Outside magazine, July 1996
The freewheeling days of summer are at hand, and there's no better way to celebrate than taking a freewheeling ride on America's scenic byways. July's famous RAGBRAI ride in Iowa has been booked for months, but if you enjoy sharing the scenery with up to 2,000 like-minded riders, you can still register for any one of these multiday cycling tours, a smorgasbord of club rides, commercial trips, and benefits. In most cases, the fee gets you meals, sag-wagon support, and someone else to tote your luggage.
First National Bank/Cycle Across Maryland Tour. July 21-27. This 350-mile haul begins with a bull roast and seafood festival in Havre de Grace. The fun continues with wine tasting at wayside vineyards along the route to Bel Air. $290. Call 800-842-2265 for a registration form.
SPUDS-Cycling Across Idaho. July 28-August 3. For hard-core, high-altitude days and low-key, beer-around-the-campfire evenings, this 390-mile tour from Moscow to Arco is it. $400. Call Cyclevents, 307-733-9615.
Cycle Montana. August 3-10. On this weeklong, 376-mile lung-buster, you'll pedal out of Helena and up 11,000-foot Beartooth Pass and then watch the dramatic scenery of the Absaroka Range roll by as you fly down into Billings. $500. Call Adventure Cycling Tours, 406-721-1776.
Best Dam Bike Tour. August 10-11. For an overnighter, try this hilly, 150-mile tour of cheese country, from Waukesha to Madison, Wisconsin, which features the area's many dams. $30, plus a minimum of $150 in pledges to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Call 414-547-8999.
Cycle Oregon IX. September 8-14. The 104-mile side loop to Crater Lake is just an option on this 450-mile round-trip out of Lakeview, but a bike-seat view of America's deepest lake is well worth the saddle sores. $435. Call Cycle Oregon, 800-292-5367 (in Oregon, 503-643-8064).
Ride the Coast. September 20-October 12. Only serious cyclists need attempt this 1,625-mile tour from Portland, Maine, to Orlando, Florida, via New York City. $2,250. Call the League of American Bicyclists at 800-288-2453 for an application.
California Tour South. October 5-9. Escape the massive SoCal urban sprawl on this 200-mile "Tour of Quiet Roads in Southern California." Winding your way from Murrieta Hot Springs, you ride through stunning desert views and quaint mountain towns and end up at Old Town San Diego. $235. Call Imagine Tours, 800-228-7041