After getting scorched on the road in August, I look forward to the brisk weather riding amid the changing colors. Secretly, I'm a leaf peeper and I'm guessing many other cyclists and mountain bikers are too. In the fall, unless you are spiking your apple cider, there are not many things better than autumn rides surrounded by golden and red leaves. Here are 5 fall rides to satisfy your secret leaf peeping passion.
ROAD: RIVER ROAD, NY
A classic New York City ride that gets city-dwellers out of the city into tree-lined roads with sparse traffic. The proper name is Henry Hudson Drive but the NYC locals call it River Road. Ride along Hudson's water edge, along the Palisade cliffs, and get your heart-pumping on the steep ascents that test your lung power.
MTN/GRAVEL/ROAD MIX:OLEMA - BOLINAS RIDGE, CA
Mostly dirt and fire road with some choppy rocky sections along Bolinas Ridge trail. This ride will take you through high-plateau grassland vistas, dense redwood forests, steep short climbs, and views of the ocean. At the end, you'll ride on the road and a bike path - so just be mentally prepared for this!
MTB: PALOS TOUR
With near fifty miles of trail outside of Chicago, this is the motherload of trails to keep you humming for a whole day. This loop includes wooded singletrack, water crossings, humps and bumps, as well as techy downhill. It's intermediate, but even if you're an advanced rider, you'll still enjoy the flow.
Road: Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA
Leaf peeper century! This is a 100+ mile scenic road that climbs 10,000 feet through the Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia's Blue Ridge mountains. If you've got mountain goat legs, then this is doable in one day, for all others, it's a two-day adventure. There are plenty of deer and bears, so be on the look-out for big animals especially on the steep descents.
MTB: Monarch Crest, Salida, CO
Shuttle up to the top of Monarch Crest then climb on double-track to the above-treeline single track. Unless you have lungs of steel, you'll need to pace yourself on the tight uphill grind. You'll be riding along the continental divide and see epic views of year-round snow-covered peaks. Take a carbo-load break at the top of Monarch Crest before you descend through tight, rutted trails interspersed with short climbs - and a steep climb up a logging road. You'll cross creeks, bridges and rock gardens and at the lower elevation, thick aspen groves throughout this IMBA epic ride.