Qualifier for these routes!

The following routes were developed over years of biking in Indiana and now Kentucky. The majority of the routes are on rural paved roads with minimal secondary highways to connect the county roads. Using these routes you'll almost always find that the distances between two points is more than taking a highway however the scenery is almost always better as well as lower traffic. Hopefully you'll enjoy the great cycling in Indiana or Kentucky and if possible provide feedback on your trip.
I am not making any recommendations nor can I say that these routes are free from road hazards or dangers from traffic. Users of these routes will find them scenic and remote however only the user can assure they are safe on any public road.

Monday, June 20, 2016

RRRiK 2016 - Five Days of Biking in Northern l Kentucky

This year the ride started out much closer to home and only 34 miles South of Cincinnati in Williamstown Kentucky. We joined by four riders from Indiana, four from Michigan and one from Washington state. All had attended several previous rides with us, some dating back to 1994 when we started with Charlie's Southern Indiana Ride "CSIR"!

Day 1 Williamstown to Blue Lick SP < Route Map

Monday we started out from Williamstown, a rather small town which will be impacted by the opening of The Ark Encounter in July of 2016. We parked vehicles in the municipal lot and headed Southeast with the destination of Blue Lick State Park for an overnight. Phyllis and I had traveled the routes in the fall of 2016 to assure no surprises. Today, of course, was very different with all the lush green landscape. The route was nearly all on remote paved backroads meandering past freshly planted tobacco fields, beautiful rural homes, the occasional ancient barn and of course a few mobile homes. The riders could expect interesting scenery hiding behind the upcoming hill or around a curve.
We stopped at around 15 miles and ordered deli sandwiches then continued on several miles enjoying a picnic lunch at an ancient walled cemetery. The road was almost one lane. While riding up a small hill, a pickup pulling three wagons of tobacco plants came up behind us. Kentuckians were very patient, creeping along to a point where the bikers could pull off the road, they waved and smiled as they passed us by. Toward the end of the ride we ventured down a "Road Closed" sign creating some skepticism among the group. The riders of course are use to this and ventured into the abyss knowing that we'd make the destination.

We arrived at a steel guardrail with a tree covered opening on the left. This took us to the the old highway 68 bridge over the Licking River and up to the new highway only half a mile from the state park. The lodge at Blue Lick SP was a welcome site after a 50 mile day.
I almost forgot about the wrong turn I took them down on Mudlick Road. (Due to beautiful and gently rolling road I wasn't watching the GPS closely.) I suddenly realized that the GPS was taking us further away from the next turn!!! We stopped to get our bearings after realizing we were off route. A few riders were ahead and one was behind so we decided to regroup before making any decisions. We then backtracked to the route adding seven miles to the planned ride of 50.

 Tuesday we headed out to Maysville, the long way around Flemingsburg. Again on remote backroads, we pedaled along the Licking River and over some rolling hills. At the ten mile point the riders turned onto a gravel road for 1.5 miles. Last fall the road had been fairly nice compacted gravel with wheel tracks however in the spring the county applied a layer of crushed stone. There was little complaining and the gravel ended at a water ford which turned out to be dry. When verifying the route early Spring, it had a fast flowing 4-6" of water and scaring us from taking the Honda Element across. A later conversation with a local farmer assured us it was OK however we erred on the safe side and took a detour around the water ford.

Condition in fall of 2015
Further along the route we stopped at a hand woven rug shop run by an Amish family. Among the group four rugs were purchased for $25 each.

We then continued on to a deli for a great sandwich at the 42 mile point and visited with some of the locals, one of which was determined to reroute us to the highway which was "the only way to get to Maysville! We learned from the two ladies running the deli that this man was a "local character"and was in in rare form as usual. Continuing on we startled a large herd of cattle creating a stampede as we rounded a corner. 

We entered Maysville on very narrow pot-holed road that paralleled the railroad. It was heavily treelined and much cooler, plus it was heading downhill. Our stay would be at the French Quarter Inn next to the suspension bridge to Ohio. We had stayed there on the 2012 ride and were happy with the location and rooms. A nice dinner at Chandlers which we also visited in 2012.

Gathering after the ride!

Wednesday was a loop route into Ohio then returning to Maysville for another overnight. Checking the weather forecast we decided to do a shorter route to hopefully miss an afternoon shower. It was a nice easy climb out of the Ohio River valley then across the river on the newer 68 bridge with a wide shoulder. Unfortunately, the wide sawtooth expansion joints on the bridge caused a pinch flat for one of the riders. A quick fix and we were soon "again" climbing out of the river valley on the Ohio side. 

It A couple of climbs later and we were rolling along some creek valleys looking for the Ebeneezer Church for a short break. It was just off to the left on a sde road at the top of a short steep hill giving the leader a bit of BS! At the 17 mile point, dark clouds to the West got our attention and a quick stop for a radar check confirmed that we might be in trouble. We decided to take an even shorter route to over to highway 41 then downhill seven miles getting us back to the Maysville bridge just as the rain started. The Maysville bridge has a sidewalk on the West side, kinda narrow but is does keep you out of traffic. Our original 50+ mile ride dropped to 30 miles. A nice dinner at Caproni's was a great way to finish of the day. 

Thursday was forecast to be hot with possible late afternoon showers. We had 62 miles for the day so breakfast at the hotel was in order. We stocked the SAG with plenty of Gatorade and ice plus some beer for the end of the ride due to ending in a dry county. Our first stop was in Augusta at 20 miles. 
The ferry (not on the route) and the local store provided some additional interest especially when the SAG driver found out she was talking with Nick Clooney, George's father, in the general store. She mentioned he did look familiar! Leaving Augusta and heading to lunch at Lenoxburg found us grinding up one of the toughest hills on the route, it never seemed to end. After that it was rollers and finally dropping down to Snag Creek road and another climb to Lennoxburg. The road was very narrow with a ragged hill causing some to question the leader's choice. However, after crossing the AA highway, the pavement improved and the gentle climb continued on until the last short "Booger of a hill" ending at the Lenoxburg store. The store was a gathering point for locals with several old chairs to congregate and a deli with tables in the back. Another great sandwich and a chance for some minor tuning of a couple of bikes. When we were assembling to leave an elderly local man hobbled down the steps in front of the store and slowly mounted a VW trike. He put on his amber sunglasses, fired up the noisy machine and roared up the hill toward home. It was a site to see!
Note the walker behind his seat!
We headed on along for several miles of ridge top riding before dropping into the Licking River town of Falmouth. Howard's Place in Falmouth was the destination serving up some good ice-cream and chocolate malts which cooled the "hot riders". From there it was a scenic five miles along Fishing Creek Road where a local stopped to tell us we were "on one of the most dangerous roads around!!" We kept our thoughts to ourselves thinking of the narrow highways nearby with traffic was running at 55 - 60! Arriving back in Williamstown we picked up the vehicles and shuttled back to Dry Ridge for an overnight. This was the annual pizza night dining under the shade trees next to the hotel.

Day 5 Corinth Loop < Route Map
 Friday was forecast to be cooler but with a few of the attendees wanting to head home after the ride we opted for a 48 mile alternate cutting off ten miles. I had picked this route up from RalphieBoy (Ride with GPS ID). We parked at the truckstop east of Interstate 75 then headed to Corinth and onto more backroads East of Dixie Highway. And were welcomed to Corinth!
Store In Corinth

A short tunnel on Double Culvert Road

We found lots of great pavement for the majority of the route with some being only days old. We opted to skip lunch since the SAG had plenty of snacks and Gatorade. This route was my favorite of the week with the never-ending rolling, one-lane and treelined roads. What a gem for the end of the ride.

