E-bikes are allowed on some of our fully supported tours. Only pedal assist or pedal assist with throttle are acceptable forms of e-bikes for use. We do not allow any type of e-bike on our inn-to-inn, van-supported, educational, or self-contained tours due to the lack of overnight charging stations, mechanical assistance, and/or SAG vehicles on the road. The details page of fully supported tours that allow e-bikes will be marked with this icon:
Some fully supported tours do not accept e-bikes due to various state and federal regulations prohibiting road/trail usage. Some jurisdictions require special permitting for e-bikes, which change frequently, and obtaining necessary e-bike 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.
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 1.800.755.2453 x3.
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.
Our full cancellation and transfer policy is located here.
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 TripAssure.
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.
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.
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.
Adventure Cycling offers GPX files for a growing list of routes in our route network. This digital data is available for purchase and is designed to be used with any GPS device, smartphone, or tablet. For more information on digital data products visit the Digital Data for Devices page on our website.
Additional GPX and RideWithGPS files are sometimes provided during our tours and events as a supplement to our paper maps. It should be noted that the accuracy, completeness, reliability, usability, or suitability of files not generated through our Routes and Mapping Department can not be guaranteed for accuracy. They are for general use only, and the coordinates should not replace the content provided by actual maps and common sense. The paper map provided at the orientation meeting, along with changes provided by the director of an event, are the definitive sources of navigation for Adventure Cycling tours.
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.
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, 1.800.755.2453 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. 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, 1.800.755.2453 x3, or send us an email if you are interested in more information about single supplements.
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.
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 the like. There will, however, be sufficient and nourishing food for everyone. Please contact the Tours office, 1.800.755.2453 x3, or send us an email if you have dietary concerns.
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 1.800.755.2453 x3 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.
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.
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.
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/2,734 KB).
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/4,345 KB).
Note: There is NO SAG support on any self-contained or inn-to-inn tour.
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/2,448 KB).
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/2,099 KB).
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 1.800.755.2453 x3 or send us an email if you have any questions or concerns.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On trips that include rail-trails and/or bike trails, we recommend at least a 700c x 28mm 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 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.”
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.
Find out about how to become a tour leader from our Become a Tour Leader page.
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.
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.
You can reset your password by entering your email address into the Forgot Password field.
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.
Your account will be registered with us, but the first time you log in, you will need to reset your password.
You will find step-by-step instructions in this blog post.
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.
Photo by Anna Poltorak
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.
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.
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.