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Destination USA

Destination USA
Preconceptions. Can anything new be said about the best-known country in the world? Surely we know it all from the volume of TV and movies that come out of the US. But do we?

America is universally known as the land of the automobile and it is true that most infrastructure is geared accordingly. So where does that leave bicycles? Slowly but surely attitudes are changing and cycling is being taken into account. City bike share schemes are springing up everywhere. The biggest, in New York, just celebrated its first birthday last month and has been wildly successful.

The USA is an enormous country of nearly 320 million people and ranges from arctic to tropical and desert climes. So yes there is plenty of room for cycling and you will find some of the most diverse and varied in the world. A surprisingly high number of Americans go on bike tours and there are more organised tours here than any country in the world (except maybe France) .The domestic market is huge as Americans justifiably look to their own backyard first. But that doesn't mean they don't cater to international visitors. On the contrary we are welcomed with open arms, and in fact traveling by bike is probably the best and most intimate way to meet real Americans, to see the sights and explore life and culture.

A great example of the variety of bike touring is in the biggest gas guzzling state of all, neatly encapsulated by Lone Tree Active in their Ultimate Texas tour. From near desert to hill country, you really get to see the real Texas.

A total contrast is the genteel surroundings of New England which is beautiful throughout spring and summer but really comes into it’s own with the colours of autumn - again best experienced at cycling pace!
There is also a huge amount of cycling to be done throughout the south, mid-west and beyond. Or why not try one of the epics? There are three dedicated cycle routes right across the country - the Northern and Southern Tiers and the Transamerica - each covering over 5,000 kilometres.
And then there’s California - the land of sun, sea and s..cycling! It’s all here, including mountains and desert, and accessible by bike nearly all year round.

Alaska and Hawaii are unique. Try Island Hopping with Bike Beyond Boundaries or visit the Land of the Midnight Sun with Tour d’Afrique.
So maybe it is time to drop some of those preconceptions and just enjoy the ride.

[This article also appears in the June 2014 issue of Cycling World Magazine]
Blog Tags: USA
By: Bruce Robertson

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