Here’s a list of some of the top multi-day sponsored bicycle rides for 2014, listed by state. Most rides include mechanical support, medical support, meals, sag vehicles, and provisioned rest stops. As this is a work in progress, please email me if you know of other bicycle tours that should be included. Updated ride dates are noted in BOLD on the pages.
It all started with RAGBRAI back in 1973.
RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) got its start when two writers at the Des Moines Register challenged each other to bicycle across the state. They issued an open invitation for readers to join them, and 114 cyclists rode the entire six-day trip. Looking back, they were grateful for the low number of cyclists, because the route had not been driven and no advance accommodations had been made with towns along the route.
Today, the bicycle tour has swelled to include thousands of cyclists, so many that RAGBRAI limits the number of riders doing the entire week to 10,000. And RAGBRAI has become the model for across-state bicycle tours in some 40 states.
Many bike tours
Combining these across-state bicycle tours with other large sponsored charity rides creates a huge opportunity for cyclists to participate in sag-supported rides that touch the fabric of our country across its width and breadth.
This list has grown to more than 130 bicycle tours in the past four years. Occasionally, someone will contact me with another ride to include on the list. In 2009, for instance, the Alabama Bicycle Coalition launched its first multi-day bicycle tour.
For the most part, the rides are offered by non-profit organizations or the proceeds go to charity. I’ve included bike tours offered by private bicycle tour operators in a few states that didn’t have other cross-state rides offered. You’ll also find miscellaneous century and charity rides listed for some states under “Other bike tours.”