American cycling trips in early March

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of January 15-21, 1998
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American cycling trips in early March
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American cycling trips in early March
Question: I am trying to find a good bicycling trip in early March and it seems nearly impossible; most are summer tours. Backroads has one in California, but are there any others I've missed?

Jaime Napolitano
Philadelphia, PA

The Moab Sampler tour includes
hiking in Arches National Park

Adventure Adviser: I, too, found only a few bike trips in the States during the month of March, and some of these have a glitch: they require riding a mountain bike.

First off is Classic Adventures's "Natchez Trace Antebellum South" tour. The seven-day trip, offered March 21-27, starts in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where you'll bike past Civil War monuments and palatial antebellum mansions.

From there, you'll wind along the Natchez Trace Parkway, a route that combines a spectacle of natural and cultural sights. The 50-mph car speed limit makes the Natchez Trace one of the least-dangerous bike-tour roads in the country.

A word of warning about this trip: You'll need to be a big-time architecture buff or acquire a taste for it — much of your ride will include tours of famous mansions. You'll even stay in a few historic inns along the way. The trip cost is $1,329 and includes breakfasts and dinners. Call 800-777-8090 for more details.

Option number two is a four-day (March 19-22; $575) mountain-bike trip offered by Western Spirit Cycling called the "White Rim." An extremely dense layer of sediment within the Colorado Plateau, the White Rim encircles a carved out section of Canyonlands National Park called the Island in the Sky. The average mileage per day is 25 and the elevation is pretty moderate, making this a good trip for beginners or intermediates.

Western Spirit also offers a five-day (March 24-28; $1,195) adventure called the Moab Sampler. The itinerary includes biking Moab's famous trails, spending a day whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, and a day of hiking in Arches National Park.

You'll stay in a funky Moab inn that provides hearty breakfasts. Call Western Spirit Cycling at 800-845-2453 for more details. World Trek Expeditions (800-795-1142) out of Lakewood, Colorado also offers March itineraries in Moab.

Finally, if you're looking for something decidedly more tropical, consider Bicycle Adventures's six- or eight-day cycling tour of Hawaii. On both trips, you'll start in Hilo and travel along palm-fringed white- and black-sand beaches, through tropical rainforests, and on top of spectacular mountains with vistas to the crashing waves hundreds of feet below.

The six-day tour averages 40 miles per day, and the eight-day tour averages 50 miles per day. Prices in 1997 were $1,494 and $1,868, respectively. For more details call 800-443-6060.

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