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Road Cycling Destinations?

Old 03-25-24, 08:13 AM
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Road Cycling Destinations?

Hi Folks:
After spending a few days of fruitless googlery, I decided to ask the people who know: Where are the true destinations to travel to for serious road cycling (US and abroad). Sure, it's enough to have a road, and a bike, who needs more than that. Sure there are wonderful package tours that will free you from all logistical worry. But really some places are better to just go and train in (this means getting there!) than others. I have criteria:

1) Good rides (of course) in varied terrain (at least some real climbing), well maintained low-traffic roads
2) Local bike shop(s) that rent/service road bikes (name one?)
3) Nearby airport or other transportation (where do you fly into?)
4) Good food and accommodation, not too expensive
5) Stuff for your family to do while you're out riding (semi optional)
6) Drivers who won't kill you.

Cheers,
Jon
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Old 03-25-24, 08:30 AM
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I'll give an obvious example anybody can dream about (or do, it's not that hard):

Bourg d'Oisans, France

1) Good rides (of course) in varied terrain (at least some real climbing), well maintained low-traffic roads
Awesome road rides of every type, they even have a replica of the Alpe du Zwift!

2) Local bike shop(s) that rent/service road bikes (name one?)
https://www.cyclesetsports.com/fr/co...velo-alpe-huez

3) Nearby airport or other transportation (where do you fly into?)
Fly to Grenoble, train or bus to Bourg d'Oisans (~1 hr).

4) Good food and accommodation, not too expensive
It's a ski resort, might be pricey for that kind of room.

5) Stuff for your family to do while you're out riding (semi optional)
Festivals of some kind nearly every week, farmers market, bric-a-brac, shopping, non-cycling sports.

6) Drivers who won't kill you.
Again, this is France: drivers are more likely to cheer you on than run you off the road. Many roads (Including the Alpe d'Huez) are closed to motorized traffic on specific days of the week.

Cheers,
Jon
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Old 03-25-24, 08:59 AM
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Natchez Trace Parkway.
444 miles. Bucket list item I've yet to do. Start up near Nashville and wind up in Natchez MS seems the logical way to go. I live next to it near the 100mi marker. I've met a lot of people doing that ride. The last three groups doing it backwards. But whatever!

6) Drivers who won't kill you. Most won't kill you. A few will annoy you and make you shout bad word and gesture obscenely at them.

https://natcheztracetravel.com/biking-the-trace.html



Mount Blue Sky (formerly Mt. Evans) in Colorado.

You can start off near Evergreen or Idaho Springs. Both easy to get to from Denver. Or go up to Echo Lake and just make it a short ride. The views and vistas are tremendous once you get over the tree line. Plan on it being self supported or have a SAG vehicle. I heard Echo Lake Lodge is now closed.

https://pjammcycling.com/climb/50.Mt-Evans
https://www.mybicycleroutes.com/xmtevansinfopage.html
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Old 03-25-24, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
Natchez Trace Parkway.
444 miles. Bucket list item I've yet to do. Start up near Nashville and wind up in Natchez MS seems the logical way to go. I live next to it near the 100mi marker. I've met a lot of people doing that ride. The last three groups doing it backwards. But whatever!

6) Drivers who won't kill you. Most won't kill you. A few will annoy you and make you shout bad word and gesture obscenely at them.

https://natcheztracetravel.com/biking-the-trace.html



Mount Blue Sky (formerly Mt. Evans) in Colorado.

You can start off near Evergreen or Idaho Springs. Both easy to get to from Denver. Or go up to Echo Lake and just make it a short ride. The views and vistas are tremendous once you get over the tree line. Plan on it being self supported or have a SAG vehicle. I heard Echo Lake Lodge is now closed.

https://pjammcycling.com/climb/50.Mt-Evans
https://www.mybicycleroutes.com/xmtevansinfopage.html
I want to ride the Natchez. Are motel/hotel accommodations conveniently located along the route? I/m not a camper. Thanks
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Old 03-25-24, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by WaveyGravey
I want to ride the Natchez. Are motel/hotel accommodations conveniently located along the route? I/m not a camper. Thanks
There are B&B's along the way or hotels and motels at most all the cities along it. The Natchez Trace is a national parkway. So there aren't any directly on it. But you can get off of it and pedal a mile or so to get to them. Some actually just through the tree line.

