Tag Archives: bicycle travel

We are now a little over a week away from candies, flowers, and Valentines cards. We are also just a few more weeks away from some prime riding weather. Therefore, we need to turn our collective eyes toward the future and continue our plans for making this year the best riding year ever!

Getting ready for your best riding year ever! Part 2

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

We are now a little over a week away from candies, flowers, and Valentines cards. We are also just a few more weeks away from some prime riding weather. Therefore, we need to turn our collective eyes toward the future and continue our plans for making this year the best riding year ever!

Get your mind ready for your best riding year ever!

It’s been proven countless times – the mind drives the body! Get your body moving by committing your mind to an event. One of the easiest ones you can do anywhere is the 30 Days of Biking Pledge. Simply put, the pledge commits you to ride 30 days in the month of April. Any event that you will commit to will do.

Get your fitness ready for your best riding year ever

Make a training plan now. Your plan can be as simple as committing to ride two times a week or as detailed as planning the mileage, date, and time. Just be sure that plan matches with your goal (example: riding for only one hour a week wouldn’t give you the fitness you need to ride two hours a day through April).

Most of us are currently locked in a winter freeze, so conditions may not coincide with your availability to ride outdoors. But keeping yourself physically active is paramount for this time of year and it’s especially crucial for your training. Any strenuous activity will help your overall fitness for summer cycling.

To help with on-bike fitness there is no better indoor exercise than riding a bike trainer. A trainer turns your bicycle into an indoor stationary bicycle. There are also spin gyms, training centers and bike shops that run classes a few times a week. If you want to kick off your trainers sessions in style, check out my favorite trainer workout.

Fitting riding into your daily routine

How do you fit in time to train? To start, try not to add too much separate riding time to your schedule. Instead, commute to work by bike. If it is too far, drive part of the way and ride the rest. A normal 30 minute drive could turn into a 15 minute drive and the rest on your bike with a little planning. That way, you only add 15 to 20 minutes to your schedule and still get a ride in. Bicycle commuting in the morning and the evening can buy you an hour of riding while only adding around minutes to your daily schedule.

Find trips to the grocery store a handful of times a week. Trying to ride your bike to the grocery store, rather than drive once a week, can be a quick rode to fitness.

Finally, add a ride to your normal downtime. If you have an indoor trainer, ride for one hour a night while watching TV rather than sitting on the couch. It may seem counter-intuitive, but being active is a great way to wind down from a busy day. You will find you sleep better and generally feel more relaxed.

Get your bike equipment ready for your best riding year ever

Bring your bike out of hibernation and put air in the tires. Take it for a spin around the block and check to see if it’s functioning properly. April 1st is smack dab in the middle of when many people begin to think about riding their bike. If you wait until the last minute to drop your bike off for service, chances are, you will be waiting longer than you like for you bicycle. Click the (link) here to read about some of the benefits of servicing your bike in the winter.

Additionally, if you bring your bike in for service, think about making sure your bike fits you properly. A professional bike fit will lower the chance of repetitive motion injuries and make you more comfortable and efficient. While you’re having your bike serviced and fit you can also find the right clothing and accessories for the year ahead. The weather in April can be a mixed bag, so make sure your clothing options include something to keep you comfortable in the sun,rain, snow, wind, or cold.

The First opportunities

We can begin to expect some nice days over the next few weeks. Take every opportunity to ride on these few late winter gifts. Ride with your kids, ride to the store, or ride once it’s dark if needed, but ride.

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Chasing away the winter blues by visiting a warm weather bike destination.

Chasing away those winter blues by traveling to a warm riding destination

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

With winter here for a few more months it is not uncommon for cabin fever to set in. Many of us use this time of year to head off to a warm riding destination to get out of the cold and kick-starting the spring season a little early. While the list of warm biking destinations is nearly endless, here are a few that can be extra fun. Read on to learn, where to go and how to get there.

Finding the perfect warm riding destination takes planning

The first part of any trip is usually the least fun – planning! However, taking a little extra time to figure out what type of riding you want to do, what off the bike activities you want to enjoy and the type of accommodations that meets your needs will make the trip more enjoyabe.

Getting ready

I’m not going to tell you how to pack, but I will recommend you bring more than you think you need for a warm riding destination trip. A rain shell, a long sleeve jersey and a pair of tights don’t take up much room in your bag and can totally save a day if you receive unseasonably cool weather while away. Additionally, I would recommend you prepare your bike. Research the trail/road conditions by calling a local bike shop to see if they recommend anything. As an example, in the southwest there is a plant called Puncturevine (or goatheads), that produces a very hard, very sharp seed. These seeds destroy the more delicate tires your topography may allow. So when I have traveled to Arizona in the spring, I changed my tires to the puncture resistant variety and saved hours of fixing flats.

R&R – Rides and Relaxation

I know the idea of a warm riding destination trip can be exciting, but be sure not to bite off more than you can chew. Overdoing it on the first day can set a bad tone for the rest of the week, so concentrate on riding and relaxing. I like to set up two rides for the first day (typically a morning and afternoon ride). That way, if you feel great you can enjoy both, but if you can’t muster the second one it’s easy to skip it. By contrast, if you setup one long ride for the first day, you may get stuck half way out with an empty energy tank.

Where to go

I am lucky to have enjoyed many winter months in warmer places, Some of those listed below are favorites of mine, while still others are on my list of places to go.


Georgia has become a cycling destination for riders of all discipines. It was the location of the first Olympic mountain bike race as well as the home of one of the united states most difficult stage races (tour of Georgia). If you have your heart set (and prepared) for a day of climbing hills and enjoying views, you can enjoy the Mile high 55 ride in the town of Roswell. If flat cruises, beautiful beaches and southern living are more your speed, check out the town of Savanah for it’s endless bike paths.


Tennessee is home to great weather, awesome people, and spectacular riding. Places like Montgomery Bell State park just outside Nashville is a great jumping off point for mountain bike as well as road rides. It’s proximity to the musical city of Nashville also ensure your days in the saddle can be well balanced with nights of fun.


Florida is a well known winter destination for all the resorts and beaches, but did you know they also boast world class mountain bike trails? Even in a city as spicy as Miami you can find dirt to satisfy you? Trails like the Oleta River State Park have tight singletrack with whoops, roots, and drops to make even the most seasoned rider shout with joy.


Arizona is a winter haven for many thanks to its temperate climate. While it gets a bit hot for many in the summer, winter and fall are breathtaking. The roads outside most major cities are clear and some can be incredibly challenging. For instance, north of Tucson sits Mt Lemmon, a 6 hour ride that puts you more than 8000 feet above sea level. It is littered with wide open vistas and earth shattering views so bring your camera along!

war riding destinations

Mt Lemmon’s views are worth the trouble climbing to them


For cycling trips, it is difficult to beat the riding in California. The large state has green rolling hills in it’s northern territories as well as dry, desert roads that stretch on forever and let you work on that tan in it’s southern half. I personally love riding high above the golden gate bridge in the China Camp trail system in Marin county. While you are there, you can soak in some cycling culture at the Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain bike hall of fame.

Warm riding Destinations

The Marin Museum of Bicycling is home to over 100 years of bicycle evolution. It is also a hangout for some of the most influential bicycle builders of ll time.

More bike destinations to consider

Check out our HaveFunBiking National Guide for more place to ride for that #NextBikeAdventure.

How to travel with your bike

Traveling with your bike is not that difficult. If you plan to travel a lot, investing in a dedicated travel bike or buying a bike case are probably your best options. If that isn’t the way you want to go, many cities have stores that will rent good quality bikes at reasonable rates.

Riding in unknown locations

There are a few things you want to make sure of before you go riding somewhere new. First is to let others know where you are going and when you plan to return. This can alert people to your absence if need be. Also, you may want to think about SAG support?  AAA Auto Club now offers roadside bike assistance as a service where they will pick you up if you have a problem. Finally, bring your smartphone. You may want to turn the ringer off, so reality can’t spoil the fun, but it’s mapping functions can get you out of a jam if you take a wrong turn or need 911.

So have fun and share your #NextBikeAdventure pictures and stories with us at HaveFunBiking.com on your next warm riding destination getaway.

The big issue with traveling elsewhere to ride is finding the good trails, best routes or fun secret spots that only the locals know about. That's why I recommend you enter a bike race. Not for the race, but for the route.

Bike races are a great way to experience new trails and routes

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Winter is the time of year my thoughts drift to the beautiful surroundings of warmer climates. Having traveled with my bike a great deal, I can attest to the fact that riding new trails and roads will invigorate your riding. The big issue with traveling elsewhere to bike is finding the good trails, best routes or fun secret spots only the locals know about. That’s why I recommend you enter destination bike races. Not to try and win the race, but for the route.

bike race

Stage 1 of BC Bike Race’s 2018 route

How can you enter a bike race, but race?

