Top Ten U.S. Road Biking Routes

There's a place we all want to go when we climb into the saddle of a bicycle.

For some people, it has a name; it is the "there yet" destination that children whine about when hunger, impatience, and nature call. It is the slam of the inside door and whir of the A/C fans and satisfaction of knowing that the hot bath and unplugged phone await. However, for many others, it is the semi-transcendence of just being on the way to wherever "there yet" is; it is the rush of merely being in the saddle, legs spinning, heart pumping and wind catching the grooves and corrugations of a snug Rock-locked helmet. The bath can wait, as can the hug of privacy. There is satisfaction in the groove of consistent motion that makes the trip to point B just as (if not more) exciting than actually B-ing there.

But even for enthusiasts of the latter variety, every way does not lead to the Way (to borrow from a Buddhist axiom). The way along a shoulder on a commercial vehicle access road is a far cry from the way along a scenic and remote county path through the Fall-yellow thick of an aspen grove and the scarlet symphony of a maple swarm. The way through the crush of an urban jungle does not allow for the same introspection that the way along a mountain ridge road of breathless horizons does.

Where then are these true and special ways to the Way? Which inspiration do you follow when that three-day weekend screams to be filled with something more gentle than the local block party or the tailgate or the carnival atmosphere of the nearest patch of picnic green? Everyone has a few neighborhood favorites. You know, the behind-the-shed, cross-the-bog, back-alley traverse that leads to a mellow stretch of road with a vista. Some are more dramatic than others, and are good for that odd afternoon escape. But where are the slightly longer, bigger bites when one day's chewing isn't enough? Where's the really tall playground slide that truly challenges a kid's sense of adventure and fear of heights, and then rewards with that greater rip through the air and echoing giggle when spit out at the bottom into a tumble of sand and appreciating friends?

Well, we think we've got a few.

Here then are cursory peeks at a few of GORP's U.S. favorites. GORP would like to thank the following people for their eyes, ears, sense of the biker's road, and willingness to share their secret cycling pleasure: Jed Buckner, Javier Castellano, Greg Green, Jeff Miller and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, David Mozer and the International Bicycle Fund, Skye Livingston, Dan Newman, Kevin Williams, and Anthony Ziehmke.

Ethan Gelber, a freelance travel writer based in New York City, most appreciates the world from the saddle of his bicycle.



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