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The 10 Best Places to Ride Your Bike This Fall

It’s autumn and the living is easy — for pro cyclists, at least.


By Will Gordon, Men's Journal

It’s autumn and the living is easy — for pro cyclists, at least. Fall is the off-season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great rides. Tourists go home when the summer ends, so there’s less traffic, and the leaves give the trails a little extra color. Don’t miss out on taking advantage of the scenery and cooler weather. But maybe you just aren’t sure where to go. To find out, we talked to pros and former pros to find the best fall bike rides are across the country. Here’s what they came up with.
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Cape Ann Loop


When Red Bull athlete Tim Johnson isn’t biking up Mount Washington in the winter, you may find him riding along the Cape Ann Loop in Massachusetts. The loop is great for looking at the leaves on the trees turn, the ocean and the big estates along the shore. Plus, New England beach towns, such as Rockport, won’t be teeming with tourists. Take your pick of nearby towns to start and finish – including Beverly, Manchester or Ipswich – and start riding along the coast. Johnson recommends going counterclockwise, making it easier to take in the sights with the water always to your right.

Aspen to Maroon Bells


Ride up Maroon Creek Road from downtown Aspen to catch views of the snowy mountains against the orange and red trees. “At the end of the fall… you got the colors, you got the aspens kicking, the Maroon Bells have probably got a little bit of snow on them so they’re just beautiful,” says Head of Operations at Haute Route North America Micah Rice. It’s a moderate ride, so you can enjoy the scenery while still getting a bit of exercise.
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Mercer Island Loop


This ride is a local favorite for cyclists in Seattle. Enjoy the leafy trees along Lake Washington with low traffic and a slow speed limit for cars. Plus, cyclist for Hanger 15 Bicycles Steve Fisher says the long stretch of road is one of the few spots in the city good for time trials. After a quick workout, you can hit the city.
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Northeast Kingdom


Get away from tourist destinations such as Lake Champlain or college towns such as Burlington and head to northeastern Vermont – or, as cyclist and Red Bull athlete Tim Johnson calls it, “the forgotten northeastern part of Vermont.” Start at the Craftsbury General Store (in the town of Craftsbury), head north and loop back around. Make your way toward Greensboro and stop for one of the best beers in the state at the Hill Farmstead Brewery. If you want to stick to gravel, you can go east Ketchum Hill Road, make your way to Greensboro and continue the loop.
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Escalante to Boulder


See everything from red rocks to yellow and orange leaves on this ride on Highway 12 to Boulder, Utah. Just make sure you’re up for a tough climb, namely, Hog’s Back. It’ll be grueling, but lead to some great views. “Part of the Hog’s Back is you’re basically on top of a ridge where literally the road is kind of strung along the ridgeline of two deep red rock canyons or two deep, you know, desert canyons,” says Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team Director Jeff Louder. Hungry after a long ride? Louder recommends stopping for some food at Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder.

Hood River – The Dalles


This out-and-back takes you from the lush Columbia Valley to the dry land near The Dalles, Oregon. “It’s kind of on the cusp of like a rainforest on one side and then the desert…on the on the other,” says Jacob Rathe, a cyclist on team Jelly Belly. Catch views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams while you bike. If you want a cool drink after your ride, Hood River won’t let you down. Breweries in town include Full Sail Brewing Company, Double Mountain Brewery and pFriem Family Brewers.
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Six Gap


Sick of the city? Head of Operations at Haute Route North America Micah Rice says this is a good ride “for people that are interested in getting out in the woods.” Pass through parts of the Appalachian Trail and experience the northern Georgia forest near Dahlonega in this challenging ride. Nearby apple festivals and the annual Oktoberfest in Helen may make it worth the trip.

Kebler Pass


Steep pitches make this a tough climb, but seeing the autumn leaves in Gunnison National Forest may make it worth it. That’s like having fall foliage just like slap you in the face, because they all turn at the same time,” says cyclist Tim Johnson, a Red Bull athlete.
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Banks-Vernonia Loop


For those looking for an easy ride, this loop will do the job. Just 30 minutes west of Portland, you can start from Banks and make your way up to Vernonia, a booming logging town in the 1920s. Along your way, cyclist on team Jelly Belly Jacob Rathe says you may see some old logging equipment on roads now consumed by the forest. The forest is dense, so you’ll get away from the city and see the fall leaves.

Asheville to Craggy Gardens


No list of great fall rides would be complete without mentioning the Blue Ridge Parkway. Changing leaves will line the road as you take the easy ride from Asheville, North Carolina to Craggy Gardens. “It’s a really beautiful piece of the parkway and, you know, tons of colors in the fall…and just a beautiful part of the country,” says Head of Operations at Haute Route North America Micah Rice. If you’re looking for an extra challenge, Rice says you can continue on from the Craggy Gardens and make the climb up Mount Mitchell.

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Travel Magazine: The 10 Best Places to Ride Your Bike This Fall
The 10 Best Places to Ride Your Bike This Fall
It’s autumn and the living is easy — for pro cyclists, at least.
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