FAIRBANKS, Alaska - With endless rolling hills and relatively sparse vehicle traffic, Alaska's Interior is a great place to explore on two wheels.
If you didn't bring a bike to Fairbanks, no problem. Several Fairbanks-area businesses rent road bikes, mountain bikes and even fat-tired bikes used for riding on snow-covered trails. The Alaska Public Lands Information Center at the Morris Thompson Visitor and Cultural Center maintains a list of businesses that rent bikes and other equipment: http://www.alaskacenters.gov/fairbanks.cfm.
Fairbanks has only a handful of designated bike trails. The main ones are along the Chena River and around Farmers Loop. Some city streets are safer than others for biking, so local governments have created an online map at: (bit.ly/1CMzDlG), with preferred bike routes in the city. A paper copy of the map is available at the Morris Thompson Center.
A good half-day bike trip is the 16-mile bike path that follows Farmers Loop. The route climbs into the hills north of Fairbanks, giving a great view of the city and the snow-covered mountains of the Alaska Range more than 100 miles to the south.
Other road bike excursions from Fairbanks include trips to the town of Ester (about 20 miles round-trip from downtown Fairbanks) and Fox (about 25 miles round trip).
Popular mountain bike areas include Birch Hill Recreation Area and the University of Alaska Fairbanks trails. Both are used by skiers in the winter and are popular with bikers in the summer. For a more challenging mountain bike trip, try the single-track trails on Ester Dome.
The Fairbanks Cycle Club holds some kind of organized event almost every day of the week in the summer. Go to their website at Fairbankscycleclub.org for more information. Visitors can join the club for a day for $5.
Fairbanks bikers don't put away their bikes when the first snow falls. Fairbanksans were among the first to adopt fat tire bikes for riding on snowmachine trails. Fat bikers regularly compete and win the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational, which follows the course of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Other Fairbanks bikers use studded tires in the winter to ride on icy city streets.
Contact outdoors editor Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors