Almost immediately I fell in love with the Bluegrass after relocating to attend school in Lexington. My fate was fully sealed when I finally started exploring the region from two wheels instead of four. Fall easily became my favorite time to explore. The cool, crisp air, which I find refreshing, turns away many riders and gives those brave souls more freedom on the road. The diversity of foliage found in the area also makes for breathtaking rides as you enjoy the full array of colors fall has to offer. Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned rider, start pedaling.
Starting in Midway, this trek out to Woodford reserve and back is my favorite fall ride. While it is beautiful any time of year, it is the perfect way to enjoy two gems of Kentucky while absorbing the changing colors of the regions varied trees. The ride itself follows the gently rolling hills on the western edge of the bluegrass and truly showcases the colors of fall. Not to mention a taste of some of the best Kentucky has to offer to warm you up after the first half, or to get you going for the ride back, makes this ride phenomenal with or without the added bonus of the fall colors. Don’t forget to take in a late lunch or dinner in downtown Midway to finish the entire experience.
For those looking for a longer ride or a ride that can be broken into individual pieces, this ride is a great place to start. I have never completed this ride in an entire run (245 miles can be hard on the butt…) but I have pieced almost the whole thing together over many different rides. While you cannot go wrong choosing any section of this trail, my favorite section is the loop around Lexington-Fayette. As you travel around the heart of the bluegrass you get to see all that the region has to offer historically, culturally and geographically; the horse farms, and rolling (some more than others) hills, homes dating back to the first settlement of the area, and historical markers from the Civil War, just to name a few.
For a family friendly ride, or for those looking to stay more urban, follow this route and explore the remarkable history Lexington has to offer. When I bring my little girl to Lexington for the first time she will definitely enjoy the tour from atop two wheels. This ride, with all of its memories, reminds us that biking is definitely more about the journey than the destination.
For more rides I highly recommend consulting the Bluegrass Cycling Club. I was a member for a year once I finally found the courage to try riding with a group of experienced cyclists. I could kick myself for not joining them earlier; they welcome any willing riding with open arms. Their website also has great maps and rides with cues that are very easy to follow. Do not hesitate to walk into a bike shop and ask for recommendations from the workers. They make their living working with bikes for a reason.
There is never a bad time to take a ride around the Bluegrass but if you are looking to start out, fall is the perfect time. If you are still not sure of which route to follow, just grab your bike, a map, maybe a friend or two and head out and get lost for a while. There is no such thing as a bad ride around the bluegrass.
Ashley is a mother and science teacher currently living in the Bay Area. She can’t wait until her daughter is big enough to join her for biking adventures. She was a 2007 graduate from Transylvania University.
images by dthoskins