Q: How long has America by Bicycle been in business?
A: America by Bicycle was founded in 1994 to take cyclists on first-class, fully-supported, long-distance bicycle tours. America by Bicycle was founded by cyclists for cyclists.
Q: What type of cyclist rides America by Bicycle tours?
A: America by Bicycle attracts all types of cyclists. A typical group has an age range of 18-72 and includes college students, professional people and retired individuals. We see a great diversity of cyclists from around the USA and the world. Most riders are experienced cyclists. We do, however, see a few bicyclists who are more novice and looking to ride their first long distance, multi-day tour. A typical male to female ratio is 60% to 40%. Approximately 85% of the cyclists will come on the ride alone and 15% will come with a friend or spouse.
Q: Does America by Bicycle have an age limit?
A: Yes, there is an age limit. Cyclists must be at least 15 years or older to participate on an America by Bicycle tour. Additionally, cyclists 15-17 years old must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. Parents/guardians are responsible for their minors and must cycle together on the road during the day and room together for all overnight stop locations (double room occupancy only).
Q: How fast a pace do cyclists ride?
A: Our groups of cyclists are not only diverse in ages and occupations but also in average speed on the bike. The average cyclist will ride between 13 and 16 mph on the bike over the course of a typical day. We see some cyclists ride a touring pace, 11 to 13 mph, and a fair number of cyclists like to pick it up a little and ride in the 16 to 20+ mph range. We happily accommodate cyclists in this level of ability. The ‘Fast America Series’ rides are for the more advanced cyclist. You’ll need to meet specific training goals and qualify to participate. Fast Riders must average 16.5 mph on the bike or will not be allowed to participate.
Q: What’s the route like? What type of roads do you ride on?
A: America by Bicycle works hard to pick the best cycling friendly routes possible. While our major focus is on back country rural roads, we will cycle on a variety of roads as we ride through local farmland, suburbs and cities. We will see everything from local roads, county routes, and state highways. We work hard to find roads with shoulders and low traffic volumes. You will see real America from the seat of your bicycle on an America by Bicycle tour.
Q: Does America by Bicycle sell route maps for tours?
A: No, we do not sell our maps or cue sheets. There is a tremendous cost to research and ride test our cycling routes. It would be hard to put a price on them. Best option... come out and ride our first class events.
Q: Do I need to buy a new bicycle? What type of bicycle can I ride?
A: Riding a bicycle cross-country is very demanding on the equipment. Remember you will be training 2,000-4,000 miles beforehand, then cycling 1,600 to 4,500 miles as you ride across the county. You are going to demand a lot from your bicycle. You need a bicycle that’s ready for the challenge. Standing by the side of the road waiting for the America by Bicycle mechanic is not a lot of fun! If your bicycle is not new, ask yourself, “Is it up to the task?” A quality new bicycle, properly broken in will usually give the owner thousands of trouble free miles. All of the major manufacturers have good bicycles in the $600-$1,500 range that will be up to the task. You can always spend more, personal preference. Generally, a new bicycle will give the owner a little less to worry about on a major tour.
Many cross-country cyclists will want to ride a bicycle they currently own. This generally works fine with proper inspection and maintenance. To begin with tires, tubes, rim strips, chain and freewheel must be replaced without question, before the ride begins. Next, the wheel sets need careful inspection. If there are stress cracks, you’ve broken any spokes, the wheel will not true correctly, or it has high mileage, the wheel needs to be replaced. We see many people on the road every year with broken wheels. Additionally, carefully inspect wheel bearings, bottom bracket, headset, all cables, housing, and brakes. Make sure you replace or repack anything that needs it. This will ensure your bike is ready for all the miles.
Ninety-five percent of our cyclists ride a standard, diamond frame Touring/Racing bicycle (700c tires, triple crank, clipless pedals, etc.). Additionally, we will see a few tandems and recumbents. Please note that we cannot support or accommodate TRIKES.
