Where should I ride my bike next?
December 13, 2017 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a new long-distance organized group ride in 2018. I've enjoyed both RAGBRAI in Iowa and The Bon Ton Roulet in the Finger Lakes, but I'm interested in other destinations. Can you recommend another tour?

My criteria:
*Supported ride, so I don't have to lug my camping equipment.
*500+ riders. I find the larger tours are better organized, and it's a great way to meet new people.
*5-10 days in length.
*Hills are OK, but flat is better.
*Between April and October.
*Somewhere in North America.
*Good beer!
posted by sixpack to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
5 to 10 days? Wow!

There are a variety of two-day fundraisers for the MS Society all over the country, but the biggest and best (routinely in the neighborhood of 15,000 riders) is the BP MS150, from Houston to Austin in two days every April.

The long route on day 1 is 100 miles; on day 2 there area a few options, but experienced riders take the "challenge" route that's about 70.

The second half of day 1, and all of day 2, are hilly, at least by Texas standards. Per my Strava tracks, I got about 3,000 feet of climbing each day. And plenty of breweries participate, so, yeah, beer.

(I'm also interested to see what other tours get mentioned.)
posted by uberchet at 11:13 AM on December 13, 2017

Cycle Oregon. Definitely not flat. Not quite sure how many people are on the trip, but they've done this for a while (30 years!) so I think they're pretty organized. It's Oregon, so you know there will be good beer!
posted by hydra77 at 11:32 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

It doesn't totally meet all your criteria (mountains, not hills), but Bicycle Tour Colorado is large, mind blowingly scenic and well regarded. Full Disclosure - I'll likely be volunteering for it next summer, and have friends who have done it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:35 AM on December 13, 2017

The Friends for Life Rally is 600km from Toronto to Montreal.

Cycle Canada runs supported bike tours with much smaller groups. I did the BiQue Ride with them a number of years back and my experience was good. It's pretty flat.
posted by TORunner at 11:35 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Trek Across Maine is only three days but I think makes most of the rest of your criteria. It's not flat, but it is downhill overall I guess, given that it goes "from the mountains to the sea"?

*Supported ride
*2000+ riders and they've been doing it for 30+ years
*3 days
*Starts out hilly and gets flatter
*In June
*In Maine
*I don't know what beers are specifically available but Maine is a pretty good place for beer
posted by mskyle at 11:42 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you don't mind fundraising rides, AIDS/LifeCycle is 7 days in California. Here is a map of 2017's route. I donated to one of the riders in 2015 and his race reports were pretty incredible.
posted by muddgirl at 11:49 AM on December 13, 2017

(Ummm, it's not a race! Don't know why I called it a "race report." His RIDE reports were incredible.)
posted by muddgirl at 11:52 AM on December 13, 2017

Look at the Guided Tours from the Adventure Cycling Association. The have 108 tours in 2018.
posted by ITravelMontana at 12:13 PM on December 13, 2017

Best answer: You can do worse than Washington state in summer. The famous 2 day Seattle to Portland STP is held in July, and is followed by another short 2 day event, the Ride from Seattle to Vancouver & Party (RSVP). They're not long, but the STP in particular is fully supported and a lot of fun since you're riding the 200 miles from Seattle to Portland with 10,000 of your closest friends.

But for some serious riding, there's the RAW, the Ride Around Washington. It's a week-long fully supported ride that circumnavigates the state of Washington. I haven't had a chance to ride it yet, but I've had lots of fun with the Cascade Bicycle Club's other rides, including the STP the past five years. The RAW support looks to be a real Cadillac affair, and pre-arranges camping venues, transports baggage, provides mechanical support and more, even providing hot meals and access to hot showers. I've been wanting to do it for some time, as Washington has some truly impressive extremes of geography. From the Rockies on the east side, across the Palouse and Columbia river gorge, you can see what's practically a recapitulation of all the geography from the South Dakota badlands over to Idaho simply by crossing the state. 2017's RAW guide. (PDF)

The Cascade Bicycle Club is the nation's largest state cycling advocacy organization, and have been organizing major rides for over 40 years, so their events are usually pretty much seamless. They host and organize many major rides year around, and smaller events daily, all year round.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 5:21 PM on December 13, 2017

"Bicycle Shows" seem fun and organize rides around New York State. I've always wanted to go to one, but the timing never worked out. They have an upcoming 3 day ride in MA in April 2018: The Farm Ride.
posted by vert canard at 3:59 AM on December 14, 2017

The Erie Canal has (I think) several tours at various times of the year. This is the first one I came upon, but I'm like 90% sure there are others associated with other groups, and as of a few years ago there was at least one group of folks that met regularly to do a sort of group unsupported tour.
posted by Urban Winter at 2:06 PM on December 14, 2017

Best answer: Have you checked out Georgia's BRAG or Ohio's GOBA or Wisconsin's GRABAAWR or Michigan's Michigander or Colorado's Ride the Rockies? An appeal of GOBA is that you finish where you started; there's no need to take a bus back to the start or bring a friend with a second car.
posted by dlwr300 at 6:35 AM on December 15, 2017

Best answer: I had a great time doing Michigan's DALMAC, which has been a Labor Day tradition since the early 70s, and it hits all your criteria. Flat for the first couple days, then rolling hills for the remainder. Bonus: it goes over the Mackinac Bridge, a five-mile span that connects Michigan's peninsulas.
posted by kelborel at 12:18 PM on December 15, 2017

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