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what makes YOUR state such a great place to ride?(50 posts)

what makes YOUR state such a great place to ride?smooty
Dec 3, 2003 6:51 PM
Just curious, in my job i've traveled extensivly throughout the U.S. and take my road bike with me. If you were to factor in such criteria as good terrain, killer climbs, well paved or lightly travelled back roads, courteous drivers, decent weather, a thriving racing scene, etc., what state/town would come out on top?
300+ sunny days a year2melow
Dec 3, 2003 7:21 PM
and four seasons. Good place for me at this point in my life!
300+ sunny days a yearlyleseven
Dec 3, 2003 10:15 PM
Assuming you have snow tires on your bike you can cycle 300 days a year! (and don't mind freezin' you ass off 4 or 5 of those months)
not really trueColnagoFE
Dec 4, 2003 8:32 AM
It rarely gets below freezing for long periods of time in Boulder/Ft. Collins. Was 70 last weekend even though that isn't typical. It doesn't really snow all that much even. And when it does it usually melts in a few days. Even without snow tires you can probably ride most days here unless there is an ice storm. Most people associate the weather here with the ski resorts weather and that just isn't the case.
hopefully accurate...C-40
Dec 4, 2003 11:13 AM
I moved to Highlands Ranch in late July. So far, the cycling has been awesome compared to Kansas City. The lower humidity makes riding much more pleasant. I have wide bike lanes on all the major roads and nice paved trails that will take me to Chatfield Reservoir and the into the mountains. I ride about 13 miles from my house to get to the mountains and have several 40-65 mile routes that are a lot of fun. Getting used to the altitude wasn't fun though.

I'm not a fan of riding very far when it's real cold, so I hope we have lots of upper 40's, which I find tolerable.

With the substantial amount of climbing, I've converted both of my bikes to FSA 53/39/30 triple cranks with 12-25 cassettes. With Campy 10 speed, there's little diffeence in the shifting performance and I can take it easy on the mountains if I choose.
lets perpetuate the mythdaCaT_
Dec 4, 2003 12:47 PM
Colorado is cold and snowy. Did you ever notice the south Park kids wear winter cloths all year long?
South Park is usually pretty windy (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 4, 2003 2:16 PM
My state is a great place to ride?wooglin
Dec 3, 2003 7:28 PM
Could've fooled me.... :)
My state is a great place to ride?Jusme
Dec 4, 2003 6:16 AM
Did I read that you're in SC?

I'm in Greenville, and yeah it ain't the best place to be.
My state is a great place to ride?wooglin
Dec 4, 2003 11:05 AM
I was just kidding. SC's got some roadie fun, especially up by you:

Did you know BIKE mag rated G-ville one of the top 10 cities for mtbing?
My state is a great place to ride?Jusme
Dec 4, 2003 11:33 AM
There are some pretty good road rides up in the northern part of the county and an active group (The Spinners), but I've never thought of Greenville as anything other than an unattractive town to ride in overall.

Lots of unchecked growth, horrible traffic, no shoulders or lanes to speak with.

Some good rides, but all relative, I guess.
re: what makes YOUR state such a great place to ride?AllUpHill
Dec 3, 2003 8:37 PM
Mountains, nice rolling green east-coast style hills. Not those horrible parched prostituting west-coast mountains.

Extreme rural-ness. One county in my state has 6 persons per square mile (its population actually decreased between '90 to '00). For reference, 100 persons per square mile already seems like god-forsaken turnip truck country to most of you. We have 73 out of 135 counties with under 100 heads per square mile. Yet none of it is barren desert land and dry lake beds -- all green and with a temperate climate, populated by mostly courteous red-necks.

Another feature of "older" east-coast states is the network of secondary roads. Sometimes its unbelievable how many interesting, seldom-traveled back roads will be concentrated in one area. I think this is just due to the way people settled and traversed land in the earlier days -- most of our roads are little more than barely-evolved wagon trails.