Q: Does America by Bicycle rent bicycles?
A: No. We have found it is ultimately more comfortable for you to ride your own bicycle on a long distance, multi-day coast-to-coast tour. For convenience, we do work closely with a bike shop in Portland, Maine that rents road bikes for a nominal fee for our Foliage events only.
Q: Does America by Bicycle require helmets?
A: Yes, every cyclist is required to wear a proper CPSC certified bicycle helmet when on the bicycle.
Q: Does America by Bicycle require bicycle flags?
A: Safety is always a priority, but bicycle flags are not mandatory.
Q: How experienced is the support staff?
A: Experienced! Here at America by Bicycle, we realize the support staff makes the difference between an average ride and a great bicycle tour. All our support staff members are experienced cyclists and have been trained extensively in the art of supporting long distance cyclists. Our support team is comprised of a variety of fine people who bring a lot of knowledge, experience, encouragement, diversity and fun to the ride. Support team members have many years of experience supporting bicycle tours. Ninety percent of the support staff have crewed on an America by Bicycle event and know what it takes to help our guests achieve their cycling goal. We work overtime to make sure your experience is a first rate one.
Q: Are friends or family allowed join the tour for a day?
A: Yes. Family/Friends may join for a cycling day (just see Tour Leader and sign a waiver). Arrangements must be handled through the America by Bicycle office in Plaistow, NH in advance.
Q: Are meals provided? What is the food like?
A: Breakfast and Dinner are provided daily (minus rest days). Breakfast and Lunch are provided on the Fast America series tours. Meals are catered functions contracted with a hotel or at an adjacent restaurant. These are not chuck wagon meals or church fundraiser spaghetti suppers. The food is good quality and generous quantity, many buffet style. America by Bicycle works with a nutritionist to make sure all meals are nutritionally balanced to provide the cyclists the fuel necessary to tackle the miles. Vegetarians are accommodated and welcomed.
Q: What is a SAG Stop? What is provided at SAG Stops?
A: SAG stands for “Support and Gear.” Our stops are set up along the day’s route to offer cyclists a chance to take a break, fill water bottles and get a snack. While it is not meant to be lunch, SAG stops always have plenty of cold water and Gatorade, plus a variety of snacks ranging from bananas and fresh fruit, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, GORP, fig bars, and misc. energy food.
Q: What type of overnight accommodations are provided?
A: America by Bicycle specializes in hotel based bicycle touring. No camping! Overnight accommodations are provided in business class, AAA rated hotels. We stay at Best Western Plus, Holiday Inn Express to name a few. Good, comfortable accommodations are always provided.
Q: If I choose double or triple room accommodations, how does America by Bicycle choose my roommate?
A: Eighty-five percent of all America by Bicycle cyclists will participate on the ride of their choice independently. Fifteen percent of all America by Bicycle cyclists will participate on the ride of their choice with a spouse or a friend. Therefore, if you plan to ride solo and choose a double room accommodation, America by Bicycle will pair you with another cyclist. Roommate choices are based on gender, age, geographic location and registration date.
Cyclists can choose the accommodation level they prefer - from the economy level of three to a room (triple*) to the preferred choice of two in a room (double) to the privacy of a single room accommodation. Generally, riders will keep the same roommate(s) for the entire tour. Please note, if you enjoy your personal space, have a private routine, snore loudly** or just enjoy a little more privacy than three people in a room, you should upgrade accordingly.
*Triple room is available ONLY to riders who have 3 cyclists in their family or group that register together and will room together. This needs to be arranged with the office directly. All of the hotels have rooms with two beds. Many hotels have rollaways or fold out couches for a third sleeping space, but not all, so you will have to adjust accordingly. If your group arrangements do change (one of your trio withdraws), you will be responsible for the appropriate upgrade fee.
**If you have a chronic snoring problem or require a CPAP machine, we respectfully require you to upgrade to a single room supplement.
