A cyclist is rarely happier than when they are on a bike. Much to the chagrin of our loved ones, much of our week revolves around cycling. We bike early in the morning before work. We then bike in the evening, catching the local group ride or going out for a solo run to decompress after the busy workday.
It seems like we are always on the bike.
So, when we take vacation time, it makes sense that we'd want to ride some more. After all, it is one of our favorite things to do.
Here's the catch: we need a vacation that is creative and enjoyable enough that our family won't hate us for bringing them along. After all, our wife and kids aren't likely to be quite as excited as we are at the thought of a 100-mile bike ride.
Here are 5 vacation ideas that are perfect for bringing your bike along.
An enterprising group of individuals has partnered to buy up (or seek the donation of )old railway beds. These unused railway systems are then converted into bike trails, the flat, hard-packed surfaces perfect for pedaling.
An impressive network of trails has so far been constructed. If you live in the Midwest of the United States or further east, you are likely quite close to one of these trails.
Because these trails are so flat, they are great for new cyclists. You can grab a cheap bicycle from a blog like Dave's Cheap Bikes, get it assembled at your local shop, and be ready to ride in under ten days. So this plan also works as a last-minute vacation idea.
Depending on the rules of the trail you are on, you can camp right along the path, or you can camp in designated parks along the way. Many of them also offer small cabins that are available to sleep in for a few dollars donation. Among the older trails, bed and breakfasts have sprung up, creating a luxurious trip for those who want to pedal from quaint cottage to quaint cottage.
These trails are often highly shaded, and take you through small towns rich in history. They are a beautiful way to use your bicycle to escape the rush of the urban life.
Managed Bike Tours
For the cyclist with deep pockets, these tours offer the ultimate in destination cycling.
There is a wide range of options available. Some of these tours offer tent camping, while other provide a hotel or bed and breakfast experience.
Most of these tours last 1-3 weeks and are based on an exotic location. You can tour the wine country of California, pedal through the old world villages of Spain or enjoy the rolling countryside of Amish country in Pennsylvania.
The advantage of these tours is that they carry your bikes, your clothing, and your other gear. This frees you up to ride your bike and leaves the logistics to someone else.
There are a few of these tours that will even support you on a coast-to-coast bike ride of the United States.
For the cyclist who has more money than time, these rides are the perfect way to be pampered while pedaling.
Rent A Bike
Your vacation does not need to be all about the bicycle. Many cyclists find that with a little bit of planning, they can work in 2 or 3 small bike rides into their regular vacation plans.
Many bike shops offer bike demos or bike rentals. This service allows you to rent a bicycle at your vacation destination and enjoy a bike ride by yourself (or with your loved ones.)
By renting a bike when you travel, you don't have to fight the added costs of shipping your bicycle to the end destination. Bike rentals allow you to combine the best of vacationing with your beloved sport. You can still go to the beach or the theme park or any other vacation destination. Unless you are on a cruise ship, you can simply rent a bike once you arrive and enjoy a little "me time" on the bike.
Bike Touring With Packs
This idea is one that is reserved for the more "hardcore" cyclists.
Bikes can carry a lot of weight. Every year, thousands of cyclists fill their saddlebags with tents, clothing and food, and begin pedaling across the United States.
Over a course of several months, they traverse hundreds of miles, many of them going coast to coast. During the trip they may stay in hotels or sleep in the tent they are bringing along.
It combines a sense of adventure with the ability to see America in a new light and under human pedal power.
Typically, you will need a bicycle with reinforced wheels to withstand the additional weight the bike needs to carry. A solid sense of adventure is always important as things are apt to go wrong from time to time.
When the ride is over, you'll have an unmatched story you can brag about to your friends.
If you ever wanted to be a legend in your local cycling community, this is an excellent way to gain that status.
Vacationing is about recharging the mind. Sure, going on a bike ride in an exotic location can be a lot of fun. If done correctly, it can create some incredible memories.
However, it is important to keep it in its correct place. Cycling is meant to serve us. To make our bodies and minds stronger.
So whether you choose to ride or choose to hang up the bike and enjoy life another way, your next vacation is guaranteed to give you the memories and the time of recharging mind, body and spirit that you are looking for.