No bike race is more watched than the Tour, and that’s no surprise; the combination of epic landscapes, human accomplishment, and local culture creates a three-week narrative that draws in even the casual cycling fan. As it unfolds over a series of 21 unique and absolutely brilliant stages, we are reminded how much is literally hidden behind every corner.
If you’re like us, this race stirs curiosity about our own capabilities, and what great rides are out there waiting to be discovered. So, we’re celebrating the Tour with 21 special ride recommendations a little closer to home, inspired by the distinctive characteristics of each and every stage. When you follow the links, you’ll find detailed route profiles, turn by turn instructions, route photos, and a story about each ride through the amazing new Ride Spot platform, recently launched by PeopleForBikes. And don’t stop there, download the free Ride Spot app to discover other routes in your hometown, join a group ride, and maybe even share a favorite route of your own.
Did we inspire you to ride? Post one of your favorite loops in the comments at the bottom of the page. Bonus points if it relates to the day’s stage, and double points if it’s on Ride Spot!
Be sure to check back each day for new rides. Special thanks to all the riders and bike shops for contributing their rides to our series, and to Peloton Magazine for their Official Guide to the Tour as our reference to the Stages.
Stage 12 introduces the peloton to the first of the Pyreneeian climbs after a flat approach. They will tackle two tough, but not ultra-high altitude, Category 1 climbs before the finish.
Our Tour of Inspiration heads back to the Bay Area with a scenic loop titled Maximum Updrive, featuring two big climbs to test your legs. Leaving from Mountain View, California, this ride will take you through redwood forests, serves up ocean views, and tests your descending chops on small, windy mountain roads.
One of the shorter stages of the Tour, the 11th features a few hills, but should largely be a chance for the peloton to relax a little before a likely sprint finish.
In the spirit of relaxation, our Tour of Inspiration goes to Madison, Wisconsin, for a 32-mile ride that makes a great bike-packing overnighter. And there are llamas.
Just before the first rest day, the riders head out for a 135-mile flat stage punctuated with four short steep climbs. This is a day for the sprinters to go all-in to bank some points in the green jersey competition.
Our Stage 10 starts in Bodega Bay, California, and follows the coast south for 74 miles, winding through eucalyptus and along the water. The profile mirrors the Tour, with a relatively flat first half and four tougher climbs towards the end.
Stage nine of this year’s Tour happens to land on Bastille Day, also known as French Independence Day. This hilly stage will have roadsides packed with people cheering on the French riders, and showing pride for their country.
To celebrate independence, our Tour of Inspiration is headed to Buena Vista, Colorado, to ride Independence Pass. This pass crests at 12,098 feet above sea level and has a total ascent of over 3,500 feet. Once you hit the top, make sure to spend some time at the overlook to take in the valley views below and massive mountains in the distance.
The Tour heads through the Massif Central during stage eight, hitting seven categorized climbs, but only reaching a max altitude of 2,700 feet above sea level.
Our Tour of Inspiration takes us to Statesville, North Carolina, for a 48-mile ride all on amazing dirt roads. The route follows winding roads through North Carolina forest, with two medium-sized climbs to warm up the legs.
Only in this year’s Tour would stage seven be considered flat, but after some early lumps, the smooth run into the finish should yield an exciting bunch sprint. The stage passes through Ornanas to honor the 200th anniversary of the birth of French painter Gustave Courbet, leader of the realist movement.
We return to Minneapolis, Minnesota for an art-themed leg of our Tour of Inspiration. The 33-mile urban loop titled Minneapolis Murals + More takes in a dozen impressive murals in this bike-friendly city.
Stage six has more climbs than you can shake a stick at, as the Tour enters some real mountains.
The Tour of Inspiration heads to Mammoth Lakes, California, for a ride known as Elevation > Distance. Three big climbs are tackled within 42 miles, all around the slopes of Mammoth Mountain. If the photos from this ride don’t get you excited, we can’t help you.
Stage five is the first chance for the real climbers to shine, but it certainly won’t be the last in this mountain-heavy edition of the Tour.
We turn to Marin for our next route recommendation of the Tour of Inspiration. Leaving from Mill Valley, California, the SV Alpine Dam Loop covers 33 miles and takes in many small towns on the way through redwood forests, delivering epic views.
The profile of stage four is mainly flat, with a few rolling hills to test the riders towards the finish.
The fourth stop on our Tour of Inspiration is Nashville, Tennessee, for the beautiful Trace Bikes – Temple – Boyd Mill – Southhall- Natchez Trace loop. Or as the locals call it the Dolly-Llama. This 36-mile ride has lots of little rollers and one section that gains 400 feet of elevation gain over a few miles.
Success on stage three comes down to two factors: safely navigating peloton-shredding winds and surviving a series of punchy hills towards the finish.
Our Tour of Inspiration takes us to Austin, Texas, for the Sunday’s All-Business Ride 50-mile loop. This ride through Hill Country will test you while delivering big river-valley views.
How about that finish on Stage 1? Now let’s move on to the next…
Stage two is a short, flat, team time trial through the city of Brussels. It’s designed to shake up the leaderboard and provide a spectacle of teamwork and speed.
The second stop in our Tour of Inspiration is Atlanta, Georgia. The #MASHTOBRASH Route is an urban ride of just 23 miles, but what makes it special is the open invitation group ride that leaves from Loose Nuts Cycles at 6:15 am, every Wednesday, to hit the streets before the morning traffic. Bring some cash for coffee and biscuits!
Stage one of this year’s Tour starts in Brussels to honor Eddy Merckx, who has spent more days in the yellow jersey than anyone. Borrowing elements from the spring classics, the route features a few of the short, steep hills, and a dash of cobbles to keep the riders on their toes. It’s almost sure to end in a bunch sprint finish.
With these roads in mind, we decided to start our Tour of Inspiration in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lillydale Loop has short steep climbs, cobblestone roads, and an official town limit sprint point to keep things spicy.