Pedal Here: New Paltz, NY
Just 80 miles north of the hustle and bustle of New York City, New Paltz is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with enough killer climbs, carriage trails and bike paths to satisfy any cyclist. The nearby Shawangunk Ridge (or the Gunks) poses a challenging climb — complete with a hairpin turn— and jaw-dropping views of the nearby Catskill Mountains. To ease pain of heavy climbs on your bike trips, read our blog: bicycle hill climbing tips.
A college town, New Paltz has something for everyone. Visitors can swim, hike or mountain bike in the 21,106 acre Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The Gunks are also home to some of the best rock climbing in the Northeast. The town’s Main Street is a mix of cafes and restaurants, outdoor stores, antiques, and unusual gift shops. If you have time, take the local wine tour, stroll down historic Huguenot Street or purchase a day pass to the Mohonk Mountain House and Preserve.
The Ride: The Gunks are the perfect place to find your climbing legs. But what goes up must come down, and I promise the descent is well worth the work. Try this ride:
But be warned: it’s steep!
Never fear, you can still enjoy New Paltz on two wheels without gaining much elevation. Most of the roads at the base of the ridge are fairly flat or rolling, a dream for a touring cyclist. There is also a bike path that extends through the countryside and into several nearby towns. Ask a local bike shop for route suggestions. Minnewaska State Park also offers a network of bike-friendly carriage trails and will provide you with a map.
The Shop: To tap into the local bike scene, pay a visit to the Bicycle Depot on Main Street where you can rent a bike, stock up on gear or hang out and swap riding stories with the staff. For the perfect souvenir, look no further than the Depot’s custom jersey.
The Post-Ride Beer: Hey, you’ve earned it. Head to the Gilded Otter on Main Street where you can sample some of their own tasty brews. After a long day in the saddle, nothing beats their blueberry wheat.
Post-Ride Buzz: If a cup of coffee hits the spot instead, visit the Mudd Puddle Coffee Roasters and Café (http://www.muddpuddlecoffee.com/), located in the Water Street Market.
Grab some grub: For a solid meal with a menu that runs the gamut from comfort food to vegan and gluten-free, the Main Street Bistro always delivers. Want to grab a bite to go? Get your fresh-Mex fix at Mexicali Blue (http://www.mexicali-blue.com/), also on Main Street.