cycling · fitness

Bike trips wish list

Not that I’m counting, but it’s only 795 days until my next sabbatical.

795!
795!

Oh, I just realized: by the time you read this, it will be 794 days until my next sabbatical.

794! Even better!
794! Even better!

One of my favorite things to do, especially in late winter, is vacation planning. Even more enticing is the idea of a nice long bike trip. Now, I should say that I’ve not taken many of these. I’ve done loads of cycling, but no actual bike touring.

I'm shocked-- shocked, I tell you!
I’m shocked– shocked, I tell you!

This summer I plan to do some shorter bike touring trips to central Massachusetts and/or Cape Cod; they’re easily doable in a weekend. I’ve taken my bike to Martha’s Vineyard for the weekend and ridden in other coastal locales. But I’m yearning to explore some other parts of North America on two wheels, and so am starting to look at locations for longer trips. Here are a few on my list:

The Natchez Trace Parkway: this is a 444-mile roadway that runs from Alabama to Tennessee. It is designated as a bike route, which means car speeds are reduced. There are no stop signs or traffic lights– all traffic on and off is by entrance and exit ramps, so there’s no cross traffic to worry about. And the countryside is beautiful, with hills and forests and streams and farmland. There are even special cyclist-designated campgrounds. I’d love to do it in early May; it would be a hot ride in summer.

Cyclist descending down Natchez Trace parkway in Tennessee, redbuds blooming.
Cyclist descending down Natchez Trace parkway in Tennessee, redbuds blooming.

Idaho Coeur D’Alene and Hiawatha trails (and some others) in Idaho and Montana: these trails are thrilling and scenic in part because of the many tunnels and train bridges that you get to ride over or through. And of course there are those mountains and forests. This isn’t a part of the US I know well; all the more reason to experience some of it from the handlebars. These trails are about 110 miles in total, but you can put together a much longer trip (which I think I would do). This is definitely on my to-do list for sabbatical.

The Coeur D'Alene trail. Wow.
The Coeur D’Alene trail. Wow.

The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, from Key Largo to Key West: this 106-mile route is partly bike trail, partly riding on the road, over lots of bridges and often in full sun for long periods. But at one end is Key West, and the other end is Key Largo!

Yes, I know they look the same. I don’t have a problem with that. Do you?

There is, I have to mention, a 7-mile bridge section that I hear is not so fun to ride; there’s a narrow shoulder, and cars are driving 60mph. But hey, it’s only 7 miles. I still want to do this ride, and maybe connect it to other Florida cycling. Or take this ferry from Key West to Fort Myers or Marco Island, and then cycling across the Everglades back to Miami. I want to convince some of my cycling friends to do this, as there are many features of Florida that are really enjoyable if you slow down to the pace of a bike.

So, cycling readers, what are some of the locations on your must-ride lists? I love doing advance planning for potential bike trips (almost as much as actually going… 😉

6 thoughts on “Bike trips wish list

    1. You world traveler you. I’m looking for closer to home but still wondering about the winter. Florida, Arizona, South Carolina, maybe Cuba. We’ll see.

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