Summer is looming, and it’s time to consider using that vacation time. The stress of planning a trip can almost require an additional break. Just the thought of packing coolers and suitcases to the ceiling of your hatchback, paying the gas for the 12 hour drive and the smell of 2 days of fast food hanging in the car’s cockpit can all be overwhelming. Then, after you finally arrive, you have to deal with the local traffic, parking garages and valets.
Well, put away that US atlas and dust off your bike rack, because we have an idea that will keep you closer to home and keep some cash in your pocket. Instead of putting a pedal to the floor, we found a few vacation locations you can two-pedal your way to a good time. Don’t have a bike? Don’t worry – many of these locations have bike rentals!
Portland, Ore. & Seattle, Wash.
While road cyclists will love a chance to be near the Oregon coastline for a ride, there are plenty of other options for those who aren’t up to taking on that 200 mile challenge. Both Portland and Seattle are among the top 5 most bike-friendly cities in the US. Portland’s recently completed and beautiful Banks-Vernonia Trail offers 21 miles of riding and not a sign of motorized traffic.
In Seattle you might find yourself riding with some traffic (and up some hills), but this community is one of the most bike friendly in the nation. There are numerous tours to pedal through and plenty of history to soak in. Seattle also has several trail options as well.
Nestled next to the great Rocky Mountains, few other cities are going to have the options for road cyclists and mountain bikers as Denver. If riding a cruiser bike on a self guided tour isn’t your style, slap on a motocross helmet and take your pick of one of the dozens of trails this mountain city has to offer.
San Fransisco, Calif.
The first thing you might think of when you see San Fran is “No way. I’m not doing those hills.” Take a second and gear down, because there are numerous biking opportunities in this beautiful city that won’t leave you needing a vacation after your vacation. Even if you do have to crank your way up a hill or two, there will always be the satisfaction of coasting down the other side!
Many of the tours in San Francisco will offer a bike ride across the Golden Gate bridge, and some have a ferry ride back across. Once your ride is over you can sit back, relax and have a drink of wine at the famous Fisherman’s Wharf knowing you conquered one of the most famous bridges in the world.
Little Rock, Ark.
This Southern city is home to a fantastic trail is a destination for about 1,500 people each day of the weekend. The Arkansas River Trail has not even been completed, but is already a go-to spot in the area for cruising. The trail already has 11.5 miles completed of the 24 total. The trail has a ways to go, but is definitely worthy of a weekend trip to be among the masses that flow there.
Greensboro is another city that has something for the biking beginners or the hardcore mountain bikers. The city’s Watershed Trails provide extreme riding (which also means great hiking) with hair pin turns on narrow trails. If you just want to bring along your old bike and cruise the streets, Greensboro is very aware of cyclists, ranking among the top 40 biking cities in the US. So whether you’re going to the International Civil Rights Museum or one of the city’s museums, pedaling together as a pack will be a fine idea.
One obvious thing about biking in Gainesville is the lack of hills (at least fewer than San Francisco or Seattle!). What is not lacking is the amount of biking enthusiast. The city is home to many biking clubs and groups, which means there’s always an abundance of rides going on. You can check out the the Adventure Club of Gainesville’s website to find events to plan your trip around.
Don’t see a city close to you? These are just a few of our favorites across the country. Take a look at the top 50 most bike friendly cities in the country and start planning your trip today. If we missed one you think we should know about, please share! Let us know about your city or one you like to bike.