After a day of cycling, the food always tastes better, says David Howard, executive editor of Bicycling magazine. "Riding burns up to 800 calories an hour, so you've got a calorie deficit to make up." With more locally sourced restaurants and markets, riders have some great options for eating on the road. Fall is a perfect time to explore, says Howard, who shares some favorite areas with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.
Hudson Valley, N.Y.
With several bridges spanning the Hudson River, it's easy to map bike loop tours through the scenic upstate valley. "You can ride right alongside the Hudson River and get these amazing sweeping views," Howard says. Work up an appetite on the hills and stop to eat at St. Andrew's CafÃ© at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and the Rhinebeck Farmers Market. 800-232-4782; travelhudsonvalley.org
Howard calls Portland the cycling capital of America, so it's no surprise that riders find wonderful places to pedal here. But it's also a good place to eat. "Anyone who has watched Portlandia knows it has a highly refined sense of local food. It's like being a kid in a candy store." He recommends building a bike trip around Kruger's Farm Market, which has produce for sale, available to pick, and frequent farm-to-plate dinners. 800-962-3700; travelportland.com
Wisconsin's capital has long been a national leader in creating bike lanes and routes. "It's a place you can feel very comfortable not being mixed in with traffic," Howard says. After cycling for an afternoon, stop at the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. for a famous brat and bacon burger on a soft pretzel bun. 800-373-6376; visitmadison.com
Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina
This popular region offers challenges to seasoned riders, but less-experienced cyclists can find fun in the foothills, too. "It's well-known for winding climbs through misty high mountains," Howard says. The Dancing Bear Lodge in Towsend, Tenn., runs an annual Bicycle Bash in late summer, hosting riders for bluegrass, beer and barbecue. 865-436-1200; nps.gov/grsm
Puglia region, Italy
The heel of Italy's boot is a perfect place for cyclists to move their own heels. "It's a lot of narrow, winding roads and tracks that are kind of perfect for cycling. You're going through all these ancient little villages and riding right along the coast," Howard says. Trips pass by fields of wheat used to make pasta and olive groves that provide the region's famed oil. An easy way to experience it is on a cycling tour like ones provided by Ciclismo Classico. 800-866-7314; ciclismoclassico.com
Marin County, Calif.
Howard says this area north of San Francisco has everything that makes a ride special: "Gigantic redwoods, ridgeline views of the Pacific Ocean and beautiful windswept fields." The meals, he says, are just as notable. "The number of choices in terms of fresh local foods is ridiculous." He suggests riding between Sausalito and Point Reyes Station, with frequent snack stops along the way. 866-925-2060; visitmarin.org