The leaves have changed their colors and many already have dropped. The wind blows more briskly, the sun arrives later and the light fades earlier each day. Yes, it's fall, which means the daylight hours for bicycling are getting shorter.
At this time of year, my pre-ride agenda usually includes a quick peek at the weather radar on my computer to see if there is a window for a quick ride in between rain showers. Whether it's because of the weather — or a busy schedule — time seems more limited these days, which translates to shorter rides. So I mentally sift through my repertoire of rides to find one that is short, but still gives me a good workout.
One of my favorites is a 6.9-miler in the Talent area that climbs 522 feet and drops the same amount. Despite its brevity, the average three-percent grade gives the legs a great workout without overtaxing them. This route can be made longer or shorter, depending on the weather and how much time you have.
Start in downtown Talent and head south on Talent Avenue. After a half-mile, turn right and head west on Rapp Road. Rapp turns into Wagner Creek Road at the intersection of Rapp Road and Wagner Creek, where Wagner Creek approaches from the north. After a short distance, a big sweeping left turn takes you in a southerly direction on Wagner Creek Road.
At mile 2.2 turn right on to Anderson Creek Road. If you have time for a longer ride and want a good steady hill climb, continue south on Wagner Creek and ride to the end of the pavement, which is about four miles on up the road (a climb of 1,350 feet). Turn around, zip up your coat, and enjoy the seven-percent grade that descends back to the Anderson Creek turn.
Anderson Creek heads due west for about .8 miles, where it takes a hard turn to the left. Just before this turn, at mile three on the odometer, stay to the right, on Adams Road, and climb a short steep pitch. Continue on Adams Road, crossing Beeson Lane and Foss Road (which can be used to shorten the route back to Talent), and arriving at the intersection with Colver Road (mile 5). Take a right on Colver Road and it's a 1.8-mile ride to your starting point on Talent Avenue.
If you want to extend this ride another 4.3 flat miles, turn left on Colver Road and ride to Phoenix. Turn right on West First Street and right on South Main. You can now ride Highway 99 back to Talent. A more pleasant alternative from Phoenix to Talent avoids traffic by jumping on the Greenway bike path at Blue Heron Park. To do this, stay in the left lane of the one-way traffic heading south out of Phoenix. Make a left turn right where you meet the northbound traffic. Cross the one-way, northbound traffic and turn in to the park. From the park you'll have a quiet ride back to Suncrest Road and across Highway 99 into Talent.
Look for short rides near where you live. Any amount of time in the saddle outside beats spinning on the wind trainer inside.
Bob Korfhage of Phoenix is a former president of Siskiyou Velo bicycle club.