Sooner or later, nearly everybody learns how to ride a bike. But there are those who grow up and turn a simple ride into a sport, a hobby, a way of getting where you’re going while achieving a workout in the process. And is there anything quite like the feel of the wind blowing past as you pedal your way along an open road? One way to make sure you ride as often as you like is to get a bike that is portable and easily stowed. To that end, you might do well to check out the latest generation of folding bikes. These ride with the toughness of a standard bicycle but collapse small enough to fit in your office coat closet or pass muster at airport check-in. Manufacturers such as Dahon and Bazooka do a great job of creating bikes that have equal parts convenience and ridability.
You can enjoy cycling while cruising exceedingly scenic turf, eating Michelin-starred food, and sampling from bottles of wine that make oenophiles envious. DuVine Adventures (duvine.com) puts together trips that imbue biking with the most alluring elements of traveling. One of the more challenging jaunts — and, therefore, an expedition that will be likeliest to improve your skills on two wheels — begins with a flight to Milan and centers around a bike tour of Italy’s wine-intensive Piedmont region. After being transported from the airport to the picturesque village of Aqui Terme (remember to check out the ancient thermal springs there), you are outfitted with a Wilier road bike — which has been cleaned, oiled, and loaded with snacks and water — and sent off to spend the first couple of days doing 13-mile loops around the town (longer rides are available for the heartier among us). Riders are followed by a chase van in case anyone needs a break, and trainers are on hand to help improve your cycling skills.“Guests are told how to ride uphill more efficiently and when to switch gears for the best effect. We teach you about form, position, how to place your feet on the pedals correctly,” explains Andy Levine, president/founder of DuVine Adventures. “You also learn when and how to draft, which is incredibly important and a lot of fun. Drafting is something that pro cyclists do all the time; it involves getting behind another rider and using him to shield the wind or resistance. It can make or break your ride and keeps you from losing your energy.”Because great bike journeys can be about more than good food and wine, here are a few other options for intrepid cyclists looking to explore the world on two wheels: Backroads (backroads.com) puts together cycling trips to exotic locales such as Costa Rica and Morocco. For those with a desire for Asian exploration, Kumuka Worldwide (kumukaworldwide.com) offers a 186-mile cycling tour along the mostly flat terrain of Cambodia. Closer to home for many, and taking in the byways of New England, Bike the White’s 20- to 50-mile days are all about small inns and scenic vistas (bikethewhites.com).
A biking trip that combines riding with watching is offered by companies such as Ciclismo Classico (ciclismoclassico.com), which takes travelers to the Tour de France and organizes rides that allow for viewing of the race’s various stages. After seven days of channeling your inner Lance Armstrong, while perhaps watching Lance Armstrong, you’ll finish up with a group dinner and toasts to Tour de France competitors.
On a Roll
Whether you’re taking it to the trails or hitting the streets, this cycling gear is designed to keep you moving in style.pearlizumi.com; Deuter Hydro Lite 2.0 backpack, $59, deuterusa.com; Klean Kanteen 27-oz. sports bottle, $18.95, containerstore.com; Rapha half-zip jersey, $155, and cycling cap, $40, rapha.cc; Giro Ionos helmet, $230, giro.com; Deuter bike bag III, $29, deuterusa.com; Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Ltd bib short, $165, pearlizumi.com; Smith Optics PivLock V90 max sunglasses, $119, smithoptics.com; Acumen Ergo Plus heart-rate monitor, $69, acumeninc.com; Vetta V100HR wireless speed-and-cadence computer, $120, vetta.com; Rapha Criterium gloves, $130, rapha.cc; WHEELS AND BICYCLE CLOCKWISE FROM BOTTOM LEFT: Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL, $1,200 per pair, Bontrager Race X Lite, $520 per pair, Mavic Ksyrium EL 09 Silver/M10, $650 per pair, Easton EA90 SLX, $750 per pair, Reynolds Attack, $1,200 per pair, Cannondale Super Six 2 bicycle, $4,299, all from Bicycles Plus, bicyclesplustx.com