Anchorage may be Alaska’s big city, but this bicycle tour operator offers quick proof that the city has a lot of wilderness. Choose one of these easy-access tours, and you’ll go from downtown to Mother Nature—with mountains, coastal views, and the occasional moose sighting—in no time at all. Better yet, the tours often include beer tastings or lunch.
If You Can Pedal, You Can Explore
Choose your ride based on half-day or full-day options, as well as difficulty. When you make your reservation, they’ll ask about your riding ability to find the best match for you. As long as you known how to ride a bike and operate hand brakes, you have enough skill for a lot of rides—and yes, it’s okay if you haven’t ridden any bike in a while. There are age minimums for some rides: as low as 11 for some rides, and as high as 21 for rides that include beer or spirits.
Pack Some Basics, Pick Your Tour
Tours include a bike, helmet, a biking jacket and gloves, as well as snacks (even lunch, if your trip specifies that). The tour bikes for paved-road trips are Kona hybrid bikes with lightweight aluminum frames—comfortable bikes meant for commuting and day trips. For dirt trail rides, you’ll ride a Rocky Mountain fat bike: they have 4" mountain bike tires, aluminum frames, and disc brakes. Fat tires make for a softer ride, easier rolling over obstacles and overall are a more stable bike. All you need to bring is the right clothing: lightweight layers (non-cotton is best), athletic pants, closed-toe shoes, a hat and sunglasses, and perhaps things like a rain jacket, day pack, camera and water bottle.
This tour on an easy, paved bike path and gentle grade starts with a pick-up at your hotel. You’ll head to Kincaid Park and bike the entire (but nice and flat) 11-mile Coastal Trail to downtown, Anchorage.
Spokes & Spirits
This tour covers the same route as the Coastal Cruise, but adds a visit to Anchorage Distillery for a tour and sampling, then the guide will drive you back to the hotel.
Trails & Ales
This is another variation on the Coastal Cruise, but ends with a flight sampling at Resolution Brewing Company, and then the guide drives you back to your hotel.
This moderate to difficult tour takes you mountain biking in Kincaid Park: 45 miles of singletrack trails, selected to suit your abilities. You can add a stop at Resolution Brewing, too.
Full Day Tours
Or, take one of the full-day options, where you get picked up in Anchorage and drive out to Bird Creek along Turnagain Arm. You’ll pedal about 12 miles, at the pace of the group (typically up to 3 hours). Along the way, you’ll stop for photo ops and talk about the sights and back stories—like the natural history of the glaciers, the Gold Rush stories, and looking out at the water for a bore tide or beluga whales. Once in Girdwood, you’ll load into van and go on one of two extended excursions:
Bike & Tram Tour
After your bike ride, you’ll ride the tram up Mt. Alyeska then have lunch at the top. You’ll spend about 45 minutes up there taking in the view, enjoying the scenery, and visiting the roundhouse museum at the top. The guide then drives you back to Anchorage.
Bike & Brew Tour
This ride with moderate difficulty (it can get hilly) includes a stop at Girdwood Brewing Company for lunch and a beer tasting. The guide then drives you back to Anchorage.
Don’t worry about running out of energy along the way. If, by chance, you’ve had enough pedaling, you can load your bike up with the driver at one of the scenic stops and hitch a ride to the next scenic stop. But most folks find that the gorgeous and dynamic scenery keeps you engaged and energetic the whole way.
Winter Fat Tire Bike Tours
The bicycle tours don’t stop just because snow starts falling in winter. Alaska Trail Guides also offers winter tours using fat-tire bikes that have good traction in the snow. Choose the Into the Wild Tour which gets you into the mountains or woods depending on trail conditions, or the City Adventure, which is the winter version of the Coastal Cruise. The tours include pick-up and drop-off at your hotel, instruction, snacks and use of a fat bike, helmet, hand warmers, gaiters and a head lamp (great if you’re pedaling after sunset). You’ll need to bring your own basic layers (a puffy jacket, hard shell, gloves, long underwear, snow pants and stiff-soled winter boots). Both tours can be upgraded to add an hour’s worth of beer tasting at Resolution Brewing Company or Anchorage Distillery:
The company is run by co-owners Elly and Frankie: Frankie, who’s from Fairbanks, is the business manager and driver, providing transportation to trail heads. Elly, meanwhile, started her Alaska tourism career guiding sea kayak tours, but found a passion for cycling, and is the guide out there on the trails and roadways with you. Their groups always stay small: up to 10 people max for the coastal rides, and up to five for mountain biking.