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How to include your bicycle in your vacation plans

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After you have been bitten by the bicycling bug, you will probably start looking for ways to include your bicycling in your vacation plans. There are a variety of ways you to do this, starting with the simple step of taking your bike along to a vacation destination. Or you might want to try a regional one-day or multi-day bicycling event to explore new roads. You can even sign-up for a fully supported bicycle trip arranged by a bicycle travel company. Here is quick summary of some the resources available.

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Take your bikes with you. Bicycle carrying car racks for hauling 2 or more bikes securely are start at about $100. Car bicycle rack options include trunk-mounted units, which are secured with fabric or metal straps, hitch mount racks (which require a trailer hitch on your vehicle) and roof racks. There are pro and cons to each style based on your vehicle and the number of bikes you need to transport. Your local bike shop will carry a wide variety of racks and can help you select the right one for you.

When picking your bike rack, be sure to invest in a good lock and cable to secure your bikes, and the rack, to your car. You also want to invest in being organized with all your biking gear. One tip is use a dedicated container or storage tub for your helmets shoes and packs, so they are stowed safely in your car and on in the way between rides.

Where to Ride on Your Own: Many summer resort area now promote their accommodations for bicycling, with offering for almost any skill level with casual shore line trails to extensive trail networks. Check with your destination’s tourist office online, or choose a destination with trails. The Lake Michigan Shore line in both Michigan and Wisconsin have extensive offerings, or you can try the Elroy Sparta State Trail network in Wisconsin, with dozens interconnected trails.

Organized Tours: There are literally dozen’s of multi-day bicycle tour options in the Midwest during the cycling season. The advantage of an organized tour is that the route research is done for you, including accommodations and meals. You can find both camping and hotel based rides, and some will travel cross state while others may be base camp format – a series of rides from a fixed location. TRIRI (The Ride In Rural Indiana) in Indiana is a hotel base camp ride, while GOBA (the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure) or Michigan’s DALMAC (Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinac) ride are camping rides that travel to a new destination each night, transporting your gear for you. They all offer unique cycling adventures, with the fellowship of hundred’s of like-minded riders.

Touring Companies: If you are looking for more exotic locations, or a higher level of comfort, there are a number of bicycle touring companies to choose. Companies like Trek Travel provide a complete package of planned itineraries, high quality lodging and meals, and experienced tour guides. Trek Travel also removes the hassle of transporting your bicycle by providing one of their top-of-the-line models for your use during the trip. There are both domestic and international destinations.

IF you are thinking about a bicycle vacation, Indianapolis based Bicycle Garage Indy offers a number of resources for planning and preparing a bicycle vacation during the bicycling season.

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