For me, there are two best bike rides, the one that I do whenever I can and the one that I will do when I finally have enough time. Charles Hansen lays out both of those rides and twenty- three more in 25 Bicycle Tours in the Lake Champlain Region.
The ride I do whenever I can is a challenging fifty-mile, two-state, two-ferry trip that crosses Lake Champlain at Essex and Burlington. It is a perfect ride, a mix of rural roads, good restaurants, and beautiful scenery.The ride I dream of doing goes from the Adirondacks to Montreal, a nine-day stay in Nirvana (assuming Nirvana includes grueling hills and sore behinds).
25 Bicycle Tours provides clear maps, fun points of interest, and thorough turn-by-turn directions for routes that can entertain beginners and challenge those with dreams of riding the Tour de France.The book covers both sides of the lake, from Whitehall in the south all the way across the Canadian border. Even experienced Lake Champlain riders are likely to find someplace new to explore.
One route definitely in my top ten is the Burlington-to-Middlebury loop in Vermont. On the New York side, I’m intrigued by the Champlain-to-Chazy and Keeseville-to-Jay routes.And I’ve just added to my to-do list the multi-day Burlington-to-Lake Placid trip.
The book’s only flaw is that it has not been updated since it was originally published in 2004. Roads that were previously unmarked now have street signs. Stores along the way have been renamed or shut down. Still, Hansen’s directions are so specific, and the maps so easy to follow, that even with the changes, he makes it very difficult to get lost.