29 April 2015

Exact route maps of USA Pro Challenge 2015 Announced

Save the date in August for the 5th year of the USA Pro Challenge

It's been five years and the race is going strong. Today the exact route was announced for the seven day stage race in Colorado.

Now we know where the KOMs will be, where the finish lines will be placed, and which cities the race will pass through. No big surprises since the Host Cities for 2015 USA Pro Challenge were announced last December, we could guess where the route would go. Yet seeing the official maps in print is exciting, routes maps sort of make a race official.

Below are the 2015 route maps and profile maps to the men's race. The women route maps have yet to be announced, although the Host Cities are known for both the men's and women's races.

Read more about the race at Pedal Dancer® Guide Page: USA Pro Challenge. Or view my guides to each stage of the race.
  1. How to see Stage 1 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Steamboat
  2. How to see Stage 2 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Steamboat / ABasin
  3. How to see Stage 3 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Copper / Aspen
  4. How to see Stage 4 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Aspen / Breck
  5. How to see Stage 5 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Breck ITT!
  6. How to see Stage 6 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Loveland / Fort Collins
  7. How to see Stage 7 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Golden / Denver
Map of 2015 USA Pro Challenge Colorado
Map of 2015 USA Pro Challenge Colorado. 7 Stages 865 Miles 32 Hours of Racing 16 Cities 

STAGES AND HOST CITIES FOR 2015 MEN'S USA PRO CHALLENGE IN COLORADO - MENS RACE
  • Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 17 – Steamboat Springs Circuit Race
  • Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin
  • Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 19 – Copper Mountain Resort to Aspen
  • Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 20 – Aspen to Breckenridge
  • Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 21 – Breckenridge Individual Time Trial
  • Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 22 – Loveland to Fort Collins
  • Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 – Golden to Denver
STAGES AND HOST CITIES FOR 2015 WOMEN'S USA PRO CHALLENGE - WOMENS RACE
  • Stage 1: Friday, August 21 - Breckenridge (Individual Time Trial)
  • Stage 2: Saturday, August 22 - Fort Collins 
  • Stage 3: Sunday, August 23 - Golden (finishes prior to the start of the men's race)
Remember - head to Steamboat Springs early so you can see and ride next to the teams training in the days before the race start!  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer of team BMC Racing in Aspen 2014.

BEST PLACE TO SEE THE USA PRO CHALLENGE IN 2015

Where will you see the race?

I highly recommend going to Steamboat Springs the weekend before the race starts to be part of the pre race excitement, see the team presentation (usually on Saturday) and ride on the roads with the pros as they train on Saturday and Sunday (August 15th and 16th). If you stay for a long weekend, you will get to see the entirety of Stage 1 and the start of Stage 2 in Steamboat Springs on Monday, August 17th and Tuesday, August 18th.

As you might know, I have chased pro races for 15-years on this continent and in Europe and without a doubt my favorite part is showing up three days prior to the start of a big stage race. It is the time when I can freely talk to the mechanics, check out the bikes, see the team presentation, meet other fans, enjoy a lazy meal with a lazier beer and people watch galore. I see old friends and meet new ones who are as excited as I am to be at the race. The best part is pumping up the tires and riding on the same roads with the pros; giving a wave to my favorite pro riders while we are all on bikes. Don't miss this experience, it is truly priceless. 

If you are able to sneak away from work for half a day on Tuesday, August 18th - go to Arapahoe Basin for a new experience, the USA Pro Challenge has never before visited this area of Summit County, Colorado. The next day the race starts in Copper Mountain - another first - and sure to attract the locals.The Village of Copper Mountain knows how to host a special event.

This year the peloton climbs Independence Pass twice (August 19th and 20th). By the second pass, we should know who holds the GC. If you like wearing costumes and having fun at 12,095 feet - this will be the place for you. Of course, you need to ride your bike to the top (a highly recommended bike ride) or if you must - use a car to carry up your numerous banners and flags. Aspen always has great event atmosphere combined with natural beauty and is a fun place to visit (although they host the race mid-week this year).

I also recommend staying over in Breckenridge if possible to see the finish of Stage 4 on Thursday, August 20th, and the women's and men's Stage 5 Individual Time Trial on Friday, August 21st.

Both Loveland and Fort Collins always organize plenty of street activities with overflowing restaurants full of fans out to enjoy the day and watch a little bike racing. This year the start of Stage 6 is in Loveland and the finish in Fort Collins. I was thrilled to hear these cities were awarded Stage 6.

For the final day - Stage 7 - ride up Lookout Mountain, or go anywhere on the course between Golden and Denver to enjoy the time with friends or family at a restaurant patio or standing on a curb downtown; the final day will be about atmosphere and celebrating the overall race leader. On the other hand, Denver does traditionally have the best VIP tents!

Fans at the race in Golden, Colorado  in 2012.  ©Photo by Karen Rakestraw of PedalDancer®
Pedal Dancer® posts about the race in 2015:

    MENS 2015 ROUTE MAPS OF USA PRO CHALLENGE

    STAGE 1 - Steamboat Spring maps
    Monday, August 17, 2015
    97 Miles / 156 Kilometers
    Circuit Race

    Sprint: Steamboat Springs downtown
    KOM: Midpoint on Hwy 27 (Lap 1 & 2)

    USA Pro Challenge Stage 1 route map 2015
    USA Pro Challenge Stage 1 route map 2015 - Steamboat Springs Circuit
    Steamboat Springs circuit profile map USa Pro Challenge 2015
    Steamboat Springs circuit profile map USa Pro Challenge 2015

    STAGE 2 - Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin maps
    Tuesday, August 18, 2015
    103 Miles / 165 Kilometers

    Sprint: Kremling and Dillon
    KOM: Rabbit Ears Pass, Ute Passm and final climb of Arapahoe Basin

    USA Pro Challenge Stage 2 route map 2015

    USA Pro Challenge Stage 2 profile map 2015 (with Ute Pass)

    STAGE 3 - Copper Mountain to Aspen maps
    Wednesday, August 19, 2015
    Copper Mountain to Aspen
    101 Mile / 163 Kolimeters
    Max Elevation: 12,095ft

    Sprint: Leadville
    KOM: Fremont Pass, Independence Pass

    USA Pro Challenge Stage 3 route map 2015
    USA Pro Challenge Stage 3 route map 2015 - Copper Mountain to Aspen
    Stage 3 profile map USA Pro Challenge 2015 Colorado
    Stage 3 profile map USA Pro Challenge 2015 Colorado

