Which tour do I choose?

February 10, 2015

I feel like a kid in a candy shop, working here at Adventure Cycling.

With over 100 tours in our portfolio, I’ve been finding it nearly impossible to choose where I’m going to spend my vacation time this year. And so I reached out to my colleagues to ask about their favorite bicycle trips, and why they loved them. I was deluged with ideas, testimonials and incredible photos. Here is just a small sampling of the recommendations I received. By the way, it did not make my choice any easier…

Picture yourself on Adventure Cycling's Great Lakes Relaxed tour.
Photo of the Leelanau Peninsula by John McCormick

 “My favorite North American bicycle tour is the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan.  We rode a week-long camping trip with a five-month old child in a Burley trailer.  We were looking for a fun place with minimal traffic, good August weather and numerous places to camp and play.  Leelanau totally worked.  Our riding days were comfortably short, campgrounds were dotted along the shore of Lake Michigan or inland lakes and the weather was great for riding and swimming.  These state and federal campgrounds have been some of our favorites ever since.”  —Tim Meyer     

So many of our leaders wrote of riding down the Pacific Coast, and their accompanying photos were remarkable. It is truly a stunning stretch of geography.

Photo by Sarah Burch

“The views are spectacular.   Off to your right is a 180 degree view of the Pacific Ocean, and the coastal hills into which the road is carved climb to your left.  Usually, there is a ripping tail wind that feels like a hand pushing you up the many hills.” —Donald Bybee

”I smiled hugely when I saw that someone had spray-painted “Take a chance, live your life!" on the roadside in Oregon. That’s exactly what I was doing. This was my first solo, self-supported ride, and the confidence gained from the trip has been invaluable and unforgettable.” —Sarah Burch

Snuggle up to these giants of the earth on Adventure Cycling's Pacific Coast Central tour. Photo by Kent Beisner

“We slept at the base of Redwoods so massive they defied words to explain. I awoke to a view of only the constellation Taurus, because the trees blocked the remainder of the sky. There were epiphyte-draped branches, wind-blown sand dunes and sparkling waters. Bicycling along the ocean from sea level to over five hundred feet above sea level…felt like I was riding up into heaven.” —Kent Beisner

Another mountain pass along the Sierra Cascades route. Photo by Alice Tiernan

Alice Tiernan discovered challenge and reward, solace, and the incredible generosity of strangers on her first self-contained and solo ride along the Sierra Cascades route. Celebrating a significant birthday and raising money for pancreatic cancer research, Alice rode between the Canadian border station at Sumas, Washington and Surprise, Arizona. She crossed the Pacific Crest Trail 25 times and rode through seven national parks. She took a picture of every summit sign along the way, and at Lassen Peak was encouraged up the grade by a troop of Girl Scouts chanting "Canada to Mexico!" She discovered that “It doesn’t get any better than that!”

Stylin' on the Great Divide. Note the color coordination between rims and Arkel panniers. Photo by Brian Managan

The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is full of contrasts, as Brian Managan found. “I remember being surrounded by a dense mountain forest and then suddenly popping out into a vista of desert scrub reaching to the horizon. I remember getting snowed on in June at nearly 12,000 feet, then riding down to a desert town in blistering heat only an hour later; of standing in brilliant sunshine while lightning struck from a storm cloud so close you could almost reach out and touch it. Minutes later, a howling wind nearly blew me off my bike as I cycled hard to reach the sunshine that, no matter how I pedaled, remained a hundred yards ahead. I remember a hot, dry dusty jeep trail that had me wondering how soon I’d run out of water, only to have a miner drive up in his pickup and gift me with two icy cold drinks. I remember every mile, every inch perhaps, of the constantly changing Great Divide.”

The solitude of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is not to be missed. 
Photo by Michael McCoy

Short trips made the favorites list as well. On the 90 mile section of the Great Divide route between Lima, Montana, and Big Springs, Idaho. “Mac“ McCoy observed that the ride had reminded him of something he already knew: “Things look, sound, and smell a lot clearer from the saddle of a bicycle than they do from the seat of a car. And it doesn’t matter if you’re riding for two months or two days—it’s good for the soul just to get out for a refresher course now and then.”

So nourish your soul. Come ride with us in some of the most inspiring landscapes in North America this year. Your only dilemma will be just which one to choose!

Post by Mandy Hale

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!


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