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Putting the Pedal To the Mettle: Fall Cycling Trips for the Family

by Elyse Glickman

Sep 10, 2018

© Pro777 | Dreamstime.com

Age Specific / Multigenerational

Fall is a great time for the family to plan a bike trek, and not only because the temperatures dropped and the air is cleaner. In many parts of the United States, scenery is at the peak of its beauty, and the tourist crowds thinned. It also presents an opportunity for parents to encourage kids to stay active and appreciate the outdoors. Cycling is also a great way to de-stress, especially as kids settle into the school year and parents confront more active work schedules.


Trek Travel offers ride packages designed for family groups, with activities scheduled for kids so parents can enjoy couples time. The company also offers pedal-assist electronic bikes for those requiring an easier biking experience (such as grandparents) who want to come along for the ride. Several tours show off some of America’s most beautiful landscapes along the winding roads, as well as many fascinating things to discover off the trail:


  • On the Vermont Family Bike Tour, riders traverse the Green Mountains, cycle to a local swimming hole and visit the hills that became the home of the Von Trapp family (made famous in The Sound of Music). Other activities include kayaking and paddle boarding on Lake Champlain and visiting the Maritime Museum.
  • The San Juan Islands are dotted with some of the Pacific Northwest’s colorful villages, wooded lanes and blue waters. While leisurely seaside bike rides by day are the focal point, riders can also kayak rocky shores, hike through dense forests and view snow-capped mountain peaks.
  • The action-packed Zion 4 Day Weekend in Utah’s fabled national park is filled with diverse activities for the young and the young-at-heart, including casual rides, hikes, horseback riding, clear natural pools and more. “Base camp” is located along the lush green banks of the Virgin River in the center of town.


Mesa, Arizona, was recognized by Money magazine as the Best City for Outdoor Lovers and by Forbes as one of the best cities for cyclists in part because of the many events and festivals enabling residents and visitors to celebrate the sport year-round. However, it doesn’t hurt there are 578 miles worth of bike lanes and trails with varied terrains.


Families sightseeing by bike can pedal through downtown Mesa on newly installed Grid Bikes. The bike-sharing service has multiple hubs throughout area, lining the Metro Light Rail path, where visitors can pick up and drop off bikes they rent by the hour. The city’s Bike and Pedestrian Program is another great option for visitors who want to rent Grid bikes, helmets and have a guided ride through the pathways to enjoy Mesa on two wheels.


Family biking in Sweden

Family biking © Piksel – Dreamstime.com

Denver is also emerging as a prime destination for bike touring, with a bike-sharing program with more than 80 stations and 700 bikes, many located within two blocks of the newly renovated The Ritz-Carlton, Denver.


San Francisco was named the second-most friendly bike city because of Bay Area Bike Share, launched in 2013 with 700 bikes and 70 stations across San Francisco and San Jose. By the end of 2018, Ford GoBike will grow to 7,000 bikes across San Francisco, the East Bay and San Jose. Courtyard San Francisco Union Square has set itself up as the ideal base camp for bicycle enthusiasts.


Washington, D.C. is also tailor-made for bike sightseeing. With multiple cycling trails, including the Capital Crescent, Mount Vernon Trail and Fort Circle Trail, there are options for all levels of riders. Those looking to explore the capital’s many monuments, museums, restaurants and shops can do so by bike with the newly ranked Gold Bicycle Friendly Community status.


Lexington, Kentucky, comes alive in the fall, and can’t-miss highlights for cyclists include the canopy of trees along Old Frankfort Pike, an official Scenic Byway, or Pisgah Pike, past historic Pisgah Church and lovely horse farms. The Legacy Trail, a beautifully landscaped 12-mile interpretive trail, runs from the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden downtown to Kentucky Horse Park (about eight miles of the trail are off street and fully paved). From Sept. 28–30, families can enjoy participating in the three-day Bourbon Country Burn bicycle tour that begins in Lexington and takes them through Kentucky’s famed rolling bluegrass hills, historic distilleries and thoroughbred horse farms.


Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa introduces its adult and teen guests to a new luxury cycling experience along lush landscape and coastal paths through its exclusive partnership with Cicli Pinarello. During their stay, guests can borrow a helmet, be recommended different routes and even be custom fitted by a Pinarello expert from the company’s San Diego showroom.


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