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Our Top 5 American Road Rides

By Celestia Howe

Places We Ride: America, the Beautiful

Whether road riding through dense woods, climbing switchbacks surrounded by snow-capped peaks, or spinning through farmland gravel roads, we get a prolonged hit of freedom. Stress evaporates, our to-do list becomes not so important, and we laser focus on the ride in front of us. It’s just us, the bike, and the beauty that surrounds us. Perfection. Here are our top five road rides across the country that brings us that hit of freedom. #becausebikes

Mt. Evans Hill Climb, Colorado 

Mt. Evans Hill ClimbMt. Evans Hill Climb - Photo Credit: Bob Cook Hill Climb

Why Ride: Tell your friends you rode the highest paved road in the US topping at 14,271-foot. Along the way, face the elements of wind, rain, and possibly hail plus get a hit of wildlife as you ride past long-horned sheep and white woolly mountain goats. At the top, be rewarded with a panoramic view of snow-capped peaks to the west and the plains to the east.

Ride Notes: Starting at Evergreen, you’ll ride up through Squaw Pass which is a meandering mountain road with scenic vistas amid lush pine forest. You’ll ride to Echo Lake then the climb really begins up to the top of Mt. Evans. Pace yourself since the climb gets steeper and steeper with decreasing oxygen levels. At the top, don a jacket, you have a long downhill. Keep a look out for cracks in the road, these can be deadly, break a spoke, and quickly end a ride. Our riding partner broke multiple spokes from the jolts.  

Distance: 69.07 miles
Elevation Gain: 5226 feet
Starts From: Evergreen, Colorado
Ends At: Evergreen, Colorado
Strava Route Here  

Pairs well with:

 

Needles Highway, South Dakota

Needles Highway

Needles Highway, Photo Credit: abritandasoutherner.com

Why Ride: Your family can fight the crowds at Mt. Rushmore while you opt to ride your bike through “needles” aka granite spires and rock tunnels. You’ll ride up and down rolling hills, through Custer State Park with 1,300 bison who roam the area, and see Mt. Rushmore from a distance while smiling and spinning. Meet the family after your ride for a cool-off swim at the picturesque Sylvan Lake.

Ride Notes: Ride early morning or late afternoon during tourist season - mid-day gets congested with tourist traffic taking the long route to Mt. Rushmore. Pace yourself for pumpers and tight downhill corners.  

Distance: 25.08 miles
Elevation Gain: 1673 feet
Starts From: Custer, SD
Ends At: Custer, SD
MapMyRide Route Here

Pairs well with:

Salsa Colossal Ritchey Logic

Monterey - Carmel - Big Sur, California

Highway One CaliforniaHighway One, Monterey to Big Sur - Photo Credit: Visit California

Why Ride: Wild and rugged terrain make this an epic coastal biking adventure. As the road meanders along the coastline, you’ll hear crashing waves and smell the ocean. For those scared of heights, we recommend you look straight ahead, not down into the jagged cliffs.

Ride Notes: Since the terrain has lots of climbs and descents, and some stretches of Highway One have little or no shoulder, you’ll need to be hyper-vigilant of riding conditions and be aware of cars. We recommend riding early morning before the motorhome’s hit the road. If you want more miles, continue north to Monterey along the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach golf course. Here, you can google at the mansions you ride by. This ride is cliche but it’s worth it.

Distance: 64.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 4826 feet
Starts From: Monterey
Ends At: Big Sur
Ride with GPS Route Here

Pairs well with:

Cannondale Super Six Alchemy Atlas

 


Champlain Valley, Vermont

Lake ChamplainChamplain Valley, Vermont - Photo Credit: LakeChamplainRegion.com

Why Ride: Ride past iconic farm stands, rolling hills, and along Lake Champlain where you can throw a rock into NY. Ride this in the fall to be awed by the famous Vermont foliage.

Ride Notes: We rode this counterclockwise going downhill from Middlebury to Port Henry then hit the hills the last 8 miles back into Middlebury. Traffic is light except in Vergennes and Middlebury. Try not to hit these towns during commute hours.

Distance:
49.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,410  feet
Starts From: Middlebury, VT
Ends At: Middlebury, VT
Ride with GPS Route Here

Pairs well with:

Cervelo R3 Argon 18 Krypton

 


Beartooth Scenic Byway, Montana

Beartooth Highway, MTBeartooth Highway - Photo Credit: Yellowstone Country Montana Tourism, Merv Coleman

Why Ride: Climb amid 20 mountain peaks reaching 12,000 ft in elevation, ride through dense forest valleys and alpine plateaus. You’ll top out at 10,947 ft. While you’re riding, stop and rest your legs at the occasional waterfall. 

Ride Notes: Ride in the summer since winter and spring conditions are prone to avalanches. Bring a jacket, gloves, and even a hat since you will be riding in many different conditions (it snows here even in August). The terrain is varied and extreme from lush strands of lodgepole pines to boulder fields and even watermelon snow - snow with pink algae growing in it.

Distance: 66.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 7,366 feet
Starts From: Cooke City, MT
Finish At: Red Lodge, MT
Strava Route Here

Pairs well with:

Orbea Orca Diamondback Century

 


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