Just in case you don't want to hang around for the sticky, muggy weekends summer brings to the city, Bicycling magazine's got some great ideas for cycling vacations this summer.
The July issue features 22 cycling vacations, but we're highlighting places fairly accessible from the New York region.
STORY: 17 Destination Bike Rides
1. POP A CORK: Finger Lakes, New York
Neatly tended vineyards march in rank down to a sliver of water tucked in a glacially carved valley. The Loire in France? Germany's Rheingau? Nah, you're on the Finger Lakes, renowned for both cycling and wine, riding the western ridge above Seneca Lake on The Five Lakes 50. The route is a favorite of the Finger Lakes Cycling Club: From historic Watkins Glen, the lollipop-shaped outing shares broad-shouldered back roads with Amish buggies while passing five wineries, including award-winning Glenora.
Worth knowing: Glenora's highly rated 2008 Dry Riesling is available for sampling.
2. SUCK DOWN STEAMERS: Essex, Massachusetts
The soft-shell clams here, dug from the mudflats of the nearby Great Marsh, enjoy a reputation for sweetness and a clean, salty bite. The prospect of a platter of steamers served with fries and cold lager is ample incentive for the Charles River Wheelmen on their 94-mile Beer and Steamers ride, which loops up the Merrimack River Valley into New Hampshire and then to the coast. Each clam house in Essex has ardent fans, but the wheelmen favor Woodman's. "You eat at picnic tables outside," says ride leader Melinda Lyon. "The view overlooks the Essex River and salt marshes. We don't race back to the cars after that lunch."
Worth knowing:Beer and Steamers comes in both medium and long versions, both originating in Wakefield. Check the rides listed in the north region on the Wheelmen's site (crw.org).
3. RIDE A BREWS CRUISE: Greater Philadelphia
The emergence of small-batch breweries is one sign that reports of America's demise are greatly exaggerated. One of the nation's new beer-making centers is Philadelphia and its environs, a development that hasn't escaped the attention of Matt Allyn, BICYCLING's online editor and coauthor of The Brewer's Apprentice, due out in October. He linked four micro-breweries and brewpubs--Iron Hill, Stoudt's, Victory, and Sly Fox--into an 88-mile ramble taking in rolling farmland, cold suds, and very good french fries.
Worth knowing: Make it an even half-dozen by tacking on McKenzie's Brew House and Legacy Brewing Company.
4. BITE INTO THE WORLD'S GREATEST BAKED GOOD: Acadia National Park, Maine
At Acadia, the rising sun strikes 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain before anywhere else in America, waves bash against the rock shoreline, and the popovers at Jordan Pond House come out the same as they have since the 1870s: chewy, hot, and big as softballs. Slathered with butter and strawberry preserves, they blow away any midride energy bar. Work up an appetite weaving among granite mountains and around rock-rimmed lakes on the park's 45-mile system of gravel carriage roads, a legacy of John D. Rockefeller, who deeded his land to the park service.
Worth knowing: Add a 6.5-mile-round-trip side trek on paved road to the top of Mt. Cadillac for sprawling views of the rugged north Atlantic.
Ride Map: http://www.bicycling.com/ride-maps/featured-rides/ride-history?page=0,4
5. GO DOWNHILL FAST(ER): Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts
You don't have to be a down-hiller like Aaron Gwin to love the twisting, 3,600-foot-long Mountain Coaster at Jiminy Peak. Belt into a go-cart-style rail rider on tubular steel rails and let gravity do its thing at runaway speeds down banked curves. Hang in for the ride at the end of a 47-mile loop around Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts. Scenery doesn't get any more New Englandy: white steeples, rock walls, grazing cows, spiffy college towns, whale-backed mountains, and tumbling rivers.
Worth knowing: Jiminy also has one of the top mountain-bike parks in the East, with an express chairlift to the summit.
For more destination bike rides, check out Bicycling magazine's entire list here.