Sweeping views, idyllic trails, and camaraderie
for a great cause awaits!
by Eric Brewer & Jeff Miller, of the DreamRides
Last month, as the DreamRides team finalized the routes and logistics for the Wheels of Love Hudson Valley, we put the plan to the ultimate test: we got on our bikes and rode the routes ourselves. The verdict? This is an unforgettable experience you don’t want to miss. Here’s why:
Both the 35- and the 60-mile routes start and finish at the same spectacular spot, The Walkway Over The Hudson. This old railway bridge was converted into a rail trail in 2009, featuring majestic views across the Hudson and the Hudson Valley. From there, the ride continues on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail which is part of the Empire State Trail and sweet back roads.
Eleven miles in, we have our first rest stop in a pristine meadow in a valley surrounded by forested mountain slopes and views of the rocky outcrops of Mohonk Mountain. From this first rest stop, the routes diverge:
The 35-mile route rides a bit further west and south along packed gravel carriage roads, featuring sweeping views in every direction and no car traffic, before descending into more forest in the Mohonk Reserve and then back on the pavement. From there, we have a nice loop that includes a little over a mile of state highway to connect some sweet backroads.
One of the other highlights of the 35-mile route is a short climb up to the picturesque Gatehouse, with a 15-foot diameter circular opening and commanding tower. Soon we are back at the rest stop before the 11 miles back to the shaded Hudson Valley Rail Trail and the finish line on the Walkway Over The Hudson.
The 60-mile route involves more than just more miles – it also features a climb over Mohonk Mountain. From our Mile 11 rest stop, we’ll roll on a flat backroad along a scenic river with farms and cottages. After a couple of turns through Rosendale, we’ll ride by a long-abandoned cement mine site, part of an industry that dominated this community over a hundred years ago that built many iconic buildings and memorials, including the base of the Statue of Liberty. You won’t see the mine but the refreshing cool blast of air you’ll feel as you pass by the mine site is a unique experience that leaves a memorable impression.
And then the climbing begins. Through loose chip-seal roadways and smooth pavement, the road climbs and climbs, and then climbs some more. And then, the long-awaited descent does not disappoint. This is the ride-your-brakes-for-fear-you-will-go-too-fast-and-lose-control-of-your-bike type of downhill.
After another rest stop, the 60-mile route makes a second loop to make the larger base of figure eight. The scenery continued to impress with rugged rock bluffs below the Mohonk SkyTop Tower. After coasting down to the river valley, we’ll turn to ride along the river, before climbing out of the valley on a gentler grade, surrounded by apple orchards and views of Mohonk Mountain’s ridgeline in the distance.
Then, a wonderful series of rolling backroads skip from one ridgeline to the next with significant enough downward grades to get much of the way up the next hill with our momentum on our way back towards The Walkway Over The Hudson.
As we finished testing these routes last month, we knew we just experienced something special. We can’t wait to share this with you on July 30th.
- If you aren’t riding a road bike, haven’t had the chance to do some serious hill climbing, or regularly ride A and B road rides, we would encourage you to do the 35-mile ride and not the 60-mile ride.
- We hope that you are excited to join us and that you invite every cyclist in your network to share this memorable experience!