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Seeking More From This Summer’s Travel? Add Adventure to the Itinerary

Experience extraordinary landscapes and incredible biodiversity on a new 15-day Madagascar Wildlife & Rainforest Expedition from Adventure Life

With pent-up demand unleashed for summer travel, it is important to book early.  From family cycling tours on Cape Cod to cycling across America, following the footsteps of Napoleon’s Grande Armée across Europe, river cruising in Europe, exploring the Galapagos and Amazon rainforest, here are a sampling of active travel ideas with a measure of adventure:

Cycle Across the USA: Plan an epic bike tour or bikepacking trip of your own with the assistance of the Adventure Cycling Association. To help riders find their way, the organization offers maps for 50,000 miles of bike routes through the U.S. and into Canada, the Bicycle Route Navigator app and other resources. Cross the country on the TransAmerica Trail, ride the Rockies on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route or try a shorter adventure in between. https://www. adventurecycling.org/

Bike Across Europe: Follow in the footsteps of Napoleon’s Grande Armée on Ride & Seek Adventures’ 36-day, 3,700-kilometer “Bike Across Europe” tour. The epic adventure crosses eight countries and two continents between Paris and Tallinn, Estonia, taking in the Champagne region of France, the green hills of southern Germany, the great lakes of Poland and the Baltics. https://www.rideandseek.com/  

Zimbabwe Safari: Summer is peak safari season in Zimbabwe and a tour with Adventure Life will bring breathtaking views and an abundance of wildlife. Guests will take in the thundering Victoria Falls and Batoka Gorge, then travel by train to a tented lodge near Hwange National Park, where elephants, buffalo, hippos, lions and other wildlife can be seen on game walks and drives during this six-day safari tour. https://www.adventure-life.com/zimbabwe/tours/11300/classic-hwange-safari

Madagascar Wildlife + Rainforest Adventure: Experience extraordinary landscapes and incredible biodiversity on a new 15-day Madagascar Wildlife & Rainforest Expedition from Adventure Life. Visit the hillside capital of Antananarivo, Morondava and its famous baobab trees, the white-sand beaches of Sainte Marie, the port city of Tamatave, and national parks and reserves filled with unique natural wonders and endemic wildlife while staying in upmarket hotels, beachside resorts and forest lodges. The 15-day tour, one of several new tours in Madagascar from Adventure Life, is available starting at $4,707 per person based on double occupancy. https://www.adventure-life.com/madagascar/tours/16437/madagascar-wildlife-rainforest-expedition

Galapagos, Amazon & Andes: Discover the magical Galapagos archipelago at Scalesia Galapagos Lodge, explore the Amazon Rainforest at Sacha Lodge and experience the Ecuadorian Andes at Hacienda Piman. Guests will hike active volcanoes, explore the Napo River by dugout canoe, enjoy a train ride in the Andes and visit one of the biggest craft markets in South America. http://www.scalesialodge.com/programs/

Rhine River Cruise: Sail the Dutch waterways and Rhine River from Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, to maritime Rotterdam, medieval Ghent and Belgium’s second city, Antwerp, before arriving in magnificent Cologne on Riviera River Cruises’ new Amsterdam, Cologne and the Best of Holland & Flanders itinerary. In 2022, guests will enjoy a visit to the once-in-a-decade Floriade Expo and its stunning array of flowers, plants, fruits and vegetables. https://www.rivierarivercruises.com/river-cruises/amsterdam-cologne-and-the-best-of-holland-flanders-river-cruise

Dolomites Cycling Tour: Experience dramatic mountain beauty and fairytale towns of Italy’s Dolomite Mountains with Tourissimo. Each day, guests will be surrounded by stunning Alpine scenery as they cycle through some of the most beautiful towns and villages of this breathtaking region. Ride over exhilarating passes, climb by soaring spires and coast downhill to charming hamlets on routes made famous by the world’s greatest cyclists. https://www.tourissimo.travel/dolomites-bike-tour

Sardinia Chef Tour: Tourissimo and SHS in Sardinia present a NEW project: a 7-day “Blue Zone” culinary cycling tour of Sardinia hosted by celebrated Chef Mary Sue Milliken. Guests will experience the culinary specialties of both the coast and the mountains and discover the cultural roots of the island while cycling some of its most scenic and traffic-free roads. Chef Milliken will play an important role in helping guests understand and experience the local cuisine and culinary techniques that tell the story of the territory. https://www.tourissimo.travel/chef-tours/sardinia

Family Cycling Adventure: Experience four days of family-friendly bike travel on Massachusetts’ scenic Cape Cod during Adventure Cycling Association’s new Cape Cod Family Adventure. At the core of the trip is nearly 100 miles of great biking between Provincetown at the tip of the outer cape and Brewster on the lower cape, including traffic-free paved trails such as the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the Head of the Meadow Trail. There’s even time off the bike to go hiking, swimming and stand-up paddleboarding.  https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/family-adventure-tours/cape-cod-family-adventure/

