If you thought bicycle tours ended when summer did, think again! Travel between September and December has its perks, including fewer crowds, better bargains, and cooler temperatures. It’s also an enchanting time for experiencing local festivals and taking in breathtaking fall foliage.

However, not all fall bike tour destinations are created equal. As experienced global travelers and cyclists, we want to highlight three unique regions that can provide you with the ultimate autumnal cycling adventure.

A trip to one of these fall hot spots, in the most scenic regions of Europe and the US, will be sure to create lifetime memories. Besides dramatic natural scenery, you’ll encounter the most memorable cultural and culinary experiences. And what better way to feel connected to nature and take in the sights, smells, and tastes of a new place than to explore it from two wheels?

Western North Carolina, United States

Asheville, NC regularly tops annual “must-visit” travel lists around the world – for good reason. It holds countless accolades, including a “Top Cycling Destination” for road cyclists, mountain bikers, e-bikers, and leisurely riders of all levels.

Fall is a favorite time to visit Asheville and its surrounding counties. Due to the varied and lush terrain of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the area enjoys one of the longest and most vibrant foliage displays in the nation. The highest elevations, protected by national forests and parks, reach their peak in early to mid-October before expanding towards the more urban downtown area.

Off the bike, Asheville boasts a thriving arts and music scene and world-class dining and shopping. It is also a mecca for craft beer and cider (it’s apple country!), as well as being the home of several major historical attractions and landmarks. Breathe in the crisp autumn air and get ready for a post-ride exploration of this fascinating and unique city in the southern US.

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Tuscany, Italy

Autumn may be the best time for a bike tour in Tuscany due to the mild and pleasant temperatures, the kaleidoscope of vivid colors, and the seasonal shift that occurs in the local agriculture—the heart of this region’s culture and cuisine.

In October, you’ll really start to notice the seasonal shift of energy—especially through the change of flavors, menus, and offerings in restaurants, cafes, and farmers markets. The harvest brings more mushrooms, chestnuts, pumpkins, and freshly pressed olive oil, while the wineries are busy turning their grapes into wine. Meanwhile, in the countryside, the wildflowers change with the leaves so you get a continuous backdrop of yellows, oranges, and reds, making this a foodie’s and photographer’s dream!

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Provence, France

Fall is one of the best times to visit southern France for a Provence bike tour, as most tourists depart at the end of August for the school year. Less crowds means you can relax and enjoy the scenery, history, and culture of the region as you were meant to.

In this “off-season” the locals get to relax a bit more, and begin to turn their focus to the land, especially in the harvesting of grapes and apples. You can expect to see pickers in the fields, tractors on the road, and growers in their barns and greenhouses tracing the counts and quality. The colorful shades of autumn paint the vineyards and paths in the countryside, as well as the tree-lined squares and avenues in nearby cities and villages. Keep in mind that after All Saints Day (November 1), most major attractions will close until Easter. 

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Know Before You Go

A few reminders to ensure a safe and fun experience on your fall cycling tour.

Ride with caution

As some roadways may be crowded with fellow leaf-hunters (either on bike, foot or vehicle), make sure to stay alert, practice defensive riding and good signaling. Also watch for native wildlife, fellow cyclists and bikers, and photographers who may be in pursuit of their next great shot. 

Come prepared

Fall weather can be quite unpredictable. Be sure to check the forecast in advance, and bring clothing appropriate for all kinds of weather. No matter where you venture, you can expect temperatures to slowly but consistently fall, while the hours of sunlight diminish day by day. 

Warm days and chilly nights are the norm, so layers are a must. A hat and gloves also go a long way in preserving your body heat.

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Where are your favorite destinations to see the fall foliage? We want to know!

Outfitter Bicycle Tours provides cycling enthusiasts custom and unique travel experiences throughout the most scenic regions of France, Italy and the USA. Our cycling vacation destinations have it all—the most celebrated tour routes, world-class cuisine, and rich culture and history. Owners Jamie and Joy Gilpin are personally involved with each tour and are dedicated to staffing them with knowledgeable local guides and top-of-the-line equipment and gear. Contact us today to start planning your dream bicycle tour!

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