Bike Travel Weekend Is June 4–6. Here's Everything to Know to Plan Your Ride

Plan your own route or join other cyclists on a group ride near you

Female mountain bikers riding on forest road on summer evening
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Memorial Day weekend has passed, and in most of the U.S., that means that summer is officially in full swing. And the first summertime event we're looking forward to is Bike Travel Weekend, which is happening this weekend, June 4 through June 6.

Bike Travel Weekend, run by the Adventure Cycling Association, is an annual event that encourages people to get out on their bikes to explore their local areas, whether that's for a few hours, a day trip, or an overnight trip.

The best part about the event is that it's totally customizable for you. The only (obvious) requirement is a bike (and any related gear, such as water, a helmet, etc.), but then the rest is flexible regarding length, duration, group, route, and more.

For ideas or inspiration for your ride, head to the resources page on the Bike Travel Weekend website to find helpful tips, such as creating a route, what to bring with you, and where to stay overnight. Regarding lodging, that's also flexible. While some riders might prefer to bikepack (in which you carry gear with you to bike between campsites), you can also stay with friends or family or book a night at a hotel or other lodging.

Once you've got your ride and route planned, be sure to register your ride on the Bike Travel Weekend website with details of your route, mileage, group size, and more so that it's officially part of the event and is counted in the ride totals for the weekend. You also have the option to make your ride public, which allows others to join your ride. On that note, if you're a solo rider looking for a larger group to join, you can find a list of all existing rides by location, worldwide.

Bike Travel Weekend was created six years ago to make bike travel more accessible, says Eva Dunn-Froebig, short trips project manager at the Adventure Cycling Association. You don't have to ride cross-country to be a bike traveler; you can simply hop on your bike and go away for the weekend—a concept that's existed for a long time but grew in popularity last year during the pandemic as people sought safe ways to travel and explore. (The onset of the pandemic spurred a 121 percent increase in sales of adult leisure bikes, according to The Washington Post.)

Even though many people last year bought bikes—or dusted off the ones they own—as a means of getting out of the house, they were also likely reminded of the joy of biking, says Dunn-Froebig. "People began seeing places in a very different way, using human power to get from one place to another and not relying on a vehicle or other transport, which is an empowering feeling." Last year's Bike Travel Weekend saw participation from 6,336 participants from all 50 states, four Canadian provinces, and 17 countries.

However, even before the pandemic, the Adventure Cycling Association saw a rise in demand for shorter bicycle trip options as most people can't take three months to go on a cross-country bike ride. That demand and realization helped inspire the association's recently launched Short Trips Initiative, which aims to create shorter routes—ones that can be ridden in two to five days—around several U.S. metropolitan areas to lower entry barriers to the sport and increase accessibility and inclusivity. The cities targeted for 2021 are Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Austin, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

If you can't register a ride for this weekend's upcoming event, mark your calendar for Bike Your Park Day happening on Sept. 25, in which you can plan a ride (or join one) at a nearby national park, state park, or other public land.