According to NPD Group, bicycle sales revenue was up 65% in the 12 months ending in July 2021 compared to two years ago, continuing a trend that kicked into high gear during the COVID-19 pandemic. As travel returns, bike tour operators are offering several new trips and routes across the country. Here are six places to ride, from Florida’s First Coast to Montana’s Great Divide, South Dakota’s Centennial Trail and southern Vermont’s village greens and covered bridges.
1. Cycling the First Coast: Find winter sun of the historic First Coast of Florida during Cycle of Life Adventures’ new St. Augustine-Amelia Island Bike Tour. From the state’s northern border, riders will pedal along beautiful shorelines and barrier islands, through wetlands and parklands teeming with birds, past lighthouses and forts, and into the historic downtown of the nation’s oldest city, dating to the 1500s.
2. Black Hills Mountain Biking: Join Escape Adventures on a new mountain biking tour on South Dakota’s Centennial Trail and experience the diverse terrain of the Black Hills, from peaceful ponderosa pine forests to wide-open grasslands and refreshing freshwater refuges. Enjoy first-class camping, stops at Mount Rushmore and Sturgis, plenty of buffalo and bald eagles, but few other people along the way.
3. Gravel Adventures: On a new collection of dirt/gravel tours from Adventure Cycling Association, leave the pavement behind for off-road riding back East and out West. Among the trips, travel down remote backroads, over mountain passes and along stunning rivers and lakes on the Montana Divide Gravel tour. Or follow gravel roads and rail trails through friendly small towns and secluded wilderness on the Allegheny Mountains Loop in West Virginia and Virginia.
4. Southern Vermont Riding: On Cycle of Life Adventures’ new Vermont Fundo Bike Tour explore the quiet country roads, covered bridges and village greens of the Connecticut River Valley. Riders select their own accommodations and dining options to suit their preference, then set out each day to explore the small towns of southern Vermont and western New Hampshire.
5. Utah MTB Hut System: The new Aquarius Trail Hut System in Utah offers a backcountry mountain biking experience like no other. The Aquarius Trail has five huts furnished with beds, a bathroom, a fully stocked kitchen and solar power strategically placed along a 190-mile route through some of the state’s most scenic and colorful country.
6. U.S. Bicycle Routes: For those looking to plan their own bike travel, Adventure Cycling Association recently announced nearly 3,000 miles of new routes in the U.S. Bicycle Route System. Riders can follow the Pacific Coast north of the Bay Area or cross California from high desert to the Santa Monica pier, bike from Indianapolis to Bloomington and beyond in Indiana, connect Cleveland and Toledo along Lake Erie in Ohio, pedal from the foot of the Wasatch Front to Utah’s painted cliffs, and roll along the Palouse and into the Snake River Canyon in Washington.