In the link I gave there are links to such. And googling will find you tons of info.
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Old 03-25-24, 06:58 PM
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Seasonally (like now, for instance), Tucson in Arizona is pretty nice. They've had a cycling emphasis, with bike paths, bike lanes, etc. for many years now. It's a popular spring training destination. Mt Lemmon, Kitt Peak, Saguaro National Park (East & West). The airport used to be one of the nicer ones, but I've only driven, lately. Avoid in summer, at least during heat waves.
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Old 03-26-24, 09:15 AM
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There are lots of cycling options in Napa. Day trips. winery tours, week long excursions, etc.
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Old 03-26-24, 09:29 AM
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San Francisco Bay Area - IMO, some of the best road cycling in the world - 4 major mountain climbs, rides to the coast from Silicon Valley, Napa / Sonoma wine country and more.

Tuscany Italy - great roads and food.

Mallorca Spain - cycling Mecca many pro teams train there. I have been there 4 times and going again this year.

Spain - Girona

Tuscon - Mount Lemmon - I have done it twice and sort of a meh. Tucson has rough roads and may have wind. It sounds great to read about but not so great once one is there.

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Old 03-26-24, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Ubie
There are lots of cycling options in Napa. Day trips. winery tours, week long excursions, etc.
I wouldn't recommend Napa Valley proper for cycling. Few decent roads, too much traffic.

On the other hand, nearby Sonoma County has much more to offer a cyclist, on quieter roads.
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Old 03-28-24, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
Tucson has rough roads and may have wind. It sounds great to read about but not so great once one is there.
As someone who's come to Tucson several times a year for the past ~25 years, at least 17 of them explicitly for road cycling, and liked it so much I eventually bought an apartment in Tucson and moved here full time, I will offer this:

The city and/or surrounding Pima County) infrastructure is surprisingly on top of road maintenance, such that invariably when I find myself complaining about a crappy section of pavement, within ~1 year that section has been resurfaced and is now a lovely section of pavement. It's almost uncanny...but it's one of the things I love about riding around Tucson.

Can't do anything about the wind.
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Old 03-28-24, 10:15 AM
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If you want some epic climbs the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and the White mountains will test the best climbers. Had some fun trips there with friends.
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Old 03-28-24, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
If you want some epic climbs the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and the White mountains will test the best climbers. Had some fun trips there with friends.
Yes, this! Epic climbs. Base camp in Mammoth Lakes -- lodging prices are cheaper in summer, and some altitude training.

Markleeville is another option, although the lodging and dining there is pretty minimal. Great rides, though. You can also stay at Stateline.
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Old 03-28-24, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Yes, this! Epic climbs. Base camp in Mammoth Lakes -- lodging prices are cheaper in summer, and some altitude training.

Markleeville is another option, although the lodging and dining there is pretty minimal. Great rides, though. You can also stay at Stateline.
We've stayed in Lone Pine and Bishop on trips.

Have you done the Mammoth Grand Fondo?
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Old 03-28-24, 12:41 PM
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Personally, I've had great experiences in Southern Spain, France, and the big Island of Hawaii. I'm pretty sure those destinations meet all your needs.
Somewhat less exotic, but I've had some great rides in Montana and the Canadian Rockies - the Icefields Parkway is a fun ride.
This site has some inspiring information: roads to ride

Edit to add: Palm Desert California is also pretty bike friendly.
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Old 03-28-24, 12:41 PM
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Bob_Ross Sorry for being harsh on Tucson road conditions...maybe too harsh.

So better yet...maybe...here is a video from a training camp put on by an operator in Tucson where my wife and I had a great time and would do it again with that group of people (customers and operator personnel) anywhere in the US or International - Totally fun and screw the roads and wind they were immaterial. The riding was hard and we had some hitters in the group. Fantastic time and it showcases Tucson scenery.

The first three riders up Mount Lemmon, including my my wife, killed it. It was a fun climb but hard and long. The video was produced by the operator, Cycling House, that features the campers, employees and Tucson terrain and one can see the road surfaces - sometimes and judge for oneself.

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Old 03-28-24, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
We've stayed in Lone Pine and Bishop on trips.
They're not high enough for altitude training. I stayed at Glacier Lodge above Big Pine a couple times. One step above camping. Another possibility is Rock Creek Lakes Resort. Cabins are decent, restaurant serves good basic fare. Pretty high at almost 10,000 feet.

Originally Posted by big john
Have you done the Mammoth Grand Fondo?
No, never have. The only organized ride I did out there was the Everest Challenge, now defunct.
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Old 03-28-24, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
Bob_Ross Sorry for being harsh on Tucson road conditions...maybe too harsh.

So better yet...maybe...here is a video from a training camp put on by an operator in Tucson where my wife and I had a great time and would do it again with that group of people (customers and operator personnel) anywhere in the US or International - Totally fun and screw the roads and wind they were immaterial. The riding was hard and we had some hitters in the group. Fantastic time and it showcases Tucson scenery.

The first three riders up Mount Lemmon, including my my wife, killed it. It was a fun climb but hard and long. The video was produced by the operator, Cycling House, that features the campers, employees and Tucson terrain and one can see the road surfaces - sometimes and judge for oneself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5ghRgt6eGY
Bob Levin on that video is a friend, just rode with him last Sunday. He lives out of the area now but was in town visiting his kid. Nice man and can climb with the younger goats when he's on his game.
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Old 03-28-24, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
They're not high enough for altitude training. I stayed at Glacier Lodge above Big Pine a couple times. One step above camping. Another possibility is Rock Creek Lakes Resort. Cabins are decent, restaurant serves good basic fare. Pretty high at almost 10,000 feet.



No, never have. The only organized ride I did out there was the Everest Challenge, now defunct.
We rode up to 10K in the White Mountains and 9K+ a couple times in the Sierra and I didn't have trouble with the altitude. Didn't have any specific training goal in mind, though.
My friend Dave on the way up to Sabrina.
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Old 03-28-24, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
Mallorca Spain - cycling Mecca many pro teams train there. I have been there 4 times and going again this year.

Southern Spain - Girona
.
Girona, where Lance used to live and train, is pretty much in NE Spain, not southern Spain, north of Barcelona.
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Old 03-28-24, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
Bob Levin on that video is a friend, just rode with him last Sunday. He lives out of the area now but was in town visiting his kid. Nice man and can climb with the younger goats when he's on his game.
The Jersey Boys were very tough. My wife beat them all except one and got Wolff as well on Mount Lemmon. I was meh but it was a great climb.
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Old 03-28-24, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by WaveyGravey
I want to ride the Natchez. Are motel/hotel accommodations conveniently located along the route? I/m not a camper. Thanks
I’ve done the Natchez Trace. There are not a lot of great Hotel options, and some places you have to go a bit off the Trace to get to a hotel. We did it in 5 days, so sometimes adding 10-15 miles to get back and forth to motels to a 100 mile day was a bit of a PITA. If you did a more relaxed schedule, the various side trips wouldn’t be as big of deal.

The 2 places I would definitely recommend staying would be French Camp, which is right on the Trace, and the Marriot in Florence Alabama. Awesome bar, often with live music, and memorabilia from many HOF artists who stayed there while recording in Muscle Shoals.
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Old 03-28-24, 06:59 PM
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Also, while the Natchez Trace is nice, I would place the Blue Ridge Parkway/ Skyline Drive way above the Natchez Trace
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Old 03-28-24, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Yes, this! Epic climbs. Base camp in Mammoth Lakes -- lodging prices are cheaper in summer, and some altitude training.

Markleeville is another option, although the lodging and dining there is pretty minimal. Great rides, though. You can also stay at Stateline.
I'm a West slope guy, but Markleeville is a short drive over Carson Pass for me...I usually do a couple of the Death Ride passes on a bi-monthly basis during the summer.

I agree about staying in Stateline/Meyers/South lake. You can ride from there or it's a short drive down to Markleeville. Non-cycling family can be plenty busy around Tahoe for a couple days. If the OP really wants to get some climbing in on a supported event, show up in July to ride the Death Ride. Another option is to stay at Bear Valley. Besides being next to Pac grade and Ebbett's pass, there's a bunch of hiking around there too.
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Old 03-28-24, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Ubie
There are lots of cycling options in Napa. Day trips. winery tours, week long excursions, etc.
I’d think long and hard about cycling in Wine Country, unless you plan to be off the bike by 9:00 am. LOTs of drinking and driving, even on weekdays.

I lived up there for seven years and getting hit on a clear weekday on a straight and wide road at 3 in the afternoon ended my cycling until I moved to San Diego.
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Old 03-30-24, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jesnow
Hi Folks:
After spending a few days of fruitless googlery, I decided to ask the people who know: Where are the true destinations to travel to for serious road cycling (US and abroad). Sure, it's enough to have a road, and a bike, who needs more than that. Sure there are wonderful package tours that will free you from all logistical worry. But really some places are better to just go and train in (this means getting there!) than others. I have criteria:
Cheers, Jon
Going to Europe to ride is like participating in training rides with the professionals. The professional teams want practically all your "criteria".

The pro teams know those rides and so do you !

I had the opportunity to ride some of those with the Cervelo Test Team back in 2009. I did not ride with the team, just as a guest of that Team. For us non-pros, they used the Brits to be our guides, bike mechanics, massage guys, accommodations and all.

I would ask Gerard Vroomen and he was there with us. He would know which bike travel guys to use. And I think this is not going to be "cheap". But an experience because the Brits will be very good riders.

You may not know much about Gerard, but he's Dutch and knows much about Europe.
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