Tetons Tiny House Getaway: With sustainably built, LEED-certified “tiny house” cabins, Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, embraces modern, yet rustic design and presents a fresh approach to luxury lodging. Nestled in a wooded setting at the foot of the Teton Range, the cabins allow guests to get back to nature while enjoying the intimacy of a boutique hotel and the ambiance of their own cozy residence. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/

Yellowstone Country Adventures: Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Yellowstone this summer with a stay at The Wilson Hotel in Big Sky, Montana, on the edge of America’s first national park. Guests can explore the natural wonders and wildlife of the park on their own or with a guided tour, and find hiking, mountain biking, ziplining, fly fishing, whitewater rafting and more around Big Sky. https://thewilsonhotel.com/

MTB Hut System in Southern Utah: The new Aquarius Trail Hut System offers a backcountry mountain biking experience like no other in the region. A system of five huts furnished with beds, a bathroom, a fully stocked kitchen, and solar power has been strategically placed along a 190-mile route through some of Utah’s most scenic backcountry and best mountain biking trails. https://aquariustrail.com/

Maui Multi-Sport: Escape Adventures’ Maui multi-sport tour loops around the valley between Pu’u Kukui on the Hawaiian island’s west and Mount Haleakalā on the east. In addition to world-class road biking, surfing lessons and sea kayaking allow guests to add water sports to their experience, while several unforgettable hikes offer a chance to see the beautiful island on foot. https://escapeadventures.com/tour/hawaii-maui-multi-sport-road-bike-tour/

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Adventure Cycling Association Offers Biking Trips to the Islands

Biking the Shining Sea trail, Cape Cod © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

MISSOULA, MT- Because of limited access, biking in an island destination can be the perfect getaway. In 2021, Adventure Cycling Association is offering active tours to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket (https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/self-contained-tours/cape-cod-the-islands/), the San Juan Islands, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

Of the four itineraries, only Cape Cod and the Islands still has availability. Spend a week cycling along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean shoreline, viewing seaports, glacially formed kettle ponds, and lighthouses of southeastern Massachusetts, visiting historic sites from the days of colonial America, and exploring quaint shops on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Attractions of special interest include Cape Cod National Seashore; a full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower; the preserved village of New Bedford, once the whaling capital of the world; and the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center. Every day on this tour is spent within 15 miles of the Atlantic, and each night close to a large body of freshwater or saltwater.

This level 1 tour is suitable for all riders and is a great choice for anyone looking to learn the basics of self-contained touring, or for an experienced bicycle traveler looking for a week of relaxed cycling. The riding is relaxed, services are plentiful, and the campgrounds are outstanding. (Sept 11-18, 2021 8 days, $1349, https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/self-contained-tours/cape-cod-the-islands/)

The other tours have waiting lists:

Puerto Rico, Inn to Inn: The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is characterized by a mist-shrouded interior mountain range, long stretches of sand beaches, and numerous forest reserves, including El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. The route we’ll follow focuses on coastal towns and the regions encircling the central highlands with side excursions to interior sites and small neighboring islands. This tropical adventure begins and ends in San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico, founded in 1521 by the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León. Travel back 500 years to Spanish colonial times by strolling down cobblestone streets, admiring ancient architecture and visiting museums, fortresses, and churches. The tour circumnavigates the island on a 339-mile journey visiting beaches, snorkeling, enjoying local cuisine, and appreciating the beauty of this tropical paradise. (Dec 5-16, 12 days, $3599, https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/inn-to-inn-tours/puerto-rico-inn-to-inn/)

Washington’s San Juan Islands, Inn to Inn: This weeklong inn-to-inn tour weaves along the glorious northwestern coastline of Washington’s Puget Sound and through its famous San Juan Islands, offering an irresistible combination of manageable daily mileages and world-class scenery. The tour spends days leisurely pedaling the waterfront, spinning inland through fertile farmlands and scenic villages full of interesting shops and top-notch seafood restaurants. On several days, cycling is broken up by ferry rides, with a chance to spot orca whales, seals, and bald eagles.  (Level 3, 8 days, Sept 4-11, $2699, https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/inn-to-inn-tours/wa-san-juan-islands-inn-to-inn/

Hawaii-3 Island Inn to Inn features Maui, Molokai, and Lanai, three of Hawaii’s most beautiful islands. On Maui, ride along stunning coastal roads and make an epic climb from sea level to the top of the Haleakala volcano at 10,000 feet — one of the world’s longest paved climbs! A small plane takes cyclists and bikes on the short 15-minute flight to Molokai for three days of cycling on quiet roads with views of gorgeous valleys and the world’s tallest sea cliffs. A ferry takes the group out on the ocean, past migrating humpback whales to Lanai for a day of exploration by bike or shuttle van, or with snorkel and fins, before returning to Maui. The inn-to-inn format means restaurant meals, overnight accommodations at hotels and inns and riding lightly loaded bikes while experiencing a tropical paradise. (Level 4, 11 days, $4,999, Dec 3-13, https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/inn-to-inn-tours/hawaii-3-island-inn-to-inn/)

Adventure Cycling Association, with 52,000 members and 50,000 miles of mapped routes, has great articles on trip planning at its site (www.adventurecycling.org, 800-755-2453).

