In 1976 a group of intrepid bike travelers took off from Yorktown, Virginia, to ride some 4,200 miles to Astoria, Oregon.
The bike ride celebrated the nation’s 200th birthday, and the route was dubbed the Bikecentennial Route. That bike tour stirred the wanderlust of every bicyclist who heard about it.
Today, there are dozens of routes that criss-cross the US and hundreds of groups will be riding them this year.
2014 Non-profit and fund-raising tours
Big Ride Across America — A fund-raising bike tour for the American Lung Association, the 3,300-mile supported bike ride rolls out from Seattle to Washington DC. Mostly camping with some overnights at college dorms. Northern Tier route. Registering 30-40 riders. Dates: June 15 – Aug. 2, 2014.
Bike4Friendship — This cross-country ride that raises funds for The Friendship Circle, a national Jewish organization that provides social support for children with special needs and their families. You can ride the entire 3,279 miles, or just a segment. The 2013 tour went from San Diego to New York City. Dates: Check website or Facebook for 2014 dates..
Bike & Build — Ten teams, comprised mostly of college students, raise money and work on affordable housing as they take different routes across country. The bicyclists ride about 75 miles a day and share chores on the supported rides. See the Bike & Build Facebook page for updates regarding registration. (Registration opens November 2013) Dates: May – August 2014, depending on route.
Bike the US for MS — Four cross-country bike tours are scheduled in 2014 — Northern Tier, TransAm and Great Divide. Race Across America (RAAM) participants can also raise money for National MS Society. Dates — TransAm: May 31 – Aug. 1, 2014; Northern Tier: May 27 – Aug. 4, 2014. RAAM solo June 10, 2014; RAAM team June 14, 2014.
Fuller Center Bike Adventure – A cross-country bike ride from Atlantic City, NJ, to Astoria, Oregon, to raise money for Fuller Center for Housing, a nonprofit ecumenical Christian Housing ministry dedicated to creating adequate housing for all people in need. Dates: June 5 to Aug. 10, 2014.
Hazon – Cross USA Ride — The Jewish environmental group is organizing the ride that travels from Seattle to Washington DC in 10 weeks. Meals are kosher and vegetarian options available. More info. Dates: June – August 2014.
Journey of Hope — This is a service bike tour for the Pi Kappa Phi college fraternity to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities. Teams leave from San Francisco, Los Angeles or Seattle headed to Washington DC. Dates: June – August, 2014.
Pacific Coast — This bike tour follows the left coast from Bellingham, Washington, to San Diego, California. Van support for luggage and gear. Dates: Sept. 24 – Nov. 3, 2014.
Santa Fe Trail Bicycle Trek — Ride all or part of the Santa Fe Trail (1,100 miles) on paved public roads. Leaves from Santa Fe, NM, and ends in New Franklin, MO. Presented by nonprofit Santa Fe Trail Bicycle Committee. A total 30 to 40 cyclists will make the trip. Camping with gear carried by truck. Dates: Leaves Sept. 7, 2014.
Southern Tier — This 3,160-mile bike tour crossed the southern US. Presented by nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association. Dates — Van-supported: March 16 – May 12, 2014. Self-supported: Sept. 14 – 17, 2014.
TransAm – This cross-country ride fills up early. Crosses continent from Williamsburg, Virginia, to Florence, Oregon. Presented by the nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association. Dates — Self supported: May 3 – Aug. 3, 2014. [Waiting list for 2014]; van-supported: May 18 – Aug. 8, 2014.
Underground Railroad bike tour — This ride roughly follows the historic route of slaves escaping southern plantations from Mobile, Alabama, to Niagara Falls, New York. The van-supported tour is presented by the nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association. Dates: April 13 – May 23, 2014.
Other long-distance tours operators:
America by Bicycle — This tour outfitter offers about a dozen cross-country tours in 2014 heading both east/west and north/south. The list includes Fast American South, Across America North, Ride the East, Ride the West, Great Mississippi Ride, Cross Country Challenge. The first ride departs in April. See the website for details.
Coast 2 Coast – This southern tier cross-country ride is offered by Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers. Rolls out from San Diego, CA, to St. Augustine, FL. Fully supported, including camping gear and setting up and taking down tents. Dates: March – April 2014.
Cycle America — Bicyclists can choose to ride this company’s Coast-to-Coast 2014 route all at once, or split it up into any of 9 different cross-state bike tours. Seattle to Boston dates: June 14-Aug. 16, 2014.
Women Tours — This women’s only bike tour group offers southern tier and Atlantic Coast bike tours, as well as shorter multi-day tours. Dates: Southern Tier — March 6 – May 2, 2014; Atlantic Coast — April 21 – June 12, 2015.