If you ask most people what the worlds longest bike race is, most would probably say the Tour De France. The Tour de France is by far the most well known and the most popular long distance bike race. The Tour De France is a long race but it is not the longest, there are 4 other bike races that are longer, and possibly more demanding. They each have their own special appeal because of the length of the races and the difficulty of the race. The 5 longest bike races are.
This race is not run every year, it’s done every 2 or 3 years, mostly because of the distance and the logistics of getting it all set up. The race varies some in length, but it is basically a race that takes around 4 months to complete and covers a distance of around 7500 miles. The race runs through jungles, across arid desert, and over mountain passes up to 14,000 ft in the Andes. Riding in this race will take you through Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and ending in Ecuador, while viewing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The race is put on by a company called Tour d Afrique that runs many races and tours all over the world.
The Tour of British Columbia
This race covers a large section of very remote and beautiful northern Canadian rocky mountains. It covers the Alaskan Highway, the Okanagan Valley, Banff and Jasper National parks, the Columbia icefield and some unbelivable forests. The race covers 3169 miles of some very grueling riding. Having driven through the Northern Rockies, I can’t imagine doing it on a bike, but what a trip. Visit their website.
The Race across America
this race goes from Lake Henshaw CA, to Annapolis MD. The race covers 3000 miles and can be done alone or in teams of 2, 4, 6 or 8 riders. The RAAM as it’s called, requires racers to qualify just to enter the race, the qualifying if tough but you must be able to complete the qualifying to enter the race. You can see all the requirements and information about the race at this site.
The Tour Divide
This race covers 2700 miles down the continental divide. It starts in the Banff area of Canada and ends at the Mexican border. There are some shorter versions of the the race you can also run but border to border is the main race. Of all the races, this one may be the toughest, the riders have places to resupply, but they must carry all they need between stops. They have no support vehicles to help them or support them during the race. The race is not on roads, this is a mountain bike race. The times for this race run from 18 to 36 days, an amazing endurance event. Check it out here.
The Tour De France
This race is the one that even all non cyclists have heard of. This is a stage race that takes place over 22 days in July. The race is just under 2300 miles and starts in Lead UK, and ends in Paris. The Tour de France consists of 21 stage races, some of the stages are time trials, the rest are to gain time on the leaders. See their site for details.
Any of these races would be a phenomenal accomplishment for any cyclist. Most of us will never be able to ride in any of these races, but it is fun to see what people will do for competition and the love of cycling.