There’s still some great cycling to be had this time of year, including these 10 unforgettable rides.
September 10, 2016 — Mammoth Lakes, California
The Route: This 102-mile ride in Mammoth Lakes near Yosemite National Park provides unforgettable views of the Sierra Nevada, Mono Lake and the White Mountains. Even better, 75% of the route is closed to traffic.
The Bonus: Several steady climbs totaling 6,643 feet of elevation gain along with a timed King of the Mountain section.
September 10, 2016 — New York City
The Route: Traverse eastern Queens. the waterfront on Little Neck Bay, the Bronx, northern Manhattan and historic Harlem before finishing at Pier 97. It’s a challenging course with plenty of hills, so race organizers recommend less experienced cyclists opt for the 31- or 62-mile events.
The Bonus: In its 27th year, the NYC Century is the country’s only all-urban 100-mile ride.
September 11, 2016 — San Diego
The Route: While this ride is plenty picturesque, only some of it is along the coast — heading inland at the north shore of Solana Beach. The south grade of Palomar Mountain is one of the toughest ascents in Southern California. That 12-mile climb will also be the site of the King of the Mountain competition.
The Bonus: It’s hard to beat San Diego in September, plus there are the post-ride festivities with Italian fare, party beverages and live entertainment.
September 18, 2016 — Evanston, Illinois
The Route: This ride takes you through the scenic countryside between Evanston, Illinois, and Kenosha, Wisconsin. The terrain features a mix of rolling hills and flat roads along a quiet and relaxing route, whether you do the 25-, 50-, 62- or 100-mile course.
The Bonus: It’s one of the premier cycling events around Chicago, with refreshing breezes from Lake Michigan.
September 24, 2016 — Dahlonega, Georgia
The Route: Following many of the same roads and climbs of the Tour de Georgia professional cycling race, you’ll head up and down six of the steepest roads in the area. Hogpen Gap will be your toughest challenge, averaging a 7% grade for seven miles, with sections as steep as 15%.
The Bonus: The weekend cycling celebration also features 15 other rides, including the Six Gap Criterium — an ultra-competitive race on a 1km closed circuit.
October 1, 2016 — Moab, Utah
The Route: From red rock canyons to the Colorado River, you’ll see what makes Moab so magical. Heading through Dead Horse Point and the epic Rolling Down the River, the 100-mile course has some climbing (3,300 feet of elevation gain) as well as winding descents. Though the ride is recreational, there are also 40- and 60-mile ride options.
The Bonus: Touring Moab by (road) bike should be on every cyclist’s to-do list.
October 1, 2016 — Santa Rosa, California
The Route: The two most popular of the 11 routes are the Gran (101 miles) and the Gran WC (98 miles). The latter takes cyclists up Willow Creek Road, a car-free gravel climb where the Russian River meets the Pacific. From redwood forests to a hair-raising descent down Meyers Grade, this ride offers beautiful panoramic views.
The Bonus: With world-class terrain that challenges pros and amateurs alike, this is one of the country’s best overall weekends of cycling.
October 14–16, 2016 — Staunton, Virginia
The Route: The Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains are the backdrop for this scenic 100-miler in Shenandoah Valley. Multiple route options are available, and live music along with a downtown street party on Saturday are a few of the other planned weekend festivities.
The Bonus: Historic Civil War battlefields — and the colorful fall foliage will be in full effect.
October 15, 2016 — Newark, Delaware
The Route: The scenery is something to behold and makes this 100-mile jaunt a bucket-list ride for the mid-Atlantic region. But the race is named “savage” for a reason and will task riders with several short but steep climbs with sections nearing 16% gradients. Race organizers strongly recommend compact chain rings and cassettes with at least 28 teeth.
The Bonus: The highlights of this route are the Pennsylvania Dutch and rural Amish farmlands that roll along the Susquehanna River.
November 19, 2016 — Tucson, Arizona
The Route: There’s a reason why many pro cyclists complete their winter training in Tucson. With mild weather, sunny skies and plenty of high-rising mountain ranges, it’s pretty much all a cyclist could ask for in late November. The trek through the Sonoran Desert is moderately hilly and features two dry river crossings.
The Bonus: Water and food stations occur every 7–10 miles. At the finish, a downtown fiesta complete with music, a beer garden, massages and food caps off an epic day.