My husband J and I met on a charity cycling team, training for a 100-mile ride (Check out the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training). He says I fell in love with him because of the spandex. I say he fell in love with me because he had to keep chasing me. 😉 Anyway, in our pre-kid days, we did a lot of cycling together and often combined our travels with bike rides. Here are some of our favorite scenic bike rides:
Crater Lake Rim Drive – I’m starting out with one of the most challenging but most beautiful! The 33-mile ride around the rim of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is breathtaking to say the least. It is a demanding ride with plenty of very steep inclines, but coasting the downhills while riding through beautiful pine forests or gazing at the cobalt blue lake is a phenomenal feeling. It’s best to do this during off-season or first thing in the morning since to avoid heavy car traffic. There is no dedicated bike lane. We did not have too much trouble on most of the route – we went first thing in the morning in September. I happened to be quite sick while we did this ride but was determined not to miss it since we had planned our trip around it. It was well worth it, even with Kleenex in hand. I used my virus as an excuse to upgrade from a campsite to a room at the National Park lodge on the rim of Crater Lake – that was quite quaint and we really enjoyed dinner at the restaurant there. More info is available here: http://www.craterlakeinstitute.com/planning-visit/activities/bicycling.htm.
Vineyard Tour Bike Ride in Roseburg, Oregon – If you are able to time your Crater Lake visit to also hit the Vineyard Tour Bike Ride put on by the Umpqua Velo Cycling Club in September, do it! However, give yourself a couple days to rest in between. We planned on doing the full century ride the day after we had done the Crater Lake ride. After 50 miles of the Vineyard Tour, our legs were done, I was still sick, and the wine tasting seemed like a much more appealing way to spend our afternoon. So, the century is still on our bucket list! However, even in 50 miles, it was a lovely way to see a piece of Oregon’s wine country by bike. The local bike club that put it on was extremely friendly and we were greeted at SAG stops with cute kiddos passing out homemade baked goods. A bonus for us, coming from Southern California, was the relatively little traffic on the roads compared to what we are accustomed to. More info is available here: http://www.thevineyardtour.com/index.php.
Lake Tahoe Century – This one is near and dear to us because it was the first century we did together. The route takes you around the 72-mile perimeter of Lake Tahoe, and then on an out-and-back to Truckee, CA along a pretty stream to complete the remaining mileage. You have the option to just do the 72-mile route along the lake if you prefer. There are a couple of challenging climbs, but one comes at the beginning so your legs are still strong. It is quite a large and well-organized event. The roads are still open to traffic but there is a lot of signage and guidance provided for both cyclists and motorists. We did this ride with Team in Training, and though you can certainly register on your own, it’s fun to see folks who come from all over the country having raised money for cancer research. Teams don their jerseys with their hometown listed, and there are a LOT of cheerleaders along the route as a result of the large charity presence. Our first ride was miserable weather – I mean REALLY cold rain. We were told it is “never” like that for the ride, which is held in early June, so we returned the following year to do it again. It was absolutely gorgeous. I’ve actually done it three times myself now, with only one bad weather year. The lake views are stunning. More info is available here: https://www.bikethewest.com/americas-most-beautiful-bike-ride/.
Moab Century Tour – This ride was a gorgeous journey through Utah’s canyon country was inspiring and other-wordly. There were moments where you felt like you were in another world. There are several options as far as distance goes, ranging from 38-102 miles. We did the century and were quite beat afterwards. There was a windy but beautiful out and back along the Colorado River that was at the end of the route the year we did it. The trip was memorable for its non-cycling moments as well – the desert thunderstorm that came out of nowhere the night before the ride, our stop at the Moab Brewery after the ride (http://www.themoabbrewery.com/), and our visit to Arches National Park the next day. Moab is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and is definitely worth a visit. More info is available here: http://www.skinnytireevents.com/page.cfm?pageid=20054
What are some of your favorite scenic bike rides that double as excellent vacation spots?