device, smartphone, or tablet. This GPX data will be provided as part of the tour fee. 

The Bicycle Route Navigator app is for use on a smartphone (iOS and Android available). The app is free although an in-app purchase of route map sections is necessary. Use these products with the paper maps provided for your tour for best results. Use of the Bicycle Route Navigator app is up to your discretion and at your cost.

To determine which of these products best suit your needs see the comparison chart on the Going Digital: App or GPX? page on the Adventure Cycling Association website.

For our tours that are not using the Adventure Cycling Route Network, additional GPX data and RideWithGPS files are sometimes provided during our tours and events as a supplement to our paper maps. The paper route map provided at the orientation meeting, along with changes provided by the director of an event or tour leader during the map meeting, including GPX and RideWithGPS files, are the definitive sources of navigation for Adventure Cycling tours.

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.

Food and Accommodations

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, 800.611.8687, 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. The tour price includes double occupancy. Each tour has a few single supplements for those who desire a private room. If available, you can choose and pay an additional fee for the single supplement option during the tour sign-up process. Please contact the Tours office, 800.611.8687, or send us an email if you are interested in more information about single supplements.

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 simple equipment, 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 van-supported or 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 the like. There will, however, be sufficient and nourishing food for everyone. Please contact the Tours office, 800.611.8687, or send us an email if you have dietary concerns.

Preparing to Go

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 800.611.8687 or send us an email. We can probably tell you whether it is safe to buy a plane ticket or whether 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 15%, 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 ensure 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.

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 800.611.8687 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 and 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.

Bike and Gear Selection

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 700c x 32mm tire for comfort and cornering stability.

For more aggressive off-pavement tours, we recommend a dedicated mountain bike with front suspension, and knobby tires. It is possible to use a hybrid bike or even a cyclocross 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.”

Many participants are riding rigid frame bikes on our more rugged off-pavement tours. If you’re planning to use a rigid framed bike, consider increased tire volumn for additional comfort.

Are eBikes allowed on your tours?

Class 1 eBikes are allowed on most of our fully supported and inn-to-inn tours. Class 1 eBikes are pedal assisted to a max of 20 mph and do not have a throttle. Class 2 or Class 3 eBikes are not allowed on any of our tours. We don’t support any type of eBike on our van-supported, educational, or self-contained tours due to the lack of overnight charging stations, mechanical assistance, and/or SAG vehicles on the road. 

Tours that allow eBikes will be marked with this icon:


Some inn-to-inn and fully supported tours do not support eBikes due to restrictions on our route or shuttles which limit their use. Additionally, various state and federal regulations prohibit eBike usage on some roads and trails that these tours use. 

Some tours allow, but may require special permitting for eBikes. Obtaining necessary eBike permits is the tour participant’s responsibility. Please check state and federal websites for up-to-date information about restrictions for e-bikes for specific jurisdictions.

Because every rider, eBike, road condition, and elevation profile is different, it is ultimately up to the participant to judge best whether their battery will last through each tour day. We recommend using pedal assist in its lowest setting or off when not needed to maximize battery range. Bringing a second battery is also recommended. They can be carried by staff on our fully supported events, but will need to be carried by the participant on our inn-to-inn trips.

Are bike rentals available for my tour?

Participants are responsible for supplying their own bike for their tour. Adventure Cycling does not have rental bikes available. For each of our tours, we list a local bike shop near the tour start in the information packet distributed 60 days before the tour. Some of these locations, but not all, have bike rentals available. If you are interested in renting a bike for your tour, you will need to coordinate and confirm with the bike shop.

Bike rental fleets at bike shops can change every year, and if you are on a self contained or inn-to-inn tour, be sure to check with the rental shop that the available rental can support the required racks, trailers, or other gear-carrying capacity.

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 pros and cons of trailers versus panniers (believe us, we’ve heard it all), and the deciding factor is usually personal preference.  

Can I carry my gear in a lightweight bikepacking setup?

Lightweight bikepacking setups on our self-contained and educational tours are possible as long as you reserve room on your bike to aid in carrying some of the group gear and food. In general, you’ll want to have 10-15 liters of carrying capacity for group items (the equilivent of a small front pannier). Many participants who have limited internal carrying capacity on their bike will need to be creative in finding space.

Bikepacking bags are great options for our inn-to-inn tours which do not require carrying of any group gear. They can also be useful on van-supported and fully-supported tours to bring items that you may need during the day with you.

Our Cyclosource Store has some great bikepacking gear options.

My Adventure Cycling Account

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:


  • 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.


Can I purchase route information from your Guided Tours without participating on the tour?

Unfortunately, no. The routes and logistics associated with our Guided Tours are not for sale or use to our general membership, and only available to those registered for the tour. The information associated with these tours is not formatted to be used without an Adventure Cycling Tour Leader and as an exclusive benefit of those who participate on the tour. Our Adventure Cycling Route Network, the U.S. Bike Route System, and the overview maps and itineraries listed on our tour pages are some great resources to help you get started on planning your own trip.

Other Questions? Contact us!

If you’re looking for an answer that you can’t find here or elsewhere on our tours pages, contact us! You can use the online chat feature in the lower right of your screen, submit your questions to, or call us at 406.721.1776. We’ll do our best to get you an answer right away.

Photo by Anna Poltorak