Fall reinvigorates the bicycling community. After summer's long days, the cool fall weather means you can ride more miles comfortably. It's the prime season for century rides and Gran Fondo events, all usually held before Old Man Winter arrives with his cold fingers.
Fall is also the perfect time to saddle up your steed for a fall bicycling vacation, as many bike touring companies gear up for multi-day excursions in some of the most beautiful corners of the world, from New England to rural Vietnam. The trips are usually built for experienced—but not necessarily hardcore—riders, but most companies allow riders to pedal as much (or as little) as they want, and many give some sort of difficulty rating so you can pair the right cycling vacation with your fitness level. The trips usually overnight at interesting lodges in small towns you'd likely not otherwise visit, and the pace of such tours is perfect for leisurely lunches that are all about tasting local cuisine.
Best of all, with a road speed less than a quarter of what you might drive in a car, riders will tell you that it's about seeing the countryside from an entirely different perspective, one in which you can pause to soak up the local aesthetic and the moments of pure joy.
Here we present 10 trip offerings that will make you want to hit the open road.
In the heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia awaits. This six-day trip is an average of 30 miles a day with sea views during some of the rides and charming Italian hotels at the end of the day—all stretched out through the region's small towns. Historic castles, lighthouses, caves, a natural park and more lend to the magic of this course.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by Trek Travel; September and October departure dates; $4,499
Hawaii Bike Tour, Big Island
Circumnavigate the Big Island during this week-long biking adventure. With trips in leaving in mid- and late-October, this is a perfect voyage for seeing Hawaii in its full autumn splendor; you get the same turquoise water, sandy beaches and visits to active volcanoes without as many tourists. It's not all about the ride: Participants will explore the Kilauea Crater and Thurston Lava Tube during a day hike and sail on a catamaran into a secluded bay for prime snorkeling.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by Bicycle Adventures; October, November and December departure dates; $3,810
Gorgeous mountains, unique cultural and friendly locals are just a few of the draws to Nepal. This 14-day excursion takes cyclists out of Kathmandu into small, rural villages to visit local temples, monasteries and Buddha’s birthplace. On rest days, adventure out on elephants or ride in a dugout canoe; suffice to say, if you're looking for a bucket-list-worthy cycling vacation, riding in Nepal is probably it.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by Exodus Travels; October and November departure dates; $2,455
California Wine Country
Roll over gentle hills in Northern California on this six-day trip. Leave San Francisco via shuttle into historic St. Helena. From there, cycling starts through Napa Valley and on to Calistoga and Healdsburg. Visit wineries including the Francis Ford Coppola winery (yes, that Coppola), Korbel and Arista.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by Trek Travel; October and November departure dates; $2,599
Looking for the most off-the-beaten-path tour on this list? Try this vacation that combines visits to Myanmar’s bustling cities and small towns. You will start in Yangon with a tour of the Shwedagon Pagoda, a 2,500-year-old structure which stands over 300 feet tall and is encrusted with more than 4,500 diamonds. Other highlights include a hot air balloon ride in Bagan and a stay at a luxury resort at Inle Lake.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by Austin Adventures; September, October and November departure dates; $3,798
For the first two weeks of October, ExperiencePlus! takes riders deep into the Andalusia region of Spain. This is the land of matadors, flamenco and tapas. You'll start in historic Seville where you'll pass a monumental bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava on the way to Carmona. Along the way, you'll pedal past cork tree groves, stay in a renovated convent and stroll through historic sites and museums. This tour takes in the large cities and small towns in Andalucia with an average of 30 miles of riding per day.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by ExperiencePlus!; October; $4,900
Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
You’ll cover roughly 25 miles per day on this 6-day adventure through Croatia with spectacular sea and coastal views from small towns on the islands of Brač, Hvar and Korčula as you make your way from the city of Split to Dubrovnik. Spin past olive groves, medieval villages and undulating lavender fields. Enjoy a meal prepared by locals and take a rest day on the serene island beaches.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by Backroads; September and October departure dates; $3,898-$4,498
New England, USA
Cycle through more than 300 miles of New England for a close look at the fall foliage in one of the United States' most historic regions. During this week-long trip, with an average of 45 miles a day, you’ll zip through Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, passing historic towns like Manchester, Salem and Portland. Lighthouses on rocky shores and clapboard seaside homes await in small seaside towns along the route.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by America by Bicycle; October departure dates; $2,000
Cycle through historic villages and towns during a six-day tour of this historic and gorgeous French region. Sip local wines, pedal past olive groves and shop in quaint town squares. Day one promises a chef-prepped meal at the end of the ride and on day three explore the outdoor markets in Lubéron Valley.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by Duvine Tours; September and October departure dates; $5,195
Ha Giang, Vietnam
Trek through the remote, rural roads in the Ha Giang region of Vietnam. With a population largely still living its traditional culture, this area near the border with China is like a step back in time. Terraced rice paddies, forests and craggy peaks dot the hillsides that riders cover. The 10-day trip includes eight or nine days of riding.
Nuts and Bolts: Offered by Ride & Seek; departs Oct. 16; $3,350