The Bike 50 Challenge — Best Bike Paths to Explore in the USA
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A few years ago, I was visiting Burlington, Vermont and decided to check out the bike path along Lake Champlain. On a gorgeous summer day, I found myself biking miles out onto the water on a narrow strip of land with mountain views all around me.
I was hooked.
Not only did I feel amazing—healthy, strong, connected with nature—I loved the pace of exploring this new place. I felt my tires gripping the earth beneath me, heard the leaves rustling as I whizzed past, and was able to take in stunning views while still covering a lot of ground.
Biking to explore a new place offers a view that walking or driving can’t.
Even when you’re in a place as popular as New York City, exploring by bike gives you a view of the place that most tourists never see. And of course, it’s much kinder on the environment than using motorized anything.
With that in mind, I’m kicking off the Bike 50 Challenge!Biking to explore a new place offers a view that walking or driving can't, and it gives you a view of the place that most tourists never see.Click To Tweet
What is the #Bike50Challenge?
The goal is simple: to explore new places by bike.
Specifically, I’m aiming to tackle one bike path in every U.S. state in however long it takes me. And I’m hoping you’ll join me—whether you end up doing your own Bike 50 Challenge, or you just bike in one new place in the next year.
I’m here to show you some of the amazing bike paths that exist in the USA, and to take out the intimidation factor of exploring new places by bike.
Who is this challenge for?
This is not for the hard-core cyclists. It’s for the everyday person who enjoys the outdoors, being active, and going beyond the tourist trail (and who probably wouldn’t even label themselves a “cyclist”).
What is a bike path?
For my purposes, I’m defining it as a car-free path or trail (seriously, I’m just as terrified as you are to bike in traffic) that is not a mountain biking trail. It could be an urban bike path or completely surrounded by nature, and the surface is paved or gravel.
Most paths I bike will take a few hours to a full day—in other words, I’m not biking hundreds of miles on long trails. (See the aforementioned “This is not for hard-core cyclists.”) And that includes stopping often to take photos.
Bike Paths in the United States
Here’s a list of bike paths I’m either thinking about, planning (in blue), or have completed (in green). I’ll have a blog post for each path I complete, and you’ll be able to find the links here. If you have suggestions for bike paths in any of these states, let me know in the comments below!
Connecticut: Hop River State Park Trail
Maine: Carriage Trails in Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island
Massachusetts: Cape Cod Rail Trail
New Jersey: Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area (June 2019)
New York: Hudson River Greenway, New York City (April 2019)
Pennsylvania: Schuylkill River Trail, Philadelphia
Vermont: Island Line Trail, Burlington
Iowa: High Trestle Trail, central Iowa
Virginia: Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail, southwestern Virginia
Arizona: The Loop, Tuscon
Wyoming: Pathways, Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park (September 2019)