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Ride & Seek Introduces Epic 28-Day Appalachian Trail Maine to North Carolina Cycling Adventure

Ride & Seek is bringing its epic, historically-themed cycling adventures to North America with a new 28-day, 1,377-mile cycling tour from Maine to North Carolina. Split over two distinct stages, the route takes riders through 12 US states from Bethel, Maine to Cherokee, North Carolina, with the Appalachian Trail providing the thematic backdrop.

(Provence, France) — Ride & Seek is bringing its epic, historically-themed cycling adventures to North America with a new 28-day, 1,377-mile cycling tour from Maine to North Carolina. Split over two distinct stages, the route takes riders through 12 US states from Bethel, Maine to Cherokee, North Carolina, with the Appalachian Trail providing the thematic backdrop.

Starting with the rural and rustic splendor of Maine, cyclists will search out the road less travelled, exploring the states of New England and skirting around New York City before completing the first stage in the historic town of Gettysburg, PA. The scenery of the ride is enhanced by numerous National Parks and the second stage includes two of the best bike routes in the USA – Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Slated for May 30 – June 26, 2021, prices range from $5,590 to $11,200 USD per person double. The tour is a collaboration with Cycle of Life Adventures.

“This Appalachian tour is the combination of some of the finest cycling in the USA with a historical and gastronomical focus that provides for a wonderfully immersive travel experience,” said Ride & Seek Founder Dylan Reynolds

Tour Highlights:

  • Ride through 12 States alongside the Appalachian Trail
  • Cycle the longest linear park in the US on the extraordinary Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Explore the wilderness of northern Maine
  • Visit the illustrious Norman Rockwell and Robert Frost museums
  • Roll through the orchards of western Pennsylvania & Maryland
  • Cross the mighty Hudson River
  • Explore the historic Civil War towns of Gettysburg and Harpers Ferry
  • Discover the great Skyline Drive ridge ride in the Shenandoah National Park
  • Delight in the quiet roads and rustic scenery of New Hampshire and Vermont

“Reading through Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the pertinence of his words is particularly apt at this time,” said Reynolds “As with all our tours, we embrace the history of the places we travel to give us a better sense of today. Our interactive cycling tour through the battlefields of Gettysburg is just one way in which we give you a chance to embrace the history along the route we ride.”

For more info, visit https://www.rideandseek.com/tour/appalachian-usa/.

Ride & Seek is a worldwide adventure cycling company offering unique historical itineraries with quality lodging, fine gastronomy, and cultural immersion. The tours are designed so cyclists not only see and ride some of the greatest roads in Europe but also visit some of the most spectacular sites as well. Providing a cultural insight into the areas visited both historically and gastronomically is central to the company’s mission. Historical journeys and cultural adventures are specialties. https://rideandseek.com

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Bike, Hike & Camp Along Grand Canyon North Rim with Escape Adventures

Escape Adventures is offering a family-friendly, 5-day camping and mountain bike adventure that includes riding singletrack to Monument Point, hiking into the canyon on backcountry trails, pedaling across Kaibab Plateau, and conquering Rainbow Rim trail before descending to Indian Hollow.

(Las Vegas, NV) — While most of North America reels under hot summertime temperatures, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon offers a wonderful high-altitude escape. Providing gently rolling terrain of lung-expanding dimensions, the North Rim has been long-held as sacred ground to hikers and cyclists alike. Escape Adventures is offering a family-friendly,  5-day camping and mountain bike adventure that includes riding singletrack to Monument Point, hiking into the canyon on backcountry trails, pedaling across Kaibab Plateau, and conquering Rainbow Rim trail before descending to Indian Hollow. Prices for this adventure start at $1,195 per person and multiple departures are available July 13th through October 4th, 2020. For more info, call 800.596.2953 or visit https://escapeadventures.com/tour/grand-canyon-north-rim-mountain-bike-tour/

“For trekkers and active travelers of all levels, this tour is nothing less than the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Escape Adventures Founder Jared Fisher. “Gazing over the Canyon’s 9,200-ft North Rim, the immediate reaction of our guests runs from fear to reverie, and all agree that the old Arizona and Rainbow Rim Trails are the best ways to experience the Grand Canyon.”

