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Help Me Choose a Short Tour for 2021

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Help Me Choose a Short Tour for 2021

Old 05-16-20, 10:51 AM
  #1  
Bassmanbob
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Help Me Choose a Short Tour for 2021

This year has been a huge disappointment for me from a cycling standpoint. I've had three of six cycling events cancelled so far this year. With my suspicions of a resurgence of this pandemic here in the US this summer, I may need to cancel my participation in the Crater Lake Century in August. We'll see; I hope I'm wrong. That being said, I'm feeling depressed with tons of rain out there today, and I just feel the need to go out and ride for days. So I told my wife that I'm doing a short solo 4-6 day bicycle tour next year, thinking that the pandemic situation may be significantly safer by then.

So here are the parameters/considerations:
*Anywhere in the Continental USA
*Sometime from July-September
*4-6 days of cycling; 3-5 nights
*A fairly well known or established route
*Not too much climbing.
*Scenic route preferred
*About 40-60 miles/day on average
*Road but maybe some gravel/packed dirt
*Weather: I live in Florida, so I am used to managing in significant heat. I can handle the cold, but would like to avoid below freezing temperatures
*I have no preference as to an end to end vs loop tour. I would just arrange for travel back to my origin prior to flying home.
*Self Supported vs Supported
. *Self Supported:
. *Trek 520 with front and rear racks, four panniers, handlebar bag, camping equipment with kitchen equipment
. *I prefer this option, but would not rule out a supported tour
. *Would allow me to be solo
. *I like the idea of being self sufficient
. *Supported:
. *No need to carry everything on the bike, so I could take my Bike Friday and take less stuff
. *Less stuff to ship and I could just put my Bike Friday in its suitcase
. *Can't do a solo tour this way unless I do a credit card tour Hmm. Maybe.
*Denver conference at the end of July (possible)
. * I could tag this bike tour onto the Denver conference
. *This would probably add a lot more climbing, being in or near Denver
. *At least the flight could be considered a tax write-off since I would need to fly in and out of Denver anyway
*I enjoy our National Park System and would enjoy visiting one or two of these. I would probably avoid south Utah/northern Arizona as I have vacationed there three times.
*Experience:
. *Very limited to a two day self supported tour on a Florida Rail to Trail
. *I also have some car camping experience

So where would you recommend and why? Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Bassmanbob; 05-16-20 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 05-16-20, 01:40 PM
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Erie Canal Towpath is about 400 miles, about 60-40% well maintained dirt-road or paved trail. You could do it credit card. Fly into Albany and out of Buffalo, or vice versa. The Western half is nicer and more scenic. It is very flat with varied scenery from cities to abandoned canal with blue herons, turtles and deer. Path is on the north side of the canal so it has a southern exposure, warm in July.
Good luck
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Old 05-16-20, 03:10 PM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
*Denver conference at the end of July (possible)

So where would you recommend and why?
July to September gives you nice weather in a lot of the USA, but let me build a bit on your Denver conference idea. I have a more relaxed suggestion and then one a bit more ambitious:

The more relaxed version isn't exactly a tour but might match your 3-5 nights and get in some reasonable bicycling. This would be to take your Bike Friday to the conference to your conference and then do the following riding:
- First day, ride some of the trails around Denver, perhaps out to Boulder and back. Return to home base. In addition to being reasonable cycling and not too hilly, this gets you some riding at 5000ft elevation. The next days will take you to 9000+ feet. People vary a bit how they adjust to altitude though I've found most didn't have difficulty with 9000ft.
- Second/Third/Fourth day. Take either bus or rental car to Summit County (e.g. Frisco, Dillon, Breckenridge). Next days will be hub/spoke touring. Either stay in Forest Service Campground or a rental location. Multiple day rides possible from here including around Dillon Lake, trails to Breckenridge or up to Vail Pass and back down, etc. Return back to Denver for your flight out.
There are other places you could do this, and while the mileage is limited to what you do out/back, it would likely be on lower ends of your 40-60 range.

The more ambitious version is to start from Denver and make a one-way ride from a destination back to Denver using your Trek 520. More than one possibility here. For example:
- Drop a rental car in Laramie; cycle to Walden, over Cameron Pass down to Fort Collins and along the front range back to Denver
- Laramie to Walden, adventure cycling route to Breckenridge (Summit County) and bus back to Denver
- Train to Grand Junction, back to Denver
- etc.
While there are mountains, most of the CO State Highway system has grades that are long and gradual, more than short/steep found elsewhere. You can find an annotated map of the CO highway system with notations of shoulders and traffic volumes. That and journals might also give some ideas.

In any case, there are definitely possibilities if you want build onto your Denver conference visit... either for some more relaxed hub/spoke riding or for more ambitious riding. You'll want to pay attention to altitude (e.g. don't come from sea level and immediately up to altitude - it may be perfectly fine or you may discover you need to adjust first - but easier to do conference first, and then riding along front range initially).
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Old 05-16-20, 04:02 PM
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Up and back on the GAP starting in Pittsburgh? W. Newton, Confluence, Frostburg, Cumberland, Rockwood, Connellsville, Pittsburgh. If you can manage more time, an up and back on the Mickelson Trail, but you’d probably have to spring for a rental car for the week that you would use to get from Rapid City to Deadwood and back?
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Old 05-16-20, 09:39 PM
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How about the Natchez Trace? It fits all your parameters with plenty to see and do along the way. There are countless journals over at CGOAB to peruse for details.
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Old 05-17-20, 12:28 AM
  #6  
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fly to denver with 520, enjoy the conference.
store box at your hotel.
ride west to grand junction (250 miles) or green river (350 miles).
return to denver on amtrak.
return to hotel for one night, box up, go home.

googles will give you elevation profiles.
crazyguy will give you route descriptions.
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Old 05-17-20, 08:27 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
This year has been a huge disappointment for me from a cycling standpoint. I've had three of six cycling events cancelled so far this year. ...That being said, I'm feeling depressed with tons of rain out there today, and I just feel the need to go out and ride for days.

