Route Planner: America’s Best Bike Rides

Featured Article, Fitness, News and Advice
on May 23, 2011
Bob Kessler

Weekend at the Race
Philadelphia, Penn.
June 3-5, 2011
156 miles

For cycling enthusiasts, what better ride than a Cycling Championship course? Exceptional Cycling Tours is offering a cycling travel package surrounding this year’s TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, the largest single-day professional cycling race in North America. There are plenty of fun cycling activities during the weekend, and you’ll have the opportunity to ride the 156-mile course before you watch the pros take over from prime VIP seating.

Shammies ‘N Koozies Ride ‘N Float
Wimberly, TX
June 11, 2011
25, 50, 60-mile options

As any Texan will tell you, there’s no better summer pastime than floating down the Guadalupe River. Follow up this Hill Country bike ride with a barbeque, beverages and a float down the river. The tour offers three fully supported ride options, and the event offers bag-check, shuttle and bike transport services.

Discover Hudson Valley Ride
New York, NY
June 26, 2011
18, 30, 44, 62, 100-mile options

If you missed the famous Five-Boro tour of New York City in May, don’t fret! The second-annual Discover Hudson Valley Ride hosted by Bike New York and Zipcar will surely make up for it. Pedal through the Hudson Valley on any of the distance options to see scenic views. Finish off the ride with a mountain bike stunt show! Metro-North trains will get Manhattanites to and from the start.

The Raptor Ride
Yadkinville, NC
July 9, 2011
20, 40, 60-mile options

Enjoy the beauty and challenge of the North Carolina wine country (the Napa of the Southeast) with the Brandon Hills Vineyard Raptor Ride. The ride benefits the Carolina Raptor Center, and the ride kicks off with the release of a rehabilitated bird of prey back into the wild. Free yourself on one of the three distance routes, and finish off the ride with complimentary wine tasting back at the vineyard.

Group of women after the Raptor Ride in Yadkinville, NC

Goldilocks Ride
Meridian, Idaho
July 9, 2011
20, 40, 60-mile options

Enjoy the first women’s-only ride in Idaho with your girlfriends on this beginner-friendly, mostly flat route that includes suburban and rural riding through beautiful Star and Middleton. Goldilocks is fully supported, and includes lunch, a swag bag, a t-shirt, and a finish line party.

Colorado-Eagle River Ride
Avon, Col.
July 23, 2011
42, 68, 100-mile options

The Colorado-Eagle River Ride benefits SOS Outreach, a youth development non-profit that serves underprivileged kids through adventure sports. This year’s ride offers three routes of rolling hills and gentle climbs along the Colorado and Eagle rivers. Featuring spectacular views and an after party, the Colorado-Eagle River Ride is not to be missed!

Colorado-Eagle River Ride in Avon, Colorado

Beach Babe Bicycling Classic
Long Beach, Cal.
July 24, 2011
18, 38-mile options

The all-women Beach Babe Bicycling Classic will take riders through beach towns with a touch of glamour—catered rest stops are provided and male “Beach Bums” will be the ladies’ personal cheerleaders.

Beach Babe Cycling Classic in Long Beach, CA

Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI)
Glenwood, Iowa
July 24-30
454 miles

The 39th RAGBRAI touts itself as the “oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world,” so if a major cycling event is your goal, then this is your ride. 8,500 riders take part in the ride, which has become a model for other statewide cycling tours. Riders can participate for the entire week or for individual days. Spots fill up fast, so the event relies on a lottery system for entry.

Hot Hundred
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
July 30,, 2011
23, 34, 46, 65, 102-mile options

Brave temperatures averaging in the low 90s during this ride through the University of Alabama campus, including the home of the Crimson Tide football team, Bryant-Denny Stadium. There are five distance options, and those taking on the longer routes will discover the reason behind the ride’s name, cycling over 100 miles in the heat. All distances end at Jack Warner Parkway with beautiful views of Tuscaloosa’s Riverwalk Park and the Black Warrior River.

Blackberry bRamble
Eugene, Ore.
August 7, 2011
20, 39, 62, 100-mile options

Not only does the Blackberry bRamble offer rides and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy, but cyclists are rewarded with plenty of free blackberry pie and ice cream after they finish. Each of the four distance options will take you through farms and vineyards. Back at the post-ride celebration, the whole family will enjoy music, shopping, food and even a dip in the pool.

Blackberry bRamble in Eugene, OR

Mass BikePike Tour
Northampton, MA
August 11-14, 2011
Distances vary between 30-70 miles each day

This family-friendly tour will take you through the back roads of Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires. There are both short and long ride options each day, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy local attractions and socialize during the “Friendliest ride in the East.” The tour includes daily breakfast, dinner and camping facilities.

Four-Star Bike Tour in Chicago, IL

Tour de Elvis
Albemarle, NC
August 13, 2011
25, 40, 62-mile options

When local Elvis tribute group “The E’ssentials” began performing in Albemarle’s summer concert series, nobody predicted that it would inspire a charity bike ride. The local community’s love for Elvis sparked a massive crowd at the concert, and event coordinators harnessed the King’s popularity to create a weekend of healthy activities. The Tour de Elvis features three distances, so riders of all levels are welcome. If you’re looking for more than just a bike ride, the Tour de Elvis features a 5K run on the evening of the 12th.

Tour de Elvis in Albemarle, NC

Crater Lake Century
Klamath Falls, Ore.
August 20, 2011

62, 100-mile options
Described by many participants as the “best bike ride in America,” this tour takes you around the perimeter of the deepest lake in the U.S. Whether you choose the 62-mile or the 100-mile route, this ride will require some serious training. Both routes are rated “extremely difficult” and include 3,000 ft. climbs. The breathtaking views, however, are worth it.

Four-Star Bike Tour
Chicago, Ill.
August 28, 2011
12, 32, 62-mile options

The Four-Star Bike Tour is the longest-running ride in Chicago, formerly called the Boulevard Lakefront Tour. Each of the three distances will take you through neighborhoods and parks as you experience the windy city’s architecture and history. Enjoy the post-ride festival, complete with live entertainment, food and beer after this family-friendly tour.

Four-Star Bike Tour in Chicago, IL

Popcorn Road Ride
Harrodsburg, Ind.
September 3, 2011
30 miles

The Popcorn Road Ride offers three 30-mile routes, The Popcorn Trail, Injun Joe and Damn Delight. The event is appropriate for beginner cyclists, and veterans will get a good workout by combining two or even all three of the routes. A lunch buffet, snacks and drinks are provided at Harrodsburg.