Divulging no further information. Visitors and immigrants are not welcome :)
May not be the same state, but similar reasons.KG 361
Dec 3, 2003 8:53 PM
Back roads-lots of them. Little or no traffic. Great climbs. Lots of trees, streams, rivers, lakes. A lot of riders, so a fair number of drivers are aware and *usually* give you some respect.
re: what makes YOUR state such a great place to ride?lyleseven
Dec 3, 2003 10:17 PM
Isn't that the state they filmed "Deliverance" in? Couldn't help the deduction when you said "mostly courteous red-necks"!
I've ridden in your state . . .ms
Dec 4, 2003 12:08 PM
and I agree with your assessment. If you give me a visa to return, I will not disclose the name of the state. Otherwise, I will let your secret out of the bag.
You have a green card, sir. nm.AllUpHill
Dec 4, 2003 6:34 PM
Dec 4, 2003 7:41 PM
Dec 3, 2003 8:51 PM
I'm currently stuck in iowa, and while it is in my part of the state quite flat, I am generally appreciative of the tolerance of motorists to my all too frequent presence on shoulderless roads. nary a car or truck has run me into the ditch. a few honks and brushbacks, and a mt dew bottle or 2 but nothing to disturb my line. for that I give thanks very, very often. however, today I hit some trails and played in the dirt and holy_f'in crap do I have contempt for those who dispose of their appliances/tires/trash/broken snow blowers/truck toppers/motor oil containers, etc on secluded trails and roads. I can't begin to express my dissapointment. the sight of a herd of deer dodging a washing machine in their escape from me as I crashed on a fire road left me lightheaded with rage.
onto positive thoughts though, there are lots of backroads perfect for my chosen use just begging for me to crawl their inclineless, factory farm clogged miles. Hving logged many an urban mile it is a pleasure to ride 30 miles without touching the brakes. That's (and the yearly alcohol induced RAGBRAI) what makes my state a great place to ride.
Drunken State...rwbadley
Dec 3, 2003 9:26 PM
Nevada is pretty big. My riding has been confined to one fairly small section.

Around Reno it's pretty decent riding. The drivers can be OK at times, or not.

Alot of scenic roads and some nice hills to climb. Pretty good weather for much of the year.

All in all, not too bad a place to be.
California & Vermontlyleseven
Dec 3, 2003 10:22 PM
I have the opportunity each year to ride in both of these states. By far, Vermont has the best rural roads (albeit for only 7 or 8 months a year), very little traffic and well enforced laws protecting cyclists. The terrain is fantastic as it offers rolling hills, flats and some butt-kicking climbs all within a few miles of each other. Scenery is second to none. In California, I can ride pretty much 12 months a year with a few weeks off for rain. Many great rural roads in California also.
It's SoCal!Rich_Racer
Dec 3, 2003 10:45 PM
I swear SoCal is the best place in the world to ride. Hilly rides, flat rides, rides by the sea or into the desert - and do it in the sunshine almost every day of the year. But what makes it the best is that there are so many fellow cyclists to ride with and I think motorists are more used to us because of that.

Bad part of SoCal - the state is broke and the roads are falling apart!
Love vermonthudsonite
Dec 4, 2003 6:18 AM
Vermont is the best. Upstate New York is also very good. New Hampshire is great in areas as well.
Northern Illinoisyellowspox
Dec 4, 2003 12:56 AM
NOT the Chicago area....we consider it to be it's own state. It has a great mix of rural roads with anything from flats to very hilly as you get closer to the Mississippi. It's also within riding distance of my house....LOL !!
:-P From Chicago ...PEDDLEFOOT
Dec 4, 2003 10:22 AM
Just havin' some fun :-)
Dec 4, 2003 11:23 AM
Look at Chicago as a challenge! We might be lacking in elevation BUT!

Where else in the state can you race city buses block-to-block? Ride with Critical Mass wierdos? Test your slalom skills on the lakefront path? And pretend your a messenger when riding in the Loop?

Picts from the personal photo album (Ah the glory of it all...)

Home Sweet Home (nm)PEDDLEFOOT
Dec 4, 2003 1:16 PM
re: what makes YOUR state such a great place to ride?Saddle_Sore
Dec 4, 2003 1:47 AM
The UK would come out on top because...

Well, it's full of English people for a start :-)

Actually, having recently been to New York and San Fransisco, I don't know how you would go about cycling through any of those cities - the traffic looked lethal!

The cycling around Jasper in Canada looked damn good, plenty of large hills, although the possibility of a high-speed encounter with a wandering moose might put me off (along with being mauled by a brown bear) :-|
It's the roads, baby!4bykn
Dec 4, 2003 3:02 AM
To ride a road bike, ya' gotta have great roads. While it is really flat, there is nothing but well-paved rural roads as fas as you care to ride in any direction. Plenty of small rural towns (think Hooterville) each with a Casey's or Huck's stocked with Gatorade and snacks.

Ride in Peace...Mike
Lots of open roads with low traffic countbimini
Dec 4, 2003 6:16 AM
I live in IOWA. I have a lot of choices when riding since the population density is low. There are a lot of paved roads with very little traffic.

Lot's of serious rollers and a lot of pancake flat roads, but no mountains to climb.

In general the drivers give bikes plenty of ground. The yearly RAGBRAI event that has involved every community in the state over the last 30 years has done a good job education the population in respecting cyclist, but we still have a few folks that need to be wacked up the side of the head. Can't get completely away from those.

