We’re starting to really see a trend – a demand for vacations that feature a bicycling component and while May is National Bike Month, we’re seeing trips for cycling enthusiasts pop up from Nantucket to New Zealand. Adventure travelers are now seeking an endurance challenge that long-distance cycling provides; it’s no longer just about a quick-fix adrenaline rush. Others enjoy biking as a way to stay fit on a vacation while exploring the destination. (Is it perhaps the death of the hotel fitness center?) By riding through a locale, travelers have the opportunity to meet new people, feel the fresh air, see the scenery, and venture off the beaten path.
Be it a Bhutan trek or a brewery tour, itineraries exist to suit all interests.
Here are some to inspire you!
1) Cycle from Mountains to Monasteries
To fully engage with the Kingdom of Bhutan, its people, culture, and landscapes, there are few better ways than by bike. One can bike the 350 miles between COMO’s two Bhutan properties, Uma Punakha and Uma Paro. Highlights include the first designated mountain biking trail in Bhutan, a descent from the highest road pass in the country, a roundtrip ride in the magical Phobjikha valley, and cultural rides in the Paro, Punakha, and Haa Valleys.
2) Bike and Brew on Nantucket
For bikers and beer enthusiasts, The White Elephant Village and The Wauwinet offer a “Bike and Brew” package for two that includes a two-night stay in a one bedroom residence overlooking the stunning Nantucket Bay, bike rental, tour of the local Cisco brewery, and a picnic to go.
3) Heli-Bike in New Zealand
Bikers at the Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown, New Zealand, can ride on the same trails as the world’s top mountain bikers by heli-biking. Guests are flown to the mountains above Queenstown and are given the freedom to ride down at their own pace.
4) 6,000 Acres of Bike Trails on The Farm
While Queenstown caters to the thrill-seeking crowd, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in the Hawke’s Bay of New Zealand offers three diverse trails across 6,000 acres of sheep farm, coastline, wetland, and wineries.
5) Mountain Bike Treasure Hunt
Explore The New Forest, the original hunting ground of William the Conqueror, by taking part in a treasure hunt. Chewton Glen in Hampshire, England, offers themed treasure hunts for teams of up to eight people, all armed with mission packs containing clues, photo challenges, digital cameras, and maps. Treasure hunt themes include “The Olympic Challenge” and “The Italian Job.”
6) Aquabiking: St. Barth’s Answer to Spinning
Sibarth, the trend-setting villa rental company on St. Barth, is now leading the latest fitness trend, aquabiking. The underwater fitness equipment tones muscles with minimal joint strain. Instructor Jean Marc Outil leads in-villa and pool sessions that involve a series of cycling rhythms set to his specially selected tunes.
7) Bike Valet in Napa
Napa Valley visitors can experience miles of vineyards from the seat of a bike rather than through the window of a car. Many Napa Valley hotels such as Solage Calistoga, Bardessono, Auberge du Soleil, and Villagio Inn offer complimentary bicycle rentals to guests, and some area resorts, restaurants, and other venues offer a bicycle valet service so that biking does not hinder the ability to shop along the way. Many tour operators offer organized packages and guided bicycle excursions that include pick-up and delivery of wine purchases.
8) Biking Adventure by Day, Casinos and Musical Performances by Night
Crystal Cruises offers offshore biking excursions, available for different age groups and skill levels, that feature historical monuments and famous restaurants. New for 2013 is the “Montenegro Bicycle Discovery.” Guests on this trek ride through olive groves with backdrop views of the Adriatic Sea and the bays of Herceg Novi and Tivat. Along the way, bikers enjoy lunch at a restaurant with local specialties and panoramic bay views.
9) Bike like a Local in Paris
Pavillon des Lettres and Pavillon de la Reine make it easy for guests to take advantage of the many bike routes throughout Paris with their complimentary bike service. Parisians have long been infatuated with biking. It has grown even more popular since the city implemented its bike-sharing service that provides 20,000 bikes and 1,800 stands that are available twenty-four hours a day. Join the groups of fashionable Parisian cyclists on a ride along the Seine or through the Marais.
10) Biking Globe Trekkers Choose Park Hyatt
Spin the globe and land at one of the 31 Park Hyatt hotels and resorts worldwide. The Park Hyatt Bicycle Valet Program invites guests to uncover the city’s best sites with the use of a bicycle and the following amenities, a lock, helmet, lights, pump, kickstand, bottled water, and biking maps. From Beaver Creek to Sydney, bikers can explore their natural surroundings and find a shady spot to enjoy a gourmet picnic basket provided by Park Hyatt.
Fun Fact: According to a study in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal, just FIVE minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and self-esteem.