Thursday, June 1, 2017

Nice weather means it's time to go biking! 5 easy-going road rides for Greenbelt cyclists

Road biking season is upon us! 
Riding buddies out on Hubbard Road ... 
Hi all,

Now that the weather is warming up, it's prime time to go for a bike ride. But alas, one of Boise's most popular biking destinations -- the Boise River Greenbelt -- is mostly closed, so I'm going to recommend five rides, including several from my full-color biking map, Boise Road Cycling Guide.

All of these rides are geared toward a casual Greenbelt rider with a 10-speed. They're all rated easy to moderate, with distances ranging from 10-25 miles. Make sure you bring a patch kit, spare tube, tire irons and a pump in case you get a flat. Carry plenty of water and some snacks.

Ride #1. Wendy and I rode a modified version of what I call "City to Farm" on Saturday, and it was an incredibly delightful ride -- beautiful sunny weather and NO WIND!!! We started from the shopping mall at Five Mile & Overland and rode south on Five Mile and Cloverdale into the rural countryside, where many people have built ranchettes with horses. Then you go left on Hubbard from Cloverdale, and ride alongside cattle grazing on open spaces in the Ten Mile Creek valley.

Take a right on South Cole Road, do a short climb, and then cruise several miles south to Kuna Mora Road. Turn right, and take Kuna Mora to Cloverdale. Along the way, you'll see a big solar farm. Pretty cool! Turn right on Cloverdale and take Locust Grove to Five Mile to return to the starting point. City to Farm is about 20 miles in distance, two hours travel time at a leisurely pace.

The only bad thing about that ride was that I had two flats on my front tire! Geez!!! We had only one spare tube (the spare tube I was carrying happened to be flat from last year), so after my second flat, I hung out and waited for Wendy to finish the ride and come get me. Note to self: Need to replenish bike pack with new bike tube and throw the damn old one away! 

Anyway, here are some other recommendations for easy road rides:

Ride #2. SE Boise Bench Loop - Rated easy. Distance: 10+ miles. Start at Timberline High School. Go east on Boise Avenue to Eckert Road. Go right and then left on Surprise Way. Follow the bike path through Surprise Valley to Idaho 21-Gowen Road connector. Go right and climb hill to East Lake Forest Drive. Turn right and follow East Lake Forest Drive to Yamhill. Turn right on Federal Way bike path and pedal downhill on the bench above the city. Follow Federal Way all the way to Protest. Turn right on Protest, and then right on Boise Ave. and ride back to Timberline. Have an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen!

Ride #3. City to Farm from Boise Road Cycling Guide - Rated moderate, distance 16.2 miles, time travel: 1+ hours. Vertical gain/loss: 158 feet. Start/finish is at the Five Mile & Overland shopping center. Directions: Go south on Five Mile. At mile 3, turn right on Lake Hazel. Go one mile and turn right on Columbia. Go one mile and turn left on Eagle. At mile 6.5, go right on Hubbard. At mile 8.1, go right on Locust Grove. In two miles, go right on Lake Hazel. At mile 13.1, go left on Five Mile and return to the start/finish.

Ride #4. Hill Road out to Eagle and back - Rated moderate. Distance: 20 miles. Start at Camelsback Park at 13th and Heron. Take 13th north to Hill Road. Go west on Hill through Boise, following Hill Road Parkway to Old Horseshoe Bend Highway. Continue west on Hill into Eagle. Go into old downtown for a bite to eat, some coffee, a beer or whatever. Turn around and retrace your tracks back to Camelsback.

Ride #5. Lake Lowell Loop near Nampa - Rated moderate. Distance: 26 miles. Time travel: 1.5-2 hours. See video. This is a nice ride around Lake Lowell, especially on the south side of the lake, when you're riding near the lake along Lake Shore Drive. Start at the Lake Lowell boat ramp on Iowa Street. Go east toward Nampa. Turn right on Middleton, then left on Greenhurst. Go one mile and turn right on Midland. Go one mile and go left on Locust. Go one mile and turn right on Idaho 45. Go two miles or so and turn right on Lake Shore Drive. Follow Lake Shore for almost 10 miles along the south shoreline of the lake. Turn right on Riverside at the west side of the lake and follow that to Orchard. Go right on Orchard and follow that to Indiana and Lone Star and Lake bake to the start.

Interested in bike events coming up this summer? See the Southwest Idaho Cycling Association calendar. Ride Idaho is scheduled for Aug. 5-12 this year. The course starts in the Ketchum/Sun Valley area.

There you have it! Have fun!
- SS

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