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il miglior fabbro
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There was a documentary on Nova last night about the origins of the Scablands in Washington state, and some of the roads through that desolate beauty looked inviting for a surreal kind of bicycle trip. So, too, were the brief scenes from Montana. Meanwhile, a colleague is recently back from Minnesota with brochure and tales of wonderful scenery on the quiet rolling plains and big welcoming skies of that great state.
It has me wondering: If there was one cycling vacation left in me, where in the U.S. would that be? Who here can suggest a neck of their woods that will provide a memorable, stimulating and moderately challenging trip on a road bicycle?
Please consider these stipulations:
1. Roads have to be macadamized - preferrably asphalt but tar-and-chip is okay - lightly travelled by automobiles; paved shoulders are a bonus.
2 There should be a nice blend of flats and rollers; as for mountains, say 5,000 to 8,000 feet of climbing on one or two of the days (while I have diesel-like qualities, unfortunately I'm a Mario Cipollini when it comes to mountains).
3.There should be an international airport with car rentals no more than a three-hour drive from the area that this trip will cover.
4.The trip would be based out of one motel with an assortment of loop rides; or maybe a couple of motels if need be. The bike will be brought in a travel case so a base of operations is preferred.
5. The scenery will be awesome and photogenic, of course; more importantly, it will be stimulating and enlightening - in its geology, flora and fauna, archaeology, history, culture ...
6. Group rides/tours are okay but I can also do it alone.

I've taken just one cycling vacation so far, to the Solvang area of California, and I still think of it fondly nearly two years later.

Surprise me. Thanks.
 

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Roll Out Jeremy
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Washington in the top 3

Olympic Mountains, Eastern Washington desert, Cascade Range, San Juan Islands, Washington would have to be near the top of the list...
 

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Black Hills of South Dakota
http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=441
1. Roads have to be macadamized - preferrably asphalt but tar-and-chip is okay - lightly travelled by automobiles; paved shoulders are a bonus. Check
2 There should be a nice blend of flats and rollers; as for mountains, say 5,000 to 8,000 feet of climbing on one or two of the days (while I have diesel-like qualities, unfortunately I'm a Mario Cipollini when it comes to mountains). There are both Great Plains and challenging climbs. Plains = Wind Cave National Park Climbs = Rushmore, Norbeck, and the Needles. The Badlands are also in easy reach.
3.There should be an international airport with car rentals no more than a three-hour drive from the area that this trip will cover. Rapid City SD
4.The trip would be based out of one motel with an assortment of loop rides; or maybe a couple of motels if need be. The bike will be brought in a travel case so a base of operations is preferred. I would base out of Sylvan Lake Lodge http://www.custerresorts.com/sylvan-lake-lodge-custer-state-park-resort/ with possible moves to Blue Bell Lodge http://www.custerresorts.com/blue-bell-lodge-custer-state-park-resort/ and/or Cedar Pass Lodge http://foreverlodging.com/lodging.cfm?PropertyKey=67 (warning bare bones accomodations here)
5. The scenery will be awesome and photogenic, of course; more importantly, it will be stimulating and enlightening - in its geology, flora and fauna, archaeology, history, culture ...Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Harney Peak, Wild Buffalo, Burros, Elk, Mustangs, Mammoth Dig, Wind Cave, Badlands, Lead SD.
6. Group rides/tours are okay but I can also do it alone. Nope, you'll be the only cyclist on the road, you understand both the good and the bad of that. This is undiscovered country as far as cyclist go.
 

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I live in WA State and it is indeed a great place to live and ride. The winters can be long and wet, but there are also many days when you can ride in the winter. We get a little snow, but nothing too bad. The roads are generally good with some poor chip seal roads around in the rural areas.
 

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Not so sure about the solo SD thing

Scot_Gore said:
Black Hills of South Dakota
http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=441
1. Roads have to be macadamized - preferrably asphalt but tar-and-chip is okay - lightly travelled by automobiles; paved shoulders are a bonus. Check
2 There should be a nice blend of flats and rollers; as for mountains, say 5,000 to 8,000 feet of climbing on one or two of the days (while I have diesel-like qualities, unfortunately I'm a Mario Cipollini when it comes to mountains). There are both Great Plains and challenging climbs. Plains = Wind Cave National Park Climbs = Rushmore, Norbeck, and the Needles. The Badlands are also in easy reach.
3.There should be an international airport with car rentals no more than a three-hour drive from the area that this trip will cover. Rapid City SD
4.The trip would be based out of one motel with an assortment of loop rides; or maybe a couple of motels if need be. The bike will be brought in a travel case so a base of operations is preferred. I would base out of Sylvan Lake Lodge http://www.custerresorts.com/sylvan-lake-lodge-custer-state-park-resort/ with possible moves to Blue Bell Lodge http://www.custerresorts.com/blue-bell-lodge-custer-state-park-resort/ and/or Cedar Pass Lodge http://foreverlodging.com/lodging.cfm?PropertyKey=67 (warning bare bones accomodations here)
5. The scenery will be awesome and photogenic, of course; more importantly, it will be stimulating and enlightening - in its geology, flora and fauna, archaeology, history, culture ...Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Harney Peak, Wild Buffalo, Burros, Elk, Mustangs, Mammoth Dig, Wind Cave, Badlands, Lead SD.
6. Group rides/tours are okay but I can also do it alone. Nope, you'll be the only cyclist on the road, you understand both the good and the bad of that. This is undiscovered country as far as cyclist go.
I had the itch last fall to surf about and SD was on my radar screen for a supported bike tour. www.bicyclingworld.com has SD trips. Saw another that runs the gambit from luxurious('pardon me, would you happen to have any grey poupon?") to bare bones ("here's your cue sheet and complimentary bottle of water and a cookie, have fun")
 

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Colorado Springs, CO
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631 Posts
Colorado!

The Bicycle Tour of Colorado – BTC (www.bicycletourcolorado) Go to "route" then check out the profiles. This is usually a big circle of +/-400 miles. Route changes every year. This year it was a big counter clockwise loop from Durango. You would have flown into Denver, then jumped on a smaller plane to Durango.

The other option is Ride The Rockies – RTR (www.ridetherockies.com). Route also changes each year, but this ride is usually point to point. Yes, there are some logistical challenges to get to the start/finish, but the ride organizers usually have reasonably priced charter bus service from major points (like the Denver airport) to the ride start and return

I have done both rides and they both are superbly organized and are a challenge. This year’s BTC featured the first day from Durango to Ouray over three mountain passes – about 8,000 feet of climbing over the day according to my cycle computer. It also had a century day across a place called Disappointment Valley (basically a desert). Last year’s RTR (2007): First day a century from Frisco to Steamboat Springs with a serious climb over Rabbit Ears Pass at the end of the day (grunt, ugh!) and the next to last day between Aspen and Leadville over Independence Pass (12,000 feet). Didn’t pedal for almost 18 miles down the other side. Both RTR and BTC are capped at 2,000 participants.

One thing about riding in Colorado is that you have some challenging climbs that are followed by some really long downhill runs. But, depending on where you choose to go, there are mountains, flats, rollers, and everything in between.

Roads here are mostly in good shape for cycling, and once you get out of the front range metro areas (Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder) the road traffic is pretty light.

Another great ride I saw was one that AMGEN is putting on in September from SF to LA. You need to raise $2950 for arthritis research to get in. The whole ride follows Hiway 1 (the coast).

Other Colorado rides to check out to get a flavor of what is available for cycling

Courage Classic
www.coppertriangle.com
Triple Bypass
www.bvbf.org
www.crmbt.com


ColoradoVeloDude
Colorado Springs, CO
 

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Blue Ridge parkway is supposedly the best bicycling secret in the US. It was purposely constructed to go through scenic areas, limited access, and from what im told, few cars, awesome road surface. Speed limit is low too. You can just bike from camp to camp or hotel to hotel without even getting a map out for days. Let me start your list from the bottom up, SOUTH CAROLINA. Worst state ive ever seen for biking, I hate it here. I havent seen em all yet though. Disclaimer: Greenville is an oasis in the northwest part of the state as you get near the low mountains.
 

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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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It’s funny how I keep reading (obviously biased) articles stating that Silicon Valley is a great bike-friendly place to ride, but clearly they were written by people who don’t ride anywhere except municipal trails (of which, I think there are a total of 25 miles of those paved trails here in the bay area).
 
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