    STAGE 4 - Aspen to Breckenridge maps
    Thursday, August 20, 2015
    Aspen to Breckenridge
    126 Miles / 203 Kilometers
    Max Elevation: 12,095ft

    Sprint: Buena Vista, Fairplay
    KOM: Independence Pass, Hoosier Pass, Moonstone

    USA Pro Challenge Stage 4 route map 2015
    USA Pro Challenge Stage 4 route map 2015 - Aspen to Breckenridge
    Profile map 2015 USA Pro Challenge Stage 4
    Profile map 2015 USA Pro Challenge Stage 4

    STAGE 5 - Breckenridge ITT maps
    Friday, August 21, 2015
    Breckenridge Individual Time Trial
    8.5 Miles / 14 Kilometers
    Max Elevation: 10,088ft

    No Sprint or KOM points

    USA Pro Challenge Stage 5 Breckenridge Time Trial 2015
    USA Pro Challenge Stage 5 Breckenridge Time Trial 2015
    Breckenridge time trial Stage 5 USA Pro Challenge 2015
    Breckenridge time trial Stage 5 USA Pro Challenge 2015

    STAGE 6 - Loveland to Fort Collins maps
    Saturday, August 22, 2015
    Loveland to Fort Collins
    102 Miles/ 165 Kilometers

    Sprint: Windsor, Loveland downtown
    KOM: Rist Canyon


    USA Pro Challenge Stage 6 route map 2015
    USA Pro Challenge Stage 6 route map 2015 - Loveland to Fort Collins
    Profile map Stage 6 Loveland USA Pro Challenge 2015
    Profile map Stage 6 Loveland USA Pro Challenge 2015

    STAGE 7 - Golden to Denver maps - final stage
    Sunday, August 23, 2015
    Golden to dowtown Denver
    68 Miles ? 110 Kilometers

    Sprint: Finish Line
    KOM: Lookout Mountain

    USA Pro Challenge Stage 7 route maps 2015
    USA Pro Challenge Stage 7 route maps 2015 - Golden to Denver
    Profile map Stage 7 Golden USA Pro Challenge 2015
    Profile map Stage 7 Golden USA Pro Challenge 2015
    Map of final circuit in downtown Denver on Stage 7 USA Pro Challenge 2015
    Map of final circuit in downtown Denver on Stage 7 USA Pro Challenge 2015

    WOMENS 2015 ROUTE MAPS OF USA PRO CHALLENGE

    Stages and Host Cities for the 2015 WOMEN'S USA PRO CHALLENGE
    • Stage 1: Friday, August 21 - Breckenridge (Individual Time Trial)
    • Stage 2: Saturday, August 22 - Fort Collins 
    • Stage 3: Sunday, August 23 - Golden (finishes prior to the start of the men's race)
    It's a big year for women's racing! This will be the first inaugural 3-day USA Cycling sanctioned invitation-only USA Pro Challenge women's stage race. The race will take place on the final weekend in the same cities as the men's race and will share parts of the men's course. The women's race will conclude prior to the men's finish, making an excellent opportunity for fans to see both the men and women race for equal prize money. Sean Petty will serve as the Race Director for the Women’s USA Pro Challenge. (full announcement)

    STAGE 1 - Breckenridge Individual Time Trial - WOMENS
    Friday, August 21, 2015
    8.5 Miles / 14 Kilometers
    Individual Time Trial

    Sprint: none
    KOM: none

    Women's Stage 1 Route 2015 USA pro Challenge
    Womens Stage 1 Profile 2015 USA Pro Challenge

    STAGE 2 - Loveland to Fort Collins - WOMENS
    Saturday, August 22, 2015
    58 Miles / 93 Kilometers
    Road Race

    Sprint: Downtown Loveland
    KOM: Rist Canyon

    Stage 2 Women's Route Map 2015 USA Pro Challenge
    Stage 2 Women's Profile 2015 USA Pro Challenge

    STAGE 3 - Golden - WOMENS
    Sunday, August 23, 2015
    60 minutes plus 3 laps
    Circuit Race (repeated laps, within a set time, the race does not continue to Denver)

    Sprint: Downtown Loveland
    KOM: Rist Canyon

    Golden Women's Circuit Route Map USA Pro Challenge 2015 - route of all laps

    Golden Women's Circuit Profile USA Pro Challenge 2015 - profile of all laps

    MORE INFORMATION

    Please read more about the race at the Pedal Dancer® Guide Page: USA PRO CHALLENGE

    Related Posts:

    AT THE RACE

    Pedal Dancer® Guide Pages help you have a better vacation in Colorado:
    On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - a bike travel series by Pedal Dancer® from 2014:

    Pack your bags - there is a big bike race in Colorado this August!

    BMC Racing heading to the start line on the final day of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge in Boulder, Colorado. I am betting they will be back in 2015!  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
    What is next:

    We the fans are still waiting for news on the teams for 2105. Also the time schedule for each stage and news about road closures. But that shouldn't stop you from scheduling your vacation time, arranging the pet sitter and deciding which bike to bring to Colorado (hint: the one with the tiny cog in the back), and making your transportation and hotel arrangements.

    Tips for Accommodations

    Here is my tip of the day: if you plan to book a hotel in Steamboat for the long-weekend, use this link to arrange your accommodations - you will find much better deals through this USA Pro Challenge hotel deal in Steamboat Springs 2015, offered through the official Steamboat booking services. 

    See you there. August 2015.

    20 April 2015

    Pedal Dancer® Guide to Summit County Cycling

    I recommend Summit County for where to ride a bike in Colorado

    Summit County is a wonderful place to ride a bike. If you haven't yet ridden a bike in Breckenridge, Frisco, Copper Mountain or Keystone - you need to give it a try this summer. Centrally located in the high mountains of Colorado, Summit County, contains the climbs of Vail Pass, Loveland Pass, Boreas Pass, Hoosier Pass, Fremont Pass and Ute Pass. That is a lot of passes.

    Summit County also has miles of bike paths and roads connecting mountains, valleys, lakes and small towns over diverse terrain with spectacular views; perfect for the intermediate to advanced cyclists, with sections suitable for beginner cyclists.

    I recently completely a huge project, I wrote a Cycling Guide to Summit County.

    Inspired by my recent selection as an Ambassador with Ride with GPS, I wrote a cycling and travel guide to one of my favorite areas to ride a bike in Colorado - Summit County. I had previously written posts to recommend bike rides near Aspen and Vail, so when Ride with GPS gave me first choice of selecting any area in Colorado, I wanted a new challenge - I wanted to map out rides in a county where I previously lived and often play. Summit County was my first choice.

    Links you might like:
    Descending the road between Loveland Pass and Keystone. Photo by Karen Rakestraw

    On the new guide to cycling in Summit County you will find 6 recommended routes. For each route, ride FAQs are given for distance, altitude, max grade, etc. I also offer where to find water and restrooms on route, cautions to look out for and points of interest along your ride, with plenty of photographs added in for fun.

    On the Guide Page to biking in Summit County, there is a list of bike shops (with bike rentals noted), area history, and where to find my favorite local eats and drinks along your bike ride. 

    Are you ready to visit Summit County to ride a bike?

    Location of Summit County, Colorado in U.S.A.
    Summit County is located inside the red circle west of Denver, Colorado
    Lost to do on this map of Summit County by Colorado-Directory.com

    6 RECOMMENDED BIKE RIDES IN SUMMIT COUNTY

    I have chosen to highlight 6 ride routes for you (and Ride with GPS). Within the description of each route, I mention route options and local tips and recommendations. I suspect you love maps as much as I do; I know you will love riding in Colorado as much as I do.

    Although two routes begin from Frisco Marina, one from Dillon Marina, one from Breckenridge, one from Copper Mountain and one from Keystone - you may begin any of these rides from the towns within Summit County. Copy these routes to your own Ride with GPS account and make custom changes.

    In 2015, the USA Pro Challenge will feature 2 stage finishes, 1 stage start, and 1 full day of individual time trial racing in Summit County, Colorado. That is four out of seven stages hosted in Summit County. Why - because Summit County has magnificent cycling. Come discover the RIDE!


    DETAILED ROUTE DESCRIPTIONS:

    Please follow the ROUTE MAP links for more information about each recommended ride.
    All photos on this page and on the Ride with GPS Ambassador pages ©by Karen Rakestraw and Laurie Decoteau.


    1. Vail Pass from Frisco through Copper Mountain (Route Maps)

    Frisco to Vail Pass bicycling map
    Frisco to Vail Pass bicycling map (route link)
    Bike path on Vail Pass. Photo by Laurie Decoteau
    Bike path on Vail Pass. Photo by Laurie Decoteau
     
    Frisco to Vail Pass - A popular Colorado bike ride

    RIDE: Frisco - Copper Mountain - Vail Pass - Copper Mountain - Frisco
    (Go to Ride with GPS Route Map and Description Page)

    Be ready for high altitude riding in the midst of tundra and rocky mountain peaks. You will enjoy a low-stress accessible scenic bike ride from the quaint mountain town of Frisco, Colorado, to the top of Vail Pass.

    Vail Pass is a highly recommended road ride in Summit County, Colorado, perfect for solo, group or family rides (with older children). You will join a steady stream of cyclists three seasons of the year on this popular route; not accessible in winter. Round trip distance is 25.8 miles (half of it is downhill!).

    Some local bike shops (see the list here) offer a tourist shuttle service (with bike rental) to the rest stop at the top (located off of I-70, exit #190). The shuttle vans conveniently unload you and your bike on Vail Pass and set you free to quickly descend all the way back through Copper Mountain Village to Frisco.

    For much of the way, you will follow a nice paved two-way bike path - free from traffic - with open mountain vistas. Although the route parallels I-70, the large highway is audibly noticeable only at times during the ride. Beautiful in summer and fall, occasional flooding may occur over the bike path (usually passable) in early spring. Watch for late afternoon rain showers (be sure to bring a jacket). Look for mountain goats peering down from rock outcroppings along the path.

    I like the relaxed vibe at the Frisco Marina, be sure to bike out to the point. The Island Grill (next to the Marina store) has outdoor seating, there is also a lawn for post-ride picnics.

    Your ride:
    • Start: Frisco, CO, US
    • Distance: 25.6 mi
    • Elevation: + 1664 / - 1664 ft
    • Max Grade of climb: 6.9 %
    • Avg. Grade of climb: 2.8%
    • Finish: Frisco Marina
    • Difficulty: Moderate steady climb at altitude. Easy for children if you shuttle to the top and ride down.

    2. Loveland Pass from Dillon Marina through Keystone (Route Maps)

    Bike Ride Dillon to Loveland Pass
    Bike Ride Dillon to Loveland Pass (route link)
    South side of Loveland Pass. Photo by Karen Rakestraw
    South side of Loveland Pass. Photo by Karen Rakestraw

    The climb to Loveland Pass - south side - Big mountain climbing over the Great Divide

    RIDE: Dillon - Keystone - Loveland Pass - Keystone - Dillon
    (Go to Ride with GPS Route Map and Description Page)

    Your ride starts at the high mountain lake of Lake Dillon in Summit County and ends atop a glorious 11,990ft mountain pass on the Continental Divide. One of my favorite climbs in Colorado, I enjoy the relatively flat warm-up with a gradual climb through pines trees, opening to big mountain vistas and dramatic switchbacks to the summit.

    You will start at Dillon Marina, cycle the bike path along Lake Dillon and through neighborhoods into Keystone Ski Resort. This is where the real climb begins and sweeping mountain views surround you as you climb to the top. There are sections of on and off 8% as you ascend the final switchbacks.

    The top of the pass is without facilities but a great place to people watch, take photos and enjoy the view. Pause at the summit to celebrate your achievement with other cyclists who have reached the top from both sides. Join the tourists marveling at the engineering of this road built over the Great Divide in Colorado.

    Your ride:
    • Start: Lake Dillon Marina, CO, US
    • Distance: 30.8 mi
    • Elevation: + 3163 / - 3162ft
    • Steepest grade on climb: 9%
    • Average grade: 3.7% (from Dillon), 5.9% (from Keystone)
    • Max altitude at summit: 11,990ft
    • Finish: Lake Dillon Marina (out and back)
    • Difficulty: Intermediate ride for cyclists who enjoy a steep climb. Due to long descent on road, this is not a ride for children.

