10 Breathtaking Bike Tours

Do you love to ride?  On two wheels, without a motor?  I knew we had a lot in common.  I have this daydream that every month I get to book a bike adventure somewhere.  Somewhere where the scenery is awe-inspiring and there is support should I get a flat tire.  Not to mention the glass of wine and amazing food at the end of the day.  Yes, bike tours get a lot of folks daydreaming and thinking about just pedaling the days away while staying in some of the best hidden gems along the route.

The hardest part is deciding where to go.  Here are some ideas should you decide to spend your vacation on your bike in 2015:

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park has a lot of admirers.  It’s quiet and peaceful, making it the perfect place to escape and enjoy nature.  There’s so much to do, it’s hard to decide between kayaking, sailing, biking and hiking.  Here’s an idea…book a tour that has all of the above.  Check out this multifaceted tour which offers the opportunity to see the park from every angle.  Bike through classic fishing villages, past lighthouses and challenge yourself with a ride up Cadillac Mountain.  When you’re not on your bike, you’ll enjoy guided hikes through jaw-dropping vistas, kayak tours of the harbor, and a sail on a classic Maine Windjammer.  Sounds like a perfect Maine getaway!!

Acadia-ME

Columbia Gorge, Oregon

Where can you go for amazing and stunning scenery?  Where the traffic is light and the snowy mountain-tops rise above perfect blue glacial lakes and fields of wildflowers?  Point your handle bars toward Columbia Gorge and travel the historic route of Lewis and Clark.  You’ll see Mt. Hood to the south and Mt. Adams to the north, both providing panoramic back-drops for your journey.  For an extra special treat, this tour takes you past the world’s greatest concentration of waterfalls (wow!).  When the long day is done, you can sample Hood River’s local craft beer and wine alongside unique local cuisine.

Oregon-2

Wine Country: Napa & Sonoma, California

The idea of biking through Wine Country is the one that always gets my mind and heart racing.  It’s just the idea of seeing this amazing region from the seat of my bike that’s completely thrilling.  Where else can you experience riding along vineyard lined roads, through the neighborhood of several wineries?  Plus you can explore the redwood forest and mud baths with healing waters as you make your way from Calistoga to Healdsburg. There’s a reason that biking through wine country is so popular.  You’ll have plenty of tours to choose from, so pick wisely.  Enjoy yourselves…and try not to drink (too much) and ride!

Wine-Country-Napa-Sonoma-Bike

Santa Barbara, California

Another excellent choice for biking along the California Coast is Santa Barbara.  You can spend a 4-day weekend cycling, sightseeing, wine tasting, hiking and simply chilling out along the coast.  Visit historic missions, enjoy the wildlife of the Gaviota Coast, feast on a gourmet picnic and ride all the ocean bike paths you can handle.  This tour offers a stunning ride to Surf Beach where you’ll get up-close with seabirds and dolphins.  The “American Rivera” provides a full day of cruising east along the coast to see where the stunning blue ocean meets the high-and-mighty private estates up in the hills.  It might just be one of the prettiest rides in North America.

Santa-Barbara

Zion National Park & Bryce Canyon, Utah

Ideal for the adventurous earth-lover, a person who sees themselves shooting down curved roads among the red rocks and deep blue sky.  Is this you?  If so, you’ll be fascinated with the scenery as you ride past all sorts of wild looking rock formations and visit Cedar Breaks National Monument.  While there are numerou challenging climbs, you’ll be rewarded with a lot of downhill gliding.  Angels Landing is one of the trip highlights with views of Zion’s dramatic rock faces.  Your spinning takes you past Checkerboard Mesa and through Red Canyon with its red-colored pinnacles, spires and hoodoos.  As you approach Mount Carmel, you’ll see the white-sandstone Elkhart Cliffs.  Do me a favor though and keep your eyes on the road…I don’t want to hear that you went over a cliff because you were sightseeing the whole way.

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Tuscany, Italy

There are so many cycling tours you could do in Italy.  The Amalfi Coast, the Dolomites, and you can even book a tour along the race route of the Giro D’Italia.  It would be very tough to decide.  For someone like me, it’s all about the experience and the wine.  Which is a pretty hard requirement if you’re going to spend all day in the saddle.  Tuscany is most definitely an experience, not a destination.  One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the region is by bike.  This tour takes you from Chianti to Montalcino, where the quiet roads, patchwork of vineyards, olive orchards, and quaint hilltop towns become your playground each day.

Tuscany

Loire Valley, Central France

If you’re in the mood for towering Gothic estates and sculpted gardens, then the Loire Valley might be the tour for you.  It feels kind of like being in a real life fairy tale, with everything manicured to perfection, you feel like a king or nobleman could step around the corner at any moment.  Each evening you’ll stay in castle-hotels, drinking acclaimed Vouvray wines and savoring exquisite French cuisine.  You won’t regret cycling your way through the region where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years.  It’s a place to explore by day and relax in royal splendor by night.

Loire-Valley1

Canary Islands, Spain

Here’s a tour that offers breathtaking views and is definitely unique and off-the-beaten-path.  Where else in Europe would you find two stunning islands, rugged volcanoes, giant sand dunes and a vast network of peaceful, well-maintained roads?  Let’s just say there’s nowhere like Gran Canaria and Tenerife.  For cyclists everywhere, it’s perfection.  The mild climate, amazing roads, lush forests and dramatic views of the sea will put this amazing tour square in the middle of your radar.  You can test your ability on some challenging climbs or take the shuttle up and enjoy the ride down.  And when it’s all over you can head to the beach and soak your cares away.

Canary-Islands

Canadian Rockies

Have you had a chance to tour Banff National Park and Lake Louise?  If not, you should consider seeing this part of the Canadian Rockies by bike.  You’ll find yourself smack-dab in the middle of some of the Earth’s finest mountains, glaciers, and aquamarine colored lakes.  Your two wheels and pedal power will take you down one of the most beautiful stretches of road anywhere called the Icefields Parkway.  You’ll ride along the Continental Divide and spend your time with wildlife such as bears, elk, mountain goats and bighorn sheep staring at you as you pass by.

Canadian Rockies Cycling

Ireland

Wouldn’t it be great to pedal through Irish valleys, scenic farmland and lush countryside and count the number of green hues or crazy shaped rocks you see along the way?  Seeing Ireland from the small back-trails where tourists normally can’t travel?  Then stopping to order a (small) whisky or pint to take the chill off and share your stories of the day?  Sounds like a vacation of a lifetime.

Ireland Cycling

Have you ever take an epic bike tour somewhere amazing?  Tell your story.

More from Samantha Brown:

6 Marvelous Mountain Escapes

Admiring Amsterdam

East Coast Beaches with Nearby History

Perfect Weekend in Big Sur

Napa Valley:  Living the Good Life

Earth Day Adventures

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