From vibrant Raleigh, it’s quick easy to find great rides — no matter the bike

With a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community award to its credit, Raleigh is on the cusp of becoming a prominent cycling destination. Most of the protected routes in the area, while still a patchwork, are part of the 100-plus-mile Capital Area Greenway System — including the gently rolling, 30-mile Neuse River Greenway trail and the urban Art to Heart corridor, which links the North Carolina Museum of Art to downtown and is part of the growing, 2,900-mile East Coast Greenway.

Many neighborhood streets are quiet enough for your peloton to put the hammer down, and the western fringes of the Triangle transition to hillier countryside. A favorite: riding to Durham and back—or going one way and returning by train.

The mountain biking trail systems here aren’t huge, but there are a lot of them, from the centrally located, beginner-friendly flow in Lake Crabtree Country Park to the challenging, rocky lines around the Briar Chapel neighborhood and Bennett Mountain. Can’t decide between MTB and gravel? You can do both at Carolina North Forest, or grind the back roads of Schenck Forest and Umstead State park. Though there are a few local bike events, head out to the seaside for big to-dos like Bike the Banks, the Coastal Ride, and the multi-day Mountains to Coast.