    3. Montezuma from Frisco over Swan Mountain and back (Route Maps)

    Cycling from Frisco to Montezuma CO
    Cycling from Frisco to Montezuma CO (route link)
    Swan Mountain bike path. Photo by Karen Rakestraw
    Swan Mountain bike path. Photo by Karen Rakestraw

    Frisco to Montezuma - From lake to pines and back

    RIDE: Frisco - Swan Mountain - Keystone - Montezuma - Keystone - Swan Mountain - Frisco
    (Go to Ride with GPS Route Map and Description Page)

    A nice bike ride with varied terrain sure to entertain your legs with the challenge of short and long climbs and your eyes with scenes of lakes and pine trees. Swan Mountain will satisfy your quest to climb to a view. The road to Montezuma along the Snake River is relatively quiet; a place to get into a rhythm of climbing. This route mixes bike paths with roads. It does not matter exactly how you get through Keystone, just keep going until you find the road to Montezuma (Rd 5, Montezuma Rd.). This is a day to explore and enjoy being in the mountains on your bike.

    I would recommend riding steady, but taking a break on Swan Mountain and in Beaver Run Village in Keystone. Enjoy a drink at the Marina, or picnic on the lawn, near the boats, upon your return to Frisco Marina.

    A good ride for all levels of cyclists (allow more time for climbing if needed).

    Your ride:
    • Starts in: Frisco, CO, US
    • Distance: 36.9 mi
    • Elevation: + 2703 / - 2704ft
    • Max Grade 8.8 %
    • Finish: Frisco Marina (out and back)
    • Difficulty: Intermediate ride (with one steep climb) over bike paths and road

    4. Breckenridge around Lake Dillon to Keystone loop (Route Maps)

    Breckenridge to Lake Dillon bike ride map
    Breckenridge to Lake Dillon bike ride map (route link)
    Breckenridge ski resort, view from Boreas Pass in fall
    Breckenridge ski resort, view from Boreas Pass in fall. Photo by Karen Rakestraw

    Breckenridge - Lake Dillon Loop - Ride central Summit County

    RIDE: Breckenridge - Frisco - Dillon - Swan Mountain - Breckenridge
    (Go to Ride with GPS Route Map and Description Page)

    Breckenridge is a colorful bustling mountain town known for skiing, mountain biking, and year round special events. This year Breckenridge will host 4 stages of the USA Pro Challenge in August 2015.

    Your ride starts near Main Street Breckenridge and heads down valley toward Frisco. The Blue River flows north through the valley toward the lake. The initial part of your ride will be a smooth downhill ride on the bike path from Breckenridge to Frisco.

    It is possible to loop either way around the lake, but most locals prefer to ride clockwise through Frisco first, Dillon, and then ride the bike path up Swan Mountain (the east side is not as steep as the west side) before returning to Breckenridge.

    The most important things to know about this route is that the bike path back to Breckenridge is a somewhat uninspiring uphill false flat for 10-miles. You will notice on the profile map that most of the climbing is tackled on the way back to Breckenridge. You will certainly be happy to reach the numerous bars and restaurants along Main Street upon your return.

    The second thing to be aware of is following the bike path around Lake Dillon takes some attention to route finding, there are a few tricky path connections; keep in mind you will be going clockwise around Lake Dillon, which is due north of Breckenridge. Study the route ahead of time and ask for directions if needed.

    Your ride:
    • Starts in: Breckenridge, CO, US
    • Distance: 40.7 mi
    • Elevation: + 2003 / - 2004 ft
    • Max Grade 7.0 %
    • Distance: 30.8 mi
    • Elevation: + 3163 / - 3162ft
    • Finish: Breckenridge (out and back)
    • Difficulty: Intermediate ride for cyclists who enjoy bike paths and great scenery.

    5. Summit County East to West - Loveland Pass to Vail Pass (Route Maps)

    Loveland Pass to Vail Pass climbs
    Loveland Pass to Vail Pass climbs (route link)
    View over Lake Dillon
    View over Lake Dillon. Photo by Laurie Decoteau

    Loveland and Vail Pass - 2 Big Mountain Passes in one day

    RIDE: Keystone - Loveland Pass - Keystone - Swan Mountain - Frisco - Vail Pass - Frisco - Swan Mountain - Keystone!
    (Go to Ride with GPS Route Map and Description Page

    Ride two of the best local passes in Summit County in one day. Climb breathtaking (in beauty and oxygen) Loveland Pass and gentle Vail Pass. After this ride, having ridden border to border from east to west, you will feel as if you know Summit County very well.

    This route offers plenty of choices: you may start in Dillon or Frisco, or reverse the route. Simply copy the route to your Ride with GPS account and modify the route if needed.

    Loveland pass has a maximum grade of 9% and is my favorite climb in the area. I like the atmosphere at the top of the pass and the descent off the south side seems to never end. The climb up the gentle bike path to Vail Pass is stress free and often populated, but Vail Pass feels like an accomplishment in its own right. Connecting the two routes takes some time as you wend your way through towns, over Swan Mountain and past Lake Dillon.

    This is a long morning to mid-day ride, allow enough time and be sure to start early. Enjoy an outside patio after your ride to soak in the high mountain scenery and revel in your accomplishment of two summits in one day.

    Your ride:
    • Start: Keystone, CO, US
    • Distance: 66.5 mi
    • Elevation: + 5907ft / - 5911ft
    • Steepest grade on climb: 8.9%
    • Average grade of Loveland Pass: 5.9% (from Keystone)
    • Max altitude at summit of Loveland Pass: 11,990ft
    • Finish: Keystone (or Frisco, Dillon, Breckenridge)
    • Difficulty: Intermediate-Advanced ride for cyclists who enjoy a steep climbs. Due to long descent on road down Loveland Pass, this is not a ride for children.

    6. Copper Triangle - Traditional Route, Vail Pass last (Route Maps)

    Copper Triangle loop ride
    Copper Triangle loop ride (route link)
    bike path on Vail Pass
    The last part up the small bike path on Vail Pass is the steepest. Photo by Karen Rakestraw

    Copper Triangle Traditional - One of the best loop routes in Colorado

    RIDE: Copper Mountain - Fremont Pass - Leadville - Tennessee Pass - Battle Mountain - Minturn - Vail - Vail Pass - Copper Mountain
    (Go to Ride with GPS Route Map and Description Page)

    At a distance of 79-miles, the Copper Triangle is a classic Colorado high mountain loop bike ride. Departing Copper Village and immediately ascending Fremont Pass, you will skirt the city of Leadville, continuing over Tennessee Pass, past Camp Hale, up Battle Mountain through the town of Minturn and enter Vail Village. You only have the steep climb up Vail Pass ahead of you before an easy descent returning into Copper Village to complete the loop.

