There is perhaps no finer time for riding a bicycle in New England than in fall, as the heat of summer has subsided and the leaves have begun to change. In addition to the great weather and fantastic foliage, with winter looming, there is additional motivation to do those rides before the snow flies and the bike is either stored away or put on the trainer until spring.

Those looking to capitalize on fall’s combination of ideal weather and awesome scenery, all while challenging themselves, should check out the three bike rides listed below, as they travel iconic and quintessential New England roads, offer an excellent opportunity to take in fall colors, and present incredible journeys.

The Kancamagus

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Kancamagus Highway is one of New England’s must-ride roads, and due to its spectacular scenery and fantastic foliage, it sees heavy traffic during fall. But, don’t let the influx of cars and motorcycles deter you from experiencing this bucket-list worthy trip—just visit mid-week or get on early to avoid the masses.

Plus, if you’re going to let something scare you away, it should be the hills, known to be steep and relentless. Riders attempting this just-over-25-mile ride need to be prepared to climb, because they’ll do plenty of it on the way to Kancamagus Pass at 2,855 feet. Once you make it to the pass, stop to enjoy the view, and then brace for a quick descent back to town. While riding the Kanc one-way is a great achievement, riding it out and back will earn you the respect of cyclists all over New England.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

The EMS Century

The EMS Century ride is a cruise from the store in Peterborough, NH that’s always been popular with employees. Going past such Southern New Hampshire landmarks as Mount Monadnock, the Dublin General Store (stop in and get a cookie!), and Crotched Mountain while winding through classic New England towns, the path was almost enough to make you forget how fast your coworkers were on a bike.

Before you depart, stop in the Peterborough store for ride beta, and load up on gels…You’ll certainly need them with just under 6,000 feet of climbing ahead!

The Cape Cod Rail Trail Extension

While hordes of New Englanders flock to Cape Cod throughout the summer, smart cyclists know that fall is the time to visit. One of my favorite rides there links up the Cape Cod Rail Trail, Route 6, and Route 6A for a great trek past beaches and cranberry bogs, and through the changing leaves at Nickerson State Park, before culminating with a slow roll through downtown Provincetown and ending appropriately at the ocean . If you’ve survived the two rides listed above, you’ll love the flat nature of this trip and the gentle character of the Cape’s hills.

At a little over forty miles, this trail is a great excuse to work up an appetite for lunch in one of Provincetown’s many fantastic restaurants. Although, if you’re up for it, this ride also makes an excellent out-and-back, with the first and last 20 or so miles on the flat and fast-moving Rail Trail.


The clock is ticking to get these great rides in before winter. The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter, and, before you know it, the roads will be covered with ice, snow, and salt—and you’ll be spinning on the trainer, wishing you had made the time to get in one more epic ride before the end of the season. Of course, if you don’t get to them this fall, use them for motivation to be ready when spring rolls around.

Do you have a favorite long Northeast bike ride that we missed? Let us know below.

Tim Peck

A former child model, Tim spent a portion of his youth gracing the pages of Sunday paper advertisements for many now-defunct department stores. Living responsibility/rent-free with his parents into his thirties, Tim pursued climbing, skiing, and biking while accumulating an impressive amount of time in the mountains (and gear). Now almost grown up, he lives in central New Hampshire with his wife, Australian Shepherd, and cat. Relentlessly pursuing the dream, Tim's modest life ambitions are to ski all 12 months of the year, climb 5.12, and live in a van.

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