Friday, August 2, 2013

Top Five on Friday: Scenic Bike Rides

Posted By on Fri, Aug 2, 2013 at 9:00 AM


click to enlarge Bikers in the Ride the Ridge Bike Challenge in June at the High Meadow School in Stone Ridge. - MARTIN WEINER
  • Martin Weiner
  • Bikers in the Ride the Ridge Bike Challenge in June at the High Meadow School in Stone Ridge.
For gym and yoga enthusiasts, summer presents a bit of a nagging problem: How do you get in your daily workout while still taking the time to enjoy this beautiful season in the Hudson Valley? In the Family Feud version of this solution, bike riding is the number-one answer. Bike riding is a triple threat: You're outdoors, it's physically challenging, and you get to cover a lot of the area's natural landscape. Here are our top five picks for scenic bike rides in the Hudson Valley. Don't forget your helmet!

River Ride
The opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson transformed the way people think about outdoor recreation in the Hudson Valley. The Walkway is a 24-foot wide, 1.2-mile long bridge that connects the Dutchess Rail Trail and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, creating a 30-mile rail trail system that spans the Hudson River. The abandoned-railroad-bridge-turned-pedestrian-park offers panoramic views of the river, as well as audio-visual programs and picnicking. The Walkway is open from 7am to sunset, year-round, weather permitting.

Mountain Ride
The Shawangunk Ridge is home to over 80 miles of carriage roads, including access to trails in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Preserve, and the Mohonk Mountain House. The wide, gradual slopes of the carriage roads offer the ideal combination of smooth riding surfaces and a mountainous, backwoods setting. Views range from high cliffs to open meadows, and stop-off points include natural swimming holes, mountain lakes, and stretches of wild-blueberry bushes.

Community Ride
On the Woodstock-Ashokan Reservoir Loop you'll get the best of both worlds: views of the surrounding natural landscape and great people watching. The trail covers about 35 miles, and runs around the Ashokan Reservoir—the largest lake in the Hudson Valley—offering views of the highest summits in the Catskill Mountains. Start in Woodstock and continue through West Hurley and Shokan. When you're finished, spend some time taking in Woodstock on the weekend: drum circles, tie-dye, and plenty of good vibes.

Campus Ride
The image of a person riding her bike on a college campus—backpack full of books, ducks quacking in the adjacent field—is about as Romantic as academia gets. And when it comes to campuses in the Hudson Valley, there's much more to a bike ride than getting to and from class. At Vassar College, bike paths take you around Sunset Lake or past national historic monuments, like Vassar's Main Building and the Judith Loeb Chiara ’49 Center at the Maria Mitchell Observatory. Vassar's campus is also an arboretum, with more than 200 varieties of trees and an array of native plants.

Farmland Ride
Last year, Scenic Hudson hosted a Farmland Cycling Tour starting from Poet's Walk Park in Red Hook. After crossing the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge (a stretch that offers stunning panoramic views of the Hudson River) from west to east, turn left at the first traffic light onto River Road. On the bike ride, you'll pass working farms that Scenic Hudson helps to protect with occasional glimpses of the river. 
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