Does Adventure Cycling recommend travel insurance?
Adventure Cycling Association’s tours team sincerely wishes for every trip participant to attend and complete the tour of their choice. In an effort to plan for unexpected personal emergencies, health issues, weather, and transportation problems that might cause you to cancel or shorten your trip, travel insurance is strongly advised. Adventure Cycling recommends that you purchase travel insurance from MH Ross Travel Insurance Services, Inc.
How do I choose a tour?
Each individual tour’s web page includes a short description of the tour, trip details (dates, cost, etc), the itinerary, and testimonials from past tour participants. Use the tours matrix to compare all of our tours — cost, number of days, level of support, etc. You can easily sort the tours by each variable by clicking on the column headers.
Who goes on Adventure Cycling tours?
The average age of our tour participants is typically around 50, and we also have folks in their 20s and even some in their 80s. People come from all walks of life — from all over America and the world — to participate in our tours. Participants ride every type of bike you can imagine, and skill levels vary. Most people come to see new things, meet new people, and challenge themselves.
What kinds of riding conditions can I expect?
Road surfaces and shoulder widths vary greatly along our routes, but most of the routes are through rural American countryside. We select our routes to avoid high traffic and metropolitan areas, though groups may choose to take side trips into urban centers. One participant likened our routes to a stringing together of each area’s best day ride. However, you will sometimes ride in rain, sometimes ride in brilliant sunshine, and most likely will experience headwinds and tailwinds during a tour. It may get very hot, sometimes cold, extremely dry at times, and incredibly humid all in one tour, especially on our longer rides.
What will my tour leader/staff members be like?
The goal of Adventure Cycling’s Tour Leaders/Directors and Staff is to make your trip the best experience possible. They attend to the logistics of your tour and ensure that the day runs smoothly. All are certified in first aid and CPR, and many are trained bicycle mechanics. Supported tours are complete with roving mechanics who patrol the route in order to assist you if you have a problem, as well as staff members who’ll provide you with snack breaks along the way.
The staff can’t do absolutely everything for you however. Their purpose is to facilitate your touring experience. They will provide leadership and support, but in some ways you must rely on yourself. On our tours, even a novice will learn how to read a map, set up a tent and repair a flat tire. We believe this enhances everyone’s sense of accomplishment, adventure, and enjoyment.
When is indoor lodging available?
Fully-supported tours will have indoor lodging options whenever there is a hotel/motel within 15 miles of our campsite. We will transport you and your luggage to and from these accommodations at no additional cost. Indoor lodging is available on almost every night of every fully-supported tour. Please check with the Tours office, (800) 755-2453 x3 or send us an email if you are concerned about the availability of indoor lodging on your fully-supported tour. Adventure Cycling will supply you with lodging contact information, but we will not reserve or pay for the cost of the hotel.
Self-contained and van-supported tours will primarily rely on camping for overnight accommodations.
Inn-to-inn tours will use motels/hotels and an occasional hostel for overnight accommodations.
Cross-country tours, both self-contained and van-supported, will have a hotel stay about once a week.
What is the food like on Adventure Cycling Association tours?
We realize that the quality of our meals is of major importance to our tour participants and, on our supported tours, we strive to ensure that our caterers maintain exceptional standards. Meals high in carbohydrates are the norm, and these are supplemented with salads, vegetables, breads and desserts. Lunches usually consist of sandwiches, cookies, fruit and drinks. Breakfasts are often a combination of hot foods such as pancakes, breakfast meats, eggs, cold cereals, breads/muffins/pastries and juice. If you require vegetarian meals, or have special needs, please let us know! We’ll do our very best to accommodate you.
On our self-contained (non inn-to-inn) and van-supported tours, group members work in pairs to purchase food (funds supplied by the leader), to cook, and to clean up, on a rotating basis. Due to limitations imposed by time and equipment, simple, nourishing one-pot dinners with lots of carbohydrates are the norm, supplemented with salads, vegetables, bread and dessert. Lunches usually consist of sandwiches, cookies, drink mixes, fruit, etc. Breakfasts are typically comprised of dry cereal and/or oatmeal, fruit, bread and hot or cold beverages. (Your own favorite recipes are welcomed to help supplement the ones found in the Adventure Cycling cookbook.)
On our inn-to-inn tours, breakfast and dinner are taken at local restaurants. Lunch is prepared by the group in the morning and carried by each rider during the day.
What does the term “shared cooking” mean?
Group members (including the leader) work in pairs, and share food-purchasing, cooking and cleanup responsibilities on a rotating schedule. Food for group meals is purchased with group funds provided by the leader. You do not have to be a gourmet cook to go on a self-contained tour! We only ask that you are adaptable, ever-hungry, and open to trying new recipes!
Grocery stores in smaller towns often have quite limited stock; because of this, and since food is purchased for the entire group, you’ll need to be flexible about your diet. It is common to have people who do not eat meat; in such cases, meat may be cooked and served separately or mixed into only a portion of the main dish. It is not possible to cater completely to any one type of food preference, be it vegetarian, gluten free, junk food, or whatever. There will, however, be sufficient and nourishing food for everyone.
When can I buy an airplane ticket? When is the trip a guaranteed “go?”
The Adventure Cycling Association Tours Department determines whether a tour is a guaranteed “GO” 60 days before the start of the tour. We do not recommend buying non-refundable airplane tickets until a tour is officially a “go.”
If you can’t wait to purchase your plane ticket, please contact the Tours office at (800) 755-2453 x3 or send us an email at email@example.com. We can probably tell you if it is safe to buy a plane ticket or if you should wait until the official “GO/NO GO” date.
What are my chances of getting on a fully booked tour?
That really depends. Our rate of attrition on tours tends to be around 20%, so if you sign up for a “full” tour early on, your chances are relatively good. We’ll put you on the waiting list, and we won’t charge you anything. Then, if a spot opens up, we’ll contact you, and, if you’re still available, you can take the available space. If you’ve already made other plans, you’re under no obligation.
What are self-contained and inn-to-inn tours?
On a self-contained tour, you carry your own gear. Traditional self-contained tours have around 14 participants who share cooking duties and camp for the vast majority of overnights (roughly 1 indoor night per 10 riding days is budgeted).To get more information on our self-contained tours, download the PDF of our Before You Go: A Handbook for Adventure Cycling’s Self-Contained Tours booklet (732 KB). A hard copy of the handbook will also be mailed to all self-contained tour registrants prior to trip departure.
On inn-to-inn self-contained trips, riders carry their gear, but there’s a lot less of it because participants stay in hotels and eat in restaurants every night (no camping or group cooking gear needs to be carried). To get more information on our inn-to-inn tours, download the PDF of our Before You Go: A Handbook for Adventure Cycling’s Inn-to-Inn Tours booklet (732 KB). A hard copy of this handbook will be mailed to all tour registrants prior to trip departure.
Note: There is NO sag support on any self-contained or inn-to-inn tour.
What are fully-supported and van-supported tours?
Supported tours — where all personal and group gear is transported by van for you each day — vary in format: fully-supported tours are larger groups (typically between 40 and 120 riders) who will camp together and enjoy catered meals.
To get more information about our fully-supported tours, download the PDF of our Before You Go: A Handbook for Adventure Cycling’s Supported Tours booklet (696 KB). A hard copy of the handbook will also be mailed to all supported tour registrants prior to trip departure.
Van-supported tours have an average of 13 riders who camp on most nights and share rotating cooking duties, akin to a self-contained trip but with the security of van support.
To get more information about our van-supported tours, download the PDF of our Before You Go: A Handbook for Adventure Cycling’s Van-Supported Tours booklet (736 KB). A hard copy of the handbook will also be mailed to all supported tour registrants prior to trip departure.
Am I physically prepared to go on an Adventure Cycling tour?
Most likely; we have tours to suit all kinds of riders. While less experienced riders may opt for lower mileage tours and more experienced riders might choose higher mileage tours with more climbing, there’s generally nothing that a little training and a healthy appetite for adventure can’t prepare you for! For a full explanation, check out our Difficulty Rating System.
On our trips, every rider is allowed to ride at his/her own pace, so you’ll generally have all day to complete the distance. Slower riders (or those planning on lots of photo ops!) can plan to leave earlier in the morning, while those expecting to zip through the miles may linger over coffee. Typically, folks who ride at a similar pace end up as riding buddies, sharing each day’s ride.
How can I get in shape to go on an Adventure Cycling self-contained tour?
Four months before the start of your tour you should be riding a bike: whether it is inside on a trainer, on the road or on a mountain bike. If you have had a long lay off from riding, work on riding at least three days a week, even if it is only for 30 minutes at a time.
Check out our tours to find out what the longest day of your trip will be. Over the course of the next four months include a longer ride once or twice a week. Build your long ride mileage so that it is eventually 5-10 miles longer than the longest day you will ride in your tour. You should be built up to that mileage two weeks before your tour.
Spice It Up
Our tours often contain many different kinds of terrain. Training on short steep hills, flat windy roads and long sustained climbs will help you prepare for anything you might encounter on an ACA tour. Don’t be afraid to tackle the biggest hill or windiest valley then turn around and do it again, in reverse.
Try to ride as often as you can. You may be surprised, but riding for 45 minutes a day six days a week will leave you in better shape than one six hour ride a week. You may not have your legs used to long rides, but you will be accustomed to getting on a bike every day, and that’s what touring is all about.
Don’t fret if you can’t get on a bike for some time; staying active is key to a fun tour. Hiking, elliptical machines, swimming, stair climbing, cross-country skiing, and running can all help you maintain your fitness while away from the bike. While biking is always the best choice, these alternatives are much better than resting on your laurels, waiting for the chance to get on the road again.
What type of bike should I use on your off-pavement tours?
We recommend a mountain bike with front suspension and knobby tires. It is possible to use a hybrid bike (700c wheels) or even a cyclocross bike in certain areas, but a mountain bike is the most versatile choice. For more detailed information about equipment selection, check out the article titled “Choosing a Bike for the Great Divide.”
On trips that include rail-trails and/or bike trails, we recommend at least a 700×28 tire with an aggressive tread.
Are trailers really a good way to carry your gear on self-supported tours?
Absolutely. The model we recommend most is the BOB Yak. It is the most tried-and-true model for self-contained travel, on both pavement and dirt roads. This trailer is indeed a good alternative to panniers. The fact that it can easily mount to most any bike makes it very appealing to most cyclists. There are certainly pro’s and con’s of trailers versus panniers (believe us, we’ve heard it all), and the deciding factor is usually personal preference. Check out the article titled “The Big Debate.”
Where will I park my car during the trip?
Your leader will make arrangements for vehicle parking during the tour. There may be an additional charge for parking. Parking details will be provided in the Tour Information Packet you receive from the Tours Department 60 days before your trip leaves.