If you're an American Flyers fan and a believer in a bicycle ride's ability to inspire and instantly connect you to a place, this ride in Colorado National Monument park (just outside Grand Junction) will knock your socks off. To have a 33 mile loop ride be this diverse, this gorgeous and this challenging is hard to find.
This is a ride for experienced cyclists and it's important to pack layers, nutrition and plenty of water to tackle it. The wind that comes through this canyon can be grueling and weather can change instantly.
Rim Rock Drive tends to be pretty quiet and if you can bike on a weekday, it's silent. Plenty of vistas and places to safely pull over, read about the view and grab a water and snack break to refuel. Have that camera phone fully charged for this one.
The toughest stretches are the climbs at either end of the trail, whether you come in from the east or the west, the initial climbing will have you out of the saddle. After that first climb though, you'll settle in to beautiful rolling sections and be awestruck by the canyon scenery around you!
Make sure you have $5 cash on you so that you can enter the park. Spin, savor and celebrate this one!
If you're looking to avoid the climb on either end, you can park at the Visitor Center and pedal all the way to Cold Shivers Point and then retrace your steps. That mileage still hits over 35.