Where should I go for a week-long bike trip?
August 6, 2006 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a destination for a last-minute, week-long cycling vacation in the western United States or Canada.

I've decided that I want to go ride my road bike for a week towards the end of August. I'd like to go somewhere of great natural beauty, involving mountains, ocean, or similarly scenic environments. The destination should be relatively convenient to air travel; in other words, I should be able to fly in, unbox the bike and go. Help me choose a destination and a route!

I'd like to ride about 80-100 miles per day, carrying very little gear (probably just what will fit in a large saddlebag such as these), and stay in inexpensive hotels/motels along the way.

I've done considerable long-distance, self-supported bike touring (including having crossed the United States a couple of times), but have never done a short, motel-oriented trip like this. In addition to a destination, I'd like to hear any tips you may have about cycling travel of this type.
posted by killdevil to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
the islands off vancouver island, definitely!! like the san juans, but prettier and more laid back. fly to seattle, ship your bike, and then ride up whidbey island, etc. then take ferry from port townsend to vancouver island. ride around, go to victoria (an incredible city) then take the ferry to smaller islands (saltspring is wonderful) and ride around days, leaving your shit at the campsite or in a motel. end the trip by taking the ferry from vancouver island to canadian mainland, bike into vancouver and ship your bike back. all in all a gorgeous trip unlike anything you've done crossing the US. ferrys all accept bikes and you'll meet lots of cool people.
posted by yonation at 8:09 AM on August 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

shit - i see you want 100m a day. that definitely won't be this trip, these are more 40m days. in your case i would recommend the olympia mountains
posted by yonation at 8:16 AM on August 6, 2006

How about the Kettle Valley Railway? You could fly into Penticton.
posted by Cuke at 9:07 AM on August 6, 2006

At 100 miles per day, you could probably ride the entire distance between the canadian border and the end of Oregon/start of California, or you could do the entire California coast. Both legs are about 700 miles. A classic 50 mile per day ride is to do the Oregon coast in a week, since it runs about 350 miles and has plenty of hotels and support along the coastal bike route.

I found this book to be really informative if you're thinking of doing it (I haven't yet, but plan to next summer).
posted by mathowie at 10:21 AM on August 6, 2006

My Metafilter post on Bikely includes some other online bike trip planning tools that you might find useful.

Assuming you don't stray off course, planning and posting your trip online can help others follow you along if you get in trouble and need emergency assistance.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:03 PM on August 6, 2006

The San Juan mountains in Southern Colorado. Here's a route I've been wanting to do for ages, but I live here, and we tend to take our vacations elsewhere.

Fly into Grand Junction, Colorado.

Grand Junction to Ridgway, CO: 90 miles (or Ouray 98 miles)
Ridgway to Durango, CO: 82 miles
Durango to Dolores, CO: 53 miles (perhaps a side trip to Mesa Verde National park from here)
Dolores to Telluride, CO: 64 miles (lots of elevation gain)
Telluride to Naturita, CO: 52 miles (mostly elevation loss)
Naturita to Moab, UT: 80 miles (perhaps a side trip to Arches National Park)
Moab to Grand Junction, CO: 100 miles

If the trip is too long, you could either skip Moab and go from Telluride back to Ridgway and Grand Junction, or you could skip Telluride and go straight from Dolores to Moab.

Some of the days are shorter than you were thinking, but the elevation will make up for the shorter days. Stunning scenery: Beautiful rocky mountains, ski towns, national parks to the arches and amazing rock formations of Moab, finishing by riding up the River Road along the Colorado River past Castleton Valley.
posted by maelanchai at 5:31 PM on August 6, 2006 [2 favorites]

actually, I'd say you can still do the Vancouver Island ride. Just follow the cue sheet for the VanIsle 1200K. 750 miles with 30,000 feet of climbing -- sea, sky and a lot of natural beauty in between. You'll probably want to ping the route organizers about additional accomodations on the route as the ride is meant to be done straight through and there are only two motels/lodges on the route sheet.

Lots of randonneurs do similar long-distance trips with the Carradice bag mentioned in the post. You can definitely do it easily with only a couple of changes of clothing and some wet weather gear (you are always likely to get some rain in the Pacific Northwest, even in the height of summer)
posted by bl1nk at 5:43 PM on August 6, 2006

the alternate selection would be to do The Rocky Mountain 1200 which is similar length ride through the Canadian Rockies. It's supposed to be utterly gorgeous, though the caveat I've heard from some of the veterans of that ride is that you will deal with a lot of highway traffic (logging trucks, etc.) and if that's not your cup of tea then the VanIsle ride would probably be more amenable.
posted by bl1nk at 5:49 PM on August 6, 2006

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