You don’t have to be a cycling pro to enjoy riding a bike. You don’t even have to like riding a bike to enjoy cycling. Whether you are a spectator, an avid cyclist, or just enjoy a leisurely pedal around the park, cycling can be a great way to visit a new place.
Be A Spectator
The sport once dominated by Europeans is now quite popular here in the U.S. The Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España are traditionally the premier cycling events, but races stateside are gaining momentum and credibility worldwide.
The Athens Twilight Criterium in Athens, GA (one of my favorite cities) is heralded by VeloNews as the “Criterium Not To Miss” and voted first by their poll of professional and amateur racers. The April evening event draws more than 30,000 spectators and some of the world’s best cyclists.
Attracting more than two million spectators, The AMGEN Tour of California really put cycling on the map in America. Each year the route varies and takes the riders and their followers across California for fast riding and lots of fun.
Coming up this month is the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. A 7-stage tour across the Rocky Mountain state let’s you follow the riders from Durango to Denver with visits to beautiful Telluride, Aspen, Colorado Springs, and Golden.
Here are some Hotels in Colorado for your journey.
Vacation Bike Tours
Trek Travel coordinates three to four-day weekend bike tours featuring quiet rustic roads, quaint inns, fresh local fare, social hour mingling, and even shopping or hiking. Sign up for the California Wine Weekend and take in beautiful vineyards, spas, and of course tastings along the way.
Western Spirit Cycling Adventures offers bike tours for the whole family with routes for bike trailers and beginning riders. Primarily centered on tours in the Western U.S., introduce the kids to both camping and cycling with the Hiawatha Rail Trail Family Trip.
A bicycle is a great way to see a city, often giving you perspective and access to areas that you may miss riding on a tour bus. Ask your hotel concierge about bike rentals if you want to go it on your own around town. Hotels in some destinations even lend guests bicycles for the day.
For an organized tour, look for companies like Get Up and Ride, Brooklyn’s first bike tour company. This NYC Company offers two different tours that vary in duration, distance and price. The Classic Tour is just 10 miles in length and takes approximately 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. The tour, which features excellent views of Manhattan, even wraps up with a ferry ride at the end of the day.
While you can bring your own bikes along, most tour companies provide bikes that are designed to be fun, comfortable and easy to ride so even if it has been awhile since you’ve ridden you should feel right at home. You can always bring your own seat and pedals for the more serious tours and riders.
Road Cycling Safety Tips
Here are tips from Trek Tours when you do set your seat on two wheels:
- Wear a helmet at all times when on your bike.
- Obey all traffic signs.
- Always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
- Ride on the same side of the road as the direction of moving traffic.
- Use the appropriate hand signals when stopping, slowing down, and turning.
- Ride in a single-file line, leaving at least 2 bike lengths between you and the rider ahead of you.
- Maintain a safe distance between you and the edge of the road.
- Communicate with other riders—let them know when there are bumps, rocks, cars, or other hazards on the road.
- Be ready for vehicles to pass you on the left.
- Use both the rear and front brakes simultaneously—NEVER use the front brake alone.
- When going downhill, pump both the front and rear brakes simultaneously, and increase the distance between you and the rider ahead of you.
- Always maintain a speed that is comfortable for you.
- Use caution when crossing over railroad tracks, cattle crossings, gravel patches, slippery or sandy roads, descending steeply, or when encountering a situation that is potentially dangerous or uncomfortable for you.
- Always get off your bike and walk if you feel uncomfortable riding.
- Gear up and gear down appropriately to maintain a safe and comfortable riding speed.
- When admiring the view or taking a photo, always stop first and then look or snap.
- Above all, have fun and enjoy your ride!