Exploring everything the Lake Champlain area has to offer is as easy as, well, riding a bike! Pedal along the roads and paved pathways, or venture off-road on trails through the woods to get a slower-paced view of nature up close. No matter if you stick to the city or head out into the country, opportunities abound for two-wheeled adventure.
The Island Line Trail is the can’t miss 14-mile bike and pedestrian path that curves along Burlington’s waterfront and extends three miles into the middle of Lake Champlain for a truly unique and spectacular experience. A variety of hybrid and comfort bikes of all sizes are available for rent at Local Motion’s Trailside Center. Those seeking additional mileage can hop on the non-profit’s Island Line Bike Ferry that shuttles passengers and their wheels across the 200-foot water gap in the causeway to connect to South Hero and beyond. If you’re hoping to cover the full length of the path but don’t have the time (or energy!), consider renting a battery assisted e-bike from Burlington Segways to expedite the journey.
Fully supported road rides in the region regularly pass through our backyard, and the award-winning active travel company Backroads is no exception. Road cyclists can cruise past grazing Holstein cows and through quaint towns, mixing challenging climbs with exhilarating descents on the six-day Vermont Bike Tour starting and finishing in Burlington. For an international experience, consider the Vermont to Quebec Bike Tour that starts along the same route but finishes up in Montreal.
Veering off paved paradise and into the woods, mountain bikers will find a cohesive 20-mile network of single track and double track at Catamount Outdoor Family Center including gravel trails, flat trails through the woods and open fields, steep climbs, technical terrain, and two pump tracks. Competitive cyclists can drop in at the Wednesday night weekly race series to square off against other mountain bikers in the summer and cyclocross riders in the fall.
Adrenaline junkies adore the lift-serviced downhill mountain biking on Lincoln Peak at Sugarbush Resort. With 17 trails covering 18 miles, riders of all ages scream with delight down the green circle, blue square, and black diamond rated terrain, over rolls and jumps and around banked turns. High-speed runs with challenging descents await the pros, and all necessary equipment – including specialty bikes, helmets, and body protection – can be rented on-site for a few hours or the whole day.
Of course, you won’t make it through a full day of pedaling without snacks and provisions. Stop off at Burlington Bay Market & Café to fuel up pre-ride, mid-ride, or to treat yourself at day’s end to a best-selling maple creemee. Located just one block off the Island Line Trail, it’s a favorite lunch spot and ice cream window for cyclists along the waterfront.
With all this riding on the roads and through the forests, your own bike may require a repair or tune-up or you might want to add a new ride to your collection. Head over to Earl’s Cyclery, a staple in the Vermont cycling community for over 60 years, for all your maintenance and gear needs. The expert staff is praised for its quality repairs and customer service, recognized as one of the Top 100 Bike Dealers in America.