Concealed in big Ponderosa pines and shimmering Aspen groves, the trail through Kaibab National Forest wends to a place that few have visited: the East Rim view. Trails brimming with wildflowers lead riders to exhilarating hikes along the rim. Crossing over to the west side of the plateau, guests camp alongside one of the most scenic mountain bike paths in the world, the Rainbow Rim Trail. It connects five large “Points” of land that overhang the canyon and the Arizona Strip. The five “Points” are Parissawampitts, Fence, Locust, North Timp and Timp.

Escape Adventures selects well-maintained public campgrounds with scenic vistas and comfortable arrangements. Guests will move seamlessly from one day of the trip to the next, enjoying wildly healthy, delicious homemade meals. Most of the campgrounds feature indoor facilities and showers. Conversely, in more remote backcountry camping scenarios, Escape Adventures provides portable toilets and private solar showers.

All internal land expenses and services are covered in the cost of the tour. All transportation, food preparation, meals (except where noted on itineraries), snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, group supplies and community gear (portable chairs, large awnings, coolers, utensils, etc.) are included. Backcountry permits, licenses, park fees, reservations, and accommodations are also included, along with at least two professionally trained trip leaders, a mobile first aid and mechanic station, spare bikes, and a support vehicle(s). Trip price does not include airfare, lodging prior to trip start or bicycle rental and/or camping gear unless otherwise noted on itinerary or website.

Daily Itinerary:

Day 1-2: Meet in St. George. Shuttle to Kaibab Lodge then ride singletrack to alpine East Rim camp for two nights. Ride to Monument Point, short hike into the Grand Canyon on backcountry hiking trail.

Day 3-4: Ride across Kaibab Plateau to beautiful backcountry camp on the Rim for two nights. Ride the Rainbow Rim singletrack.

Day 5: Descend to Indian Hollow on the west side of the Plateau to spectacular vista. Shuttle back to St. George.

Since 1992, Escape Adventures has lead adventure travel vacations through some of the most awe-inspiring natural destinations in the world. Building on over 100 destinations, Escape Adventures caters to the full spectrum of active traveler, respective to fitness level and activity type, from road cyclist to mountain biker to electric biker, hiker, and multi-sport enthusiast, and from first timer to friends and family groups of all ability levels. https://escapeadventures.com/

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Bike New York Celebrates World Bicycle Day With New Online Resource Hub

World Bicycle Day, June 3, takes on new meaning this year as people across the globe look to bicycling as a socially distant transportation and recreation option. Bike New York is joining with organizations and individuals around the world in celebration of World Bicycle Day by announcing the official launch of an online resource made to help cyclists of all ages and skill levels empower themselves to ride at home. (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

World Bicycle Day takes on new meaning this year as people across the globe look to bicycling as a socially distant transportation and recreation option.

Bike New York is joining with organizations and individuals around the world June 3 in celebration of World Bicycle Day by announcing the official launch of an online resource made to help cyclists of all ages and skill levels empower themselves to ride at home. 

The new Virtual Bike Education Resource Hub is a comprehensive database of free- and low-cost materials designed for parents and educators to inform and inspire kids through the power of bicycles; for adult cyclists, Bike New York has initiated a series of easy-to-follow how-to videos, virtual classes, and riding tips adapted from their popular in-person class curriculum.  Bike New York encourages their fellow New Yorkers and cyclists everywhere to use the Resource Hub to promote safe, informed, and socially distant rides to work (for essential workers), to the corner bodega, down the block, or just for fun around the nearest park or trail.

Established as a global annual event in 2018, this year’s World Bicycle Day comes during the  COVID-19 pandemic and an unprecedented surge in bicycling.  “Today, we celebrate biking–an activity that has provided a sustainable means of affordable transportation, recreation, and commerce for two centuries; now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, biking is still the most effective and affordable means of travel to, from, and through our communities,” said Ken Podziba, President and CEO of Bike New York.  “The bicycle is a simple, equitable, reliable, clean, wellness-focused, and environmentally responsible means of transportation that facilitates ready access to work, education, healthcare, and recreation activities. As we look beyond this pandemic, it is clear that the bicycle is an integral part of the recovery process from COVID-19’s global economic impact, especially for our most vulnerable communities.” 

For Bike New York, the emerging role of bicycles as a critical component of the infrastructure of recovery means getting as many people as possible comfortable and confident riding–starting with our littlest cyclists. Bike New York’s new online resource hub is specifically curated for to provide parents and educators with a suite of digital bike learning resources–including reading lists, videos, movies, documentaries, activities, and curricula–to keep students from pre-K through high school engaged with the history, community, fitness, and fun of cycling. As a virtual companion to Bike New York’s in-person education programming throughout the five boroughs, the organization is continuing to build a digital curriculum of instructional videos and informative online materials for adults and children, aiming for this resource hub to promote easy online learning year-round. “Our goal with this bike education resource hub is to support your ride on World Bicycle Day and beyond,” said Podziba, who also serves as the chairman of the League of American Bicyclists. “We encourage cyclists of all ages to ride safely and remember that they’re riding in tandem with thousands of others around the world. We’re riding for a movement, so that World Bicycle Day will be celebrated in the next century!”

VOICES FROM THE GLOBAL CYCLING COMMUNITY

World Bicycle Day was established in 2018 by the United Nations General Assembly in recognition of the bicycle’s longevity and its status as one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation.  The resolution encourages member states, civic organizations, and the private sector to improve road safety with the development of active transportation infrastructure, policy, and design with a focus on broader public health outcomes.  In addition, the resolution notes the bicycle’s role as a means to foster sustainable development and strengthen education.     

“Biking was always going to be a big part of New York City’s future, and that is more true than ever during and after this pandemic,” said New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “We are experiencing a bike boom, and those of us in government are working to provide the safe and open streets children deserve to learn how to bike safely. I just bought a bike myself and I hope to see more and more New Yorkers out there on two wheels with me in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. I thank Bike New York for their advocacy and all the work they do to help people bike safely.”

“Creating a culture of safe biking in New York City is a critical way we can improve access to affordable mobility and zero emissions mobility,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.“Bike New York’s effort today helps expand biking across the five boroughs and in turn, helps our city do the hard work of crafting a shared and just future for our residents and our planet.”

“Manhattan joins Bike New York in celebrating World Bicycle Day and the launch of their online resource hub, an important resource at a time when more and more New Yorkers, including myself, are using cycling as a form of transportation and recreation,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This online resource hub will serve the next generation of the bicycle community as we prepare to safely re-open our borough and our city for work and play.”

“One small bright spot during this enormously difficult time for our city has been the increasing number of people turning to biking as a commuting option. As a cyclist myself, this trend must continue after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. I have been proud to support safe biking infrastructure throughout the borough, and Bike New York has been an indispensable partner in the efforts to make our streets more bike-friendly. I wish a happy World Bicycle Day to all Brooklynites and New Yorkers who get around on two wheels!” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. 

“As an avid bike rider and proponent of events such as the Tour de Bronx– the largest free cycling event in the country–I applaud the launch of Bike New York’s new online resource hub that will educate students and their parents about this great mode of transportation for Bronx residents,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Alternative transportation has been an essential focus during my tenure, and bicycling is emerging as a great way to get around the city, as we rethink how we do things and adjust to our new realities.”  
  
“My bet for the future is on the bicycle and an ever-increasing global cycling literacy. Take a ride with me (us) and celebrate World Bicycle Day not only on June 3, but every day thereafter,” said Leszek Sibilski, founder, World Bicycle Day.

“The bicycle is the best vehicle ever invented,” said Bill Nesper, Executive Director of the League of the American Bicyclists. “The bicycle remains a symbol of freedom, transforms lives and communities, and is a solution to personal and environmental health. We celebrate World Bicycling Day today by calling on decision makers everywhere to make biking safe, comfortable, and accessible to all.”

“As the world resets into a ‘new now’ post COVID-19, we at the Cape Town Cycle Tour believe that the bicycle offers the world a sustainable, healthy, and naturally socially distant transport solution,” said David Bellairs, Event Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour.  “We applaud Bike New York’s new online resource hub and join with them as we seek ways to promote bicycling as a global platform for change and mobility. Let us change the world for the better one pedal stroke at a time!” 

“The bicycle will become more and more important for our future, after this difficult period, both for urban mobility and for fun,” says Matteo Gerevini, General Manager of Formula Bici, the Association that brings together the most important amateur cycling events in Italy. “The bicycle is the future for all the big cities in the world and also an important tool for the promotion of regional tourism–as evidenced by all the events affiliated to Formula Bici, which are organized in various locations, from large cities to high mountains, from sea to small villages, and the best possible way to visit them is by bicycle!”

“Bicycles have been an incredible lifeline in cities all over the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the incredible potential of bikes as a resiliency tool for transportation, empowerment and active recreation,” said Dan Suraci, Principal of Urban Cycling Solutions.  “We have an opportunity to crystalize these results and catalyze higher public health, economic and environmental outcomes by encouraging more people-centric transportation infrastructure such as open streets and a more robust network of protected bike lanes.”  

Visit our New Online Resource Hub

Bike New York is also collecting stories, poetry, photography, and art submissions for a new editorial series celebrating the role of bicycling in city life and illustrating the myriad ways that bikes may have intersected or shaped people’s experiences of New York City. Original works may be submitted via this link:

Submit Your Work

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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Urges Congress to Pass ‘Connecting America’s Active Transportation System’ Act

Biking the 109-mile long Mickelson Trail, a centerpiece of Wilderness Voyageurs’ South Dakota bike tour, is one of 30 rail-trails to have been named to the Hall of Fame by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

A new bill in Congress will, if passed, enable communities across America to connect their trails, sidewalks and bikeways to the places that people want to go – by bike or walking – within and between communities.

But our U.S. Representatives need to hear from us to make it happen.

Tell the Congressmembers to support trails, walking and biking by signing on in support of the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act.

The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act, co-sponsored by Reps. Jared Huffman (Calif.-2), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.-3) and Chris Pappas (N.H.-1), will provide $500 million in direct funding annually to help communities and regions across the country build connected active-transportation systems to ensure people can get where they want to go safely by foot, bike or wheelchair.

This proposal, coupled with increases in funding for Transportation Alternatives and the Recreational Trails Program, would provide critical resources for communities to build safe, convenient and accessible places for people to walk, bike and roll.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s top policy priority is to create this game-changing opportunity to build a trail and active transportation system to serve the nation.

“Our research has found that wise investments in connecting trails, sidewalks, bikeways and other active transportation systems are creating returns of more than $34 billion in health, environmental and economic benefits around the country,” said Kevin Mills, Rails-to-Trails Vice President of Policy. “And that return could even be quadrupled as more communities have the opportunity to connect their active transportation systems.

“People across the country want to be able to safely walk and bike where they need to go. The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act is a major leap forward because it would reshape federal transportation law to recognize that communities nationwide need safe, connected trail and active-transportation networks.

“Urge your representative to sign on to the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act.”

See more at railstotrails.org.

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7 Top Cycling Tours You Can Do With Electric Bikes

E-bikes now put bike tours of the Green Mountains of Vermont within reach (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarnandnear.com

Always popular cycling tours have gotten an extra charge in recent years with the addition of electric bikes, allowing guests to ride hills with ease or get a boost to keep up with others. E-bikes are now available as an option on tours around the globe, from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the Tuscan countryside and Taiwan’s coastline. They’re even making their way off road and onto trails on e-mountain bike tours among the dunes of Namibia and the Alps in Switzerland. E-bikes mean there are no excuses for not taking a tour because you are afraid you can’t do the hills, the knees aren’t what they used to be.

Here are seven bike tours where you can find an electric ride:

E-MTB Safari in Namibia: Pedal across vast plains and seas of sand dunes, along dry streambeds and rocky jeep tracks, and past shipwrecks and surf on the Skeleton Coast on H+I Adventures’ new E-MTB Safari in Namibia. From the saddle of an e-mountain bike, watch for elephants, giraffes, zebras and oryx, and connecting with local communities along the way.

Natchez Trace Path: Biking the Natchez Trace is a cyclist’s dream come true, and why Cycle of Life Adventures offers it four times a year. The ancient path through Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi began as a wildlife and Native American trail, and has a rich history of use by explorers, trappers and traders, post men and Civil War soldiers. An e-bike will ease the few days where the mileage may seem overwhelming.

Tuscan Countryside: On Tourissimo’s cycling tour of Tuscany, Italy, visit some of the region’s most iconic destinations, from Cortona, the delightful hill town made famous by Frances Mayes in her bestselling novel “Under the Tuscan Sun,” to the abbeys, thermal springs and wineries in the countryside outside Pienza. Upgrade to an e-bike capable of covering 70 miles on a charge to go the distance.

Alps by E-MTB: Climb mountain passes and descend to lush valleys on H+I Adventures new E-MTB Tour of Switzerland. Riders will put the country’s seamless transport system to use accessing backcountry singletrack and perfectly built flow trails as they traverse the beautiful Graubünden region by e-mountain bike. Refuel with mid-ride rösti, then unwind with a glass of wine and dinner made with local flavors.

Mediterranean Islands Ride: E-bikes are a great option on Ride & Seek Bicycle Adventures epic cycling tour across Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Split into three week-long stages, the tour explores the Mediterranean islands’ history, food, architecture and traditions, as well as their strikingly rugged interiors, white beaches and emerald waters.

Vermont Covered Bridges: Ride through more than a dozen covered bridges on a tour of Vermont with Cycle of Life Adventures. This iconic ride passes through Montpelier, Stowe, Middlebury and Woodstock, climbing from river valleys over the Green Mountains. The optional e-bike rental will help flatten out the roads.

E-Bike Taiwan: On Grasshopper Adventures’ Bike Taiwan tour, guests cycle the length of the country from the northern capital, Taipei, to the southern tip. Along the way, they take in the beauty of east Taiwan’s rugged Pacific coast, exotic hot springs and valleys like the stunning Taroko Gorge. Grasshopper is the first tour operator to offer e-bikes to cyclists in Southeast Asia.

