April 2, 2018 - Eva Dunn-Froebig is Adventure Cycling's Events and Outreach Coordinator
Bike Travel Weekend, June 1–3, 2018 (BikeTravelWeekend.org), is almost here. I love dreaming about the small details of my vacations and weekend getaways, including where I’m going to pause for ice cream and where I’m going to pitch my tent for the night. Maybe that’s because I’m an events and outreach coordinator and can’t get enough of planning small details!
In the past two years, nearly 20,000 people have participated in over 1,800 Bike Travel Weekend trips in all 50 U. S. states and a couple dozen countries. The adventure continues in 2018 for the biggest and best third annual Bike Travel Weekend!
Bike Travel Weekend trips can be whatever you want them to be:
I like to start my planning for Bike Travel Weekend by first deciding where I’m going to spend the night because it helps factor how far I’ll ride, my route, and which ice cream parlors and breweries I’m going to visit along the way. Where you sleep can range from remote camping to a five-star hotel:
Camping is the most affordable way to spend the night. Some public lands in remote areas have free or low-cost camping with limited amenities. Other campgrounds extend special lower rates for cyclists. Camping also offers some flexibility, especially if you choose to stay in a campground with “walk-in” campsites. Some campgrounds even offer no-turn-away policies for cyclists.
If you choose to camp, you’ll need to pack your tent, sleeping bag and pad, food, cooking supplies, and water if there isn’t any available at the campground. Being completely self-sufficient on your bicycle brings a sense of satisfaction. Not only are you powering yourself down the road or trails, but you’re also carrying your dwelling and everything you need to sustain yourself.
If you don’t want to ride with all of that weight, enlist a friend or family member who doesn’t want to ride to support you with a vehicle and accompany you for the overnight. It can be just as satisfying to ride dozens of miles without carrying any gear. Maybe your friend will bring you a rewarding cold beer or soda before meeting you at your destination. Then, remember to treat your support crew like royalty for supporting you!
Bikeovernights.org camping example:
Kathy and Larry Siegrist rode 45 miles from Batsto Village to Parvin State Park, NJ, camped for the night and took a slightly different 38-mile route home.
Carry less (no tent, sleeping bag, or pad) and be self-sufficient by staying indoors at a hotel, motel, B&B, or vacation rental. Forgo carrying cooking supplies and food by eating in restaurants — anything from an inexpensive taco joint to a five-star restaurant. Taking a hot shower and sleeping in a warm, soft bed sounds pretty appealing after being outside all day.
B&B stays come with a complimentary breakfast as do many hotel and motel overnights. How nice to not have to brew coffee and cook breakfast before hitting the road!
Many hotels on popular bike routes cater to cyclists by offering safe, locked bicycle parking or allowing you to bring your bike into your room.
Bikeovernights.org B&B example:
Kathleen Jones and her friend Pia stayed in a bed and breakfast and ate in restaurants during their bike overnight in Marin County, CA.
Get creative with your overnight and stay under another type of roof like that of a hostel (some even cater specifically to cyclists), yurt, hut, cabin, tipi, lookout tower, or treehouse. Lighten your load by not having to carry your tent. You’ll likely still have to bring your sleeping bag, sleeping pad, headlamp, food, stove and water, but you can rest assured that you’ll have a warm and dry place to sleep for the night.
Many public lands, like state parks and the National Forest Service, offer overnights in yurts, cabins, tipis and lookout towers. Reservations can be made online and cost less than staying in a hotel at an average of about $40/night. Hipcamp, an online reservation website with a goal of bringing people closer to nature, is a resource that helps people discover camping, glamping, and rustic housing on public and private lands.
Bikeovernights.org hut example:
Kirsten Armbruster and her husband slept in luxurious huts during their mountain bike loop trip starting and ending near Leadville, CO.
Bike Travel Weekend doesn’t have to be complicated. There aren’t a minimum number of miles required to ride to your overnight to be part of this global movement. Perhaps you don’t have a lot of time or the weather forecast is bad; maybe you feel out of shape or you have small kids in tow? Maybe you’ve never gone on a bike overnight before?
Lots of scenarios can make staying at a nearby friend or family members’ house appealing. Ride with your kids down the road to grandma’s house and roll out your sleeping bags on her living room floor; bicycle on down the road and set up your tent in a neighbor’s backyard or sleep on their trampoline or in their treehouse. Stay in a friend’s spare bedroom and let them make you breakfast in the morning or treat them to brunch at a restaurant.
If you don’t have friends or family in the area, find an Airbnb or Warm Showers host. Airbnb hosts rent out rooms in their house for a fee that is usually less than a hotel room, and they will often make you breakfast in the morning. Warm Showers hosts take cyclists in for free, so be sure to thank them with a gift like a bag of coffee or a six-pack of beer.
Photos 1, 6 & 9 by Saara Snow | Image 2 courtesy of Adventure Cycling | Photos 3, 4, 5 & 10 by Tom Robertson | Photo 7 courtesy of Erick Cedeño | Photo 8 by Eva Dunn-Froebig
Bike Travel Weekend Join thousands of other cyclists across North America and the world for Bike Travel Weekend and go on a one- or two-night bike overnight on the same weekend, June 1–3, 2018. Ride with your family or friends and stay at your favorite overnight location — whether it’s a nearby campground, hotel, cabin, B&B, hostel, or friend’s house. Ride solo or with a group and go one mile or 100 miles — it’s your trip! #BikeTravelWeekend