Whether you prefer public bike rides or you prefer to ride alone, cycling is no doubt gaining popularity as more and more people discover its recreational, social and physical benefits. Bicycle commuting is also increasing as a way to save money on gas as well as reduce vehicle emissions while at the same time getting exercise.
Sharing the road with motorized vehicles, bicyclists must follow traffic rules and be alert for their safety. Biking with a group provides safety, support, fun and fellowship.
There are countless cycling clubs and organizations to join at no charge or with modest dues for every type of cyclist, such as mountain biking, tandem, trike, unicycle, recumbent bikes, collectors clubs, social, political, charity rides, road racing, bicycle motocross, you name it. Most of them allow nonmembers on rides for no fee.
1. Ranger Led Bike Tours
The National Parks Service offers free ranger-led tours at many of the US national parks. Check for availability at nps.gov.
2. Cycling Singles
Fitness-singles.com is an online dating site for sports and fitness enthusiasts to get together for a fitness date or to find a workout partner.
3. City and State Parks
Based on infrastructure, education, programs and events, the cities in the US that are most conducive to bicycling are Portland, OR; Boulder, CO; Davis, CA; and San Francisco, CA. However, you can find some great rides through most states’ local tourism sites.
4. Critical Mass
Critical Mass is a group of bicyclists who get together regularly to demonstrate and assert their right to the road. Controversy is associated with this group; however, it is intended to be a celebration of the ability to share the road, not a means of conflict and confrontation between motorists and cyclists. The personality of the groups varies from city to city, so you’ll want to check out your local club through the CM website, critical-mass.info to see if they are a good fit for you.
5. Tour de Cure
Held in 40 states across the US for the benefit of the American Diabetes Association, Tour-de-Cure is a series of fundraising events with routes for everyone regardless of skill level. You can ride 10 to 100 miles on a route peppered with rest stops, food and cheering fans along the way. Go to tour.diabetes.org for more information.
6. Century Rides
A challenging ride of 100 miles, Century Rides benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help Americans with blood cancer. Go to teamintraining.org to learn more.
7. USA Cycling Events
For current competitive cycling events in the US, visit usacycling.org. The official governing body for all types of competitive cycling, i.e., mountain biking, BMX and road racing, USA Cycling sanctions over 2,600 events every year, so you’re sure to find one that’s right for you.
From a short trek on rented mountain bikes at a top vacation spot, to cross-country racing, to charity events, cycling is an economical and ecological form of transportation as well as a fun and relaxing way to exercise and connect with others.