The air is cool, the leaves are starting to change crazy colors, and I've broken out my wool jersey. My favorite season to ride bikes is here.
I recently asked our resident dirt road expert, Gravel-Eater Seth, to recommend some scenic rides on dirt roads to help me maximize my enjoyment of the season.
This is Gravel-Eater Seth:
PC: one of Seth's Facebook friends.
Always trust a man in goggles.
The only caveat for my request was this: the roads must be accessible from Burlington proper.
No one loves the idea of getting in a car and driving in order to ride their bicycle, but it's hardly an option for me. Most of my riding is spontaneous, and as a impatient, car-less, city-slicker millennial-type, using an [extremely generous!] friend's car requires the sort of logistical texting that I can barely muster patience for when all I want is to get in the saddle and shut my brain off.
Fortunately there are oodles of opportunities for dirt worshipping just a few pedal strokes out of our fair city, and Gravel-Eating Seth is a fastidious Google Mapmaker. Aren't we so lucky to have him?
If you want to peep some leaves on two wheels, consider one of Gravel-Eating Seth's six dirt road rides originating from and returning to the shop. The descriptions are kept to a minimum so you can experience the twists, turns, and quaint general stores on your own.
1. Stuck in the Middle with You
31 miles total, 12 miles dirt
PC: Harris Bucklin
This ride takes your through the back roads of Colchester and Essex. It is mostly rolling hills and features one larger climb (Brigham Hill Road).
2. Heaven on Leavensworth
40 miles total, 18 miles dirt
This ride follows the popular route to Shelburne on Spear Street, then takes you on 18 consecutive miles of dirt through Charlotte and Hinesburg. It includes a Leavensworth Road which is borderline trail at times and arguably one of Chittenden county's gravel gems.
3. The Govenator
32 miles total, 11 miles dirt
This ride includes two of the county's gems: Governor Chittenden Road (closed in winter) and the Richmond section of the Cross Vermont Trail, a multi-use trail cutting across the Winooski River Valley.
4. Underhill, Over Dale
65 miles total, 33 miles dirt
This ride takes your through Westford, Fairfax and Underhill on rolling dirt roads.
5. East by Southeast
59 miles total, 30 miles dirt
This loop takes you on the same highlights as East Chittenden County ride and the South Chittenden County ride (Governor Chittenden, Leavensworth, and the Richmond section of the Cross Vermont Trail are all included). It goes through steep dirt hills in the woods of Huntington and rolling dirt roads through the farmland of Monkton, Hinesburg and Charlotte.
96 miles total, 59 miles dirt, 6,900 feet of climbing
This almost-century is focused around an epic loop from Bristol to Lincoln through the Green Mountain National forest, taking you up and over Bristol Notch road -- a 1,500 foot climb entirely on dirt -- and back over on Natural Turnpike. The way there and back features the best dirt roads of Charlotte, Hinesburg, Monkton, and Lincoln.
Looking for that perfect bike to explore Vermont's roads on? We're crazy about the 2017 Salsa Vaya:
... and the Surly Straggler:
... and the Jamis Renegade:
... and we still have a few epic bikes in our fall sale including a carbon Salsa Warbird.
And don't forget to check out our classic and vintage bikes, perfect for exploring the back roads in style. Think: our 1983 Specialized Sequoia on display at Maglianero (and still for sale).
PC: Swift Industries
Questions about these routes? Questions about bikes or gear? Stop by the shop or give us a ring.
See you out there?