Favorite Tours of 2014

December 30, 2014

The 2014 bicycle touring season has come and gone; another great year of bicycle travel. Here are a few of my favorite rides for the year.

Ninemile Valley, Lolo National Forest, Montana

An awesome 20-mile, day ride about 25 miles west of Missoula, MT in the Ninemile Valley of Lolo National Forest. Great riding on gravel roads on an out and back route with very few cars. Stops along several creeks provided a little shade during the day this past summer. I rode with my wife, Shawn, and good friend Mandy. Mandy's husband provided an unneeded SAG. We never saw him the entire time as he went searching for a hot spring and a nap in the nearby forest.

Dam 5 - C&O Canal/GAP Trail

I was given the pleasure of leading the Adventure Cycling C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail self-contained tour from Washington DC to Pittsburgh, PA in May of this year. We started up the C&O Canal just as the heavy rains of May ceased. The boardwalk over Great Falls was closed due to flooding and two of our campsites were flooded along the trail. We were not deterred from having a ball. This 338 mile of connected trail between Washington and Pittsburgh was 9 days of blissful car-less riding, awesome scenery, historic sites, and lots of opportunity to make great new friends with 13 other riders. My 10th tour on this trail was as memorable as my first in 2005. My FAVORITE trail ride.

Shining Sea Bike Trail, Cape Cod Massachusetts

Being a New Englander (although I am actually a Buckeye by birth), I can never get enough riding on Matha's Vineyard, Cape Cod and in Southeastern Massachusetts. I rode the Cape twice this year. Once for a week after my son's Massachusetts wedding in June as a group of friends rode from Provincetown to Plymouth on a 7 day self-guided, self-contained tour and a second time on Adventure Cycling's 8-day Cape Cod Pilgrimage self-contained tour in September. There is something about riding along the seacoast with the sea breezes, the calling of the seagulls, salty sea fragrances, moonlight catamaran tours, scrumptious seafood and relatively easy riding that calls me eastward each year.

Wisconsin Northwoods and Waters

A first for me in 2014 was a fully-supported inn to inn tour in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I showed up on the tour with my Bike Friday and a backpack carrying my clothes/gear for the week. I was told I would win the prize for the least and lighest gear for the week; the luggage guy was quite pleased. We stayed in very nice inns and motels through out the week as we meandered around the woods and waters of Northern Wisconsin. The meals were very good and plentiful; the weather made to order. Our tour guide, Pat Spiegelberg of Around Wisconsin Bike Tours, was knowledgeable and kept an eye on her sheep throughout the week. A great shepherd she was. Although not my favorite type of tour, it was indeed lots of fun with friends, new and old. The beauty of this area of Wisconsin is definitely on my future repeat list.


As I look forward to 2015, so far I have plans to ride the Adventure Cycling's Death Valley Loop in March, my first European tour: Bike and Barge Holland tour with 20 of my friends in May, and the inaugural Empire State Ride across New York State in August. I might add states #47 (North Dakota) and #48 (Nebraska) on a late season ride in early October on the Lewis and Clark Trail; Bismarck, ND to Omaha, NB.

Where are you riding in 2015?

Post by Arlen Hall | C&O Canal/GAP and Shining Sea Bikeway photos by Arlen Hall | Ninemile Valley, MT and Wisconsin Northwoods photos by Shawn Decareaux | 


ON THE ROAD is written by the tours team — Lydia, Darrah, Mike, Mandy, and Arlen — tours specialists and intrepid bicyclists, covering all things related to the Adventure Cycling tours department. Check out our 2015 Guided Tours today!


Endless Horizon tours January 2, 2015, 7:20 AM

I've done the C&O canal tour a few years back but have done a lot of shorter tours that just touch on parts of it. My parents live near the Allegheny passage so I try to take advantage of that fact when I visit them. It's always my suggestion for people new to touring. I'm considering a Missoula trip this summer so I'll be on the look out for more info about rides around your home base.

Colleen Welch December 29, 2014, 9:47 PM

I'm doing Idaho Hot Springs with some friends, then riding home to Olympia, WA via parts of the Trans Am, Lewis and Clark, Sierra Cascades, and Washington Parks. I may swing up to Missoula on my way. I'll pop in and say hi. Who knows, maybe you'll be there?

Bicycle Touring Pro - Darren Alff December 27, 2014, 5:12 PM

That's great that you'll be cycling through Death Valley next year Arlen. I've gone through there twice and loved it both times... even though it was super cold the first time, and super hot the second time.

I also did a boat and barge bike tour this past summer (mine was on the Danube River, however) and it was a blast. I loved it... and would totally do it again if given the opportunity. I look forward to hearing how your Holland cycling adventure turns out.

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