This "region" is way too large! Florida to Virginia to Arkansas? Really?
Anyway, I'm from San Antonio and working and staying in downtown Little Rock for three-weeks in November. Anyone have a good recommendation for a 10-20 mile route around Little Rock, or nearby? Hills, climbing and paved shoulders are good. I try to ride 3-4/week and average 16-20mph.
The River Trail is your best bet. It is about 16 miles round trip from downtown LR, across the Big Dam Bridge, through North Little Rock and back. It runs right through downtown (by the river) and is pretty well marked, so you shouldn't have any troubles with it. There are a few OK hills to climb, but if you want a really good hill you have to leave the trail and head up the hill to the VA hospital (it's hard to describe exactly where it is, you might find someone at the bike repair station by the Big Dam Bridge who might be able to describe it better or show you how to get there). Two Rivers Park is also a fun place to ride and is right off the River Trail (from Downtown LR, when you get to the Big Dam Bridge, just keep peddling. You will travel a fairly long / flat stretch and end up at another bridge that will take you to Two Rivers).
And while you're riding around downtown, watch out for the trolley tracks in the pavement. ICK!
Like Smashville said, the River Trail will suit your needs just fine. It connects to several other sections of trails and you can ride as little or as much as you want. It is marked fairly good and you shouldn't have difficulty navigating it. Most everyone you run across will be more than willing to offer directions and suggestions.
Smashville/Cwater103: I just checked it out the River Trail on Google Maps and streetview. Absolutely perfect. I'll find a way up to the VA hospital. Best yet, I'm staying down by the Clinton Library and only two blocks from the trail. Now, I'm just guessing, this time of year it's probably colder in Little Rock than San Antonio! I need some more clothes.
Trolley tracks? Great. But can't be any worse than the chip-seal that TXDOT puts on the shoulders of all the highways in Texas. Hard on tires and worse on flesh!
Been riding the River Trail for quite some time; never heard any banjos. Did see a naked homeless man bathing at one of the drinking fountains a few weeks back. Just bring your water with you. Not sure I could accurately tell you which of the fountains he was showering at. I'll just tell you to avoid them all just in case he doesn't use the same one the 2 times a year he cleans up.
WOW. Naked homeless man? Add that to my list of things I'm glad I missed out on.... It isn't too terribly cold yet. It usually turns into a bitter tundra around January / February. We are still in the 70 deg. range by noon most days.
You guys are gold! I finished a lap of the river trail this afternoon, clocking 17.5 miles round trip in little more than an hour. Even got into a sprint with some kid (anyone younger than I am) up the ramp to the Big Dam Bridge! I need to find that climb up to the VA hospital. The detours through the Little Rock section were kind of squirrelly, mostly cause I don't know Little Rock. That'll go smoother next time. Oh yeah, and no naked homeless guys taking a bath in the fountains.
The VA climb is really easy to find. If you're on the North Little Rock side going East from the Big Dam Bridge, once you go through Burns Park and you're on the shared road ( that runs by the skateboard park) it's the first road to the left.
Glad you figured the Little Rock side out. It's marked pretty good for the most part but it can be tricky if you miss a sign.
Found it going West from the Trestle Bridge. Too easy (too easy to find). Good ride. I mapped it on RunningAHEAD and it's about 300' over a mile and a half, but it's only 3.8%. I don't get that. The legs were screaming near the top! Wrapping it into a full circuit of the River Trail should be a good workout.
Have you ever ridden ridden Ceder Hill Road off of Cantrell Road? It looks good, but narrow with dangerous traffic.
I've not ridden that one. There is a pretty good climb right before the Big Dam Bridge on the Little Rock side called Overlook Dr. That's a pretty intense hill. It veers off the road that leads into the Big Dam Bridge almost to the end. You can also take the trail under the bridge still on the LR side and it'll run you out to Two Rivers. You can cross that the Two Rivers Bridge out to the park and follow roads out to Pinnacle Mountain or veer up River Mountain Rd instead of taking the Two Rivers bridge. There's something for every style rider. Quite a few Mt Bike trails over in Burns Park as well.
Gotta give a shout-out to cwater and smashville. I'm back in San Antonio, but had a great time in Little Rock riding the River Trail. Got in 9 20-mile rides in 21 days! Not bad for a business trip. The trail is a good ride, wide enough and safe enough to cruise at speed, even with pedestrians walking and running. The changing leaves were an added bonus. Thanks!