There are 3-4 races in the area every month but they are small events with all cats riding together or with only two fields. There are only a handfull of races with 100+ bikes and individual categories. The small races are nice in a way. You get to know all the other riders and you learn a lot riding with the Cat 1,2 boys. They use these races as training rides so they don't turn it on until the finish line is in sight. I have had the Cat 1 guys drop off when I fell off the pack and pull me back up again. You don't see that in the big races. Nice gesture and gives them a chance to keep the muscles warmed up. I guess if they ran full steam during these races they may as well be riding solo or Time trialing.
NJ = "The trade-off state" or maybe "The average state"biknben
Dec 4, 2003 6:34 AM
Well, I've never lived outside of NJ. I do enjoy living here but there is good and bad.

The climate here offers a little of everything without some of the bad stuff. For instance, there are four distinct seasons but it doesn't get
i really
cold or hot. We get average rainfall but don't have a monsoon season. We get some tropical weather but rarely have to deal with Hurricanes. I have survived a tornado and an earthquake but they were very small. I can ski in the winter and sun in the sand at the beach. I can have a meal in NYC or Philly and be in a secluded riding spot an hour later.

I've got roads to take me everywhere. Unfortunately, everyone else is using them too. Traffic totally blows. The primary roads are parking lots...the secondary roads are primary roads...etc. Gov. discourages the use of the secondary roads but letting them fall apart. Since everyone is going in different directions, traffic is haphazzard and mass-transit is nearly useless. Local gov't. are broke and forced to give in to developers to generate revenue.

Of course I could go on but I'll stop here. IMO, the climate is great...the lifestyle leaves a lot to be desired.
NJ, I was just gonna say "nothing (nm)" but you did a good job..cmgauch
Dec 4, 2003 7:46 AM
...painting the picture. Except we do have good mass transit to NYC.

Of course if I wanted to commute by bike instead my 15 mi commute turns into 30 because metro NJ is not set up for that.

Like you say, good & bad.
NJ, I was just gonna say "nothing (nm)" but you did a good job..Barton
Dec 4, 2003 8:41 AM
I agree - roads are very crowded (I live in West Orange), so you have to be very careful where and when you ride. Still, there are some good places to ride - e.g. around the Great Swamp, Pluckemin, etc.
Howdy neighborcmgauch
Dec 4, 2003 10:02 AM
I'm a fellow Essex county resident, in Nutley but I lived in S. Orange for about 6 years. I generally ride from home, out into Passaic, Morris and (if time permits) Sussex counties. Once I get about 30 min from home the traffic eases up a lot, and the roads just get better & better.

I might not be getting out this weekend though, couple of inches of snow in the forecast.
SE TN (Chattanooga) - The hills and the scenery!Mike P
Dec 4, 2003 7:32 AM
Also, close to some of the best hills and scenery in the US, (N. GA and NC).

The weather is pretty nice most of the time. Winter is far from harsh. The summer does get hot and humid but not unbearable.

Don't forget the BattlefieldBikinCO
Dec 4, 2003 9:02 AM
I always ride there when I get back home. Riding the roads of north Georgia and the historic tour of the Battlefield. It is also the site of my first race, a time trial for my high school cycling team. I raced for Notre Dame in the mid 80's.
Variety & sunCHRoadie
Dec 4, 2003 7:49 AM
I live in So Cal, and from my house I can head north and ride to Mt. Baldy Village, or I can head south and ride to Huntington Beach. Yeah, there's a lot of traffic, but within an hours drive I can get to some killer climbs like Onyx Summit or Mt. Palomar. Or I can ride PCH along the coast. And I can do it all year long--I only started using my leg warmers last month.
Variety & sunlyleseven
Dec 4, 2003 8:04 AM
Did you mean "killer traffic" or killer climbs?????
Boulder, CO has to be right up there using that criteria (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 4, 2003 8:28 AM
Because I live in it and it's the only one I got...PEDDLEFOOT
Dec 4, 2003 8:39 AM
...which would be Northern Illinois in the CHICAGO AREA.Sorry yellowspox. :-)
If you don't know why DC is great you haven't been reading my posts.nmMB1
Dec 4, 2003 8:55 AM
Deceptive advertising -- just joking, but
Dec 4, 2003 11:52 AM
it appears that 90+% of your pictures have been taken in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. I was going to use your pictures as an example of why Maryland is great, but I thought that people from Virginia and Pennsylvania would complain.
All you got to do is search for "Tour Day DC".MB1
Dec 4, 2003 12:58 PM
MB1 "Tour de DC plus a bonus. Ride Report." 9/8/03 1:48pm
I stand corrected. But,ms
Dec 4, 2003 1:53 PM
your photos of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania (the usual weekend rides) really show the great riding potential that each of those states have. My usual rides (Baltimore and Carroll Counties) are to the east of your usual Maryland routes (Frederick and Washington Counties), but your pictures show the types of rural roads and rolling terrain that I have come to enjoy. I always enjoy your posts and I hope that you will excuse my attempt at a little good natured ribbing in my earlier post.
That's O.K. but don't forget...MB1
Dec 4, 2003 2:00 PM
"We're from Washington and we are here to help you."