    This route is recommended for advanced-intermediate to advanced cyclists: long climbs, exposure to the mountain elements, cycling at altitude.

    The Copper Triangle is a long tradition for Colorado cyclists and a definite bucket-list ride. It is the route used annually for the Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle event ride to benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s disease. Held the first week of August, the ride typically sells out in capacity. The special event is relatively expensive but does donate to charity and provides a great expo, lunch and live music afterwards in Copper Village for all participants. Although beautiful on any quiet weekend, this route is lots of fun with hundreds of other cyclists peppered along the climbs.

    Your ride:
    • Start: Copper Mountain Village, Summit County, CO, US
    • Distance: 79.0 mi
    • Elevation: + 5949 / - 5409 ft
    • Max Grade: 9.9 %
    • Avg. Grade: 1.1 % (there is a lot of downhill)
    • Finish: Copper Mountain Village (loop route)
    • Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced cycling at altitude over semi-isolated mountain passes. Long route, come prepared.

    That's it! Six routes, but more are planned in the future
     
    Please visit and scroll down my new guide page to discover local food and bar recommendations, read the history of the area, find tips on riding in our high mountains and of course, see a photo of a moose!

    I would like to thank Laurie Decoteau, A.G. Bradley and Sue Stokes for their help in recommending local restaurants and ride details. I would like to thank Laurie Decoteau for her wonderful photography featured on all of the routes.

    17 April 2015

    What I Know For Sure

    What I have learned after 15 years of road biking in Colorado

    Sharing my experiences in an honest humorous do's and don'ts way after being involved in many levels of cycling in Colorado.

    Never be intimidated by any mountain climb in Colorado. Even if you go so slow you feel you will fall over, and even if you stop several times, you will make it to the top if you have it in your mind to succeed. The ride to the mountaintop is not about the journey (although it is about the scenery), or how many people pass you or do not, it is about the destination. You must believe deeply to get yourself to the top.

    Do try to find 2-3 people to ride with whom encourage you, are dependable, make you laugh and at the end of the ride leave you feeling better in spirit; better in body is not a guarantee and is about as reliable as a consistent game of golf. Some days you will ride better than them, some days they will ride better than you, but together you will be stronger. You will know you have a mate who will be there for you in sickness and health, and in "Ha, I beat you to the city limit sign!"

    Never trust or get involved in a conversation (rant) on Twitter with anyone who is antagonistic or eager to beat you down. Also never read the comments on 303Cycling.com, some people are just plain angry or mean. Be discreet and communicate directly with anyone you have an issue with in the cycling community. Tensions sometimes run high. Everyone makes mistakes and this community is too small to make enemies.

    Do remember those who brought you to this point. Once you have ridden a bike next to someone, you have made a friend. I might not see all the people I used to ride with, but I always wish them well as years go by. When you experience the pavement rolling by under your wheel and ride side by side with someone whether in conversation or in quiet, or follow their wheel over the hill and dale, there is a bond built forever. I have only ever felt this kind of bond in sport in big wall rock climbing or back country skiing. I have learned so much from so many.

    Never take your bike into a bike shop unwashed and ask for a "tune-up." Do ask the mechanic questions about your bike every time they make or plan a repair. You will learn exponentially; there is always more to learn. Maintenance of your bike is a responsibility of ownership. Do learn how to change a tire; the skill will afford you far more freedom.

    Do talk to anyone who has a bike in hand. Honestly, all barriers vanish. If you ride a bike, you have something in common. Whether he/she is 12-years old or 75-years old, the most decorated racer or the newbie rider - talk to them. Say hi, give an honest compliment, ask a question, listen to their story, leave with a smile. I am serious - there are some very cool people riding bikes around this state and you never know their story until you break that silence.

    Do understand that nutrition matters; weight of the bike less, bike handling is super important, and determination even more so. Try to learn not to be anxious and stressed out while riding, it takes away from your experience and your performance.

    Never wear your helmet pushed too far back on your forehead. I will tolerate almost any other clothing style errors but this one. Okay, maybe no long dangling earrings either.

    Do volunteer at races or events and please represent cyclists as law-abiding citizens. Enough said.

    Never go into a porta-potty (portable toilet) with your cycling gloves on. Enough said.

    Do find a bike that you love riding. Not a bike someone else has, or recommends for you, or thinks is top-of-the-line. Find a bike that makes you want to get out and ride. 

    Never keep your chamois on for hours after your ride. Even if you do need to download your GPS ride data and Tweet or Facebook about your awesome speed and altitude gained. You have chamois priorities!

    Do buy the very best technical clothing you can afford. It will last you for years (if you keep it out of the dryer) and might just save your ride.

    Never neglect to return a wave or a hello while riding. Being rude has no place on this earth. Enough said.

    Do know that most storms pass, including those pesky afternoon rain showers in Colorado. I say wait it out and remount. This motto applies to most things in life.

    Do reach higher than you ever thought possible. It takes an idea, a step-by-step plan, an unwavering belief in yourself, passion and determination - but you can attain anything you put your heart and mind to in this sport. If you have ever said, "I have always wanted to...." or "Someday I want to...", then make it now. Start with the first big daring step and watch how the ball starts rolling. 

    Never buy 3 full kits, plus jacket, vest and all the accessories of any team kit (unless they are free) because the team sponsors will change the next year, or somebody won't be happy with the leg elastic, and you are out considerable moolah.

    Do at some point, ride both inside, and more importantly outside, the county borders of Boulder, Colorado. 

    Do know that you will evolve. You will roll with the times and changes as much as your bike will. You will grow faster and then slower. You will have triumphs and disappointments. But in the end you will have racked up some awesome experiences along the way.

    Do save some cool memorabilia from your cycling experiences. Not that we need more stuff, but memories are the right kind of stuff. 

    Never build your entire identity around the bike. Everyone should be able to talk about at least 4 topics in depth. My dog counts as #2 of 4.

    Do plan weekend trips to ride in other areas of Colorado. Within a two to five hour car drive, a whole new world of riding possibilities open up. Get out and explore by car, by tent, by trailer, by hotel, by bike!

    What I do know for sure - and try hard to keep sight of - is that I would be more interested in sitting down to dinner with someone who described to me the view from the mountaintop than I would with someone who described to me the view from the podium. Over time, experiences had and connections made, count more. It is not about where you placed at the finish line but that you made it to the line. Unless, of course, you were first. Or you doped, denied it, won, got caught, said you were sorry, or didn't, and then made tons of money for the rest of your life in the industry you cheated and everyone seemed okay with that.