America by Bicycle does recommend upgrading to the double or single room accommodation . With three people, three bikes, luggage and equipment in one hotel room, it can fill up quickly. A double/single room allows for and easier daily routine with less clutter and compromise. Fewer people sharing the bathroom each morning will be nicer and for the cost, it is a bargain.
Q: Can I customize the number of days I may participate?
A: Yes. Participate in at least one sectional stage of five days or more, then add as many days as you like on any America by Bicycle event for the following rates:
$350.00 per day (double room)
$400.00 per day (single room)
Q: Is there a deadline to Sign-Up or Register?
A: Once you have chosen the event you would like to participate, you should register as soon as possible. This will reserve your spot and start the information trail to your door. Some events will fill up quickly and require a waiting list. You should reserve your spot as early as possible to ensure you will be able to participate on the event of your choice. This includes your choice of rooming options. The last day to register is generally 30 days before the ride start date. Space is available on a first come basis.
Q: Can I use an America by Bicycle event as a fundraiser for my favorite charity?
A: Yes, 10-15% of all America by Bicycle riders will raise money for a favorite charity. To get started, aim high! Choose an organization you feel strongly about supporting. Set up a meeting. Explain your plan to ride your bike and raise money for their organization. Can we work together? Nine out of ten charities will be delighted to accept your hard work, get the exposure and of course, the money your efforts could provide. Indeed many charities will even pay your tour expenses if you raise an appropriate amount, usually 2-3 times the event tour fee. Click Here for more information.
Q: How much spending money do I need to bring?
A: America by Bicycle events are great cycling vacations. You should plan to bring along spending money just as you would on any vacation. How much you spend is up to you. Typically, you’ll need spending money for: souvenirs, entertainment, lunch, food (you will eat a lot on these trips), etc.
Q: How do I get my bike to the start of the tour and home once the tour has ended?
A: Everyone brings their own bicycle on America by Bicycle tours. The best choice seems to be either UPS/FedEx the bicycle directly to the starting hotel or bring the bike on the airplane when you fly out. Costs tend to be similar at around $75-$150. Pros/Cons? UPS/FedEx is generally easier. You can have your local bike shop package the bike up professionally and ship it out. Your bike then arrives right at the hotel where it will be put under lock and key. Bringing the bike on the airplane is a little more of a hassle, but the bike will be out of your sight the shortest amount of time and have less chance for damage. Recently riders have been using the service at shipbikes.com. They provide a shipping box that requires minimal disassembly of the bike and is sized specifically to work for carriers and airlines. They can also arrange shipments. The choice is yours. Whatever method you choose, on Opening Day of the tour the America by Bicycle mechanics will be on hand to reassemble and safety check the bicycle so you will be ready to cycle with confidence. At the end of the tour the America by Bicycle staff will also assist in packing and shipping logistics to help you and your bicycle get home easily and safely. Bicycles can be rented on the 'Fall Foliage' rides.
Q: Can I use my hard case shipping box?
A: Yes, you may use a hard case box to ship your bike directly to the starting hotel. We will not have room to carry the hard case for extended periods on the road. You can ship these cases home or to the location most convenient for you at the end of the ride. We will assist you with shipping logistics, but the shipping costs will be your responsibility.
Q: Does America by Bicycle accept Credit Cards as a method of payment?
A: America by Bicycle does accept Credit Cards for Online Tour Registration and purchase at our Gear Store. Credit Cards are accepted ONLY for Tour Deposit or Online Store purchase.
Q: Is airfare included in the tour cost?
A: No, airfare is not part of the tour fee. Transportation costs to the ride start and home from the end of the event are the participant's responsibility. Ask your travel agent for an Open Jaw ticket (arrival city is different from departure).
Q: Can I buy the America by Bicycle jersey and merchandise I see on the website pictures?
A: Yes, you can! Just follow this link to the Gear Store.