The Catskill Mountains and the Hudson Valley region at large boasts some of the finest cycling opportunities in the entire United States. We have endless undulating roadways that offer incredible vistas of farmlands, mountains, streams, and bodies of water.
The terrain can vary from rolling and scenic to downright steep and challenging. And that is just the on-road riding that I speak of. If you enjoy mountain biking and off-road riding as much as I do, you will be really thrilled! Designated trail networks exist for fun technical mountain riding, and the Catskill Park has many options beyond the casual rider’s imagination.
I don't just mean technical mountain biking and racing that exist in abundance. I am also referring to bicycle touring.
I have recently discovered on- and off-road bicycle touring. In fact, a group of fellow riders and I recently departed on a loaded two-day bicycling "bikepacking" adventure that led us on a 140-mile route nearly devoid of any paved roads. We visited Woodchuck Lodge, the former summer Catskill home of famed naturalist John Burroughs, just outside of Roxbury. It was great to explore this really cool cabin and piece of history on our route. After that, we set up camp at a state forest preserve primitive camping site, cooked a delicious dinner, and relaxed under the stars in anticipation of the second leg of our journey home.
That second leg included a long stretch of the Catskill Mountain Scenic Rail Trail. We rode on that stretch of trail for nearly 15 miles, totally car-free and surrounded by nature.
This last winter season has also helped me develop a habit of winter fat biking. If you are scratching your head as to what I am talking about, you are not alone. Imagine a new and exciting form of winter recreation that is part bicycle, part monster truck! It is like being able to snowshoe on a bike. The tires are 3.5 to 4.7 inches in width and make a huge foot-print that allows your bicycle to "float" like that of a snow-shoe. This is in part due to the large tire and the very low tire pressure that is used. And, man, is it fun! I am hooked. This form of winter riding had changed my cycling season from part-time to 365 days a year.
Let’s now look to the wonderful and more practical forms of cycling, such as rail trail usage and bicycle commuting in general.
The opportunities for commuting to and from work or to the grocery store are always there ... in theory. But even if you want to drive your vehicle less and get additional exercise woven into your daily routine, one’s proximity to town centers can make this a challenge. Well, fear not Hudson Valley!
The many great rail trails in existence, coupled with another rail trail project taking shape in Ulster County, make bicycle commuting easier.
The Ulster and Delaware rail corridor between Kingston and Boiceville is slated to be developed as a premier rail trail connecting many southern trail network portions, including the Hurley/O&W Rail Trail and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
MAY IS NATIONAL BIKE MONTH
Cycling to Work Week: May 12–16
National Bike to Work Day: May 16
So put some of these dates on your calendar, and get out there and fly your bicycle-loving commuter flag!