    I'm still not okay with that. I'm hoping those types pay at the golden gates. For the rest of you - you are invited to dinner!


    Memories ...

    I bought my first road bike in 2001. The next weekend I rode from Boulder to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, over Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. I had no idea what I was doing (but at least my helmet was straight), I simply believed I could do it. This was such a great group I rode with, I think of them fondly but haven't seen them in years. They inspired me and changed my life.

    Fall River Pass 11,795 feet of adventure
    Our group of five who biked from Boulder to Steamboat in 2001 because Mike Ricci (left) planned the trip and thought it would be fun. I said "sure" probably because I didn't know any better. One thing is for sure - I should have kept that orange and yellow helmet.

    16 April 2015

    Traveling with a bike - cycling tips

    Pedal Dancer tips and tricks for bringing or renting a bike on vacation

    Last weekend I was honored to be guest speaker at the Denver Bicycle Touring Club's (DBTC) Spring Kick-off Meeting. DBTC is the original bike club in the Denver Metro area. I wasn't quite sure what to speak about, but I know there was much more I could have said. How could I wrap fifteen years of cycling travel experience into fifteen minutes of speaking? I promised I would write out a condensed version of my travel tips. I will do it in two parts, as this is anything but condensed:
    • PART I: Traveling with a bike
    • PART 2: Travel tips for cyclists
    All of these tips are offered from experience, either learning the hard way what not to do, or following the tips of close friends, family, and readers.

    PART I: Today I begin with my tips for traveling with your bike.

    Making your reservation

    Reality in 2015 is the cost of flying with a bike can add greatly to your overall ticket cost. You should expect added costs from $50 to $300 one-way. Please research bike luggage costs before deciding on a flight that is $75 cheaper than a competing airline, only to find out your bike is $150 more, each way. (Learned through Twitter rants).

    Start by discovering the airlines that fly to your destination. On their website, read the fine print about luggage allowance for bikes, including weight, loss or damage. Next look at transportation required from the airport to your hotel, tour group or starting city. Make sure all the pieces of the puzzle work, considering day, timing and limitations, and THEN look for the best airfare (calculating in all the extra expected costs).

    The steps to booking transportation when traveling with a bike:
    1. Bike shipping cost, weight and size allowances, loss and damage for each airline.
    2. Research all other transportation costs and choices: taxi, shuttle, van, train, bus, airport transfer.
    3. Purchase your airfare after you thoroughly understand Step 1 and 2.
    Handy websites:
    Try your hardest to use one airline when completing your entire reservation. If you experience problems with connections or lost luggage - you will be dealing with one airline's customer service and baggage claim. Make your reservations directly through that one airline, you will receive better customer service for delays or cancellations than dealing with a second-party ticket agency.

    If using miles, call a customer service representative directly to see if she/he can get you a flight to your desired destination using your flight miles. They might find a route you may not have considered on your own or see flights available through their system, which you could not see online. (Learned happily by me).

    Consider using smaller airports, large airports often mean big taxes and fees, and more time navigating through long terminals with overworked employees. I will do anything to avoid Charles de Gaul airport with a bike box. From The USA to France, for example, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, and Bordeaux are much easier airports. For those within Europe, you might choose Biarritz, Pau, Lourdes, Grenoble, Nice or many others. Collecting and returning a rental car is also easier from these smaller airports (Learned from local friends). The same holds true for flying within the USA. I would select arriving into Burbank (BUR) or Santa Ana/John Wayne Airport (SNA) over Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

    Whenever possible, try to fly all the way to your destination. Attempting to make multiple connections with a bike is a hassle and a risk. Picture stairs, turnstiles, no subways, taxi trunks (boots), clearing customs, special luggage deposit and collection locations, loading onto trains, more stairs, larger rental cars, and doing all of this in a hurry. Not to mention the baggage handler who neglected to transfer your bike box to your next flight. Fly as far as you can and hope your bike arrives. At least you will be close to your destination in case you need to change plans (Learned the hard way!)

    Allow extra time for transfers to another plane or train. Bike cases arrive in the over-sized baggage area and sometimes take 30-45 minutes to show up; sometimes well after all the other passengers have collected their suitcases off the belt and are busy kissing sweethearts. You'll be breaking out in a cold sweat, certain your bike has been lost forever, but be patient: allow enough time for your connection and believe that door will open and your bike will appear ready for its next adventure.

    I always plan to remain near my final arrival point on the first day, just in case my bike was lost or damaged in transit (Learned the hard way!). Typically the airline is able to find your bike and have it at the same airport for you within 24-hours. But if you eagerly booked a departing TGV for a destination 4-6 hours away immediately upon your arrival to meet a tour that starts at 8:00am the next day, things just got a lot more complicated. I learned to use the first day of arrival to buy supplies or perhaps visit a local bike shop, take a city tour and have a good meal, get some exercise - in the form of a long walk - and shake off jet-lag.



    Your luggage

    Of course, I am going to mention having clearly identifiable luggage (I have a bright green suitcase and a blue bike case), but first I must talk of the three rules of traveling light:
    • Rule #1 - avoid over-weight charges
    • Rule #2 - bring as little as possible
    • Rule #3 - always put things in the same place inside your bags
    You will bring three pieces of luggage with you, if one will be a bike. Two pieces if you have no bike.
    1. Carry-on (with small inflight bag)
    2. Suitcase (with clothing, bike tools, sandals/shoes, toiletries)
    3. Bike Case (with your prized possession)
    Carry-on luggage: inside this bag, keep a small lightweight strap bag or nap-sack that can be easily removed and kept at your seat during your flight. Inside this bag you should have everything you need during the flight. This bag should be capable of being quickly removed when you get to your seat, the rest of the heavier, bigger carry-on bag goes in the overhead compartment never to be revisited until you land. 

    Inside your larger carry-on bag, should be your rental car papers, paper maps, any instructions needed upon arrival, and primary itinerary with reservation details. You should also carry on your camera, cycling shoes, any medications, laptop, GPS, battery charger for phone and all devices. I like to keep all my cords in one bag. I also carry-on my pedals in a pouch (but not a pedal wrench or tools) and I like to keep track of where my helmet has been, so I carry it as well.

