Cycling in the United States
Currency: US Dollar
Population: 303.8 million
Food: Burgers and apple pie
Drink: Weak beer, good wine
The United States is a vast country, with an unparalleled range of landscapes to explore by bicycle.
Within its borders you’ll find mountains, deserts, glaciers and open plains, plenty of wildlife (including bears) and all of this is backed by a rich history. On your bike, you can trace the stories and heritage of the American Indians who first settled this land and the pioneers and gold prospectors who came later.
The climate is also wide ranging, so while summer is the best time to see much of the country, you can find somewhere nice to ride your bike throughout the year.
Doing your research is key to an enjoyable cycling experience. Plan a route that avoids bigger cities and focuses instead on the quiet back roads.
Overwhelmed? There are few better places to start than with the 38,000 miles of low-traffic routes mapped out by the Adventure Cycling Association. Among their classic routes to follow, cycling the Pacific coastline or doing the TransAmerica from Oregon to Virginia are two very popular choices. Then there’s great cycling in individual states like California and Idaho.
You can also read our route notes for cycling from San Francisco to Edmonton.
Wherever you go, don’t forget to consider how much time you have. Distances are vast so if you only have a few weeks it’s better to explore one or two states rather than run yourself ragged.
Border bureaucracy will also require some advance planning. Look into what you need to do 2-3 months before you go.
Here are some answers to common questions about cycling in the United States:
- Do I need a visa? Can I include Canada and Mexico in my trip?
- Will the bears swallow me whole while I’m camping? Can I cycle faster than a cougar?
- How much money do I need to bike tour in the United States?