Comments at the end of the ride were very positive about the whole ride with several saying the first and last days being the best! Hopefully all will return for another trip through Kentucky on remote roads with Ralf!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

370 Mile Five Day Loop Around Louisville

Back in the late 90s A group of friends joined us for something different further south than Southern Indiana. We wanted to avoid the larger cities but still use lodging inlieu of camping. After quite of bit of research for remote roads we settled on this route. Once in a while the route uses secondary highways to connect the remote roads. Crossing the Ohio River at Cannelton and Madison Indiana were interesting, especially with the old bridge, now gone, at Madison. Click the link: 370 Mile Five Day Loop Around Louisville to see the routes with cue sheets and gpx files. Then scroll down to the bottom and click button "Show All On Map". Also check out my other routes in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio at Ralf's Rides on Ride With GPS!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

33 Mile loop South of Cincinnati near Interstate 71 / 75 split

 I took off on this ride mid morning today with the idea of capturing a few pics to add to the route. It's one of my favorite routes close to home with plenty of remote roads and four miles along Arnold's Creek which might be termed a goat path by some. Not big mileage at 33 however there is 2,340' of climbing so it is a fairly good early season workout. Arnold's Creek Road was repaved last fall, really nice!. It really is worth the drive to do this route! There are several pics included with the route map plus que sheet and downloadable GPX track. Verona / Arnold's Creek Loop

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Scenic Bicycling Across Indiana!

Having lived in Indiana most of my life and cycling a big part of it searching for remote scenic routes. In the majority of the state I found what I was looking for and want to share it with others. The ones shown on post are a compilation of those routes which helped keep me motivated to ride there. There are actually many roads and places that are scenic, interesting and in some areas challenging to the cross country cyclist. Take a look at the routes and see if you can adjust your routing to take one of these routes, you just might be surprised with the countryside. You can even connect with routes in Ohio and Kentucky to continue your journey. Be prepared to spend more time if traversing the state using my routes because you won't be going straight. Click the link: Ralf's Remote Rides in Indiana to see the routes with cue sheets and gpx files. Then scroll down to the bottom and click button "Show All On Map". Also check out my other routes in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio at Ralf's Rides on Ride With GPS!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Six Scenic Routes Between Florence KY and Georgetown Ky

Living in Northern Kentucky near Cincinnati and enjoying remote bike rides I want to share with others the scenic, low traffic and paved routes that I like to ride. I hope you enjoy these routes as much as I do and suggest them to others. Click on: Ralf's Remote Bike Routes Between Cincinnati & Lexington which takes you to the Ride With GPS site. From there you can select one of the six routes to get cue sheet or GPX file. You can also select "Show All on Map"!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Ralf's Rural Rides in Kentucky

Looking for a different adventure on your bicycle? Come to Kentucky and ride the rural scenic roads where it's hardly ever straight or flat. The countryside is dotted with tobacco fields, old barns, race horses and more while often biking down a narrow road that cars can only pass by having two wheels in the grass! The locals are friendly and often are found in the general store discussing the news. I've found rural Kentucky to be one of my favorite areas to ride with friends. They always return for my annual ride and marvel that there are roads like these in the midwest. You might be pleasantly surprised and wonder why you haven't given Kentucky a try for your summer ride!

Click Ralf's Remote Rides to see cycling routes in Indiana and Kentucky with cue sheets and gpx files. Scroll down to "Events" on the left side and pick from several 300+ mile five day routes. Please contact me if you have any questions on routes! cbike2@gmail.com
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

RRRiK 2015 - Five days of biking in South Central Kentucky

With our move to Kentucky in 2010 the preplanning branched out to others for help. Duane took charge of the SAG trailer which has been around since the 1988 RAGBRAI and Rob readied the SAG van which had come from his sister Sherrie as she moved to WA. The group has spread ever further over the years making me wonder where the next ten years takes us! Rather than overnighting at five different places I decided to use a suggestion from Phyllis to ride loops from a couple of smaller cities in South central Kentucky. In the fall of 2014 Phyllis and I headed to the Berea area with some preplanned routes and several bits of info on dining and sites to see. The results of the preplanning plus a revisit to the area in the spring of 2015 produced five nice routes In the Berea area
The group of 13 from Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Washington state gathered in Berea at a local hotel the day before the ride, some we had not seen since last years ride! It was great to just set and talk for the evening before the ride.

Day 1 Berea SE < Route Map

We rode out of town from the hotel with rolling hills beginning quickly. As we ventured more to the SE the hills became more aggressive and the roads were quite remote. Very little traffic however heading up one hill we encountered a pickup pulling a trailer.
While the bikes faired well there wasn't enough space for the SAG vehicle to pass. A short delay took place while the SAG was backed down the hill to a driveway.  We later stopped in Sand Gap for lunch at RT's but just before that was an ice cream drive-in where a couple of us picked chocolate malts, nice cool-down appetizer.
After lunch we ventured back toward Berea but the dark clouds were gathering. We started looking for shelter and found an old abandoned road-side store with a porch and decided to stop. No more than five minutes later heavy rain set in. We waited for a while with little let up on the rain. Part of the group, all that would fit in the SAG, headed back to Berea. The remaining riders waited for a break in the rain or the SAG to return. The break finally came and we enjoyed a faboulos ride back to Berea with the SAG showing up behind us.

Day 2 Mt Vernon SW  < Route Map

We transported South to Mt Vernon parking at a local high school. The route took us through Broadhead then onto some "goat path" width roads and then
Briary Creek where we either waded across or got the nerve to ride through the water. From there it was lunch at Ruckle's Restaurant where the birthday boy was served some chocolate pie compliments of the restaurant. After lunch we ventured back across Briary Creek then East back to the high school.

Day 3 Berea SW < Route Map

Again we started at the hotel in Berea and followed along Copper Creek Rd and Turkey Town Rd to Crab Orchard where we lunched at the Past-Time Cafe. Many of the locals were dining with the special having a German slant. From there we headed North to 3246 and Yoder's General Store. A few on the ride wondered if it had a connection to the Yoder's store on the Amishland Ride in Northern Indiana. 3246 continued on to Narrow Gap Rd, another goat path, which was great. The pace slowed and everyone enjoyed the remote scenery. The remaining road back into Berea was a variation of crooked and rolling to short sections of straight road like Northern Indiana.
After the ride we transported to Richmond 12 miles North of Berea.

Day 4 Lancaster SW  < Route Map

We drove 15 miles to Lancaster parking in the center of town to start the ride. The route quickly exited town on a low traffic road which turned even more remote at 5.5 miles onto Fall Lick Rd. We then made an easy 500' climb around 3.5 miles long to an overlook. From there it was 13 miles to Sanford for lunch. Mostly downhill with a couple of short but steep climbs kept the pulse rate up. The group split up for lunch with half going to the Bluebird Bistro and the rest to Coleman's Deli. Both had great food and fun. I went to the deli which was a working pharmacy (still) and a lunch counter. Three senior ladies were waiting tables and they all flocked to greet us ready to take orders. I asked for a chocolate malt which came in minutes. I then ordered a chicken salad sandwich which also came quickly. The others who had been exploring the place wondered how I received my food so quickly. They soon found out and three others ordered chocolate malts which were HUGE and shared with the others. After lunch we grulled up a gradual slope to Junction City then picked up a tailwind heading back to Lancaster. We passed Hubbel Church which had been purchased by a local farmer who then restored it and the parsonage for the comunity. Continuing on Old Danville Rd we encountered a road construction ahead sign at around 54 miles but assumed as usual "we are bikers and we can walk past the problem" plowing ahead for two miles we encountered the problem.
We would be held up for a bit waiting for a hydraulic hose to be replaced on a truck We talked a bit and a few decided to turn back to the next road and bypass the construction. Since most all of the group were out of staters they didn't realize that Kentucky doesn't have many rural roads crossing rivers and streams plus unlike upper midwest there are not any straight roads. The detour would have added around 15 miles on some highways to the days mileage. In addition the delay was going to be a while and the clouds were looming to the west. Talking with a local farmer who also was blocked from getting home we learned about a farmer's lane going up over the hill then down into another farmers pasture (with cows) where we could bypass the construction. it worked and a short discussion with the other farmer allowed us to continue the remaining three miles into Lancaster
Where is my mountain bike?

Back at the hotel we ordered pizza plus some "sweetened and un-sweetened" iced tea!!!

Day 5 Richmond SW  < Route Map

This day was a wash for riding due to heavy rains all day. We all opted to do a Bourbon Tour and Tasting at the Woodford Reserve distillery South of Frankfort. It turned out to be a great tour and tasting to wrap up a great ride in South Central Kentucky!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My winter hobby!

I just finished up this bright, maybe gaudy to some, side table!

