Cross-Country: Underground Railroad
33 Day Cross-Country Bike Tour
We're bringing back our cross-country bike tour along the Underground Railroad! It's been 15 years since we first ran it and the route has been improved in so many ways - more paved bike trails, more historical signage and new interpretive centers along the way. We will follow the trail of thousands of freedom seekers from years ago. We will honor the bravery of those who fled bondage and those who provided shelter and food, as we follow the north star through seven states on our way through the U.S. to Canada.
The tour is filled, but call us. We may be able to squeeze you in.
Rolling terrain over a total of 1500 miles in all types of weather. Advanced cycling level. Average distance of 47 miles per day.
32 nights lodging, all breakfasts, dinners & snacks on riding days, luggage transfer, SAG support, detailed cue sheet, maps and GPS files, trained guides, bike tire repair workshop, mechanical support, state line crossing parties, send-off banquet, celebration dinner, commemorative jersey and airport transfer at the end of the tour.
We do not rent bicycles for this tour. We prefer everyone trains on her own bicycle and knows that it fits and works properly for the trip.
Most of our hotels will be chains, such as Hampton Inns, Comfort Inns, or Best Westerns.
Fly into the Tupelo Regional Airport. WomanTours will provide a complimentary shuttle the day before the tour begins at a time to be determined. Or fly into the Memphis International Airport or take Amtrak to the Memphis Central Station. WomanTours will provide a shuttle from the Memphis airport and train station at 10:00am on the first day of the tour for $50 per person. At the end of the tour, WomanTours will shuttle everyone to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and the Buffalo Depew train station arriving by 11:00am on the last day of the tour.
Our 1489-mile, women-only bicycle tour across the country begins in Fulton, Mississippi. We’ll follow rivers north through Tennessee and Kentucky. Then the North Star will guide us through Ohio, along Lake Erie and into Canada on the Peace Bridge to Niagara Falls. Our journey ends in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.
Filled with history, the Underground Railroad is also beautiful. You’ll ride beside the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers. Although there are no major climbs, there are many sections of roller coaster hills. We’ll ride some distance on several paved rail trails.
- Civil War and Underground RR interpretive centers
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Museum
- Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
- Ohio to Erie Trail
- Niagara Falls
- Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, Canada
The days will quickly fall into a comfortable rhythm. We'll start early with a light breakfast provided by our inn or the hotel. Then we'll pack our bike bags with snacks of raisins, nuts, energy bars and peanut butter sandwiches. We'll make sure we have an extra layer of clothing and a rain jacket with us. We leave on our own, usually between 8-9am.
We follow the cue sheets that have been meticulously prepared for us, along with the expert Adventure Cycling maps and optional GPS directions. We each ride at our own pace, sometimes alone and sometimes in small groups and we stop where we want along the way.
About every 15-20 miles, we’ll meet our SAG vehicle. It holds water, snacks, tire repair tools and a first aid kit. Even if we don’t need anything, we’ll stop to chat and talk about the wonderful tailwind or the panoramic view. If we’re too tired to bike anymore, we’ll take a ride in the SAG vehicle to our hotel for the night. The SAG makes sure everyone is in safely at the end of the day.
Once at our hotel, we find our luggage, (delivered earlier by the WomanTours van and trailer,) check-in to our room, and meet our roommate. Most of our hotels are chains and most of us will be in double occupancy rooms. We rotate roommates every night, unless you’ve requested the single room upgrade. There’s time to shower before dinner and perhaps take a dip in the hotel pool.
If anyone has experienced bike problems during the day, we’ll use the time before dinner to work with the guide to fix it. She can adjust brakes and shifting, fix flat tires and do other simple repairs. If it’s a more complicated problem or needs a replacement part, the bike will go to a trained mechanic at a nearby bike shop. The cost of those repairs are the rider’s responsibility.
Then we eat dinner together, served buffet-style outside. Our traveling chef prepares hearty and healthy dishes from our trailer kitchen. While she will accommodate guests with specific allergies and provide a non-meat protein source for vegetarians, she cannot adhere to everyone’s likes and dislikes. You'll need to be flexible. If you require a vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free or other special diet, there will be a $235 fee.
About once a week, we’ll enjoy a day off from cycling. We use it to explore our surroundings and go out to eat. We’ll have time to do some laundry, clean our bikes, email home or read a book. Mostly, it’s time to give our bodies a chance to recover.
Every evening, the guide holds a map meeting to discuss the highlights of the day and to go over the details of the next day’s route. We'll celebrate every day that we cross into a new state. When we reach Niagara-on-the-Lake, we'll celebrate with a special meal. Average of 47 miles per day.
TO JOIN: Sign up online or call us to make your nonrefundable, nontransferable registration deposit of $300. The first payment of $2,000 is due September 1, 2022 and $1000 of that payment is nonrefundable and nontransferable. The balance of the trip fee is due by February 25, 2023.
DISCOUNT: Sign up for any shorter, domestic WomanTours trip in 2023 when you register for the 2023 Southern Tier tour and receive a 10% discount on the shorter tour.
TRIP INSURANCE: We will provide you with a source for trip cancellation/interruption insurance. We strongly recommend insurance, especially for a trip of this magnitude.
TOUR DETAILS: Help on training, transportation, packing, and an itinerary will be sent upon receipt of your registration fee. We will also mail you periodic Prep Talk newsletters to help you prepare for the trip.
|May 11, 2023||Fulton, MS||0|
|May 12, 2023||Counce, TN||76|
|May 13, 2023||Savannah, TN||38|
|May 14, 2023||Parsons, TN||45|
|May 15, 2023||Hurricane Mills, TN||55|
|May 16, 2023||Buchanan, TN||60|
|May 17, 2023||Buchanan, TN||0|
|May 18, 2023||Gilbertsville, KY||65|
|May 19, 2023||Morganfield, KY||91|
|May 20, 2023||Owensboro, KY||64|
|May 21, 2023||Tell City, IN||47|
|May 22, 2023||Brandenburg, KY||55|
|May 23, 2023||Louisville, KY||50|
|May 24, 2023||Louisville, KY||0|
|May 25, 2023||Madison, KY||53|
|May 26, 2023||Dry Ridge, KY||57|
|May 27, 2023||Maysville, KY||74|
|May 28, 2023||Newport, KY||80|
|May 29, 2023||Newport, KY||0|
|May 30, 2023||Xenia, OH||69|
|May 31, 2023||Columbus, OH||60|
|Jun 1, 2023||Mt. Vernon, OH||52|
|Jun 2, 2023||Millersburg, OH||41|
|Jun 3, 2023||Massillon, OH||38|
|Jun 4, 2023||Akron, OH||30|
|Jun 5, 2023||Akron, OH||0|
|Jun 6, 2023||Austinburg, OH||84|
|Jun 7, 2023||Erie, PA||57|
|Jun 8, 2023||Dunkirk, NY||49|
|Jun 9, 2023||Hamburg, NY||39|
|Jun 10, 2023||Niagara Falls, NY||45|
|Jun 11, 2023||Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON||16|
|Jun 12, 2023||Shuttle to Buffalo Airport||0|