East Canyon Reservoir
When most people visit East Canyon they often climb over Big Mountain and drop into the lake from the east side. That's a great ride, but I also like the ride through Morgan Valley from Peterson, around the lake, on to Hennifer, and wrapping up with a little stretch of the Old Lincoln Highway through Coalville to Wanship (try typing Wanship with a spell-checker that insists you mean "warship")
Head north out of the Salt Lake Valley on I-15 until you get to Lagoon, then peal off onto Highway 89 through Davis County until you hit Weber Canyon. Go east on Highway 84 up the canyon to the second exit for Peterson. This is where the ride begins.
I like riding through these little rural areas of Utah. I like the slower pace and the roads are about perfect for a relaxing ride. What's more, you won't see many riders in a hurry blasting through these areas. Climbing over a mountain pass is my favorite riding, but a close second is cruising through a pastoral landscape with the sights and scents of freshly-turned earth, a friendly wave from a farmer on a tractor, and the mist from the irrigation sprinklers. It reminds me of boyhood visits to my Grandfather's farm.
That's not to say there aren't hazards to be aware of—animals crossing the road is only one of them. Most of these people know everyone else in the valley and know where they may or may not turn across the road into their driveway. What I thought was a considerate farmer and a load of hay pulling over to the right to let us by, turned out to be a hay wagon with no signal pulling to the right to make a sweeping left turn right in front of Jerry's bike. I gave him a friendly wave to say thank you as I passed only to be shown the middle finger.
There was no way to know he was initiating a left turn by pulling onto the right shoulder, so be aware, farm vehicles don't typically have signals and can sometimes do unexpected things. Fortunately, other than scaring the crap out of Jerry as the truck pulled in front of him, nobody was injured.
I do this ride once or so every year and invariably run into a herd of sheep on the northeast side of East Canyon Reservoir, so be on the lookout. On more than one occasion I've had one of them dart in front of me at the last minute.
Instead of taking the right toward the East Canyon resort, head left and north toward Hennifer and Highway 84. Continue east to the junction with I-80. You'll be tempted to bare right back toward Salt Lake, but go left for a quarter mile and exit at Echo. This old section of the Old Lincoln Highway meanders around the lake, through Coalville, and on to Wanship. The Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental highway in the U.S. and recently celebrated its 100th Birthday.
I can't help but think of what it must have been like to drive across the U.S. on these roads before they were paved—but the paved versions today are perfect for the bike. At Wanship you can either jump on the Interstate and head into Salt Lake (which is what we did) or you can head around the Rockport reservoir into the Kamas Valley (another fun ride).
If you've got an hour or so to kill and just need to blow the cobwebs out at the end of the day, a short ride over Suncrest into Utah County is a nice little hour or so in the saddle.
It offers a great view of Utah County (or Salt Lake, depending on the direction you do the ride) and you can wrap it up by jumping on the freeway in Lehi or ride out to Camp Williams, which is what I normally do.
This is a great late-afternoon ride following a busy day at work. When I worked in Orem, I often rode home this way.
Emigration Canyon and Dinner at Ruth's
Ruth's Diner has become a favorite of Sue and I, and she says this is her favorite ride. I'm not usually a fan of eating anything with the word "loaf" in it, but the meat loaf there is great. Then again, I don't think I've ever had a bad meal there.
They have some motorcycle parking spaces set aside (which means I'm not the only one who enjoys adding dinner at Ruth's to a short ride after work on a Friday).
After dinner, hop on the canyon road and head up over Little Mountain for a great view of Little Del and Parley's Canyon. You'll be sharing the road with more bicyclists than automobiles, so make sure and watch out for multi-colored lycra jerseys on this ride.
At I-80 you can climb up Parley's to Park City and beyond, or drop down into the Salt Lake Valley. Either way, it's a pleasant evening ride. Since it's Sue's favorite, we often start the weekend with dinner at Ruth's.