Take fit travel to the max with these incredible national and international vacation rides.
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Need an excuse to dust off your bike or hop on your indoor trainer when it still too chilly to ride outside? How about this: Do the legwork now and reap the rewards later on a dream two-wheeled vacation across the country—or around the globe—this summer. There's no better way to explore a new place than from the back of the saddle. You'll want to be in the best pedaling shape possible so that scenic backdrops take your breath away from natural beauty not physical effort. Along the way, discover picturesque towns, devour delicious eats, meet sexy locals and soak up much-needed vitamin D. If that's not enough to inspire you to log miles this spring, learn more about these sick summer cycling vacations to get motivated to hit the road.
There's a good reason the elite cyclists and mountain bikers from all corners of the earth come to the Centennial State to train and compete. From the USA Pro Challenge, which attracts Tour de France contenders, to Leadville Trail 100 MTB, an epic ultra-distance mountain bike race, there's no question this place is a world-famous mecca for riders of all kinds. You don't have to be the best of the best to ride out here, but you can learn from one of them. New this summer, Viceroy Snowmass is launching a cycling program with former pro rider Will Frischkorn (Tour de France competitor for Garmin), who will lead groups of up to 12 people. The trip, which is totally customizable, may include activities such as a 25-mile ride to dinner at the beautiful Sustainable Settings Farm in Carbondale or a short, but steep 18-mile ride to the magnificent Maroon Bells—located in a glacial valley—followed by a well-deserved massage at the hotel.
>>$2,500 per person for three nights, includes lodging, some meals, bike kit and support, spa treatment, guides, and more. Bike rental not included. Call 970-923-8000 to book (viceroyhotelsandresorts.com).
Portland is one of the best bike-friendly cities in the U.S. thanks to 350 miles of neighborhood greenways, bike lanes and paths. It is also America's craft beer capital. Combine your passions for bikes and brews by signing up for a Pub & Pedal adventure with BikeTours.com. Covering an average of 30 miles per day, you'll get to explore in and around Portlandia's best natural attractions including the Multnomah Falls (the country's second tallest waterfalls, standing at 620-feet) and the Columbia Gorge (via the nation's first planned scenic roadway) with refreshing breaks in between at places like a bike shop-slash-brewpub called Velo Cult.
>>$2294 per person for three nights, includes accommodations, most meals, all activities, tour guides, and rental bike (biketours.com).
Go at your own pace on this self-guided bike tour in the Minho region of northern Portugal. Exodus Travels will research and plan the entire trip for you, booking your lodgings (including a 17th Century manor set in a vineyard), organizing your luggage transfers, scheduling all breakfasts and a wine tasting, and most importantly, providing a detailed map and route (average 26 miles per day). That means, all your have to do is concentrate on enjoying the mostly flat or downhill ride from the rugged mountains to historic villages to dramatic coastal cliffs. Because you're calling the shots, you decide whenever you want to stop for photos, coffee, a glass of Vinho Verde, or a lounge under the shade (cycling shoes off, of course). End your personal adventure in Porto, which has been named the best European City Destination twice in a row (2013 and 2014).
>>$1355 per person for seven nights, accommodations, some meals, luggage transfers, a GPS device loaded with the tracks and a prepaid mobile phone for emergencies (exodustravels.com).
Even if you've never heard of the Amgen Tour of California—the U.S. equivalent to the Tour de France—it's a no-brainer that this always-sunny-state is ideal for road riding. Another major draw: its 4,000+ wineries, many of which are award-winning. Start your vacation pedaling across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to Marin (look right to spy Alcatraz in the bay!) with your expert guides from DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. From there, make your way toward the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, cutting through 1,400-year-old trees (break in Armstrong Redwoods State Park for a picnic!) and adorable towns like Healdsburg and St. Helena along the way. After lunch, savor wines in Dry Creek Valley, including pinot noir at Joseph Phelps Vineyards and cabernet at Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa. Expect an average of 30 miles per day with a group no larger than 14 guests (not including guides).
>>$2695 per person for three nights, includes accommodations, most meals, bike rentals, guides, support van, wine tastings, bike kit, and more (duvine.com).
Nothing screams rugged adventure more than the last frontier: Alaska. Let Backroads make this bucket-list trip a reality with a brag-worthy bike adventure that will change your street cred for life. Picture grizzlies, glaciers, moose, 16,000-foot peaks, salmon-filled streams, icy waterfalls, bald eagles and more. Ride along the outer edge of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the country's largest and least visited national park. Alaska is not flat, so prepare for elevation gains that promise lots beautiful ever-changing views and an average mileage of 50 to 60 per day. Rest your legs when you can, like on a ferry cruise across the Prince William Sound (keep an eye out for seals, orcas and puffins).
>>$2,698 per person based on double occupancy for five nights, includes lodging, van transport, most meals, guides, titanium or electric-assist bike, and Garmin Edge Explore 1000 (backroads.com).
Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is a cyclist's paradise. Here's why: The smoothly paved one-way route to heaven (its a gradual 3,000-foot ascent over 32 miles) is flanked by glacier-carved valleys, snow-capped peaks, and dramatic waterfalls under impossibly blue skies. New to Trek Travel this year, this special trip guides you through narrow, 180-degree switchbacks with peace of mind (just steer clear of mountain goats and street-crossing bear cubs). While out there, discover other magical parts of the park, which turns 100 along with America's National Park service this year, as well as Montana itself, including Flathead Valley, just west of the Continental Divide and home to charming mountain resort towns, like Whitefish.
>>$2899 per person for five nights, includes accommodations, most meals, support, ground transportation, guides, entrance fees, Trek carbon road or electric-assist bike, jersey, and Garmin Touring Plus GPS cycling computer (trektravel.com).
Summer is the best time of year to visit Scotland—not only for the warm weather and long daylight hours, but also the whisky! Rather than drive to the distilleries, mountain bike to them with H+I Adventures. Cut through 300-year-old pines in Europe's ancient woodlands. Pedal past castle ruins, Highland cattle and wild deer. Stop to dip your toes in the freshest, cleanest rivers of the UK's largest National Park. Test your brakes on the a killer singletrack descent designed for the national cross-country championships. By the time you reach the largest concentration of distilleries in Scotland on day four, you'll be a mountain biking pro who has earned his tastings (and a flask for the road, er, trails). From there, continue to challenge and improve your skills and learn a few technical tricks, too, that you can show off to your friends on the singletracks back home.
>>$1,811 USD per person based on double occupancy for seven nights, includes accommodations, most meals, guides, entrance to distilleries, ground transportation, safety equipment, and Global Rescue medical and emergency evacuation services (mountainbikeworldwide.com).
As much as you love saddle-time, it's always nice to give your rear a rest, which is exactly what you'll get with REI Adventure on this iconic trip. Get to know the nooks and crannies of one of the world's most amazing geologic wonderlands by bike and by foot. From the sculpted red rocks to canyon mazes to sandstone spires, there's so much to see across this stunning southwestern landscape that you'll be grateful to hop off your bike to step in for a closer look. You can expect roughly three miles per day for hiking, and a minimum of 16 miles per day for cycling. Best part: REI Adventures is currently donating 10 percent of all trips to national parks to the National Park Foundation as part of this year's centennial celebration.
>>$3,099 per person based on double occupancy for five nights, includes accommodations, most meals, guides, support vehicle, snacks and water; Trek FX 7.2 Hybrid bicycle or Giant Defy 2 Road bicycle, entrance fees, permits and local taxes (rei.com/adventures).
Thanks to the cheap Canadian dollar ($0.75 USD at the time this piece was published), you'll feel almost rich up north. Sign up for one of Mountain Madness Tours' custom cycling experiences from the Rocky Mountain House to Canmore—the gateway to Banff National Park (the country's best-known national park). Once in Canmore, stay a few extra days at the intimate boutique hotel, the Paintbox Lodge, owned by Olympic medalist Sara Renner, to continue to tap the Canadian Rockies. Start with the Highwood Pass—the highest paved pass in Canada with an elevation gain of 7,238-feet over 60 miles—then trade your skinny tires for fatties to explore a network of more than 60 miles of trails at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Taking the summer off between jobs or maybe looking for an excuse to quit and go on a life-changing adventure? Consider signing up for this special French Connection tour that takes road cyclists from Quebec City to NOLA in seven weeks (42 days to be exact), starting August 13 and ending October 2. If you don't have the time, energy or interest in covering all 3,500 miles, how about doing a leg of the tour, such as Quebec City to Washington, D.C. Average about 60 miles over 16 days, including three rest days. Or, section two is DC to Nashville (14 days) and section three is Nashville to NOLA (12 days). All the logistics are taken care of, so all you need to do is keep that cadence up as you take in the sights of America, the beautiful.
>>$4,250 per person for 16 days, includes lodging/camping, meals, bag transfers, guides, bike mechanic, tour jersey and more (tdaglobalcycling.com).