Group of four road bicyclists on the horizon riding past a soybean field on a clear summer day.

Lake and Fields

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If you want to get away from the hustle & bustle but are short on time, this route is for you. You’ll take a combination of streets & paved trail to ride around the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area & a soccer park. Keep an eye out for birds, frogs & other critters through the rec area & soccer park. The lake at the center of the rec area trail was created as a result of sand & gravel quarrying & is, logically enough, named Sand Lake. If you’re in need of refreshment on the way back toward downtown Iowa City, you can stop off at Big Grove Tap Room adjacent to the Riverfront Crossings—plenty of bike parking & seating both indoors and out.

Two road Cyclists passing U of I buildings in Iowa City.

Eastside Townie

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Starting from the Iowa City Bike Library at 700 S Dubuque Street in Iowa City, you’ll pedal north to the corner of the Pentacrest, the cluster of five University of Iowa buildings with the original capitol building at the center, built before Iowa’s capitol was moved to Des Moines. Once you head east from downtown, this route combines local streets and paved bike path to stitch together a relaxed ride through the neighborhoods of east Iowa City. Keep an eye out for the new-and-improved bike facilities—wide sidewalks and bike lanes—the City of Iowa City is continually adding and upgrading along this route.

Single cyclist riding on a paved county road on a summer day.

A Peaceful Roll

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This easy spin will take you through some peaceful countryside on gently rolling hills. On the return, you might enjoy touring downtown Solon and stopping in one of the delicious eateries you’ll find there. You’ll find ample parking at the start-finish, and plenty of amenities nearby.

Sutliff Bridge spanning the Cedar River

To the Bridge!

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Depart from Solon (easy parking) and head northeast to the historic Sutliff Bridge, a three-span Parker truss design originally built in 1898. The flood of 2008 washed away one span, but the bridge was restored and now provides a unique way for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Cedar River and enjoy the view. Pro tip: Leave some time for a refreshing break at Baxa’s Tavern at the bridge—cash only! On your return, you might want to take an extra spin around the center of Solon to check out the growing number of restaurants and watering holes.

Bicyclists riding down a paved county road.

A Little Get-Away

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This route is a laid-back pedal through the countryside southeast of Iowa City. You’ll want to bring water and maybe a snack, since you won’t pass much in the way of services along the way. However, at 18.2 miles into the ride, you might want to stop at Scott Church Park to enjoy the swings next to the corn field and the prairie flowers.

Winding road in the lush, green Iowa countryside.

Buggy Traffic Jam

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If you’re escaping city traffic, you’re going to love the traffic on this ride—there are often horse-drawn buggies driven by members of the local Amish community. You’ll climb up Bayertown Road to a ridge offering beautiful views of the rolling countryside, a favorite road of many local cyclists. There’s not much for services on this route, with mostly unincorporated towns along the way, so bring your water and a snack. Easy parking in Hills to start.

Single cyclist riding on a paved county road on a summer day.

The Wall

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You might be looking at the total mileage of this ride and wondering why it’s on the list of “Advanced Adventure” rides. Did you check out the total elevation change? This ride is 1,315 feet of climb crammed into 27 miles of rolling drift plain deliciousness, with The Wall rising up to make you hunt for that one smaller gear somewhere in the middle. Along the way, you’ll pedal through Iowa City, North Liberty, and Coralville, with pretty rural roads between.

Devonian Fossil Gorge

Turn Here!

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This is another shorter route for the Advanced Adventure routes, and its challenge lies in two characteristics: significant climbing and punchy hills, and a lot of turning. Bring your cue sheet! The good news is that you’ll come across plenty of options for a refueling stop if needed in Coralville and North Liberty—or just at your start-finish point. This route takes you across the Coralville Dam Spillway. During severe flooding in 1993, water rushed over the spillway and uncovered a prehistoric treasure trove in what is now called the Devonian Fossil Gorge. You might stop and look around!

Pioneer Landmark in Lone Tree, Iowa.

Trains and a Tree

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So many American towns sprang up next to rail lines, and this route takes you through a couple of those. It also takes you past a town, Lone Tree, named for a giant elm tree said to be so large that bison grazed beneath its shade, removing all grass around it and thus protecting it from prairie fire. (Sadly, though, the tree was no match for Dutch Elm Disease.) You’ll pedal along part of Historic US 6, and you’ll visit West Liberty, with a downtown district on the National Register of Historic Places and a bountiful selection of restaurants, many of which feature foods of Latin and South America. You might want to take a break and sample one before pedaling the last 13 or so miles of your adventure.

Captain James T. Kirk Future Birthplace Monument in Riverside, Iowa

Everything from Buggies to Starships

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Starting just south of Iowa City in Hills, this scenic route will take you through the countryside that one of the largest Amish communities west of the Mississippi calls home AND through the town eagerly awaiting the birth of Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk in the year 2228. You’ll likely meet Amish farmers’ steel-wheeled tractors and horses pulling buggies, and you’ll pedal past the Star Trek Museum in Riverside. There’s easy parking for the start in Hills and convenience stores for quick refueling along the way.