    Remember to bring an electrical adapter if you will be changing planes in another country and have a long layover, this way you may charge your devices at the airport (although some airports now have for-a-fee charging stations). Do not pack any essentials in your check-in suitcase, if your bag is delayed for 24 to 72-hours, it can be a real inconvenience. Remember to remove air cartridges from your saddlebag before flying; instead bring a pump. I have seen passengers on the floor opening bike cases at the check-in counter to remove cartridges (of course one is always yelling at the other saying, "I thought you took it out").

    Safety and your luggage

    Remember bike cases are opened at security, and can be unzipped. Don't pack anything of value in your bike case, or anything that could easily fall out of the case. Carry-on all devices and laptop, camera, or external hard drives. A stolen carry-on bag, that you swore you'd keep safe, can be a real bummer, so never ever put your wallet inside your carry on bag. Wear your carry-on over your shoulder at all times and avoid placing anything in external zippers.

    Even if you dislike money belts, you are most vulnerable while using transportation of any sort. Use a money belt for your passport and credit cards and a photocopy of your contacts. As a woman, I prefer using a neck wallet - a small bag around my neck, tucked inside my shirt. Example

    I keep a small amount of money easily accessible for small purchases, so I do not have to pull out my money belt/pouch in public. I keep a small pouch for euro coins. Always travel with two credit cards in case one is swallowed by a machine and gone forever (Happened to a reader at a tollway!). I leave a detailed itinerary at home with a family member, plus details of my credit card and airline pins, in case of an emergency (Learned by family and me).

    Your bike box

    First things first, airlines will or will not accept liability for damage of bicycles, sometimes it depends on the type of encasement you use - you can find airline bike packing requirements in the fine print on their websites. The fee you pay is for shipping, it is most likely not for insurance (although your home or renters insurance might pay for damage to your bike). Your best chance for compensation from the airline in case of damage, is to exactly follow that airline rules for packing a bike AND inspect your bike immediately upon arrival and notify baggage claim in case of damage.

    I always bring a copy of my personal bike geometry and fit measurements. In case my bike is ruined - my vacation might not be. I can hope to rent a bike.

    What type of case should you use: hard case / plastic bag / cardboard box / soft case / wheel bag? For most people reading this blog (not including pros who have their luggage paid for), I am going to cut to the chase and recommend a soft-sided bike bag (unless such a case does not apply in the above paragraph). I realize I have posted in the past about how to pack hard bike cases (and I have one), but times have changed. There are excellent soft-sided bags that will protect your bike well. My brother has had great success with his Pica Packworks soft-sided bike case, or consider an Evoc Bike Travel Bag.

    Soft bags are easier to handle, easier to store inside a rental car and in a hotel or B&B room. The soft bags are lighter to carry and run a lower risk of your bike bag being overweight. I used to sweat my 14 pound bike being loaded into my 34 pound hard bike case. By the time all the packing and straps were added, I came in just under 50 pounds every time, with no room for anything else inside the case.

    I advise you to think of the security agents when you pack your bike case. Make their job easy and maybe they will show more care when closing your bag and maintaining its alignment inside your case. I label the bike case well on the outside and place a paper inside the bag with my name and address and intended destination and date.

    If you are using a hard case to transport your bike - bring a short strap with a large click buckle. Use this buckle strap to attach your rolling bike box to your rolling luggage, and instantly your weight load is far less having created a four wheel wagon of sorts. This is how I pull my luggage behind me through airports.

    Here is my final tip about bike boxes: be inconspicuous. Approach the counter with your act together, have your passport and ticket ready. Make it look like your case in easy to handle and lightweight. Don't offer information, but do answer all questions honestly. Smile, be kind, be patient, don't talk too much. You might just find that you won't be charged for your bike case. It has happened to me plenty of times, most often from Europe returning to the USA. Only once in the USA when the airline employee couldn't find the price on their own website, and the manager decided I was holding up the line (Their mistake, my gain).

    Oh wait, I do have one more tip: You might save money if you pay for your luggage (including your bike) in advance online. But if you do this, you loose the opportunity not to pay, but risk paying far more at the counter. Whichever way you choose, just don't start tweeting how outraged you are by high airline bike box costs - you should've done your research!

    My brother Mike gave up his old hard case for a Pica Packworks soft-side bike case.

    Packing your bike box for travel

    I will mention such bike packing tips as using plumbing foam tubing, zip ties and tape, rags around derailleurs and cog sets, marking your saddle height and stem/bar positions with tape before removing, absolutely removing your pedals, putting all screws back exactly where you found them, fastening all items in the box to prevent pieces from rattling around and damaging your frame, bringing every tool it took to take apart your bike with you to put it back together ... but I will leave it to these sources to instruct you on how to pack a bike for traveling:
    If you have any questions about packing your bike, make a trip to your local bike shop to arrange a time with a mechanic to teach you how to pack your bike and how to put it back together. I am sure you could ask to pay for a personal instruction session.

    It should take about 45-minutes to complete the entire packing process.

    Plane travel 

    Bring the phone numbers to the baggage claims departments at all airports you will be traveling to. Leave these numbers, along with your itinerary and bike case description with somebody back home. It can be easier to let them deal with local baggage departments then for you to worry about finding a lost bag in a different language in a different time zone (Learned the hard way!). Again do your research ahead of time, be prepared for things to go wrong; when they do not - your vacation is off to a great start.

    Bus travel

    While in Italy, I find bus travel with a bike case to be easier than train travel: the curbside loading and unloading is much easier. Train stations in Italy often have a lot of stairs (Learned the hard way) and buses often depart from the center of towns. But be aware, not all buses will accept bikes, especially the transport buses between airports. If you are traveling anywhere on a bus with a bike, read the fine details on the bus company website before hand.

    Train travel

    Bike cases can be hard to load onto trains and also might result in a gruff conductor looking down his nose at your. The cases are sometimes stacked near the doors of the TGVs in France, and might have to be moved as passengers load and unload: requiring diligence and effort. Again read the luggage guide on the train websites prior to all travel. Most trains have both packaging guidelines and placement on the train guidelines that must be followed.

    How the pros do it: in a $1200 SciCon hard case bike box:

    Chris Froome says goodbye to his prized Pinarello bike... I am a bit concerned about that posted no bikes sign.

    Planes, trains, buses and automobiles in the USA

    Think car rental - plain and simple. Almost anywhere you will want to ride a bike in the United States will be reached by car, from a trail head or a town. Study car models to make sure your gear will fit. I have gone straight to the auto maker's website to look at the inside, or seat configuration, of a particular car model.

