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.
The final stage of the Tour is largely ceremonial until the peloton reaches the iconic Champs-Élysées, where the sprinters who managed to survive all the mountains will have one more chance for glory.
Because Paris is the capital of France, we thought it fitting that our Tour of Inspiration finish with a ride around Washington, D.C. This ride ends right in front of the Washington Monument and takes in some of the most historic places in the District.
Another relatively short mountain stage, the 20th is almost sure to create fireworks. The final climb is a 33km beyond-category beast, but will it shake up the podium, or will the minor placings be fighting for scraps?
Our final mountain stop on the Tour of Inspiration takes us to Mt. Hood, in Portland, Oregon. It’s a beautiful ride on narrow winding roads that pushes over three climbs while taking in snow-capped views of several northwest volcanoes, especially Mt. Hood.
Stage 19 is almost guaranteed to be action-packed. At just 78 miles, this mountain stage features five categorized climbs, including the highest point of this year’s Tour at 9,088 feet above sea level.
The Tour of Inspiration takes us to East Glacier Park Village, Montana, for a route titled Logan Pass that tackles two serious climbs before descending to a high mountain lake. Be sure to check this ride out on Ride Spot, the photos will certainly not disappoint. Thanks to Gravel Cruiser for the ride story.
Stage 18 is the most anticipated high-altitude battle of this year’s Tour, with a 7,000-foot Category 1 climb followed by two beyond category climbs hitting a max of 8,668 feet above sea level. This stage will push the GC riders to the max with just three days remaining to Paris.
Our 18th stop on the Tour of Inspiration is similarly epic. The Copper Triangle is a 79-mile classic that climbs three Colorado mountain passes – Fremont (11,318’), Tennessee (10,424’) and Vail (10,666’).
Compared to the next three days, Stage 17 is almost a day off. Riding between mountains and through valleys, the peloton will course through beautiful vineyards surrounded by picturesque landscape ending in Gap.
With valleys and vineyards in mind, the Tour of Inspiration heads to Reedley, California. The mountains to the east and the grape vines scattered throughout the valley make this Orange Cove Ride the perfect way to hit the reset button.
After yesterday’s climbing, the riders get a well deserved flat stage, and another chance for the sprinters to shine after the torture of the high mountains. After some beautiful riding around the city of Nîmes, the peloton turns back to the town center for a sprint finish.
Heading over to Council Bluffs, Iowa, our Tour of Inspiration follows a scenic route around the old town, down quiet dirt roads, and across long open stretches of tarmac. As you head back into town, set yourself up for the sprint at the city limit sign.
This year’s Tour was made with climbers in mind, and Stage 15 brings us the most vertical climbed in one day, at a staggering 15,500 feet of gain! With the route sweeping up Category 1 climbs and beautiful mountain roads, this stage was made for the polka-dot jersey.
The Tour of Inspiration takes us across the Pacific Ocean to Maui, Hawaii, to climb the incredible Haleakalā. This scenic 35-mile climb up a massive shield volcano starts at sea level and tops out at just over 10,000 feet above the ocean below!
Two weeks into the race the peloton faces the first HC (beyond category) climb on Stage 14, with a mountaintop finish of the Col du Tourmalet. With a Category 1 climb coming at the halfway mark of this short stage, we may see a bold move from one of the favorites stick.
You may want to wait a few months to tackle the next stop on our Tour of Inspiration, as it’s in Tucson, Arizona, and may be a little warm this time of year. Climbing to almost 9,000 feet over 30 miles, the Climbing Mt. Lemmon ride takes you through several different climate zones with unique vegetation. A perfect venue for your early season training rides.
This year’s Tour has only one individual time trial and it’s especially unique because it’s right in the middle of the three-week race, so instead of deciding the final outcome, it will likely shake up the classification before the next mountain stages. The relatively short, lumpy route should favor a powerful all-rounder.
The Tour of Inspiration takes us to Peekskill, New York, for a route called the Cold Spring Run. It has a similarly lumpy route and beautiful two-lane roads winding through the hills.
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.