Check out my Bicycle Art blog!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

RRRiK 2014 - Five days of biking in SE Kentucky with bits if TN and VA.;

In early June my faithful group of 12 departed for SE Kentucky for my 20th annual ride on remote roads.
Here's the results!

Day 1 Hazard to Harlan
Twelve met on Hazard. two from KY, three from IN, six from MI and one from DC for the twentieth Ralf's Ride. As in the past we had a SAG van with snacks, cooler and spare parts. We were ready of riding remote roads in appalachia. The weather report for the whole week was sketchy but all were determined so we headed out for the back country. Since there were few groceries along the way and no restaurants we packed a few sandwich fixins along with snacks. Earlier contact with a local grocery confirmed only ham and bologna sandwiches! As expected we did hit a mile of gravel around the 20 mile mark. There were some minor sprinkles for an hour then clear weather. The climb up Pine Mountain was moderate with a sharp increase near the top. Once there we started the Little Shepard Trail which looks like rollers on the profile but actually is short aggressive ups/downs. After 10 miles of this we were ready for the four mile decent into Harlan. We showered up, had a brewski and snack then headed to dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant she the skies opened up with a vengeance, great timing! Good nights sleep at Comfort Inn.

Day 2 Harlan to Cumberland gap
Again another day without food along the way so the cooler was well stocked. Again some rain but reasonable. We biked beautiful remote roads to the Cumberland Gap NP and were required to push our bikes over the gap for one mile to Cumberland Gap Tennesee. There we checked in at the Cumberland Gap Inn. An older hotel with nice rooms and a good manager. We walked the small touristy but unique town visiting the Bicycle Museum, Visitors Center and coffee shop. Dinner at a local Italian restaurant.

Day 3 Cumberland Gap to Pennington Gap
Since breakfast was sketchy (Hardee's) our SAG driver arranged with the local coffee shop/tea room a really nice breakfast plate. Fluffy eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, toast and heaps of coffee to get us on the road, yummy! We climbed the hill heading out of town and crossed the highway heading to a "Road Closed" route. We had previously found this where a bicycle could pass thru a field of kudzu to Harrogate TN bypassing the major highway. What we found was the roadway had been repaired and vehicles could now pass thru making it easier for the SAG van to stay with us. We followed scenic roads including Frog Level Rd for 25 miles stopping in Rose Hill at Lou's Diner. Lou was there along with a waitress/cook and served up some good sandwiches for the group. After that we followed scenic 621 for 17 miles into Pennington Gap VA. Pennington Gap is a mostly a coal mining town which has been hit hard with the reduction in coal requirements. Lodging in Pennington Gap is scarce and the Convient Inn worked out. Dinner at Ruby's nearby was one of the better restaurants in town.

Day 4 Pennington Gap to Benham
Breakfast restaurants were limited to McDonalds or Hardee's however we made do. We were off for a 26 mile warmup ride on VA 606 to the 7 mile Black Mountain climb. It started out easy then settled in at a consistent 7-8% reminding us of the Blue Ridge climbs. We sat back and ground away for over an hour then regrouped at the top for a snack and cold drink. Then it was 19 miles of Kentucky downhill into Benham for an overnight at the Schoolhouse Inn. We found great acomditations there with a super staff to take care of our needs.

Hay 5 Benham to Hazard
Breakfast at the Benham Schoolhouse then on our way to kingdom Come SP a few miles down the road. At mile three the route took an abrupt left turn and UP for three miles leveling off on the Little Shepard Trail. Grades of 18-20% on the first mile then teasing us with easier grades then a switchback with increasing grades for a bit. Unfortunately our SAG vehicles mixed a turn and headed the wrong way on the trail but did catch back with us at the intersection to US119. The Little Shepardf Trail again worked the group but better pavement conditions did improve the ride over day one. We enjoyed a short break at US119 then enjoyed a nice three mile downhill to Little Cowan Rd. We followed creek valleys for a beautiful ride of 20 miles then busted a gut heading up Elk Creek Rd and stopping at the top for lunch. The ride finished off in Hazard with a short half miler up to the starting point.

All in all a great ride with again fantastic scenery and friendly locals. One of this year's new riders commented that the ride was great and a bit more challenging than he had expected. He does want to return however and had wished he had started with us 20 years ago!