• Tue December 09 2008
  • Posted Dec 9, 2008
by Gene Bisbee This holiday weekend I took a virtual state-by-state bicycle tour around the U.S. by reading about all the exciting week-long bicycle tours that are available in 2009. I dug up more bike rides than ever -- 133 bicycle tours in 45 states -- to update the list of Across State Bicycle Tours. That's kind of a generic title for the list. Although a few are patterned on RAGBRAI and actually go from one side of the state to the other, most are high-attendance, week-long rides that simply explore a region of the state by traveling the backroads. Non-profits I've tried to limit the bike tour offerings to non-profits. For the states that don't have non-profit rides, I've included links to private bicycle tour companies that offer rides there. A lot of this year's increase came from adding the 20 supported bike tours and 12 self-contained bike tours offered by the non-profit Adventure Cycling Association. These are a little more costly than the some other non-profit rides, but the groups are much smaller than the typical 100 to 2,000 rider limit on other bike tours. Here it is the first week of December, and 90 of the bike rides already have dates and/or routes for 2009. The other bike tours haven't updated their sites yet, but you can check them for updates if I haven't caught them yet. New ride California tops the list with 11 week-long bicycle rides; Michigan ranks second with 9. New York and Oregon follow with 5 each. Alabama didn't have a ride this year, but the Alabama Bicycle Coalition is launching the Alabama's Magnificent Bicycling Adventure in 2009. It's a week-long event based in Auburn that sends cyclists out on different loops every day. On a negative note, I couldn't find any word about Cycle Across Maryland returning in 2009. It's organizer, One Less Car, announced this year that CAM would end with its 20th anniversary unless another organization picked it up. Costs Once again, it might be good timing for a bicycle tour vacation in 2009. While high gasoline prices made a week-long bicycle tour a good choice in the summer of 2008, the recession might make these bike tours a good, cost-conscious decision next year. While the prices run as low as $185 to up to $1,000 for a week, you'll need to check to see what's offered. Most of the tours are supported, meaning they'll carry your luggage from point to point. Most offer free camping; you'll have to pay if you require off-site lodging. Some of the least expensive don't include meals; three meals a day plus snacks can add a lot to the final bill. Also, transportation back to the starting line might not be included in the base cost.

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