Cycling

Amsterdam to Rome Bike Tour: Days 1-4 Preview in Photos

Eindhoven Bike Route Sign

The first section of the Amsterdam to Rome Bike Tour route is characterized by very flat riding through the most bicycle-crazy part of Europe. Highlights will be the bike route infrastructure of The Netherlands and traversing bits of the spring classic pro cycling courses of Belgium. Challenges are likely to be inconsistent weather and a potential run-in with some jarring cobbles in the Ardennes region of Belgium.

Start: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Cycling to Amsterdam

Click on this photo for some brief information about riding from Amsterdam, including several EuroVelo routes that visit the city.

Day 1: Amsterdam to Eindhoven – 139k

(via)

Day 2: Eindhoven to Liege via Maastricht – 111k

Click on the photo for a history of the Spring Classics, an important series of professional races that visit Maastricht as well as other places along this route.

Day 3: Liege to Bastogne – 103k

Click on this photo for more information about Bastogne during WWII. (via)

History remembers Bastogne as a decisive point in World War II, where the Battle of the Bulge began and Allied forces, surrounded by Hitler’s army, managed to hold out until reinforcements arrived and General Patton drove the Axis powers into retreat. However, Bastogne is also historically-significant to cyclists.

Taken in the 70’s, this photo below encapsulates the heart of the spring classics in Belgium and Liege-Bastogne-Liege specifically – hard men riding through adverse conditions. Click on the photo for a harrowing tale about race winner Bernard “the badger” Hinault and keep in mind that you’re more likely to travel these roads in good weather and there’s no need to return to Liege unless you leave something important behind!

Day 4: Bastogne to Luxembourg City – 76.4k

Luxembourg is known for its excellent roads and has provided cycling routes to negotiate its stunning capital city. Click on the photo for more information from the Luxembourg Tourism Website.

Luxembourg

For those who prefer to take rest days while touring by bicycle, Luxembourg City provides a good opportunity to do so. Why not get off the bike and walk a bit or let the local double-decker bus tour provide an opportunity to relax and take a break from planning your movements.

Amsterdam to Rome Bike Tour: Days 5-8 Preview

Like what you see but have a different route or destination in mind? Independent Travel Planning, the route planner of Amsterdam to Rome Bike Tour, can help you! Click through to IndependentTravelPlanning.com to learn how ITP can help you create the best custom vacation to suit your whims.

Advertisements

Bike Hire Options in the Canary Islands

MTB Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands have long-proved a sunny clime for winter training amongst the professional cycling ranks. With an average year-round temperature of 71.6F, tons of cycling options from the climbing to cruising, and some great beaches to boot, the Canaries are a prime spot for riders of all kinds.

Free Motion Bikes and Tours – Located on Gran Canaria, Free Motion offers the complete line of Cannondale road, mountain, and hybrid bikes, including high-end carbon frames and Shimano di2 shifting. Prices vary by length of rental, but start at about 10 euros per day for hybrids and road/MTB options starting at around 20 euros. Another highlight of Free Motion Bikes and Tours are the varied tour routes available for road and mountain riders who’d like a local guide to help them make the most of the Gran Canaria Island routing options.

Bike Point Tenerife – Bike Point offers hybrid, road, and MTB bike rentals on the island of Tenerife. Depending on rental length, quality bikes can be rented for as little as 13 euros per day, with the top-line models starting at about 30 euros. Bike Point Tenerife also offers guided tours of some of the most impressive bike routes on the island of Tenerife, some of which include transfers by van. Two stores, both on the south end of the island, offer options for start location as well, and the Bike Point website features several gps files for those looking to do their own thing, but would like help routing.

Bike Rentals in Montenegro

MTB in Montenegro

Mountain Biking in Montenegro affords a number of vistas and the chance to get out into nature (via)

Montenegro is a small Mediterranean country that features a number of great cycling routes, particularly for those interested in cross-country mountain biking. With approximately 2,000 miles of potential bike route condensed into the little nation of Montenegro, you can ride a ton without ever having to stray too far from base-camp, or you could do a multi-day trip covering the entire country. Below are some great bike rental company options to help you get your Montenegro cycling experience rolling!

Montebike.me – Montebike is a Budva-based bike rental company that features MTB bikes and cross bikes that rent by the day for between EU15-20. Their website also features a very detailed map of potential distance routes for traversing Montenegro by bike.

3ETravel – Offers 2013 Specialized Rock-Hopper mountain bikes by the half day or full day at between EU15-27.

Montenegro Plus – Bike rental company featuring both full-suspension MTB’s and hybrids.

Kotor Bay Connect – Rents single-speed bikes by the week or as part of a multi-sport tour of the Kotor Bay.

Ulcinj Rent A Bike – Appears to be a bike rental program connected to the city’s tourism website, offering several types of bike to rent by the day at rates between EU8-15.

Tempo Rent-a-Bike – Bike rentals between EU5-10 per day if you can negotiate the Montenegrin website.

San Francisco Bike Route: Velo Rouge and the Paradise Loop

A map of riding the Velo Rouge and Paradise Loop Route

A map of riding the Velo Rouge and Paradise Loop Route (for detailed route slip and gps file, click the RideWithGps.com link at bottom of post)

When in the Bay Area, I often find myself plotting out a bike route that takes me across the awe-inspiring Golden Gate Bridge into my favorite riding area of Marin County. Marin is full of excellent climbs and mountain-top views of the Pacific Ocean and of the San Francisco Bay, but every once in a while, the prospect of scaling Mt. Tamalpais just seems a bit much. For those of you looking for a way to take in the Golden Gate and the many charms of Marin’s waterside towns without bringing your climbing gears, this might just be the best ride out there.

Need to rent a bike for this route? Read this post on bike rentals in San Francisco!

Getting Started

We begin the ride on Arguello Boulevard, where between Golden Gate Park and the Presidio, sits the Velo Rouge Cafe, your pre-ride breakfast provider or post-ride recap spot. You’ll find among you a smattering of neighborhood regulars, surprisingly unpretentious hipsters, and a few of your lycra-clad brethren. With offerings like Levi Leipheimer’s Breakfast Burrito and other cyclist-inspired plates, as well as various coffee options, Velo Rouge is everything a cyclist could desire in an anchor-point for a stellar ride…and stellar ride you shall have!

Postcard of the Velo Rouge Cafe via gogobot.com

Postcard of the Velo Rouge Cafe via gogobot.com

Beginning with a short coast down Arguello you then make a brief but steep hill-climb to the edge of the Presidio. From this point forward, beauty will be around you for the entirety of your ride. The Presidio road meanders through trees and well-kept former barracks until you reach the mouth of the bay, where you get a first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

As you approach the Golden Gate, I must warn you that their will most likely be crowds, and the route you must follow to ride across may not always be clear. Your best course of action is to take your time making your way through this section and consider the posted signs. Currently, the side of the bridge you take will depend on the time of day and day of the week, as follows:

Weekdays: East sidewalk until 3:30pm, then West sidewalk until 9pm
Weekends: West sidewalk all day

Once on the correct sidewalk path across the bridge, enjoy the views! While you’ll find some riders flying by, the number of pedestrian tourists and slower riders, coupled with tight spaces at each support post, make it more valuable to cruise through this section and take in the spectacular sights. Weather conditions seemingly change before your eyes as fog roles in and the sun peaks in and out, so you should be prepared for significant changes in temperature as well.

The Golden Gate from the northern observation point on a foggy day in May

The Golden Gate from the northern observation point on a foggy day in May

Marin County – Lowland riding along the San Francisco Bay Coastline

As you reach the north side of the bridge, you can go under it and come up the other side to reach the lookout point, or spiral down the windy road to the ground-level, where your lowland bay coastline pedaling begins. One can also go from the lookout point more directly towards the towns ahead, but in recent years this road has been in bad condition or under construction and the windy route passes by the Bay Area Discovery Museum, a convenient bathroom break or stopping point of its own merit.

Continuing to pedal north along the water, the first town reached is the Sausalito. I can’t say this town isn’t a bit touristy, but they certainly do a good job of it. The main street is lined with little shops, ice cream parlors, and restaurants to suit all types and the sidewalks are usually abuzz with an interesting mix of people from all corners of the world.

Next, you’ll ride through the Bothin Marsh, where you might well see some peculiar wildlife while you enjoy a pan-flat section of bike-path that will certainly have your legs asking for “full steam ahead!”

After negotiating the William Bagley Highway crossing via the Redwoods Highway Frontage Road, you’ll reach the town of Strawberry, where you’ll begin the Paradise Loop portion of the route.

The Paradise Loop

Here, you’ll pass through Tiburon and Belvedere, home to wealthy Bay Area residents looking for great skyline views of the city from a more relaxed and quiet perch. This section also passes by the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary, so bird-lovers should plan to make a stop.

Upon turning the corner past Richardson Bay and through Belvedere Cove, you will again head north and to the backside of the loop, a still more sparsely populated part of coastal Marin. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit Paradise Beach County Park for a breather and perhaps to walk along the pier that juts out into the aptly-named Paradise Cove. While there is little motor traffic, please keep in mind that the shoulder in this section is narrow and caution should be taken on the curvier sections of road.