Any competition is not a race if you don’t try hard enough. So ignore your placement in the race results, relax, and think about the event as a well organized ride instead. This mentality works best for long events. For that reason, road circuit races are out of the question, but there are loads of mountain bike, Gravel, and road events that fit the bill.

Why go to a bike race?

The best reason to register for a race but not actually treat it like a race is the convenience. As an example, If you want to schedule an awesome mountain bike vacation on some of the best trails in the world, going to the BC Bike Race would be a good option. By registering, you have access to lodging, food, bike support, rider support and above all else eight preset courses are offered through BC’s best terrain. While you pay for this convenience, the cost is similar to if you were to plan it yourself with a lot less headache. Also, cycling events are family friendly by design, so bring everyone along!

How do I pick

With all these new options available to you, how do you pick your event? My recommendation is to start with location. Pick some areas you want to visit and ride in. Next check local calendars and see if any events will match up. Finally, register for the event of your choice and plan your vacation!

What to expect

What you will experience at these events depends greatly on the type and size of the event. For the sake of this article I will break the event types up into the two most popular categories: mountain bike and gravel bike

Mountain bike races

Mountain bike races are usually really long (like the Circumburke trail challenge in the Kingdom Trails of Vermont or stage races like the Transylvania Epic in Pennsylvania). The long single day races are fun way to test yourself and achieve a one-day goal and are awesome if you have limited time to get away. If time is not as much of an issue, stage races are where it’s at! Stage races are shorter individual rides spread over a series of days. They usually expose you to many different sections of popular trail networks as well as have a great festival atmosphere.

bike races

There are few joys that compare to experiencing new trails.

Gravel bike races

The popularity of gravel rides has exploded in the past few years thanks to dedicated people putting on world class events all around the globe. Many of these races started humbly but have grown to mythic stature. Events like Kansas’ Dirty Kanza 200 might be a stretch for most with it’s 200 miles of tire-splitting flint rock. However, for those interested in the adventure of a gravel race with a bit more approachable distance can look at Iowa’s Colesburg Gravelpocalypse with routes as short as 20 miles. Whatever your distance, gravel races are an amazing option with events all around the country.

bike Races

Lovely new roads await on countess events around the world.

What to do when you go to “race”

When you sign up for a race, it’s best to come to the event with some fitness and realistic expectations. Plan to take your time and have fun. Most importantly, remember that there are some really fast people out there who are actually racing these events. For that reason wait at the start line when the event goes off. Allow all those looking to compete to get into the race course then head off for your ride. When riding, yield right of way easily to all passing cyclists as some competitive riders may have had to stop to repair mechanicals. Finally, the race is meant to be fun. Feel free to push yourself, but if a section appears to be above your skill level there is no shame in walking it. All in all, enjoy the ride, the atmosphere and allow others to do the same

Biking in Mexico

by Howard Schneider
During my first year of graduate school at the University of Minnesota (1967-68) I commuted all winter, for a short distance to campus, on my 3-speed … didn’t see but a few other cyclists during those long, cold, snowy months. Now fast forward to 2014. Being retired for three years, I decided to ride my bike again in the winter.

mexico4-view of mountains near Bucerias



I had a really good plan! To ride a few times during my stay from mid-November to early December in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. There, I found a bike tour company located just 30 minutes north of Vallarta- Bici Bucerias. The guys were really helpful: advising me on bus transportation, fitting a bike, warning of “topes” (speed bumps), pointing out landmarks, and riding at my pace. So on two different days I did 40+ mile rides.

Mexico1-Biking flat ag land

Biking flat ag land in Mexico

On the first day in a small group we rode from Bucerias to the surrounding agricultural countryside.  I was surprised to find decently paved roads, along with rolling hills and Sierra Madre mountain views.

Mecico5-On our descent towards Puerto Vallarta

Our descent back towards-Puerto Vallarta

On the second day, we rode from old Vallarta and its cobblestone streets to hills and a lush jungle landscape south of town. Along with beautiful views of Banderas Bay, I watched carefully for cars along this curvy highway as we had several miles of climbing with 5-6 percent grades. What a great descent and did I mention that both days the temps were in the 80’s!

I am now planning a return visit to undertake a multi-day tour this winter!


Coming into a small Mexican Village with a view-of-mountains near Bucerias, in the background

My advice- if you plan to visit the Banderas Bay area, don’t just enjoy the beaches, sunsets, food, people, and weather. Ride a bike. Bici Bucerias offers single day rides, multi-day tours, and will also custom design your journey. And if you go say “Hola” for me.

To see more on biking in this part of Mexico check out Bici Bucerias website.