May 15th, 2014 | Written by Linda | No Comments

Soon after the two-wheeled bicycle became the standard for transportation available to the masses, bike racing became a popular sport. Organized bicycle racing began in 1868 and has grown in popularity ever since. Now a recognized division of the Summer Olympics and coming to widespread appreciation with such popular European events as the Tour de France, professional-class cycle racing continues to grow both in terms of events and spectators. Adding to the appeal are the scenic backdrops against which well-trained, dedicated athletes display their prowess. Some of the most popular races feature lakes around the world. These events become the perfect venue for enjoying a lake-based vacation while cheering your favorite cycling hero.tents


Tour De Singkarak 2012
photo © Doni Ismanto

One of the most awe-inspiring cycling event on the international tour circuit is the Tour de Singkarak in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Scheduled by the Union Cycliste Internationale (formerly known as the International Cycling Association), the 900+ km event is raced in stages, one of which skirts beautiful Lake Singkarak east of Padang. Part of Stage 6 circles the lake, a total course distance of 152 miles. This year’s race is scheduled for June 2 – June 10, 2014. The 26,638-acre Lake Singkarak is nearly 1200 feet above sea level, providing a cool, green oasis amidst the green Barisan Mountains. The mountains surrounding the lake are great for hiking, and white sand beaches invite swimming and sun bathing. Small locally-owned hostels and inns along the local lakefront roads are complemented by numerous little cafes and restaurants serving the famed local dish of spicy, crisp bilih fish, caught fresh in Lake Singkarak. Rent a boat or take a locally-offered cruise to see the lake. The famous surfing beaches of West Sumatra are only a couple of hours away, as are the chief cultural centers of the Minangkabau native population. Rent a bicycle and take your own slow-paced bike ride around the lakeshore of beautiful Lake Singkarak.


Dal Lake Houseboat
photo © Basharat Alam Shah

For the first time in 2012, an international-class race featured a leg around colorful Dal Lake, India. Formerly called the Tour de Kashmir, the addition of the Dal Lake stage has changed the name and scope of the course to the Tour de India. In existence in various forms since 2000, the increasingly popular race is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The 2013 race was held in early December; the dates for this year’s race have not yet been announced. The addition of the loop around Dal Lake in the Srinagar region adds an additional scenic and cultural appeal to this event for participants from many countries. Set against a backdrop of the Himalayan Mountains, Dal Lake’s 2700 acres are well-known for the ornate Victorian-era houseboats which can be rented by visitors for overnight stays. The lake offers kayaking, canoeing and windsurfing while the shoreline holds many acres of decorative gardens, several very old Mughal monuments, local craftsmen’s shops and plenty of local excursions to the surrounding area.

<BRTour of Utah 2013
photo © nuestrociclismo.com

Sanctioned by USA Cycling and the UCI, the staged Tour of Utah race is scheduled for August 4-10, 2014. As the biggest race after the Tour de France each year, the Tour of Utah is considered a top cycling event, drawing professional racers from all over the world. The race consists of seven ‘stages’, with Stage 3 this year beginning at Lehi, on the banks of Utah Lake, and Stage 4 skirting Pineview Reservoir on the route from Ogden to Powder Mountain. Utah Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the state (96,900 acres), offering boating, sailing and camping at Utah Lake State Park. Stage 6 begins at Salt Lake City near the shoreline of famous Great Salt Lake before heading south and up into the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. Great Salt Lake (1,088,000 acres) is a must-see destination while in the area, with several nature preserves, stunning saltwater vistas, large numbers of birds and waterfowl, and beautiful Antelope Island. Antelope Island State Park offers camping, sailing and swimming in the buoyant salt lake. The well-known attractions of Salt Lake City are all within a couple of miles.


Cascade Cycling Classic 2011
photo © Jerrad Miller

The 35th annual Cascade Cycling Classic is planned for July 16-20, 2014 in Bend, Oregon. Stage 1 passes by several of the Cascade Lakes, including Sparks Lake, Elk Lake, Lava Lake, Crane Prairie Reservoir, Cactus Lake and Wickiup Reservoir along the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway. Wickiup Reservoir is noted for its fine fishing and multiple campgrounds. Enjoy a week of water sports, trophy brown trout fishing, and camping under a canopy of stars at the 11,000-acre reservoir. Leave Friday, July 18th free to watch the bike racers pedal past. Make your lake-based vacation do double-duty this year by taking in a pro-quality cycle race. A good time will be had by all. Peddle on!

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