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What Are The BIG American Bike Rides?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

What Are The BIG American Bike Rides?

Old 10-10-11, 11:08 AM
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DGlenday
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What Are The BIG American Bike Rides?

I'm curious about what are considered to be the bigger "must-do" road bike rides in the USA.

- I'm aware of RAGBRAI (done it). I also know about Bike Virginia and the GOBA in Ohio, and I suspect there will be many other similar rides. But which is the biggest and the most significant of these?

- Although it's in a whole different league, I'm aware of the Race Across America, which I'd like to consider at some point in the next few years.

- I'm also aware of (and plan to ride) the New York 5-Burroughs ride - which seems easy, but fun - as long as you can avoid the potholes.

But ... what else? What would you consider to be the biggest or the most important rides or tours? E.g. is there anything like the Argus Cycle Tour, in Cape Town? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argus_cycle_tour

Or - put differently - what rides would you realistically put on your bucket list?
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Old 10-10-11, 11:15 AM
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Maui, start at the sand and climb to the top of Haliakala Mr.

Cycle Oregon is a good ride too, if you don't mind 2,200 people and blue toilets for a week.
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Old 10-10-11, 11:21 AM
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[QUOTE]
Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
- Although it's in a whole different league, I'm aware of the Race Across America, which I'd like to consider at some point in the next few years.

- I'm also aware of (and plan to ride) the New York 5-Burroughs ride - which seems easy, but fun - as long as you can avoid the potholes.

QUOTE]
The RAAM is a much different animal than the others you list. It takes a serious investment of time and money and a support team.

The NY5BBT is less a "ride" and more of a ride/walk/stand-still/ride again/stand-still again.... It's neat, but if you are adverse to massive crowds and severe backups you should avoid it.
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Old 10-10-11, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
I'm curious about what are considered to be the bigger "must-do" road bike rides in the USA.
There is no such thing as a "must-do" big ride as far as I'm concerned.

Huge rides with thousands of people are their own type of animal. If that's your thing, by all means track them down and go for it.

I do large rides once in awhile, but I prefer smaller ones because you can focus on the ride itself rather than dodging idiots.
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Old 10-10-11, 11:54 AM
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BRAG is one here in GA. Hot as hell weather and loads of fun from what I hear
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Old 10-10-11, 11:59 AM
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I think LOTOJA is a pretty big ride.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:07 PM
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to the OP, there is one in your back yard this weekend, the Seagull Century. It will be the first time I'm doing it (along with my wife and brother) don't know how I'll feel being one of 8,000 riders.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:08 PM
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The Hotter-n-Hell 100 in Wichita Falls is the largest bike rally in this part of the country, normally in late August. Personally, I'd say it's worth going to, but not something to drive across the country for, either.

The neatest rides I have done just involved a few friends, not a mass of people.

Here in Texas, I hear a fair bit about the Furnace Creek 508 and about the Sebring 24 hour race, so they are fairly well known. Both are races, so if you're not into the type of actiivity being done, there's no reason to add them to a "bucket list" either.

For randonneurs, there are several 1200k rides around the country and around the world. I did my first this spring, and am pondering another next summer.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
I'm curious about what are considered to be the bigger "must-do" road bike rides in the USA.
As a Boston cyclist, I'm often asked if I do the PanMass Challenge, which is a big fundraiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. It's a two day ride of about 150 miles from Sturbridge to Provincetown. My impression this is not a difficult ride, except for the need to raise about $3500 to participate.

Another well-known ride is the Harpoon Ale B to B ride, a one-day ride from Boston to Burlington, VT. An intriguing ride I heard of long ago sponsored by the Charles River Wheelman was to ride through all six New England states on a three day Memorial Day weekend. Finally, one long-term challenge I've been told of in Massachusetts is to ride through all the 351 cities and towns in the state.

