Gone are the days where bicycling is reserved for leisurely Sunday afternoons. These days, biking fanatics are hitting the road in droves and vacation options for this niche audience are expanding rapidly in the form of bicycle tourism.
Bicycle tourism can be in the form of a long weekend, an event or an extended road trip. In the United States, a national bicycle network is underway as part of the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). 41 states are collaborating to plan and assign routes that will connect across the country.
A new network of routes is also underway in the Great Lakes region. A bike route will extend around Lake Michigan and a route has been announced along the Waterfront Trail extending from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie connecting 27 waterfront communities along the way.
Lots of cyclists prefer to hit the peaceful back roads either alone or by taking part in a cycling fundraising event. Cycling charity events also give cyclists lots of opportunities for single day and multi-day rides. If you are new to the biking world, a fundraising event is a great way to get your feet wet and meet other cyclists through training groups. In Ohio for instance, Pelotonia is a popular and growing cycling event that raises money for cancer, but it is just one of many kinds of grass roots events held throughout the country.
If you are looking for biking adventures overseas, the global biking community is ready to embrace you. You can find mountain biking tours in India, Thailand and throughout Europe. For a more rustic adventure, some groups like Ibike.org combine biking excursions with eco-tourism in places like Senegal, Cuba, Liberia and Nepal.
There are lots of options for finding the right trip for you based on your skill and interest level. The Bicycle Tour Network , The Adventure Cycling Association and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) are great places to start.
Bicycle tourism has opened a new avenue for travel and endless opportunities to do it on a small scale or an extravagant one. Get out there and hit the open road!