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Discover Sri Lanka on Grasshopper Adventures’ 9-Day Bike Tour

Discover Sri Lanka over nine days, cycling 285 km from the capital, Colombo, through the lush highlands and rainforests down to the southern coast on Grasshopper Adventures new bike tour.

(Bangkok, Thailand) — Discover Sri Lanka over nine days, cycling 285 km from the capital, Colombo, through the lush highlands and rainforests down to the southern coast on Grasshopper Adventures new bike tour. Along the way, enjoy some of South Asia’s best biking, hike through national parks, take a jeep safari to see leopards, monkeys and elephants, relax in luxurious hotels, and indulge in mouthwatering Sri Lankan cuisine. Departures are available in January, February and March of 2020 starting at $2,850 per person double. Pedal-assist e-bikes are an available for an additional $385. For more information, visit https://www.grasshopperadventures.com/multi-day-cycling-tours/sri-lanka-by-bike-tour/

“Sri Lanka is a small island with a big heart known for its highland tea plantations that we will spend days riding through,” said Adam Platt-Hepworth, Grasshopper Adventures CEO. “We will also explore the city of Kandy with its sacred Buddha Tooth Relic, tour Yala National Park where we’ll see elephants, monkeys and leopards, and spend some time on the southern coast.

Tour Highlights:

Visiting The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum 

Taking a Sri Lankan cooking class      

Cycling through tea plantations

Sampling local delicacies like fresh dates and dried corn crackers     

Touring Yala National Park by Jeep and seeing elephants, monkeys and leopards

Trekking to World’s End Lookout     

Hiking UNESCO World Heritage Sinharaja Rainforest   

Descending by bike from the beautiful tea country hills to the southern coast

“This is the perfect tour to see the best of Sri Lanka in just over a week,” said Platt-Hepworth. “You’ll get a taste of the highlights and hidden treasures and be blown away by the diversity this small island nation boasts.”

Grasshopper Adventures is a cycling and active travel specialist, headquartered in Bangkok. They host more than 25,000 travelers of all ages and abilities on tours in Japan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Uzbekistan, Taiwan, Bhutan and Myanmar. https://www.grasshopperadventures.com

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Grasshopper Adventures Introduces 9-Day Taiwan-By-Bike Trip

A new Grasshopper Adventures biking tour of Taiwan goes through the UNESCO Heritage-listed Taroko Gorge © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(Bangkok, Thailand) — On this new cycling tour of Taiwan, Grasshopper Adventures guests will bike the length of the country, from the northern capital, Taipei, to the southern tip.  Bikers will ride past emerald-colored rice paddies and Taoist temples dedicated to the sea-god Matsu. Along the way, they’ll take in the sheer beauty of Eastern Taiwan’s rugged Pacific Coast, with pristine beaches, exotic hot springs, and gorgeous valleys, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Taroko Gorge. The 9 Day/8 Night tour starts at $3,150 and covers 355-435 km. The terrain varies from gently undulating to steep ascents and descents over the coastal mountain range. Pedal assist E-bikes are available for $495 surcharge. For more information, visit https://www.grasshopperadventures.com/multi-day-cycling-tours/bike-taiwan-tour/.

“This classic cycling route takes us from Taroko Gorge down along the coast and into the lush East Rift Valley before we re-emerge on the rugged Pacific East Coast,” said Adam Platt-Hepworth, CEO of Grasshopper Adventures.  “Along the way, we’ll hike to the beautiful Shakadang Stream, cycle narrow paths through banana palms to the coast for a beach-side rest stop, and pedal into the little-visited East Rift Valley full of vibrant rice paddies and small communities.”

Offering unparalleled scenery and challenging terrain, Taiwan draws more and more visitors from across the globe each year. Riders will visit the striking Saoba Monuments and hike along the Walami Trail to spot wildlife. They’ll take a rest day to enjoy the beach of Dulan before the final leg of the ride along the dramatic coastal cliffs and then inland across the mountains to Kenting in the tropical south.

“Whether marveling at the sheer power of the Pacific Ocean, soaking away the stresses of life in one of the island’s numerous hot springs, or slurping down a hearty bowl of delicious noodles, Taiwan assaults the senses and leaves guests hungry for more,” said Platt-Hepworth.