None of the above are on my list.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:37 PM
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Markleeville Death Ride, in the Sierra mountains of California. 3500 riders, 14,500' of climbing, 124 miles. Just a ride although there's some fast riders.
Everest Challenge: 29,035' of climbing in two days. It's mostly a race but there's a "tourist" division too.
Mt Evans hillclimb, from 7000' to 14,000'. There is a race and a public category age graded race/ride too.

I've done all of those. They're all fun. The Death Ride is the largest event of the three.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:41 PM
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Ride the Rockies in Colorado is pretty big, around 2000 riders. And probably quite challenging if you aren't used to riding in the mountains.
I've done Bicycle Tour of Colorado, which has about 1200 riders.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:46 PM
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In the Seattle area: STP (Seattle to Portland) is a very "large" (10,000 riders) double century.

Less popular, but still big: RSVP (Seattle to Vancouver), RAMROD (around Mt. Rainier)
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Old 10-10-11, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
In the Seattle area: STP (Seattle to Portland) is a very "large" (10,000 riders) double century.
STP is more of a rolling party than a ride. But it can still be fun.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:53 PM
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In Colorado it's popular to get to the top of mount Evans (14,265).
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Old 10-10-11, 01:07 PM
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Tour de Tucson: 8-9,000 rider century.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
In the Seattle area: STP (Seattle to Portland) is a very "large" (10,000 riders) double century.

Less popular, but still big: RSVP (Seattle to Vancouver), RAMROD (around Mt. Rainier)
I did STP(204 miles) in June which was my first year, they have single day(which I did) and 2-day versions. I plan to do RAMROD(9000' of climbing in 154 miles) maybe next year, these rides just cost a fortune, at least for me. RSVP(182 miles) = Ride from Seattle to Vancouver with a Party

Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
STP is more of a rolling party than a ride. But it can still be fun.
VERY fun! Not much of a party where I was but still a lot of fun.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:21 PM
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There is a couple in the southeast I know of that are fun and bring in from 125-3000+ people:

In FL:
-Ride Across FL. 175 mile. Usually100-125 people.
-Horrible 100 Century. Usually 2500-3000+ people.

GA:
-Brass Town Bald Century
-6 Gap Century. 2500+ people.

NC:
-Blood, Sweat, and Gears. Caped at 750 people for the century and 500 people for the 50 mile route.
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Old 10-10-11, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
STP is more of a rolling party than a ride. But it can still be fun.
I thought it fit well with what the OP was looking for...
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Old 10-10-11, 02:59 PM
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Harpeth River Ride - Franklin, TN in June; Lance Armstrong rode in it this past June 2011. 1500 riders first class support.

Sunrise Century - Clarksville, TN - very flat about 1200 riders

Jack & Back MS 150- leaves Franklin , TN and goes to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, TN where you stay the night and then return.
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Old 10-10-11, 03:23 PM
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PMC is an incredible experience. Fund raising is WAY harder than the actual ride, but the ride is pretty special.

Harpoon B2B is harder than you think -and even more fun!

D2R2 is on my list for next year.
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Old 10-10-11, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
Tour de Tucson: 8-9,000 rider century.
I was going to mention this... was my first century years ago and I think there were 8,000 riders then... not to mention the additional riders who come in for the 50 and 75 milers. Way too many people for me. I like the smaller rides - 2,000 is pleasant. 8,000+ is a real mob all the way!!!

So Cal has the Amtrak Century in September. Not certain the limit but again way too many people for me.

There are a number of week long - RAGBRAI type rides. Just because of the name, I've always wanted to do the SPUD. Or ride across Idaho. Does anyone know if that ride still happens?
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Old 10-10-11, 04:37 PM
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Three State/Three Mountain Challenge, Chattanooga.
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Old 10-10-11, 04:42 PM
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The Death Valley Century in Death Valley,CA

I heard thousands and thousands of people show up to ride.
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Old 10-10-11, 05:05 PM
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Pittsburgh- Dirty Dozen
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Old 10-10-11, 05:49 PM
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Seattle To Portland is a super popular ride, as is RAMROD [Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day]
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