Travel Tips 

Bike Touring for Every Kind of Adventurer

Bike touring is the perfect way to experience just about any region or landscape. You might be asking yourself, what is bike touring? It simply means getting around by bike. Bike touring encompasses all experience types, from one-hour city bike tours to multi-day overnight excursions. Not only is biking an eco-friendly mode of transportation, it allows you to cover more ground than walking or hiking while still going slow enough to appreciate your surroundings. If you’re interested in exploring by bike but aren’t sure where to start, here’s our guide to bike touring, from basic day trips to weeklong mountain biking expeditions.
Prepared By:

Shannon Lowery

Adventurer & Photographer

Bikers near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

For the Beginner: Single Day Bike Tour

If you want to explore on two wheels but are short on time, a basic bike tour is a great way to explore anywhere from cities to national parks. After all, biking is one of the most sustainable ways to travel. Choose from hour-long guided tours or rent a bike for the entire day. Many outfitters and rental companies will even meet you in more remote locations where you can spend time exploring with a guide or on your own. Either way, bike tour companies will provide you with all of the gear you’ll need for a safe ride including a helmet and bike lock as well as maps, suggested routes and points of interest. A one-day bike tour or rental is a great option for those that don’t have much experience biking or are unable to commit to a more immersive adventure.

A group of bikers in the countryside

For Some Creature Comforts:

Full Service Bike Touring Companies

Multi-day biking excursions are easier than ever thanks to full service bike tour companies. This is the ideal middle-of-the-road option when it comes to bike touring, combining adventure and convenience. For many of these bike tour itineraries, you’ll stay in traditional lodging in cities and towns while biking your way from one place to another. The tour companies will plan your route, book your stays and even shuttle your luggage to your next location so you can be baggage-free during your ride. Some packages also allow guests to choose from a variety of accommodations based on their needs and budget, from basic hostels to three-star hotels. After a long day of pedaling across stunning landscapes, you can freshen up, enjoy a hot meal and sleep in a warm bed. Full service bike tours are the perfect, practical option for groups, families and romantic getaways.

Recommended full service bike tour companies include: Go Soujourn, Discovery Bicycle Tours and Backroads

A man bikecamping in a snowy landscape

For the Adventurer: Bike Camping

You’ve heard of car camping, but have you tried bike camping? It’s the same concept, except you pack your camping gear on your bike rather than in your trunk. With the help of racks and panniers, you can outfit most standard bikes with some extra storage space so that no gear gets left behind, especially if the rider also wears a backpack. Bike camping is great for shorter distances to access areas that can’t be reached by car but is faster than walking or hiking. This type of bike touring requires cyclists to be mindful of terrain and routes, since installed hardware can become damaged during a treacherous ride and difficult to repair onsite. Take advantage of a knowledgeable guide or create your own adventure depending on your experience and comfort level!

If you’re interested in bike camping, check out these outfitters and experts: Western Spirit and Adventure Cycling

A mountain biker rides through desert terrain

For the Minimalist: Bikepacking

The ultimate hybrid of backpacking and bike touring is bikepacking. Unlike bike camping, space and weight matters more during bikepacking because gear is affixed to the bike frame using small bags and straps. Other than storage space, the main downside of bikepacking is that it can get expensive. Lightweight gear optimized for this kind of adventure can be costly, but the experience comes with big payoffs. Without the addition of racks and panniers, cyclists can be more agile while bikepacking, allowing them to access more extreme trails and challenging rides. 

For more information on bikepacking trips, head to: Campfire Cycling or Bikepacking Roots

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