Tag Archive | "biking"

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Biking Across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

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Biking across San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

Biking across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

Every year as I come close to celebrating another birthday (and this year is a big one), I try to partake in an activity that confronts my fear of heights. Ziplining upside down in Costa Rica or attempting a treetop obstacle course in the Berkshires are two of my most recent examples. Since I hate driving across long bridges, I thought this would be a good time to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. My family took the Powell-Hyde Cable Car to the biking outfitter, Blazing Saddles, located near Ghirardelli Square. At 10 am daily, they lead a guided tour along San Francisco Harbor though the Marina District, taking a brief stop at the Palace of Fine Arts. Striking views of the bridge open up as you head northwest past Crissy Field to Fort Point. We biked up a short hill and were soon starting our ride in a bike line across the bridge. I was nervous at first, but my passion for biking eased my anxiety. I even stopped several times to take in the view of Alcatraz and the rising bluffs of Marin County on the opposite shores.

Soon, we were sweeping downhill into the coastal community of Sausalito. We grabbed lunch at an excellent Italian sandwich shop,Venice Gourmet, and sat outside on benches near the water. Then we took the ferry from Sausalito back to San Francisco. When we returned the bikes at Blazing Saddles, we walked over to the original Ghirardelli’sfor root beer floats and sundaes. The perfect end to a glorious 10-mile ride.
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at Active Travels.

L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools

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L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools

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In spring, this not-so-young man’s fancy turns to fly fishing, sea kayaking, biking and other activities that require skilled use of both hands, putting away electronic distractions and simply being outdoors. Especially the latter. By this time of year, I’m always geared up and ready to go. But what about those who’ve never wet a line, paddled a quiet lake or estuary in the early morning, or tried to ride a single track.Or simply don’t know how to leave Facebook behind for a few hours, get outdoors and have some fun?

 

Paddle boarding at L.L. Bean's Outdoor Discovery Schools

Paddle boarding at L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools

For that, we can turn to L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools, which began offering courses back in 1979. Every year, Bean introduces newcomers to a variety of sports and also raises the skill set among experts who want to tweak their cast or shoot a straight arrow. The Schools are a smorgasbord of courses, trip and tours, ranging for a few hours to several days. In addition to offerings for the beginner to the expert in kayaking, fly fishing, clay shooting, biking and camping, highlights for 2014 include stand-up paddle boarding yoga experiences, including a weekend-long retreat, multisport weekend-long adventures, island bird watching tours and more. New offerings include Teen Adventure Weeks, offered all summer long and featuring canoeing, paddle boarding, hiking, kayaking, fly fishing, archery, leadership skills, Leave No Trace ethics and more.

Fly fishing at L.L. Bean's Outdoor Discovery Schools

Fly fishing at L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools

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“We’re very pleased with how our Outdoor Discovery Schools have grown over the years,” says L.L. Bean spokesperson Mac McKeever. “Last year alone, over 100,000 people engaged in our activities—many for the first time. Our founder, L.L. Bean was the quintessential guide—he loved to share his passion for the outdoors with family and friends. That sentiment is as strong today as it ever was in his and we get really excited knowing that we are turning so many people onto the outdoors—our passion is infectious. We hope that we are instilling this passion for the outdoors in others and sparking what will hopefully become a lifelong passion. “


A few examples:
Summer Weekend Getaway—a three-day, two-night adventure featuring home-cooked meals, hiking, canoeing and kayaking in a remarkable wilderness Maine setting
Kayak Camping Adventure—three days and two nights of hiking, camping and kayaking in a pristine, remote Maine setting
Maine Bike and Kayak Trip or the Maine Bike and Paddleboard Trip—the best of Maine by land and sea, a chance to explore the beautiful Maine coastline, plus enjoy a lobster or steak dinner while camping at L.L.Bean’s private oceanfront campground
Stand-Up Paddleboarding Yoga Weekend Retreat—a great way to refresh your body and spirit with a relaxing weekend of yoga on land and sea, plus stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking tours of Maine’s Casco Bay.
Visit L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools for more info on classes, trips and tours.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Biking the Big Island with Backroads

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Biking the Big Island with Backroads

Biking the Big Island with Backroads

Home to two of the most active volcanoes in the world, one would expect Hawaii’s southernmost island to be an angry land of deadened rock and rivers of red. But this ever-expanding island has a myriad of moods—the gentle rolling hills of Waimea; the inviting sand of the Kohala Coast; the almost impenetrable jungle-like interior of the Hamakua Coast; the enormity of two mountains that are nearly 14,000 feet; even a rain forest on the backside of a volcano. Indeed, Hawaii is more like a miniature continent than an island in the Pacific.

Cars whisk around the island, not experiencing that shift of terrain until they’re smack dab in the middle of it. Bikers have the privilege of slowing down to watch the sea wash against a narrow fringe of palms or to stop and smell the pink-and-purple bougainvillea (sorry, no roses here). After a week of circumnavigating this 225-mile island on two wheels like I was fortunate to do one November week, biking over squished guavas and mangoes and through fields of macadamia nuts, you not only feel incredible about your accomplishment, but you bring home a firmer body and a sense that the island has seeped into every sweaty pore.
Backroads features an inn-to-inn bicycling tour of the Big Island that costs $2898 and includes all meals and lodging. You average some 50 miles a day, overcoming such obstacles as sweltering heat, long up-and-down climbs, strong headwinds, congestion on the main road, even biking in rainfall, so best be in good shape. For something less strenuous, consider the outfitter’s six-day family multisport trip around the island. Along with easy walks in Volcano National Park and kayaking in secluded coves, the biking is downhill only. Cost of that trip is $2998 for adults, 10% less for kids ages 11-17.
steve1  Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for OutsideMen’s JournalHealth, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Family Biking on Cape Cod

