Experienced bike riders will tell you there’s no better way to experience a new area than on two wheels. If you’re looking for a different kind of vacation where you’ll experience the sights and sounds from a new point of view, then you should consider traveling by bicycle.
Long Distance Rides
If you’re the extremely adventurous type, consider an extensive ride. You’ll put all of your belongings on the back of your bike and travel hundreds of miles through some of the most scenic or historic routes in the country.
History buffs should air up their tires and travel the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route. It was developed by the Adventure Cycling Association, and it runs from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario. It honors the slaves who attempted freedom on that infamous route with five total segments that add up to over 2000 miles. The sites highlight the route’s extensive past with stops at former slave markets and African American history museums.
The Great Divide Mountain Trail is ideal for you if you like to get lost in some of the more wild areas of the country. Running from Canada to Mexico, you’ll see the most beautiful parts of the country for 2,493 miles. You’ll get to travel over single-track, gravel, and old railroad beds, gain over 200,000 feet of elevation, and cross the Continental Divide at least 50 times on your route.
Bicycle Friendly Towns
You aren’t up for thousands of miles under your seat? Then consider visiting some of the more bike-friendly towns as you travel. Sometimes just cruising through the backroads of a quiet little mountain town can provide you with some of the best travel experiences.
Traveler’s Rest is a small town in northern South Carolina that loves their bicycling visitors. Seventeen-time Tour de France competitor, George Hincapie, built a hillside hotel to cater to the many bicyclists that pass through. Hotel Domestique is a European-style boutique hotel with a fitness studio and Olympic-sized pool. The hotel also has easy access to the roads that twist through the impeccable beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
If you can’t think of anything better than seeing the ocean with the salty breeze on your face, bike the San Juan Islands in Washington. This archipelago will offer you unprecedented viewing of some of the most beautiful forests in the country. Take an organized and guided tour through the Islands if you don’t want to navigate yourself. Orcas Island takes up 57 square miles with rural roads that snake through forests and fields. Up for a tough ride? Take the 12 percent grade up to the top of Mount Constitution. You won’t regret it. According to Fodors, the quickest way to get to Orcas Island is to board the Washington State Ferry in Anacortes. The fee is small–$12.95–and will land you right on Orcas Island.
Skip the car rental on your next vacation and stick to seeing the sights under the open sky. You’ll never experience a new place the same way again!