View back towards the hillsides surrounding Paradise Beach County Park from the pier’s edge

After leaving the Paradise Valley Park area, one can take the Trestle Glen cut-off, as shown in the route map, or extend the route a few miles by continuing north on Paradise Road and then heading south again upon reaching Corte Madeira, but either way, the route loops back into familiar territory in the town of Strawberry. This is where you can begin retracing your steps and taking advantage of what is usually a southbound wind to carry you home.

Route Info

Distance: 39 miles
Elevation Gain: Approx. 3,000ft
RidewithGPS: Velo Rouge and Paradise Loop Route detailed route info

Rent a Bike in Tucson, Arizona

el-tour-de-tucson-picture

Tucson is becoming a common destination for pro cycling teams and sun-seeking vacationers alike. With a mild, desert climate in winter months, Tucson presents the perfect opportunity to get some good off-season riding in and has been named to the Travel Channel’s top-ten list of cycling cities in the US.

Of particular interest is the Tour de Tucson, a large cycling event held every year on the weekend before Thanksgiving. Several thousand riders descend upon Tucson each year to take part in the 111-mile event, which covers a mostly flat route for the benefit of various charities. If you don’t happen to be in Tucson for the TdT, consider a jaunt up Mt. Lemmon, a climb of considerable gravity that is a favorite among locals and pro’s doing off-season training camps.

Tucson Bike Rental Companies:

Cycle Tucson – Cycle Tucson features a fleet of Cannondale hybrid, road, and hard-tail mountain bikes and offers rentals by the day or week, including special discounts for renting multiple bikes for several days.

Tri Sports Bike Rentals – This shop definitely seems to be catering towards the serious rider crowd, offering road bike and triathlon bike rentals from brands like Cervelo, Lightspeed, and Quintana Roo by the day or week.

Fairwheel Bikes – Known as the longest-running bike shop in town, Fairwheel specializes in high-end and exotic road bike sales, but also has road bikes from Trek, Specialized, and Neilpryde for rent, as well as Trek MTB bikes. Local knowledge has it that Ralph, the shop owner, is a great resource for Tucson cycling history.

Bike Rental in Prague, Czech Republic

Riding along tributaries of the Danube on the way to Karlsteijn Castle

Riding along tributaries of the Danube on the way to Karlsteijn Castle

While many people agree that, for the most part, Prague is a difficult city to ride bikes, there are a number of great options for exploring the surrounding countryside. Further, the bicycle trails that do exist in the Prague area present a great opportunity to “ride as the Czech’s ride,” and that of course means taking advantage of the ample “pivo” stops along the route to cool off with the refreshing national beverage of choice (just make sure you don’t wander off the bike path!).

Praha Bike – A bike rental company featuring mostly hybrids and tandem bicycles and including guided sightseeing by bike.

City Bike Prague – CBP claims to be the original Prague bike rental company, offering tours as well as a wide variety of bikes from cruisers to comfort bikes, tandems and front-suspension mountain bikes. Walking tours also available.

Renting a Bike in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Main Photo

Santa Barbara has been on the pro cycling radar for quite some time now as one of the premier spots to train in the winter, particularly among American riders and teams, and it’s no wonder. Blessed by some of the most consistently good weather in the country, with year around temperature variation between 65-75 degrees (based on monthly averages).

Santa Barbara features plenty of coastal riding, varied routes along the foothills, and perhaps most impressively, a number of climbs featured in John Summerson’s book of the top 100 climbs in California. The Santa Barbara Century, held in October each year, features 10,000ft of elevation gain, including the famed Gibraltar Road, and a descent down Painted Cave/Old San Marcos Road.

Wheel Fun Rentals of Santa Barbara – A hybrid, cruiser, and surrey option for those looking to meander along the boardwalk or up State Street.

Santa Barbara Bikes To-Go – Premium bike rental company, with brands like BMC, Cervelo, Cannondale, and Specialized. Delivery is free within the Santa Barbara area and price is on a sliding scale depending on number of days rented.

Santa Barbara Fitness Tours – Offers several bike rental options, including road and mountain bikes. SBFT also provides guided tours for those who would prefer to let a local lead the way.

VeloPro – Carrying a full line of offerings from Kona bikes, you might guess that this shop is serious about MTB riding, and you’d be right. VeloPro offers two full-suspension mountain bikes to open up the nearby downhill trails in the Santa Barbara foothills.

Open Air Bicycles – Partners with Hotel Oceana downtown to rent hybrid road bikes by the day at a reasonable rate.