Having lived here for eight years, I have found two bike loops that are great for road biking and site seeing – especially those who enjoy hill climbing and the subsequent rewarding downhill glides. Both of the loops begin and end in Lanesboro and use paved county highways and sections of the Root River Bike Trail. There is ample trail head parking in two lots near downtown Lanesboro.
You can find detailed, printable route maps on a web site called www.roadbikerides.com. The two routes are called “Highland Rolling Country” www.roadbikerides.com/ride/view/highland_rolling_country/6392 and “Amish Country Harmony” http://www.roadbikerides.com/ride/view/amish_countryharmony_root_river_trail/6394
Both road bike routes begin with a 3 mile, 300 foot climb out of the valley. The Highland route is 35 miles with rest/food stops every 10 miles. The most interesting stop is the Highland Country Store which was built before 1900 and today houses a unique country restaurant in the middle of farm fields. Be aware that the Highland Country Store is not open on Saturday.
Peterson is the second rest stop where you can find two restaurants and access to the Root River Bike Trail. The last food stop is Whalan’s Aroma Pie Shop a must stop for almost all bikers who visit the Root River Bike Trail.
The Amish Country route is 40 miles with 20 miles before the first rest/food stop. The Amish Country route has more hills on miles 8 through 11 but stays reasonably level the rest of the way. You will travel past many Amish farms. The Amish who welcome visitors have a sign by the road of items they have for sale. You are very welcome to stop and meet these very interesting people.
You will also ride past an Amish school, which will have children around if you ride during the week. Please do not visit the Amish on Sunday because it is their day of rest and worship. They will not conduct any business on Sunday.
The first food/rest stop on this route is in Harmony which has a number of restaurants. Our favorite is Quarter/quarter located 1/2 block east of the Hardware store in downtown Harmony.
The second half of this road bike route is on the Harmony/Preston and Root River Bike trails. You can stop in Preston after 10 miles and then finish the last 10 miles to Lanesboro. If your legs are still strong, you can add another 10 miles with a stop at the pie shop in Whalan for your end of ride treat.
Otherwise, enjoy any of the great restaurants in Lanesboro at the end of your ride. If you stay at our bed and breakfast, you will awaken to a just-baked loaf of bread delivered to your room, followed by a full breakfast in the dining room. Call us at 800 697-9902 to make a reservation or visit our web site www.hillcresthideaway.com.