Last spring I attempted to take up cycling. This interest was short-lived and I called it quits after a white-knuckle ride that had me hugging the shoulder of Statesville Road during rush hour as cars squeezed past me.

But, as the beautiful spring weather has returned, so has my desire to hit the roads again. I spoke with some local experts and found that the Lake Norman area has several excellent riding options that do not involve praying for your life on a narrow shoulder as cars whiz by.

Road biking

Jetton Park/The Peninsula: Jetton Park, located at 19000 Jetton Road in Cornelius, offers a flat 1.3-mile paved bike trail with views of Lake Norman. Extend your ride by exiting the park and taking a left to ride through The Peninsula, one of the area’s most luxurious developments.

The development is made up of numerous side streets that jut off both sides of Jetton Road and wind through beautiful neighborhoods, allowing riders to customize their rides to whatever distance and difficulty they choose. The miles of wide, flat roads provide breathtaking views of Lake Norman and hundreds of impressive homes.

According to Chad Huck, salesperson at The Spirited Cyclist in Davidson, this ride is perfect for all levels of experience. Riders should note that there is an entrance fee of $3 per vehicle for Mecklenburg County residents and $5 for non-residents on weekends and holidays from March through October.

Davidson Greenway/Downtown Davidson: The Davidson Greenway consists of 6 miles of paved roadways and paths that take riders through downtown Davidson and several neighborhoods. The greenway starts at Davidson Elementary School on South Street, continues through the River Run neighborhood and ends at the West Branch Nature Preserve.

According to Huck, there are some good hills on the route, including a fairly steep one known to local riders as “the wall.” Cyclists can extend their rides by continuing on Shearer Road, Davidson-Concord Road or Presbyterian Road, which typically are fairly open and have little to no traffic.

A map of the greenway can be found here.

Mooresville/Brawley School Road: Brawley School Road in Mooresville has well-marked bike lanes that allow riders to create a customized route by riding between the several lakefront neighborhoods that extend from both sides of Brawley School Road. The neighborhoods are quiet with little traffic and offer riders many gorgeous lake views.

Mountain Biking

Lake Norman State Park: The Lake Norman State Park, located at 759 State Park Road in Troutman, contains more than 30 miles of trails for mountain biking. According to Sebastian Hernandez, salesperson at The Cycle Path in Cornelius, the terrain is fairly easy to ride and there are multiple loops that allow riders to choose the distance and difficulty that is suitable for them.

North Mecklenburg Park: North Mecklenburg Park, located at 16131 Old Statesville Road in Huntersville, provides a 3-mile loop that is fairly basic and family-friendly, according to Hernandez. The park also has what is known as a pump track, which is a 200-foot track for BMX bikes.

Fisher Farm: Fisher Farm, located at 21215 Shearer Road in Davidson, has about 6 miles of mountain biking trails. Hernandez said this route is as little more technical and is better suited for more advance riders.

Photo: Jeff Willhelm/Charlotte Observer

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