Take a Spin: Ames Style
Ames isn’t exactly bike heaven with the long winters and busy streets, but if you love biking like I do and have the drive to ride, there are plenty of great routes to choose from. Check out a few of my favorites around town! I mapped each ride starting at the College of Design (since that’s where I spend most of my time…), but the distances provided apply fairly well to most of campus:
Ada Hayden Loop
Looking for a place where you can loop around endlessly and enjoy a natural setting? Then I would suggest a ride out to Ada Hayden Park, northeast of campus. The ride from campus to the park is 3.8 miles, but depending on how many loops you want to take around the water, you can add many more if you choose. Ada Hayden has nice seating areas, lots of wildlife, and the opportunity to kayak or canoe. On a warm day there will be plenty of pedestrians on the trail, so be sure to give them plenty of space and maintain an appropriate speed. That way all users can enjoy this beautiful area.
Test Out Some Trails
If you are looking for a middle distance ride, try exploring the various trail systems of Ames. While not all of these systems are connected (you’ll be on a few sidewalks and roads in-between), the trails are worth the trip. Running along the river and some of Ames best recreational areas, there is lots to see on this 10-mile loop.
Ames Public Library
When I’m looking for a different place to study or want to relax and read a book, the Ames Public Library is one of my favorite places to go. With hip furnishings, plenty of natural light, and a great book selection, it’s definitely worth the trip. And did I say trip? The library is only 2.3 miles away with dedicated bike infrastructure for a good portion of the way there, so it’s barely a major trip. Why even bother driving?
Casual Trail Ride
If you prefer a relaxed ride on a warm day, check out some of these trails through the southwest residential area of Ames. This ride (6.4 miles round trip) brings you through winding creek-side paths, rolling country hills, and scenic neighborhood parks. This ride is relatively flat (with a few larger hills by the high school), but is equivalent to the feeling of drinking the perfect cup of coffee on a sunny porch.
High Trestle Bridge
If you’re looking for a longer ride (approx. 45 miles out and back), you should definitely check out the High Trestle Bridge. Just ride south of campus, cut through the scenic trail from State Ave to South Dakota, then cruise south on that highway for quite some time (Be sure you’re wearing highly visible clothing for vehicles passing by), and hop onto the High Trestle Trail once you hit Slater. While this ride seems flat and easy, beware of hefty winds on South Dakota. They can be tricky, but the view from the bridge makes them worth it!