For decades, Colorado’sc hallenging Rocky Mountain climbs, desert canyon trails, and rolling plains routes made it a cyclist’s playground. Even before a 2015 decision to invest heavily in bike infrastructure, residents and visitors alike enjoyed easy access to more than 5,000 miles of trails. Today, it’s known as one of the best places to bike in the country, with some of the highest rated bicycle communities (according to the League of American Bicyclists) in addition to all those great trails.
Any bike enthusiast would be thrilled to spend a whole month in the saddle here. Of course, for all but the most rabid, the logistics of planning and organizing such a big bike trip are a huge obstacle to jump, no matter how dreamy the idea is. That’s where bike tour operator Cycle of Life Adventures comes in.
The North Carolina–based company, which is known for its multi-week bike expeditions, has bundled three of its popular Colorado itineraries into one epic, 26-day trip that covers some of the most popular biking destinations in the Centennial State. Guests will ride 1,258 miles through western Colorado, exploring Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the wine country of Palisade, Colorado National Monument, the Aspen High Country, and more.
The trip is broken into four roughly weeklong segments, and while bragging rights come with completing all four, you can also opt to join for just one or two individual weeks instead.
The first segment loops through southwest Colorado’s remote, rocky San Juan Mountains, veering in and around the bike-obsessed towns of Ridgway, Ouray, Durango, and Cortez. You’ll tackle some of Colorado’s highest passes and most challenging uphills, including Lizard Head Pass, Red Mountain Pass, Molas Pass, and Coal Bank Pass. It’s a glute-buster—during this week, expect roughly 28,484 feet of climbing.
The ride’s second segment starts in Glenwood Springs on the western slopes of the Rockies and winds through some of the state’s most scenic and well-known destinations. You’ll pedal between the sheer, red canyon walls of Colorado National Monument, past the fruit orchards and vineyards of the Palisade wine country, along the rivers and gorges of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and through the forests of Grand Mesa.
The third segment of the trip explores Aspen High Country, its mountain towns, its glacial valleys, and its vertical landscapes. Trace trails through the much-photographed Maroon Bells and the White River National Forest, and enjoy the green versions of views that skiers rave about every winter. You’ll also get to stop in and enjoy the beloved ski towns of Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Leadville, and Frisco.
The final leg of the tour is the most relaxing. The group will stay in and around Summit County in the center of the state for four days. You can choose your speed here: Keep pushing yourself up the high country mountain passes or opt for shorter routes to cool down and enjoy the scenery. Or you could choose to enjoy the many noncycling options in the varied terrain, such as fly-fishing, kayaking, or hiking.
When it comes to epic rides, this isn’t Cycle of Life Adventures’ first rodeo. The company regularly runs 45-day cross-country tours, as well as short and long trips all over the country and particularly on the East Coast, in Texas Hill Country, and of course, in the Rockies. The guides on this epic Colorado trip have 45 years of experience biking the routes the group will follow. The 2020 trip runs from June 4 through June 30 and prices include hotel accommodation, guides, van support, and meals on all riding days.
Book Now: $2,445–$3,095 per week or $9,100 for the entire tour, cycleoflifeadventures.com