Leave it to Butterfield and Robinson and bike manufacturer Cervélo to raise the bar for outfitted trips tied to races. This year they’re offering the Tour de France, among other custom tours. The difference? You’ll be on Cervélo R3 team bikes—and get to test a Cervélo S5, the cycling equivalent of a Ferrari—and cover the exact same routes as the pros do mere hours before the peloton screams by. You’ll ride in a paceline and have support from a team car and a soigneur for water refills and pre- and post-ride massages. And you’ll schmooze with pros along the way. It’s the closest most of us will ever get to the front line of race culture. After rides like the famed Col d’Aubisque on the Tour de France trip (July 14–20; $4,995), cyclists sack out in grand historic hotels, gorge on butter-heavy meals, and top it all off with a snifter of cognac.
The Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route
When the Adventure Cycling Association debuted the new Sierra Cascades route in 2010, the 2,389 miles connecting Sumas, Washington, and Tecate, California, became the most challenging border-to-border road ride ever designed, with some 20 passes. The good news: its leg-pulverizing challenge is matched only by its spectacular views. Tracing the Pacific Crest Trail through a greatest hits of western scenery, riders see the volcanoes of the Cascades, groves of sequoias, Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada, and beautifully desolate stretches of the Mojave Desert. Pit stops include Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, and Yosemite national parks. Riders typically use the ACA’s set of five maps—which include detailed directions and landmarks like campgrounds, motels, gas stations, and bike shops—to navigate the route, which takes about 50 days to complete if you average 55 miles per day. Or bite off a chunk, like the nine-day, 446-mile stretch between Mount Rainier, Washington, and Crater Lake, Oregon (map section 2), which passes through Hood River, the Columbia River Gorge, and Bend, Oregon, where the beer flows freely.