    In the USA, some car rental agencies rent racks or top luggage/gear containers. If the car rental agency does not rent a rack, you might find a local rack company (such as Yakima or Thule) that will rent you a rack and help you install it on the car (my brother does this for long road trips and finds it easier than storing one at home). You will want to Google rack rental [city name].

    Once again, when you arrive into the United States, I would allow one day to make sure all your gear and supplies are in good condition and ready to go. 

    What if you want to ship your bike

    Okay, it no longer means you will be placing your bike on a ship, but airfare and ground transportation across an ocean isn't all that much faster than a ship, and it costs a lot. A lot. There are more and more emerging businesses that offer to transport your bike for you in-country. This is especially convenient if you plan to attend an event or race and want to fly unencumbered. These companies offer services from packaging, loading, build and transport. See services listed on the particular event website or Google bike shipping, or transport, [city name or event].

    Renting a bike

    More advances have been made in 2015: with more bike shops, lodges, and tour companies renting high-end bikes to customers. This is great news. Always check the bike frame and especially the gearing. If you will be climbing, you want at least a 28 rear cog and a compact crank, this is minimum gearing for women or for riders who plan to climb day after day. I am not shy - I'll take a 32! Saddles and stems might be adjustable for a better fit, just ask. To best fit a bike - I always bring a copy of my personal bike geometry and fit measurements (another tip is to bring a string marked with your key measurements).

    Bring your own pedals, shoes and helmet (and maybe even saddle). Reserve well in advance and ask about cancellation policies. For a safe back up, I would research two places for bike rental in any given area where you plan to ride, just in case something happens to your first reservation - your vacation is not ruined.

    Google the city with the words bike rental to begin your search. Also check the map for nearby cities that might rent bikes. Call a bike shop in your destination city and ask if they know who rents bikes in town. Once you find a bike rental shop, be sure they rent the bike you need for the type of riding you want to do.

    Traveling without a bike is much easier if you plan to pass through large cities. Using subways or taxis and walking distances over cobbles is much less of a hassle, not to mention elevators, stairs and already small enough hotel rooms.

    This is my 10 euro rental bike resting on the Koppenberg in Belgium. I rode this bike up the Kwaremont as well and had a blast! Rent anything if it means getting to ride a bike on vacation.

    Bikes included with your bike tour

    I think this is a fine idea and chances are - the type of bike the company offers will be the bike best suited for the terrain you will be riding. Again bring your own shoes and helmet, and ask about saddle and frame size. After advice from a reader, I might suggest asking the Tour Company to send you a photo of the saddle you will be using during the tour. If you have any concerns, measure your saddle height, and pack your saddle and tools. (Learned from a reader who had a very painful, but fun, tour).

    Storing your case

    I happen to know that renting a Renault Scenic will fit two hard bike cases upright in the back, allowing for luggage and two people. This car model will also hold three (uncased) bikes upright and 3 passengers. Bike cases definitely take up room in your car. Most cases will fit along the back seat of a car (without a passenger). Soft-sided cases are much easier to store than hard cases, and cardboard boxes can be disposable.

    I had a friend who asked a hotel to keep their two hard case bike boxes in a storage area while they traveled around France. They of course stayed a night upon arrival and another night before departure. Ask the hotel if they are able to store your box, you never know (Learned from a reader who is now a friend).

    If you plan to cycle tour from one location to a far distant location, then using a cardboard box (with plenty of plumbing tubing and bubble wrap and tape) is probably your best bet. Again, make sure your airline accepts cardboard boxes. Some people swear by using them. I met a trio of cyclists who arrived in France with their bikes in boxes, ditched the boxes, rented one car, bought a simple bike rack at a local sporting goods store, drove and rode select routes across the country, ditched the rack, found more boxes, returned the car, and flew home.

    How the boys from Ireland made their way across the Pyrenees (packing up outside Pyrenees Cycling Lodge in June) with their bike rack and rental car.
    Buying what you need

    Unless you are going to a very secluded place (or are seven-feet tall like my nephew and looking for a bike frame), most cities have sporting good stores or bike shops where you will be able to buy anything you have forgotten or lost. A trip to a Decathlon store in France is a tradition. I always buy a couple lightweight blankets (dark gray preferred) to cover my bikes while in the car.

    Safety of your bike while traveling

    Bring a lock, buy two light weight cheap blankets upon arrival. Although I do not ride my nice road bike to a place where I will need to lock it up and leave it, I have heard of bikes being stolen while resting along a cafe patio fence in a larger city (okay it was Grenoble, France and Boulder, Colorado). Even a lightweight lock will slow them down, or maybe they will take a different bike than yours. I do not leave my bike unattended in a large city. If I ride to a mountain top finish of a bike race, bikes are generally safe resting along the hillside. Be very careful leaving your bike inside the car. I always cover the bikes with blankets, and if I am in a big city, I lock them up (inside and out).

    Returning back home

    I have learned to find a hotel near the airport for the night before any early morning departure. I arrive the night before and check into my hotel, depositing all my bags inside my room. I then drive my rental/lease car to the car return, leaving the car. I then use the free hotel shuttle service back to the hotel. I arrange the hotel shuttle to the airport for early the next morning, informing them that I will have a suitcase and a bike box. Now I have a sense of timing to get to the airport from the hotel the next morning. That evening I enjoy a glass of wine while repacking all of my bags and bike, leaving anything I no longer need for the maids and then get a good nights sleep. This is one of the rare instances I use big chain hotels during my travels, but I have learned it affords me with great peace of mind after a long trip.

    Try to find a friend to drive you to and from the airport. Airport Shuttle companies will charge you more to carry a bike, and taxis might not have room. Another good option is to arrange a local individual who owns a large SUV or van and transports people to and from the airport as a self-owned business. I personally have had great success with this type of service and find they often do not charge additional for bike cases. I am not talking Uber.

    Wrap up

    I hope this post helps give you some ideas of things to think about and be aware of prior to your cycling vacation or event. Bon Voyage! Have a Great Trip!

    Previous posts by Pedal Dancer® that apply to this topic:

    This photo has nothing to do with packing a bike, I just came across it while searching for bike box photos and it made me smile - a wonderful memory of cycling up the Col du Soulor in France on a lazy lamb kind of day.

    Happy travels!

    If anyone has any great bike travel tips - I will happily share them.