Weekend Wheeling in Billings, Montana
The cycling community is alive and well in Billings, Montana, a city boasting the largest population in the Treasure State: 133,000 people. Judging by the bicycling activity, a good portion of those residents must be cyclists.
Chris Veit, floor manager at a downtown bike shop in Billings, claims that there is plenty to do on two wheels in the area.
The Yellowstone River flows along the southeast border of town while Rimrock towers 300 to 500 feet overhead to the north and east. Rolling hills lie beyond the Rimrocks to the north; the terrain is steeper to the south. The Beartooth Mountains rise to the southwest and the Bighorn Mountains lie to the south. The valley is the traditional home of the Crow, or Absarokee, Indians.
"There's lots of great cycling within one to two hours of Billings," Veit says. "You could spend half your life riding and still not see it all." The local Yellowstone Valley Cycling Club holds all kinds of cycling events. If you're looking for someone to ride with, you can call the rider hotline at (406) 255-6753.
Billings came into being in the early 1880s as a railroad town. Today it is an agricultural and oil-refining center, as well as home of Montana State University. The city has a pleasant, modern ambience, with summertime concerts, seven golf courses, and 63 municipal parks. One of these parks follows along the Yellowstone River and provides miles of easy mountain-bike cruising. The Riverfront Park trail is great for a family outing or for a pleasant pre- or post-work ride.
Mountain bike experts who want to test their skills in a wilderness setting should set out on the Sykes Ridge Ride. Located in the Pryor Mountains, this route passes through the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Plan a full day for this ride since the drive to and from the trailhead is lengthy.
For road cyclists in need of a good workout, there's a 45-mile loop with an aerobic rating of 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is leisurely and 5 is ghastly.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication