For some wine lovers, biking among the vineyards in the Great Lakes region is an exhilarating diversion. Thanks to a growing number of biking providers and events that cater to their passion, cyclists can pick from an array of well-planned itineraries. And, thanks to technology, they also can create, customize and share their own itineraries.
Here are some options:
Dog Days Wine Tour
It happens just once a year (always the first Saturday in July), but cyclists flock to this ten-year-and-counting, well-organized event. Sponsored by Northern Ohio-based Silver Wheels Cycling Club, Inc., it’s a tour that happens rain or shine and includes area maps, rest stops (the club provides refreshments), a cookout and suggested en route lodging.
Sojourn Finger Lakes Bike Tours
This six-day tour highlights New York’s Yates County, known as the largest grower of wine grapes outside of California. The itinerary maximizes the features of this glacially-formed area that boasts an eclectic mix of farmland, Mennonite communities, villages, shops and spas. The tour includes stopovers at places like the Erie Canal and the showroom of the home décor manufacturer MacKenzie-Childs.
Minnesota Farm Winery Association Wine Trails
Bicyclists who like to design their own itineraries will have a field day in Minnesota where five distinct wine trails criss-cross the state. The Great River Road Wine Trail features nine wineries in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa that share their proximity to the Mississippi River as a unifying motif. Other trails highlight destinations in the St. Croix (the site of the oldest Minnesota wineries), Mississippi and Cannon Valleys.
Wisconsin Wine and Cheese Biking Tours by Shuttleguy
Figure on biking about 50 miles a day through southwestern Wisconsin on this five-day tour that features moderate to challenging terrain. Limited to 35 riders (and no fewer than 20), the tour’s route packs a lot of sights into this event: day one of the trip includes such pass-through sights as Taliesin: Frank Lloyd Wright Center; the Arena Cheese Factory; Lake Louie Brewery; the towns of Mazomanie, Prairie du Sac/Sauk City, Merrimac and Parfrey’s Glen; Devil’s Lake State Park and Wollersheim Winery. The itinerary includes a layover day to relax and regroup. Tour participants should expect to camp along the way.
Lake Country Biking Tours
For Concord grape lovers, Lake Country is the go-to place to experience the oldest and largest growing region for Concord grapes in the world. Here cyclists meander the trails located on the south shore of Lake Erie at the Pennsylvania-New York border. Lake Country Bike Company, which hosts these tours, is also a bike retailer and member of the social media cycling network, MapMyRide.