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Anyone doing a DIY multi-day tour this summer?

Look like every organized group cycling tour this summer is cancelled. But the road is calling, at least it is for me. And I suspect small towns across the US will be welcoming to a lone cycle tourist (or small group) passing through with money to spend on inns & restaurants…of course respecting social distancing guidelines.

Anyone thinking of creating their own small or solo multi-day ride this summer?

46 Replies

Phil Stearney, May 14, 2020 at 9:29 pm

I may be. I’m from the Chicago (NW suburbs) area and have done RAGBRAI twice. I Was really looking forward to the end of July but…we all know that story. Lmk what your thinking. Iowa is fine with me, as long as we can figure out logistics. Illinois is fine too. Or Wisconsin. I have yet to do an unsupported ride, so I will need panniers/ etc. and some guidance.


Papa T, May 15, 2020 at 8:58 am

Hey Phil, Surprise, I’m from Vernon Hills been on Ragbrai many times. And I was thinking the same thing. Maybe we could meet in person and plan something for the summer. Independence grove comes to mind. but anywhere along the Des Plains river trail or millenium trail would work. Let me know.


Larry Klaaren, May 15, 2020 at 10:14 am

Here’s an idea for a trip from the northwest suburbs. It wouldn’t be that hard to get going. I don’t know how to get to the Elroy-Sparta trail in Wisconsin from there, from the Orland Park area where I live (actually Frankfort) you can take the I&M west and then go up to New Glarus and then on north. The Elroy-Sparta could taken up to Minnesota and then do the Root River trail. It could be a nice three or four day trip, and then you could go on up to Rochester and the Twin Cities if you want. I have thought about doing that trip self contained to get up to my two brother-in-laws who live in Rochester. That Root River Trail system is supposed to be really nice.


Anonymous, May 15, 2020 at 11:39 am

Yes, I’m going to do the GAP and C&O.


Niles, May 15, 2020 at 2:46 pm

C&O is the first thing coming to my mind. But not sure if I’ll go self supported or stay in motels.


KenH, May 15, 2020 at 3:52 pm

I want to do something and I may do a few day trips on my own. I am also looking over the late season organized rides which may or may not be able to go off as planned.

Some rides, even some fairly large ones, pick a host town or rest stop (in the case of single day rides) and have loops that start and end there. On multi-day rides the same basic concept might be used but with an overnight stop on some or every loop. If you would like to do a multi-day ride but don’t want to bag it that could be a useful model to follow. Pick a town with several nice ride opportunities in the area and a campsite or hotel in that town and just ride from there every day. You don’t have to carry your gear on your bike and you don’t have to find SAG drivers. Just ride.


Luv 2 Ski, May 16, 2020 at 12:14 am

Not exactly a tour but I will be doing a 7-day mountain bike adventure with my two boys to replace RAGBRAI. This would have been my 20-year old’s 4th RAGBRAI and 18 year old’s 1st. A bummer for all three of us(as well as all of you) that we will not be in Iowa in July but we looking forward to the next RAGBRAI when that happens.

We will be based out of Breckenridge Colorado with the Colorado Trail literally right out the back door of our condo. We have done this before from the same condo and we are looking forward to exploring more trails that we have never been on.


mootsman, May 16, 2020 at 8:20 am


The Root River trails are great. Paved with little towns to stop at. Lanesboro makes a nice hub town. Elroy Sparta was nice many years ago when it was crushed stone but most of that was washed away and now it’s hard dirt when dry. Nice railroad tunnels but you’ll need a flashlight. Walk them to be safe. Another add on option are the Iowa paved trails. We’ve hitting the one that goes from Akeny across the High Trestle. And the 70 loop from Waukee (far west Des Moines metro) and the trail The Bacoon Ride uses is top notch also. Check out


mootsman, May 16, 2020 at 8:33 am


Forgot to mention the Twin Cities has more paved trails then you could explore in a week. Especially nice from the far NE metro, just inside I-694 on the south frontage road along hwy 36 is the Gateway trail. And take the Browns Creek trail where the trails spit into Stillwater. Great restaurants but The Freight-House has the best outdoor deck with lots of seating.


Larry Klaaren, May 16, 2020 at 9:02 am

Mootsman, I used to work as a dairy vet out of St. Charles, Mn. We had clients in the Lanesboro area. They were just getting the trail going at that time, and I thought it was a beautiful area, but the towns were not a draw. They made it work. I haven’t been back with time to ride the trail. I haven’t been on the Elroy-Sparta trail since 1989. We used to drive out from Rochester and camp and ride that trail. Lots of pancake breakfasts and church dinners etc. along the trail on weekends at that time. It was really fun.


coloradoshortbus, May 16, 2020 at 11:17 am

I will spend 4-5 days on the Cowboy Trail in northern Nebraska. It is a beautiful and very lightly used 200+ mile bike trail with towns spaced about 20 miles apart.


T. Gap Woo, May 16, 2020 at 11:59 am

I’m planning a summer of Civil War historical site tours wrapped around family visits.

Tentative plan:

1- Gettysburg to Antietam to Harpers Ferry, then turn east on the C&O trail (again!) to Washington DC and Old Town Alexandria VA.

2- Visit Daughters Woo #3 and #4 and Grand-woos in the Piedmont Triad area of NC and bike around Surrey, Forsyth, Yadkin, Guilford and Randolph County backroads.

3- Drive down I-77 to SC to visit Daughter Woo #1 and Grand-woos and bike around York County SC and the greater Charlotte/Mecklenburg County NC area.

4- Drive to the Low Country of SC and bike the Grand Strand from North Myrtle Beach to Georgetown and then on to Charleston SC.

All of this is self-supported with Mrs Woo as my support driver. It’s an ambitious plan and I hope to pull this off!

See you along the I-O-Way (or wherever) in 2021, or whenever.

Wherever you go and whatever you do, stay safe and stay healthy. No joke!


Jboz, May 16, 2020 at 2:42 pm

I like KenH’s idea of heading to a town that will serve as a home base for a few days…then doing a different loop each day starting and ending in that same town. I like my hot showers, comfy beds and AC, so I will probably go the budget hotel route. Free breakfast, free WiFi and a pool are a nice bonus. And room rates are pretty reasonable this summer. I’ve seen Super 8 for $55 a night in some locations.


David Strahl, May 16, 2020 at 3:07 pm

I too am from Chicagoland area, southwest burbs. I have signed up for the Cycle NC mountains to Coast ride (Oct 3-10), did it last year and it was awesome. I did a number of loop rides out of Trempealeau County Wisconsin. They have a number routes marked with great signage and most B&Bs provide maps of the routes for the day, many small towns and low traffic roads with great views, driftless area. Trempealeau the town has a trail that runs along the Mississippi River with great views. We stayed in a B&B and did a different route for 5 days to cover most of the county. They actually have bike ambassadors with signs identifying them in their front yards in case of breakdown, in need of water, or directions. Excellently planned bike tourist area.


Mike Murphy, May 16, 2020 at 10:00 pm

A few of the guys I have done Ragbrai with are thinking about doing a ride in Wisconsin. Our plans are to be based out of a town and stay at a hotel and do five loops from the town. Each day would be between 50-75 miles. Onalaska WI is the town of choice so far. We are hoping things are better in regards to COVID-19 by August and hope to do it then. Most of us are from Illinois and looking forward to a little different look. We have all done several Ragbrai’s, ten for me. All of us would rather do Ragbrai but this might be fun.


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