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On Your Bike: World Class Rides

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I think there's no better perspective of the world around us, than the one that's revealed from the saddle of a bicycle. Removed from a vehicle, you're forced to slow down enough to hear, taste, smell and remember- every turn and every face along the way. With a background as an international bicycle tour guide and trip leader, I thought it'd be fun to put together a list of some of my favorites from home and abroad.
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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, USA
Not crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco would be like skipping the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It’s a rite of passage every visitor should experience. The best way to traverse this iconic symbol of the city is either on foot or two wheels....
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Col des Tempêtes, 84410 Bédoin, France
It's the grand daddy of all famed Tour de France rides and always at the very top of every cyclist's dream, to-do list. There are three different ways to start the ascent, but the most storied (and most challenging approach) begins in Bedoin. Mont...
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Col du Tourmalet, Tourmalet, 65120 Barèges, France
Living and working in Europe for over a decade always meant an annual pilgrimage to follow certain stages of 'The Great Race'. This moment was from the 2010 Tour de France on the Col du Tourmalet and I'd just run across the road wearing my yellow...
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565 Rim Dr, Klamath Falls, OR 97604, USA
Look at this view, from the back porch of the classic, Crater Lake Lodge. That blue begging for your complete attention. It makes sense why both rows of rocking chairs are facing only this direction. I was lucky enough to lead many of our Biking...
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2501 Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Orinda, CA 94563, USA
This is my favorite 30-35 mile ride in the East Bay, and spring and fall are the times to see the colors really pop. Make your way up and out of Berkeley on Spruce and head straight on Wildcat Canyon to enter the majestic Tilden park, when you hit...
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709 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, USA
If you're headed to wine country for some sipping and spinning, I'd encourage you to start and finish your day at the Clif Family Wine tasting room and their all-bicycles-welcome back porch at Velo Vino in St. Helena. It's the perfect place to...
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Champs-Élysées, Paris, France
“People can either be over-the-top romantic about Paris, or they think life is ridiculous here,” saysDavid Lebovitz.“I try to strike a middle ground.” Lebovitz, an American, worked for 13 years in the pastry department at Chez Panisse in Berkeley,...
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Gorges de la Nesque, 84390 Monieux, France
Bienvenue to favorite bicycle ride in all of France. One that I did so often while living in Provence that my friends called it my 'church.' Aptly named. Depending on which direction you're coming from, you'll probably come through the small town...
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Nicasio Reservoir, California 94946, USA
Start the day off right in Point Reyes Station with coffee and a scone at the Bovine Bakery. There's loads of bicycle parking in the park to the right of the bakery and cyclists come in from every direction, to fuel up at this same intersection....
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84390 Monieux, France
I happen to be convinced that there's no dreamier a place that Provence, for 5 nights and 6 days of cycling, eating, experiencing and drinking up all that there is to love. The Backroads Casual Inn Provence Biking trip covers beautifully diverse...
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08035 Barcelona, Spain
On both the Casual Inn and Premiere Inn Biking Spain trips with Backroads, you'll have the chance to accept the rewarding challenge of biking to the Coll de la Creueta for heart soaring views. In my humble bike touring opinion, I think it's one of...
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29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
You'll feel as though you're pedaling back in time during this 6 day biking trip through Spain's Andalucia. The scenery, the unique hotels, the tapas and Los Pueblos Blancos will steal your heart. Each day's stretch of road feels like a different...
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Narlai, Rajasthan 306703, India
This is the kind of the trip (and for certain the kind of country) that, with an open heart, will change your life. The colors and the culture of Rajasthan carry you along during the intoxicating Backroads 10 day Premiere Inn Biking India trip....
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Monteensudder, Glengarriff, Co. Cork, Ireland
There's no better place to gather and celebrate than Ireland and to truly soak up all of the magic of the land and its people- you need to be biking! The history, the hospitality and the pride of County Kerry, County Cork and Connemara are my...
