Nothing is smoother and more delicious than peanut butter but Columbia County Route 27 comes close.
The highway runs 15.5 miles from its intersection in Claverack with State Route 9H/23, through the hamlet of Churchtown, into Taghkanic, and terminates at County Route 7 in Copake. Sections of it have been closed in recent summers by bridge reconstruction, making it impossible to ride its full length. On Saturday, in my first serious outdoor ride of season, I pedaled it end to end.
This ride is one of my favorites in the county because it has everything. The climb out of Churchtown south into Taghkanic is about an 800-foot gain with max gradient of 7 or 8 percent. It is a good place to do hill repeats and practice descending. Plus, the tombstones in the cemetery at the bottom of the hill motivate me to keep riding.
Most of the road was resurfaced with asphalt last year and its smoothness would make a billiard table envious.
The highway features farms, Chrysler Pond, views of the Taconic Range, mature deciduous forests, and now a new parking area for access to the state DEC's 690-acre Doodletown Wildlife Management Area (habitat for the threatened New England Cottontail). Traffic is light and the shoulders are as broad as John Wayne's.
The section of the highway from Churchtown north to 9H/23 is being resurfaced this spring so the full 15-plus miles will be, as Bruno Mars sings, smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy.
Remember my 1-to-5 rating system for highways: "COws ("Cows" + "ow") for pavement quality; "Churches" (as in Frederic) for scenery; and, "Ventouxs" for hills (as in Mt. Ventoux in France).
COws: 5 -- Listen to the sweet sound of your tires whirring on new pavement.
Churches: 4 -- Nearly 70% of Bicycling readers prefer rolling hills, woods, and quiet farm and country roads. Check, check, check, and check.
Ventouxs: 3 -- Challenging if you do "repeats."