The USA offers some of the most incredible natural scenery and historically and culturally significant locales the world has ever seen. From its vast plains to its arid deserts, its rolling green hills to its mountain peaks, it’s the ideal place to explore on two wheels, whether you want scenery, adventure or physical challenge.
It’s a country spoiled for choice when it comes to bike tours, tracks and trails, so here are 5 top picks to get your started on planning your ultimate USA cycling adventure.
Transamerica Bicycle Trail
Starting from Williamsburg, VA and finishing up in Florence, OR, the “TransAm” cycle route has been frequented by two-wheeled travellers since 1976. Riders cycle west through Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri. The ride starts with flat rides across the plains, then transforms into a mountainous track through valleys and over ranges. This ride is nothing short of an epic achievement, about 78 days worth of riding through challenging and varied terrain. Completing the “TransAm” is truly a cross-country conquering.
Portland Crater Lake Loop
The ultimate way to explore the impressive landscapes of Portland, OR, the Portland Crater Lake Loop appeals to truly adventurous cyclists who love both the outdoors and a good solid challenge. Riders first explore the peddle-friendly city of Portland , then take the aerial tram up into the mountain ranges with stunning views of Mount Hood and other peaks. Cyclists are then put to the test in the Cascade Ranges, tackling some of Oregon’s most challenging terrain, eventually following the trail into the Deschutes National Forest. The highlight of this ride is the arrival at the rim of Crater Lake, with an exhilarating from the volcanic rim into the lake’s deep blue waters. From there it’s downhill to Klamath Falls where riders can finally relax as the Amtrack Coast Starlight train returns them to Portland.
Pacific Coast Bicycle Route
For lovers of the surf and sunshine, this route offers some of the USA’s finest riding terrain and most iconic cities. From Bellingham, WA, riders journey south past Puget Sound and through Washington’s remarkable forests, then onto the breathtaking riverside trails that follow the Columbia River all the way to the coast. From here, riders will cycle into California, with the Pacific Ocean at their side and the ocean spray in the air. Once in California, cyclists head inland to experience the rich flora and fauna of the redwood forests until they reach San Francisco. After visits to Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur, and Santa Barbara, riders peddle across the border for a brief stint in Mexico, before heading back to the states to finish up in San Diego.
Schuylkill River Trail
Riding west from Philadelphia, the Schuylkill River Trail takes riders on a journey through stunning landscapes and historical landmarks. The route allows cyclists to explore the famous Valley Forge National Park, Lancaster County with its idyllic farmlands and traditional architecture, and meander alongside the pristine flowing waters of the Susquehanna River. After climbing Catoctin Mountain the ride finishes up in Washington, DC.
Denali Adventure Trail
When it comes to truly unparalleled landscapes, Alaska holds a grand title. On the Denali Adventure Trail cyclists are at the hands of mother nature, and while challenging, this route yields the most incredible rewards for those who take part. From Alaska’s Capital, Anchorage, riders follow the Glenn and Richardson highways as the landscapes transforms from scenes of vast green farmland to snow-capped peaks and glacial mountains. The route then carries riders into the Denali National Park to greet the famous Mt McKinley.
These are just a handful of the unforgettable cycling experiences just waiting for you in the USA, it’s the kind of place you could spend a lifetime and still have so much left to experience and explore. Whatever your flavour, whether it’s a racing Giant, a mountain-climbing Merida or a bumpy little BMX, this is a country with so much to offer cyclists of all skill levels and disciplines.
Written by Kevin Donovan