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Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand
While you're in Thailand, be sure to escape the colorful chaos of Bangkok and head toward the historic capital of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best option to get there would be by train and they run frequently from Bangkok's...
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798 Arguello Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
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This cozy, community minded, all-things-bicycle-inspired cafe on Arguello (and a block from Golden Gate Park) is the perfect place to meet cycling buddies for your pre-ride fuel spot. You'll see the red, ceramic decorated bicycle hanging above the...
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1 Chapmans Peak Dr, Hout Bay Harbour, Cape Town, 7806, South Africa
When you're staying in Cape Town, be sure to get out to Hout Bay on the Cape Peninsula to witness a sunset that I'm convinced is the most beautiful one I've ever seen. I love the Chapman's Peak Hotel in Hout Bay. Even if you're staying in Cape...
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The beautiful 400-year-old network of canals that rings Amsterdam’s city center, known as the Grachtengordel, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with some 80 bridges crisscrossing the historic waterways. One of the best ways to explore this...
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Agert Pakhuis Pass, Clanwilliam, 8135, South Africa
This is the trip of a lifetime—there's no better way to describe it. Beginning in the dynamic and colorful city of Cape Town and finishing at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Sabi Sand—the very pinnacle of animal-viewing experiences—this trip is...
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370 Linden St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
The Streets of San Francisco Bike Tour company is not only a must for any visitor to the city, it's also an ideal way for locals to soak up something special about their own backyard. Founded by former international bicycle tour guides that have...
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Lake Tahoe, United States
This is big bicycle ride. Not necessarily because of the distance (if you're a regular road cyclists this amount is your usual Saturday or Sunday ride) or the terrain (there are only a few sections with significant climbs), but big because of the...
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This is what I love about seeing a region from the saddle of a bicycle. You're able to really witness all that is around you, none of it becomes a blur outside of a speeding car window. It was late morning on the second day of a six day biking New...
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Sandy River, Oregon, USA
This 35 mile loop ride will steal your heart. If you live in or are traveling through Portland, here's my suggested itinerary. Head out to the McMenamins Edgefield hotel property in Troutdale. Grab some serious coffee at their espresso bar in the...
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Row River Trail, Dorena, OR 97434, USA
On a recent road trip hiking and biking my way through Oregon, I fell hard for the entirely car-free, 17 miles of paved biking/walking trail just outside of Cottage Grove called the River Row Trail. Pine forests, roaring rivers, Dorena Lake—it was...
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Summit Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, USA
However you get here- by bicycle (way to go), by foot (the Summit Trail is not easy, nice work) or by car (it takes a while), the views will not disappoint. Having been introduced to my geographical neighbor due to my love for cycling and its...
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Rim Rock Drive, Fruita, CO 81521, USA
If you're an American Flyers fan and a believer in a bicycle ride's ability to inspire and instantly connect you to a place, this ride in Colorado National Monument park (just outside Grand Junction) will knock your socks off. To have a 33 mile...
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Utah, USA
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. This is one seriously tough and gorgeous full day on a bicycle in Arches National Park. Here's a quick hit on the route. I'd suggest trying to make this happen on a weekday to avoid the presence of the...
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Moab, UT 84532, USA
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. If you've been biking through Arches National Park, you've earned a mellow ride that still gives you plenty of time in the saddle and miles to put under your belt. On a recent three-day bike trip through ...
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Big Bend National Park, TX, USA
I am utterly smitten with Big Bend National Park and it's varied, stunning landscape. In early September I headed down to get in some quiet road cycling and exploring, since the busy season (and vehicle traffic) doesn't pick up until the October...
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Willow City Loop, Willow City, TX 78675, USA
Texas cyclists will often claim that this is their favorite bike ride in Texas. It's a classic 55 mile ride aimed to please and aimed to make you work. There are some seriously steep grades, great descents and endless rolling hills. Pack those...