Rail trails and coastal roads, bike parks and back roads: New Jersey cycling has it all.
With a 16th-place rank as a bicycle friendly state from the League of American Bicyclists — plus one silver town (Princeton) and five bronzes (Hoboken and Ocean City among them), the Garden State is a solid place to get your wheels rolling. Start on one of 54 rail trails, including the 72-mile Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail, which follows a towpath past 19th-century bridges and cobblestone spillways. Or discover the best of NJ’s natural beauty in the lush gorge of the Columbia Trail. Roadies love the Palisades, across from NYC, and the coastal roads along the Cape May Shoreline.
Mountain biking runs the gamut, from the lift-served expert terrain (chunks and chutes) at Mountain Creek Bike Park to the 102-trail network at Ringwood State Park to the flat, sand-packed (and mostly unmarked) routes at Allaire State Park. The New Jersey chapter of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association is especially active, with mountain bike races, camps, and clinics for kids in middle school and up.
Gravel rides are mostly rural, along scenic back roads. The forested Pine Barrens area and the countryside around Wharton, Tuckahoe, and Bedminster are all good places to start. Need a group tour? Sign up for the springtime Hell of Hunterdon, a mixed-surface ride in the Sourland region.
New Jersey has several active and welcoming bike clubs including the Bicycle Touring Club of North Jersey, which puts on the annual Ramapo Rally, a 1,000-person ride for members and nonmembers alike. It’s just one of dozens of cycling events in the region from February (the Sourland Semi-Classic) to October (Giro del Vino). Feeling gutsy? Mountain Creek hosts regular downhill comps.