New York State has thousands of excellent roads and mountain trails for cycling. The Hudson Valley has moderate hills, Hudson River views, farm landscapes, and the allure of historic estates such as those in Hyde Park. Excellent off-trail riding is possible in the Catskill Mountain region in the Mohonk Preserve (tel. 914/255-0919; www.mohonkpreserve.org) and Minnewaska State Park Preserve (tel. 845/256-0579; http://nysparks.state.ny.us). A great route for hardcore road cyclists in the Catskills is the 113-mile Reservoir Loop, near New Paltz (www.bicycling.trimbleoutdoors.com). For mountain-biking trails, road-cycling routes, and trip reports in the Shawangunk Mountains, at the edge of the Catskills, see www.gunks.com; fat-tire fans should also contact GUMBA (Gunks Mountain Biking Association; tel. 914/255-3572; www.gumba.us). The Finger Lakes region is ideal for cyclists who want to circle the lakes, perhaps stopping off at wineries en route. Cyclists are very fond of scenic lake loops around several of the larger Finger Lakes, such as the 100-mile loop around Cayuga Lake and the 40-mile loop around Skaneateles Lake. In the Catskills, Plattekill Mountain is one of the top five mountain-biking destinations in North America, and other mountains, such as Windham and Hunter, also cater to mountain bikers in summer. There's easy cycling along the Catskill Scenic Trail (tel. 607/652-2821), a 19-mile "Rails to Trails" pathway. Farther upstate, The Seaway Trail, a scenic road route, runs 450 miles from Massena to Niagara Falls and goes along the south shore of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Near the shores of Lake Champlain, Lake Champlain Bikeways is a series of demarcated bicycling loops.
A terrific cycling option for cyclists of all abilities is along the historic New York State Canal System, comprising more than 230 miles of trails across upstate New York. Multiuse trails include the 25-mile Hudson-Mohawk Bikeway in the Capital-Saratoga region, the 36-mile Old Erie Canal State Park in central New York, the 90-mile Erie Canal Heritage Trail in the northern Finger Lakes region, and the 8-mile Glens Falls Feeder Canal Trail in the foothills of the Adirondacks near Lake Champlain. For additional information, contact the New York State Canal Corporation, 200 Southern Blvd., P.O. Box 189, Albany, NY 12201-0189 (tel. 800/4-CANAL-4; www.canals.state.ny.us). For information on bike tours along the Erie Canal, call tel. 518/434-1583. New York City may not seem like a place to hop on a bike, but it is home to a great many dedicated cyclists. The 6.25-mile loop within Central Park is a classic urban cycling destination -- but look out for in-line skaters, joggers, dogs, and even horses. The multiuse Manhattan Waterfront Greenway runs along the Hudson River, from Battery Park at Manhattan's southernmost tip, north to 181st Street, with a couple of still incomplete sections and a consequent street break from 125th Street to 145th Street. Eventually, the plan is to complete a greenway that encircles the entire island (currently about 20 of the targeted 32 miles are completed). Another favorite of locals is the ride from the city across the George Washington Bridge up to Nyack along the west side of the Hudson River, a perfect 50-mile round-trip. Each May, some 25,000 intrepid cyclists take to the New York streets for the Great Five Boro Bike Tour, which covers 42 miles and touches all five of the city's boroughs; get more information at www.bikenewyork.org.
A great resource, with information on organizations, trails, and guided trips, is the website of A1 Trails (www.a1trails.com/biking/bike_ny.html). Most areas have bicycle shops that rent bikes. There are loads of guidebooks dealing specifically with biking in New York State; these are some recommended ones: 25 Mountain Bike Tours in the Adirondacks (Countryman Press); 30 Bicycle Tours in the Finger Lakes Region (Countryman Press); Bicycling the Canals of New York: 500 Miles of Bike Riding along the Erie, Champlain, Cayuga-Seneca & Oswego Canals (Vitesse Press); The Catskills: A Bicycling Guide (Purple Mountain Press); Cranks from Cooperstown: 50 Bike Rides in Upstate New York (Tourmaster Publications); Paths Along the Hudson: A Guide to Walking and Biking (Rutgers University Press); and Ride Guide: Hudson Valley, New Paltz to Staten Island (Anacus Press).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.