So I told my wife that I'm doing a short solo 4-6 day bicycle tour next year, thinking that the pandemic situation may be significantly safer by then.

So here are the parameters/considerations:
*Anywhere in the Continental USA
*Sometime from July-September
*4-6 days of cycling; 3-5 nights
*A fairly well known or established route
*Not too much climbing.
*Scenic route preferred
*About 40-60 miles/day on average
*Road but maybe some gravel/packed dirt
*Weather: I live in Florida, so I am used to managing in significant heat. I can handle the cold, but would like to avoid below freezing temperatures
*I have no preference as to an end to end vs loop tour. I would just arrange for travel back to my origin prior to flying home.
*Self Supported vs Supported
. *Self Supported:
. *Trek 520 with front and rear racks, four panniers, handlebar bag, camping equipment with kitchen equipment
. *I prefer this option, but would not rule out a supported tour
. *Would allow me to be solo
. *I like the idea of being self sufficient
. *Supported:
. *No need to carry everything on the bike, so I could take my Bike Friday and take less stuff
. *Less stuff to ship and I could just put my Bike Friday in its suitcase
. *Can't do a solo tour this way unless I do a credit card tour Hmm. Maybe.
*Denver conference at the end of July (possible)....
*Experience:
. *Very limited to a two day self supported tour on a Florida Rail to Trail
. *I also have some car camping experience

So where would you recommend and why? Thanks in advance.
If you are as flexible as you describe, I perennially post to these US tour queries, about cycling in Metro Boston:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
"Suggestions for next epic ride"

Personally. I'm very happy cycling in Metro Boston, and have posted an informal Cycling Guide to Metro Boston that would make a nice hub and spoke tour of nine days...

It may seem parochial, but I think the cycling around here is great. One can be in scenic countryside within about one hour from downtown, while passing through an interesting, compact urban and suburban scene. Furthermore you can extend your range with a convenient Commuter Rail that allows fully-assembled bikes during off-peak hours. In Spring through Fall it’s a temperate climate.


Besides the cycling, Boston is such a popular tourist destination that there will always be something interesting to do off the bike…culture, nightlife, sports and so forth.

I know you would like to avoid the urban experience, and further out into New England could satisfy that condition. Camping near Boston too would be problematic, but not impossible. If you’ve never been here before, the experience may be even more…epic.
and also by way of personal experience:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…FWIW, after decades [including a cross-country ride] I still have fond memories of my earliest cycle touring in my home state of Michigan. Tourism is, I believe Michigan’s second largest industry, and it’s largely a rural / forested state with a lengthy shoreline, an extensive road system, and numerous towns and facilities, including campgrounds, spaced at convenient cycling distances.

IMO, an excellent, though perhaps mundane getaway. Just sayin’…FWIW (even as a cross-country cyclist)

BTW, over the years I have responded to several of these threads with open-ended requests for travel destinations. One thing they have in common is that the OP never informs us of the final destination, much less how was the trip, even when requested to do so....
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Old 05-17-20, 02:00 PM
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Thanks so far for your input. So far the ones that stand out are the two Denver hub and spoke and the end to end with Amtrak back to Denver. The Natchez Trace also sounds really good and Michigan sounds intriguing. I’ve been to Boston twice, so I probably wouldn’t do that, but thanks.

keep them coming! And I promise to let you know what eventually happens.
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Old 07-09-20, 06:34 PM
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Keeping this updated, my wife just informed me she would not be going to the Denver conference next year, so I can definitely tack on some extra days and ride in the Denver area. I want to visit a friend who loves in Conifer. So this looks like it would be the best option so far. As requested, I’ll keep this updated, especially where and what I do.
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Old 07-10-20, 10:50 AM
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Oregon Coast north to south... Portland > Astoria,> Florence to Eugene , Bus, Amtrak or ride back to Portland .
There is a Bus from Portland to the Coast from the Amtrak station. Tri-Met gets to there from the PDX airport..

Shop in Astoria takes in shipped bikes in boxes*, and its 2 blocks from where the bus comes into transit building.
* pay for reassembly ready to ride, , or you can DIY when you get there..
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Old 07-11-20, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Oregon Coast north to south... Portland > Astoria,> Florence to Eugene , Bus, Amtrak or ride back to Portland .
There is a Bus from Portland to the Coast from the Amtrak station. Tri-Met gets to there from the PDX airport..

Shop in Astoria takes in shipped bikes in boxes*, and its 2 blocks from where the bus comes into transit building.
* pay for reassembly ready to ride, , or you can DIY when you get there..
Oregon is definitely on my list twice for cycling in the future.
1. I plan to do the Crater Lake Century possibly next year or the year after. I registered for it this year, bought plane tickets, hotel, etc... but the event was cancelled. Thankfully I got my money back and a credit from United Airlines.
2. My first summer of retirement (as long as I’m healthy enough to do it) will be spent riding the Trans America Trail.
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