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You’re in a pretty amazing region for road biking already, Tina. But I understand that riding on flat pavement all the time can get a little old. If you’re looking to venture outside of the Midwest, I’d point you to these three places.
The Best Road Biking in the U.S.: Hill Country, Texas
BIKE SHOP: Hill Country Bicycle Works.
The Best Road Biking in the U.S.: Rogue Valley, Oregon
When you cycle out of the narrow Rogue Valley, you’ve got nowhere to go but up. The Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges separate this deep thumbprint of timberland from the rest of the state; the long rides are as spectacular as they are punishing. Make your home base the upscale town of Ashland, on the southern end.
GREAT RIDE: Butte Falls/Prospect loop, a favorite of the local Siskiyou Velo cycling club, climbs about 1,600 feet in elevation into the Cascades, snaking along the Rogue River on the way back.
BIKE SHOP: Siskiyou Cyclery.
The Best Road Biking in the U.S.: Champlain Valley, Vermont
The best way to see Vermont’s Green Mountains is over your bike’s handlebars. Your thighs will be begging for mercy on the high mountain gaps, but you’ll be rewarded with views of maple-covered peaks, Lake Champlain, and open cow pastures interrupted by century-old barns and farmhouses. Start and end your rides in the bar-filled college town of Burlington.
GREAT RIDE: The Double Gap is by far the favorite distance ride for Burlington locals. It starts in Burlington at 200 feet above sea level, climbs to nearly 2,400 feet at Appalachian Gap, and plummets into the town of Waitsfield before climbing over towering Lincoln Gap on the return half.
BIKE SHOP: Earl’s Cyclery.