Tour Highlights:

Cycling through the dramatic Taroko Gorge on part of the famous King of the Mountain route

Viewing monkeys, deer, eagles and Formosan black bears on a hike into the Central Mountain Range on the Walami Trail

Pedaling through the lush East Rift Valley into the jungle then past gorgeous beaches to Dulan

Soaking up the sun and swimming in the bright blue waters of the Pacific Ocean

Grasshopper Adventures is a cycling and active travel specialist, headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand. They host more than 25,000 travelers of all ages and abilities, on tours ranging from one day to two weeks in Japan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Uzbekistan, Taiwan, Bhutan & Myanmar. https://www.grasshopperadventures.com

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Parks & Trails NY Gets Set for 21st Annual Cycle the Erie Tour; Advocates for Trails Across NY

Parks & Trails NY is hosting the 21st annual Cycle the Erie ride, along the 360-mile scenic and historic Erie Canalway © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

One of the best bike tours on the planet is in our own backyard: the annual Parks & Trails NY Cycle the Erie Canal ride, eight-days, 400-miles and 400 years of history, from Buffalo to Albany, a fully supported biking and camping trip (you can even hire Comfy Campers to set up your tent).

The ride raises money and awareness for advocacy for new trail development and this year’s ride will highlight new trails that take the riders off the roadway – this year, cyclists will ride a new stretch west of Lockport in the town of Pendleton and a gorgeous new trail between Amsterdam and Pattersonville (so you no longer bike on the highway).  Some 550 riders are expected  this year, its 21st annual Cycle the Erie ride, taking place , July 7-14; Parks & Trails NY is still accepting registrations ($925/adult, 6-17 $545, 5-and under $280, ptny.org)

The organization’s key focus now is to build upon the state’s plan for 750-miles of off-road recreational trails – the 360-mile long Erie Canalway, plus Empire State Trail, north-south mixed-use, off-road trail system that will fully connect New York City to Canada.

The plans are already in place for the Empire State Trail to be completed by the end of 2020. In 2019, PTNY launched Trails Across New York Campaign, to build off the momentum of the Empire State Trail’s planned completion in 2020 and support ways to turn the statewide trail system into a true network, connecting local trails with the main spine of the Empire State Trail, including Long Island, “and cementing New York’s position as the nation’s leader in multi-use trails.”

Legislation is currently pending in the NYS Assembly (A. 5035B) (S.4416B has already passed the NYS Senate) would create a statewide multi-use trails plan. This important bill would direct the state to come up with a blueprint for future trails development, helping to turn our local trails across the state into a unified network of trails with major spines and connecting routes, ensuring all parts of the state have access to quality outdoor active recreation on trails.

The Senate version has already passed; the Assembly version is in Ways & Means, which directs the State Parks department to strategize and prioritize filling in the trail gaps. Though it was considered possible for the Assembly to pass its version by the June 19th close of session, if it languishes to the next session, progress will not be lost. Parks & Trails was urging people to contact their state legislator to ask them to cosponsor the legislation and to make sure that the legislation is brought up for a vote before the legislature adjourns for the year.

“Trails Across New York envisions a future in which all New Yorkers will be located only minutes from a trail and ideally will be able to access that trail easily and safely by walking or bicycling. Throughout the state, trails, bicycle boulevards, and Complete Streets will be acknowledged as essential and mainstream elements of community infrastructure, much as utility lines and sidewalks are thought of today.”

PTNY notes that New York State’s trail-rich and trail-friendly reputation will attract visitors from across the nation and abroad to experience the historic communities and varied and beautiful landscapes accessible through the state’s trail network.

Trails offer a wide range of benefits, including stimulating local economies, PTNY notes. The Erie Canalway Trail alone has an estimated annual impact of more than $250 million, and has created close to 3,500 jobs. New York’s outdoor recreation economy annually generates $41.8 billion in consumer spending and supports 313,000 jobs.

See Cycle the Erie series on goingplacesfarandnear.com:

Cycle the Erie: 400 Miles & 400 Years of History Flow By on Canalway Bike Tour Across New York State

Cycle the Erie, Day 1: In Lockport, See Erie Canal Engineering Marvel, ‘Flight of Five’, Cruise Thru Double Locks, and Go Underground to Fathom Rise of Industrial Revolution

Cycle the Erie, Day 2-3: A Sequence of Charming Canaltowns, Pastoral Landscapes, Punctuated by City Birthed by ‘Mother of Cities’

Cycle the Erie, Day 4: Seneca Falls to Syracuse, Crossing Halfway Mark of 400-Mile Biketour

Cycle the Erie, Day 5: Deep Dive into The Erie Canal: ‘Mother of Cities’, Empire Builder, Wonder of the World

Cycle the Erie: At Fort Stanwix, Rome, Time Travel Back to America’s Colonial, Native American Past

Cycle the Erie, Days 6-7: Erie Canal Spurs Rise of America as Global Industrial Power

Cycle the Erie, Days 7-8: Schoharie Crossing, Mabee Farm, Cohoes Falls to Finish Line in Albany of 400-Mile BikeTour

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