Aweful winters, beat-up roads, flat, terrible drivers...Bonked
Dec 4, 2003 10:41 AM
wait a minute, maybe its not that great in Minnesota! But great riding partners and great summers make it more bearable. I have come home from rides after 9 in July and it is still light out and this summer it rained like .05", literally, between mid-July and mid-September...can't complain about that!
Hey, somebodies not been reading my ride reports : )Scot_Gore
Dec 4, 2003 9:26 PM
Roads built to pile snow on the side translate to wider shoulders in the summer.

Big agricultural economy translate to more paved roads in the middle of nowhere. (we need them to get the crops to rails and barges in big trucks). Wisconsin has even more with a higher % of dairy farms which demand pavement even more beacuse of weight and frequency.

Large network of paved trails both in both the urban core and the rural hinter lands.

With the volume and design of our trails Minnesota roadies don't have near the issues most have on MUTs

Congressman Jim Oberstar, the most active and vocal cycle advocate in congress.

MS Bike tours invented here

Home of Quality Bicyle Products, Park Tool, and HED

Good clubs and LBS's. TCBC, Hiawatha, etc

Yes, it's the midwest, but it's not utterly flat (only mostly flat).

Good riding destinations like a Great Lake, the mighty Mississippi, St. Croix, not just one but two downtowns : )

AND......I'm already sick of the rollers.

Minnesota/Wisconsin are great ... especially for multi-sportGeardaddy
Dec 5, 2003 7:57 AM
Hey, I've read your ride reports, and they're great!

Scot points out many fine points, and I would add that traffic patterns are not so crazy (not yet) and drivers are generally nice. Minneapolis/St. Paul have not grown yet to the level that you have to "escape" from the city to participate in your favorite activities.

But where Minnesota/Wisconsin really shine is in the diversity of activities, such as:

-Lots of good mountain biking within the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area, in part due to the great efforts of MORC ( Great mountain biking only 2+ hours away too.
-Running scene is pretty healthy. The Twin Cities Marathon is a big time event. Scores of events on the calendar.
-Triathalons are quite popular. There are many events and no shortage of excellent venues to hold them. (Uh, where would the swim portion of a triathalon be in the Colorado front range?).
- Best X-C skiing scene in the nation. Over 200K of well-groomed trails in the Metro area alone (
- There are also lots of duathalons, biathalons, orienteering, and even adventure racing because there are so many trails, lakes, and rivers right in the neighborhood.

Hey, if you don't feel like breaking a sweat, there's plenty of hiking, boating, sailing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, fishing, and hunting to be had just down the road.

Sure, the weather here is a roller-coaster. But that which does not kill you ...
NSW is fantasticclimbo
Dec 4, 2003 10:59 AM
NSW is my home state, and yes, it's in Australia, but you can not beat it for riding. Great hills all over (we have a mountain range running north to south right through it), beach all the way down the coast line, most of the population lives in one town, Sydney, so if you are outside of that (or a short ride/drive out of it) you have remote roads to ride, beautiful beaches to cool off at and great weather all year round. The highest peak we have is 2228 metres which gives you plenty of climbing. And of course we have plenty of racing on road, MTN and of couse the track, Dunc Gray Velodrome being in Sydney and accessible through local club training nights and local racing.
Orange County, Calfornia.........BIG RING
Dec 4, 2003 1:31 PM
Sunshine sums up the biggest reason why So. Cal. is a great place to ride. Differences in scenery is another. You can hit Pacific Coast HWY, North or South for rollers and flats with views of the Pacific. You can head to Mt. Wilson, Mt. Baldy or Big Bear for climbing at altitude. Palm Springs for desert riding. Only issue is CARS and lot's of them. Not so bad if your ride is between 6-10 AM.
re: what makes YOUR state such a great place to ride?smooty
Dec 5, 2003 3:38 AM
Thanks for the interesting and informative replies. My "home" is in Vermont and I have to agree that there is quite a variety of great riding here but the winters can be brutal and it takes a lot of "oomph" to get out into that cold garage when it's fifteen below zero to ride the trainer. X-country skiing is pretty good after we get a good base of snow though.
In my travels I have found the state(s) with the best combination of attributes, (good roads, ruralness, diversity, etc.) to be either central Virginia, (that climb up to Wintergreen resort is a killer!) Pennsylvania, California, (away from the traffic) and some parts of Colorado.