It's Time to Ride - Summer 2024

It's Time to Ride - Summer 2024

Posted by Jason, who lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota on May 15th 2024

Mother’s Day is a cherished event which has now passed. The week following Mother’s Day is the no-holds barred, absolute beginning of the riding season. Yes, it’s time to get out and go. Ride to work, ride for errands, and above all, ride for fun. Take some prep time, too. Plan a week for yourself, with your buddies, and your bestie, and go somewhere, and do something this summer. 

No matter where you live, there are interesting locations within a day’s ride. It might even be next door, or perhaps it might take a day to get there. But no matter where you live, you can get there.

If you’re in Florida, there is the beautiful Tampa Bay area. St. Petersburg and Clearwater beaches are beckoning to the west, over the Gandy Bridge. 

Or head to the Orlando area, then westward to the west coast beaches, including the beaches just south of Cape Canaveral. One of my high-school years was in this area. We’re talking real beaches, with brilliant white sands, sea shells, and the warm Florida Current from the Caribbean Sea.

If you live in the southeast, think Charleston, South Carolina. The low country is perfect for biking, and don’t forget Folly Beach for strolling while looking for sand dollars.

Then, there are the wonderful areas in North Carolina and the Skyline Drive, which runs through Shenandoah National Park. Talk about ultimate beauty, this one is a winner.

The deep dark forests of upstate New York and inland New England offer a chance at solitude if you are in the pondering mood.

If you are really looking to find yourself and what you are made for (thank you Billie Eilish), try the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I remember riding there for hours without seeing another vehicle. Hour after hour, alone with yourself - you may find the answer to many of life’s questions here. Maybe.

The west coast is beautiful, too. Ride the full length of Whidbey Island, just northwest of Seattle, Washington. Don’t take the ferry to get to this island. Ride to the north of Seattle, and make your way to the Deception Pass Bridge. You can ride the full length of America’s longest island with fun stops all along with way, including Oak Harbor, and the quant town of Coupeville nestled on Penn Cove.

If you are close enough, riding through the Olympic National Park west of Seattle will be memorable. The only rain forest in the continental USA, the Hoh Rain Forest, is here. Emerge on the coast and ride south for all the scenery you never thought possible.

If you are in California, take US 395 from Inyokern, northward to Lake Tahoe. It’ll be a day to remember. This is the Owens Valley, and it befits the Valley moniker with mountains to the west of you, and mountains to the east. Ride in the shadow of Mt. Whitney, northward along the base of the Sequoia National Forest. Passing through Lone Pine, Mammoth Lakes, everywhere you look you’ll wonder why people want to live anywhere else. This is really a ride for a lifetime. Coming from the south or north, you’ll never forget it.

Of course, we all know of the beauty of South Dakota. If you haven’t made the trip to the Sturgis Rally, try it this summer. The Black Hills are unforgettable, with a week’s worth of day trips to Devil’s Tower, the Badlands and Pinnacles Overlook, Rapid City and Mt. Rushmore, and Deadwood, just to name a few.

All of these places can be reached. Perhaps many are near you. If it takes a few days to get there, well, that's what is all about, right? There’s really no place in the USA where, within 12-hours driving time, you’ll not find adventure, beauty, and even solitude. Once more, you get to take something home with you: Memories.

Ride safe, and above all, please, please wear your helmet.