Have you ever booked time off work, planning to unwind, and then just found the days rushed by and you got nothing done?
With the cost of long-distance flights and tourist accommodation surging, it’s no wonder more and more people opt for “staycations.”
But there’s another option. A way to get the most out of your time off work without breaking the bank. The U.S. boasts some of the most amazing scenery in the world, and you can enjoy so much of it at a very reasonable cost.
Here’s how to plan a cycling holiday you’ll remember for the rest of your life – and some suggestions for where to go!
Choose Bike-Friendly Cities as Start and Endpoints
Determining how far you want to travel is the first step. A popular choice is to use two cities as your start and endpoints. This way, you can enjoy all the gorgeous countryside in between but also check out a new place and all it has to offer – dining, hospitality, nightlife, etc.
Of course, it helps if these urban areas are bike-friendly. Research from Bisnar Chase has highlighted some of the most and least cyclist-friendly cities in the U.S. – this is a perfect start to help you plan out potential routes.
Plan Accommodation in Advance
Whether you’re traveling between cities or fully journeying into the wilderness, you should know where you plan to sleep each night before you set out.
If you’re going way off-road, you may need to bring a tent. However, most cyclists should look up cyclist-friendly lodgings along the way.
It’s good to know where the nearest motels are in case you need to make an emergency stop, but we recommend aiming for small towns, as you’re likely to find better accommodation and a friendlier welcome.
Map Out Bike Shops
Super-important – find out where you can get your bike fixed along the way. As soon as you notice that your bicycle is developing an issue, it’s time to head to a shop to get the problem addressed.
Alternate Between Functional and Scenic Routes
This depends on where in the country you’re cycling. For example, if you’re in the Midwest, some parts of your journey will likely be slightly dull, taking you along very long, straight roads surrounded by farmland.
However, you’ll travel faster along these routes, and if you plan to visit certain beauty spots and cycling trails along the way, you can aim to get to these as quickly as possible. It’s not worth insisting that every mile of your journey should be spent riding through areas of great natural beauty – prioritize getting to the best parts by taking the fastest route.
Bring Back-Up Phone Chargers
Your phone must have power at all times. You could get stranded a long way away from… anything, and in these cases, your phone is your lifeline.
Bring multiple backup chargers (and cables to connect your phone!) We’d recommend two backup power packs for each person on the trip. Replenish the battery in these wherever you stay overnight.
Bring Spare Tires (Plural)
Along with a puncture repair kit, you should ensure you have replacement tires for your front and back wheels.
Spare tires take up space, but they’re also a guarantee that you’ll be able to move on if you get a puncture. And you KNOW that if you don’t have replacements, you will get a puncture.
Do a Practice Run
If you’re not used to biking with a large backpack, do a couple of practice runs near your home before you set off. Can you carry that weight all day? How often do you need to stop?
This will help you set realistic goals for how far you’ll travel each day.
Family Trip? Consider an E-Bike
E-bikes are increasingly popular in the U.S., and they’re especially good for enabling older people and less able cyclists to enjoy the thrill of long bike trips.
They make it so much easier to travel while carrying heavy backpacks, and they’re increasingly affordable. If you want to take your loved ones on an unforgettable adventure, an e-bike could be a fantastic investment.
5 of the Best Bike Trails in the U.S.
Wherever you roam, we know you’ll enjoy an unforgettable holiday. Here are 5 of the top biking trails in the U.S. to help you get inspired.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
If it’s stunning views you’re looking for, Canyonlands National Park in Utah delivers in spades. The quintessentially American red-rock scenery is absolutely breathtaking, and the park boasts many long cycling trails as well as excellent amenities nearby.
You may want to avoid cycling here in summer, as the heat is incredibly intense. May and September are great choices.
Wabash Trace Nature Trail, Iowa
This 63-mile trail in Iowa is a superb option for a trip with friends or family. It’s less intense than some of the choices on this list, but the scenery is gorgeous from start to finish.
It’s also much cheaper than many nature trails, and there are camping opportunities along the way. Note that this trail hosts some biking events, so you may wish to plan around these.
Katy Trail State Park, Missouri
The Katy Trail is on the longer side at 240 miles total. There are fantastic hospitality opportunities along the way; Missouri’s wine country isn’t to be missed, and you won’t be short of great places to rest up.
This is another excellent choice for a family-friendly bike trip, especially with parents or a loved one.
Flume Trail, Nevada
The Flume Trail in Nevada overlooks Lake Tahoe. The vistas are impossibly beautiful, and although this trail is more challenging than most and takes place at a higher altitude, it’s not to be missed for more serious cyclists. While there, consider taking a detour to some of the gambling establishments that the area is so well-known for.
McKenzie River Trail, Oregon
This trail takes you through some of the best of what Oregon has to offer – lush woodlands, steep paths, and top-notch hospitality nearby.
There are great mountain biking options in this area, too, although the McKenzie trail itself is mostly downhill.
The U.S. offers some of the world’s greatest cycling opportunities, but all too often, we forget that this is an option for a vacation.
It’s not just an additional choice – it’s one of the best things you can do with your time off. Start planning today and enjoy the journey of a lifetime!