The Tops in Touring: Road Cycling's Best Spots
Cyclists come to historical Vermont to enjoy its bucolic landscape of rolling hills, mountains, farmlands, and woods. From the gentle hills of the Connecticut River Valley, to the more challenging routes through the Green Mountains, most of Vermont's roads are ideally suited for two-wheeled touring. And each fall these backcountry byways are graced with New England's most spectacular display of fall colors. Vermont also offers a network of quaint inns, myriad country stores, and many fine cycling tour operators and bike shops. These services, combined with the quality of Vermont's scenic byways, make Vermont a superb touring venue.
Vermont's Lake Champlain is the focus of many Vermont cycle holidays. The lake runs 110 miles along the New York-Vermont border and into Canada. This fertile valley is rich in history and scenery. Rides in this region follow narrow country roads over gentle hills, through farmlands and apple orchards bordered by meandering creeks. Don't miss the scenic islands of Lake Champlain, which should be included in any tour of this region.
The Green Mountains stretch north to south across the middle of Vermont. Here you'll find many excellent biking routes through farmland and dense forests of pines, maple, and oak. Roadways often follow the winding paths of quiet rivers and streams that flow alongside wildflower-filled meadows.
Southern Vermont's Connecticut River Valley is a picturesque region with classic New England architecture, rustic farmlands, and covered bridges. Away from the ski resorts and rugged woodlands of northern and western Vermont, the Connecticut River Valley features miles of quiet country roads that roll over mellow hills.
For a pretty, moderately difficult ride with typical Vermont mountain scenery take Route 125 east, just south of Middlebury, go up to the Middlebury Gap at 2,100 feet, then to Route 100 taking it north or south. Weather in the Green Mountains can be unpredictable. Cyclists should be prepared for cold snaps in the upper elevations at any timebut it may also be unseasonably hot. For more information about bicycling routes in the Green Mountains contact the Green Mountain National Forest Headquarters, 231 N. Main St., Rutland, VT 05701, (802) 747-6700, or the Middlebury Ranger Station, RD #4, Box 1260, Middlebury, VT 05753, (802) 388-4362.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication