At the time of this writing, the weather for biking does not look promising. Four straight days of rain are forecast to begin tomorrow – Thursday – and highs are in the 30s and 40s for the foreseeable future, with Monday’s high predicted as an even colder 25.
But hey, that’s no reason not to start dreaming of riding in one of the best states in the country for cyclists. Vermont Bicycle Touring, now known as VBT, put Vermont on the bike trail map 50 years ago and cyclists have been flocking here ever since. The reasons are obvious: Vermont is beautiful, uncrowded for the most part and criss-crossed by country roads, paved and unpaved.
If you’re willing to ride on dirt and gravel, your options expand exponentially and car traffic tends to decrease even further. With the right bike—meaning sturdy wheels and plenty of low, easy-to-pedal gears—riding the dirt is no problem. They’re called gravel bikes if you want to check them out at your local bike shop.
Speaking of your local bike shop, bring your bike in for a tune-up now, so it’s ready for when winter decides to leave us alone for another spring. There’s nothing worse for a rider’s morale than a bike that doesn’t shift properly or has loose headset or dodgy brakes. If you can make your own focus, more power to you.
For your pleasure in dreaming by bike, here is a list of some of the bike routes respected by local movementBurlington’s non-profit association dedicated to promoting horseback riding and walking:
- Island Line Trail — A 14-mile ride along Lake Champlain.
- Cycling in the city – A self-guided clockwise loop showcasing Burlington’s “history, culture and natural splendor”.
- Chittenden County Walking Bike Map – New from Local Motion, a guide to all the bike paths and paths in the county.
- Lake Champlain Bike Paths — A network of more than 1,600 miles of bike paths in the Lake Champlain Valley in Vermont, New York and Quebec.
- Adventure Bike Green Mountain Loop – A Missoula, MT-based Adventure Cycling Association 376-mile loop that begins and ends in Burlington, passing through every corner of the state.
A few other things. If cars make you uncomfortable, Vermont has some great rail trails, including the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail and the Mississiquoi Valley Rail Trail. Finally, this state being what it is for cyclists, chances are you can discover some great rides on your own, starting from your front door no matter where you live in Vermont.
Rail trails:Leisure with a side of farms, cafes and landscapes
Ready to go:All major construction completed on the Burlington Bike Path
Cross the Vermont Trail:Winooski River Bridge Adds Another Vital Link to Vermont Rail Network
Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 802-849-0497 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanDambrosioVT. This coverage is only possible with the support of our readers.