A Comfortable Ride in the Bluegrass
Ride Kentucky on this three-day, 160-mile trip from Berea, KY to Louisville, KY through rolling fields and historic settings.
Bicycle Adventurers: Weekend riding buddies, both novice and experienced.
When: August 2015
Distance: 45 to 60 miles over a three-day period for a total of 150 miles.
Bonus tip for this adventure:
- Beautiful scenery, easy travel, and few cars.
- We kept it light by shipping or clothes and gear ahead to our hotels.
Are you looking for a moderate weekend bike trip with some great meals and a little history along the way? We’re in our third year as a group of riders who have committed to an annual overnight bike trip, a bike overnight. Our plan is to span out further each year from our home base of Louisville, KY.
In August 2015, we took a two-night, three-day trip from Berea, KY to Louisville, KY for a total of around 150 miles. The section of our route from Berea to Bardstown followed 100 of the 500 miles that Adventure Cycling's TransAmerica Trail bicycle route follows across the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Our unique approach: We ride road bikes without carrying any gear other than spare tubes, water, and food. A few days before our trip, we shipped our clothes, toiletries, and gear to each of our two hotels. The boxes included return labels and with one phone call, UPS will later ship them home. This approach allows us to travel light and cover more road.
We paid a friend’s son to drive us from Louisville to our start at Berea's Boone Tavern, a nice place to stay the night before if you were coming in from further away.
We rode backroads for around 45 miles of rolling hills through farmland and wooded rural areas to Harrodsburg where we stayed at the Beaumont Inn. This manor house was built in 1845 and has been operated as an inn by the same family for nearly a century. The restaurant on the grounds, called the Owl’s Nest Lounge, happens to be one of the only two places allowed to serve alcohol in Harrodsburg. Dinner and breakfast were well-prepared southern meals that helped fuel us for our 60-mile ride from Harrodsburg to Bardstown on the second day.
Our second day’s ride was similar to the first with a lot of crop fields, roadside creeks, and very few cars. We deviated from the route in order to visit the Perryville Battlefield State Park, and also stopped at the Lincoln Homestead, featuring the home of Mordecai Lincoln, President Lincoln's favorite uncle.
A few hours later, we arrived in historic Bardstown, KY where we stayed at the General Nelson Inn. After cooling off in the pool, we cleaned up and had some bourbon, beers, and a steak dinner at the Rickhouse Restaurant and Lounge located in the cellar of an old Civil War hospital.
The route from Bardstown to Louisville was borrowed from an annual charity ride that popped up several times on my pre-ride Strava research. This leg of the trip was mostly farmland also, but the roads were a bit more busy. We arrived in Louisville as a group and ended our adventure with a few beers in the pool at the Louisville Boat Club on the Ohio River.
Your favorite local bike shop?
There were no bike shops on this route outside of Louisville, so bring everything you need.
Bike overnight tips and tricks
- The cost of the hotels, UPS shipping, and transportation from Louisville to Berea totaled just over $200 per person. Plus, we ate and drank well the entire weekend for a reasonable amount.
- We have now ridden 100 miles of Adventure Cycling's TransAmerica Trail bicycle route and hope to be able to plan several more long weekend trips around other sections of this 4228 mile route.
- Berea to Bardstown was a beautifully scenic segment with safe roads and historic towns and sites along the way.
HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your bike overnight adventure!