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Nauset Lighthouse, Cape Cod

Nauset Lighthouse, Cape Cod

Cape Cod is so close to Boston that I often drive there on a day trip. This past Sunday, I went with family and friends on one of my favorite rides. We start on 26 Main Street in Orleans in the lot next to Orleans Cycle and head out on the Cape Cod Rail Trail toward Eastham. Soon we pass the velvety marsh, where red-winged blackbirds sit atop the swaying cattails and cormorants dry their wings on floating docks. At Locust Road, we veer right off the CCRT and cross over Route 6 to reach the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center. This is the start of a 2-mile bike trails that sweeps up and down through the forest and marsh, leaving you off at Coast Guard Beach, recently named one of the top 10 beaches in America. However, I think the beach up the road, Nauset Light, is more scenic, backed by towering dunes. We lock up our bikes and walk down the stairs to watch surfers dressed in wet suits trying to catch the waves.

Once back on the bikes, we take Cable Road past Three Sisters Lighthouses, three absurdly small lighthouses built in the mid-19th century. A left turn at the end of the road and a right turn on Brackett Road leads us back to the CCRT. Turn left towards Orleans and you’ll soon smell the fried clams of Arnold’s, a lobster-in-the-rough restaurant beloved by my family. Stand in the long line (most likely out the door), order from their vast selection of seafood, including lobster, fried clams, scallops, shrimp, and mounds of tender onion rings and grab a seat at one of the outdoor picnic tables. Afterwards, play a round of miniature golf or grab a brownie sundae. Continue on the CCRT through a tunnel and you’ll arrive back at the Orleans Cycle parking lot in less than 30 minutes. A perfect summer outing.

 

steve    Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World, due out late 2010. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Biking on Nantucket

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Biking on Nantucket

Biking on Nantucket

Bike trails on Nantucket branch off in every direction, like the spokes on a wheel. My favorite ride, especially in the spring, is the 6-mile jaunt from town to Madaket Beach. Head out on Cliff Road. You’ll quickly meet up with the Cliff Trail as you pass the rolling meadows and red-winged blackbirds at Tupancy Links conservation land. Merge with the Madaket Trail and you might be greeted by flittering goldfinches and osprey peering out from their oversized nests. When the trail becomes sandy and you can hear the pounding surf, you know you’re getting close. On the westernmost part of the island, the beach slopes down to the crashing waves. All around you is water, as if you’re stepping off land into the great abyss. If you don’t have the energy to do the return trip, the Wave bus runs until 11:20 pm and has a front rack for two bikes.

Spend the night at the Century House on Cliff Road and general manager, Otilia Herput Saunders, will have a bike from Nantucket Bike Shop waiting for you. An avid biker, Otilia will also direct you on other routes to Brant Point and Sankaty Head lighthouses. Rooms, including full breakfast, start at $175.
steve   Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Bike the Charles River Bike Path

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Biking along the Charles River in Boston

Biking along the Charles River in Boston

Boston takes its biking very seriously. When I lived in Cambridge, there were four bike shops within a three-block radius of my apartment. Just on Mass Avenue, I saw bikers with suits going to work, bikers with backpacks heading to school, and crazed riders who just seemed to enjoy weaving in and out of the car traffic. Needless to say, road biking is more than just a sport in this town, it’s a mode of travel. The 17.1-mile Charles River Bike Path runs from the Museum of Science along the Boston side of the Charles through the Esplanade to Watertown Square. The trail then crosses the river to the Cambridge side on its way back to the Museum of Science. Be on the lookout for Harvard, MIT, and BU crew teams that make their way up and down the Charles. Yet, it’s that iconic image of a single sculler slicing through the water, backed by the red-brick bridges and white steeples rising from the Harvard campus that locals and out-of-towners alike find so alluring. It’s like a waterbug skimming the placid surface of a pond, a tranquil setting in the midst of the urban buzz.

 

steve   Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for OutsideMen’s JournalHealth, andSierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Portland’s 5 Lighthouse Bike Tour

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Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Known for their weekend and weeklong bike trips throughout Maine, Summer Feet Cycling is now offering a half-day bike tour that will visit five lighthouses in the Portland region. Running daily from Memorial Day to October 31st, the 5-hour jaunt will start on a bike path alongside Willard Beach to Bug Light, which marks the entrance to the Portland Breakwater. From here, you’ll cycle on to Spring Point Lighthouse, the Portland Harbor Museum, and Fort Preble, a 19th century stone fort, before ending at the iconic Portland Head Light. Built in 1791 and sitting on a bluff perched out to sea, this exquisite white edifice has been painted by the likes of Edward Hopper. You’ll dine on lobster rolls, peering at the large oil tankers that make their way in and out of Portland Harbor. Lobster, salty air, biking. Sounds like a winner.

 

steve  Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

 

 

Smart Deals: BikeHike Adventures Self-Guided Trips

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BikeHike Adventures new self-guided trips

BikeHike Adventures new self-guided trips

What’s the Deal: BikeHike Adventures is a Vancouver based global adventure travel company that offers guided tours to 30 destinations worldwide. Their new self-guided vacations program features five self-guided cycling tours throughout France and Switzerland. Self-guided travel remains to be among the fastest growing sectors of the active travel market. The trips also feature a lower price-point than the average guided tour, offering an affordable alternative to cost-oriented travellers looking for their first taste of adventure travel. 

Details: The five self-guided itineraries vary in difficulty greatly, from easy-going journeys through the RhoneValley to strenuous rides featured in the Tour de France.

What’s Included: Accommodation, luggage transfers, route maps, bikes, navigational equipment (GPS), and 24-hour phone support.

 Fine print: From $1,099

Booking: BikeHike Adventures

Tour d’Afrique

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