There’s nothing better than a delectable ice cream cone on a hot summer bike ride. This route takes you through North Liberty, Kent Park and Jon’s Ice Cream in Tiffin, and on the Clear Creek trail. Have a family? This is a great introduction to gravel riding!
One of the newest additions to our off road adventures is the Coralville Flow Trail, a gravity-fed smooth textured dirt roller coaster. Starting at the Coralville Creekside Cross Trailhead, you’ll venture your way along a tree-lined climbing path, emerging at a clearing where you can Choose Your Own Adventure: the fun and flowy Flow Trail #1 or the fast and furious Flow Trail #2. Further along — if you’re up for the challenge — take a lap on the Sand Crane Trail which features sloping berms on the corners and a wood frame that drops riders over the remains of an old car.
This route begins and ends in downtown Solon, where there are plenty of options for après-ride refreshments. You’ll take a zig-zagging route generally northward, passing through the town of Ely, until reaching a point where you can take a spur to go out and back to visit the Cedar River at beautiful Palisades-Kepler State Park. About your halfway point, this would be a lovely spot for a snack…and reenergizing for the climb back out of the river valley. You’ll retrace the spur portion of the route then head generally east and south until you circle back around to end in Solon.
Another route to test your inner endurance adventurer, this route from a now-defunct race called the Gritty Brevet combines the flatter southeast quadrant of Johnson County with the rollers in the western part of the county. From the Johnson County Fairgrounds (site of the famous Jingle Cross cyclocross races!), you’ll head generally east and south first to get good and warmed up. Then you’ll head west, arriving at Riverside, future home of Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk (really!), about 45 miles into your journey. As you make your way farther west and gradually north, the traffic on the road will likely include the horse-drawn buggies of the local Amish farm families. Your next opportunity for convenience store refreshments won’t come until you reach Tiffin at 86 miles into the adventure, so be sure to bring along plenty of water and food to get you through. After all the work on the rolling hills, you’ll end your ride with a final, fun descent.
There’s nothing quite like the excitement of these three days of cyclocross racing, from amateurs to pros, from local to international, from kids to dogs, all on a course and at a venue that has consistently been ranked among the favorite of World Cup racers. Race or heckle under the lights on Friday night, and keep it going all day Saturday and Sunday as racers give everything they’ve got to get up Mt. Krumpit, take their bike-handling skills to the limit on treacherous descents and the sand pit, and deal with the unpredictable conditions Iowa weather throws at them. You’ll be up close and personal with cycling heroes and celebrities, thanks to the Herculean efforts of dedicated local volunteers who make it all happen. There is no other sporting event like cyclocross—come experience it for yourself!
One of the premier mountain biking destinations in Iowa is located in the midst of hardwood forest along the Coralville Lake, just north of Iowa City and between North Liberty and Solon. The Sugar Bottom mountain bike trail system, in the Sugar Bottom Recreation Area, includes roughly 12 miles and 1,400 climbing feet of outstanding hand-built trails. The one-way trails range from beginner to expert and are configured in a stacked loop system. You can enjoy a green ride on a continuous loop through the whole system, or check out the blues and blacks that loop off of the main trail. Along the way, you might hear the calls of barred owls, startle a group of deer or turkeys, or see an osprey working on its nest.
Races are held at the trail system several times a year and draw riders from across the Midwest.
Trail status is updated here and via signage at the trails; fines are imposed for riding closed trails.
Camping is available at the Sugar Bottom Recreation Area, along with disc golf, a beach area, playground, barrier-free asphalt trail, nearby boat access, and more. There is plenty to do between mountain bike rides!
Fat bikes go pretty much anywhere. But the river bottom woods at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area are the site of the annual I AM FAT (Iowa’s Annual Majestic Fat Ride Around Trueblood) fat bike enduro, and a prime spot in Johnson County for fat bike stomping. Trails are built when possible (depending on fluctuating river levels) and invite exploring.
This ride will give you a chance to fully experience the rolling topography of western Johnson County and beyond in a lollypop-type route. You’ll head west and west, then turn north. You won’t have to navigate many turns until the route heads back east. At roughly miles 27 and 39, you’ll arrive at towns with some C-store options if you’re in need of refreshment, and in between you’ll pedal along the edge of Kent State Park, a hilly gem in the countryside.
If you want to get away from the city for a while, this is your route. So, pack food and water! You’ll know you’re away from it all when you meet your first horse-drawn buggy on the road — you’ll be pedaling through the countryside that one of the largest Amish communities west of the Mississippi calls home. This route will also give your brain a break: miles 29 through 43ish are all on one road with no turns required. Ahhhhh…
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.