©istockphto/GibsonPictures

For cyclists who often ride alone, there’s a cer­tain inde­fin­able sense of sat­is­fac­tion that comes with par­tic­i­pat­ing in a large group ride with oth­er peo­ple attempt­ing to accom­plish the same goal of fin­ish­ing. It’s also a lot of fun draft­ing off oth­er cyclists or lead­ing a pack, meet­ing new like-mind­ed peo­ple, or rid­ing with old friends in new places.

Then there’s the beau­ty of a pre­de­ter­mined route (often with road clo­sures that lim­it vehic­u­lar traf­fic) some­times aid­ed by back­up law enforce­ment so you don’t have to wor­ry about impa­tient or aggres­sive auto­mo­bile dri­vers. Though it depends on the indi­vid­ual event, orga­niz­ers also typ­i­cal­ly pro­vide SAG (ser­vice and gear) sup­port so you don’t have to wor­ry about car­ry­ing a lot of extra food and water, or have to deal with mechan­i­cal break­downs. Think of it as a chal­lenge ride with­out any details to wor­ry about, and a bit of a par­ty along the way and at the fin­ish. And if you’ve already rode a few cen­turies, and are look­ing for new roads to ride and new sights to see, you’ll def­i­nite­ly also want to check out this list.

Darn Tough Ride
When: Sep­tem­ber 6, 2015
Where: Stowe, VT
Dis­tance: 48, 60, 100 miles

After a win­ter of record snow and cold, this just might be the best year ever to head to Stowe and tack­le their epony­mous Cen­tu­ry ride and/or the King or Queen of the Moun­tain Com­pe­ti­tion (two timed hill climbs over Smug­glers Notch). The usual—but now severe­ly weather-damaged—route has been updat­ed with three new chal­leng­ing, yet beau­ti­ful routes for the event, includ­ing a seg­ment along one of the “nicest, safest and smoothest roads” in the area. It also means rid­ers will face Smug­gler’s Notch TWICE; once on the Stowe side, and once on the Jef­fer­son­ville (Smug­gler’s Notch) side. They don’t call it the Darn Tough Ride for noth­ing (well, there’s also the spon­sor that makes the amaz­ing socks by the same name).

Edi­ble Ped­al 100®
When: Sep­tem­ber 20, 2015
Where: Washoe County’s Bow­ers Man­sion Region­al Park (Car­son City and Reno, NV)
Dis­tance: 10, 50, 93.2 miles

This event gets its name from its effort to source most of the food and drink offered on and after the ride from local ranch­ers, farm­ers, bak­ers, cof­fee roast­ers and brew­ers. The food is sore­ly need­ed as this “almost” a cen­tu­ry takes on a lung-sear­ing, thigh-burn­ing, climb up Kings­bury Grade from Car­son Val­ley to Lake Tahoe. But it also has ful­ly equipped ride stops (water, refresh­ments, restrooms), SAG sup­port, water bot­tles, swag bags, and post ride BBQ and brew fest.

Wine Coun­try Howl-O-Wheel’n
When: Octo­ber 5, 2015
Where: Wind­sor, CA 
Dis­tance: 15, 48 and met­ric cen­tu­ry (64.4) miles.

This fun Hal­loween-themed North­ern Cal­i­for­nia wine coun­try ride encom­pass­es the scenic vine­yard land­scape of Sono­ma County’s Dry Creek, Alexan­der, and Russ­ian Riv­er Val­leys. Rid­ers are encour­aged to wear cos­tumes and can even trick or treat at ful­ly stocked, spooky rest stops. Ful­ly SAG sup­port­ed routes include rolling hills and a few climbs. The post ride meal is made from local­ly and organ­ic sourced ingredients.

Haunt­ed Hun­dred Overnight Cen­tu­ry Ride
When: Octo­ber 24–25, 2015
Where: Schuylerville, NY
Dis­tance: 109.8 miles

This noto­ri­ous­ly fun night ride takes in a rolling loop through Sarato­ga, War­ren and Wash­ing­ton Coun­ties as well as spooky places like Bloody Pond (“Site of a French and Indi­an War bat­tle so fierce it turned the pond red from the blood that was spilled”) and Prospect Hill Ceme­tery, as well as past haunt­ed hous­es, bur­ial grounds, ceme­ter­ies, mur­der sites, zom­bie lands, bat­tle­fields, and war mon­u­ments. The ride is actu­al­ly 109.8 miles, and unsup­port­ed on the road (though sev­er­al stops have 24-hour ser­vices avail­able), but fea­tures food at the start and fin­ish, includ­ing per­for­mance gels, drinks and bars to stuff in your back pocket.

32nd Annu­al Spaghet­ti 100
When: Novem­ber 7, 2015
Where: Tal­la­has­see, FL.
Dis­tance: Paved—35, 65, 100 miles
Dirt—40 and 65 miles (Clay roads with some short stretch­es of sand and some pave­ment. Rigid MTBs or Cyclocross Bikes recommended.)

This icon­ic ride starts at the Mic­co­su­kee Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter and trav­els through his­toric Thomasville and Boston in Geor­gia and through Mon­ti­cel­lo in Flori­da. The 62-Mile Dirty Epic route is non-tech­ni­cal (and part of the Tal­la­has­see World Cham­pi­onship Chal­lenge), fol­low­ing beau­ti­ful canopied clay roads through the heart of clas­sic Red Hills plan­ta­tion coun­try. All routes include a pre-ride break­fast, med­ical, mechan­i­cal and re-fuel­ing SAG sup­port, well stocked and sup­port­ed rest stops, and a post ride Spaghet­ti feed.

Palm Desert Century
When: Novem­ber 14, 2015
Where: Palm Desert, CA
Dis­tance: 20, 32, 50, 60, 70, 100, 130 miles

This is an inter­est­ing out-and-back ride that steers clear of I‑10. The Palm Desert Cen­tu­ry route offers an entire­ly unique Coachel­la Val­ley cycling expe­ri­ence. It heads south­bound through Palm Desert, Indio, and La Quin­ta, before turn­ing east into the low desert, past Orange and Date Tree groves, and America’s sal­ad bas­ket (pro­duce fields) at the north end of the Salton Sea. It also takes in the qui­et Box Canyon Road to the 50-mile turn­around, at Chiri­a­co Sum­mit, and back to a fes­tive fin­ish with music, medals, and exhibitors at the grassy 2.5 acre Uni­ver­si­ty Park in Palm Desert. There’re five ful­ly stocked and sup­port­ed rest stops, a Sub­way lunch, and a post ride meal.

El Tour de Tuc­son
When: Novem­ber 21, 2015
Where: Tuc­son, AZ
Dis­tance: 40, 55, 75, 104 miles

One of the old­est and longest run­ning cycling events in the USA. Held annu­al­ly the Sat­ur­day before Thanks­giv­ing, El Tour is a chal­leng­ing and fun adven­ture ride that attracts more than 9,000 cyclists, includ­ing novice, inter­me­di­ate, advanced, and pro­fes­sion­al cyclists from across the globe. The 104-mile route fol­lows Tucson’s perime­ter, skirt­ing three moun­tain ranges while tra­vers­ing the strik­ing­ly beau­ti­ful Sono­ran Desert. Course pro­files range from flat to rolling or mod­er­ate­ly hilly. The start and fin­ish is in down­town Tuc­son, with beer gar­dens, music, food ven­dors, event swag and award ceremonies.