This may very well be my most controversial post ever!
If you were to take a visitor who has never been to Columbia before on a bike ride (under 15 miles) to show off our city, what route would you take?
I took this route the other day in this splendid peak-foliage autumn weather, and would stand this up against any other sub-15 mile route in Columbia. This route is 13.8 miles and estimated to take 1 hour and 21 minutes.
Start at Columbia Lakefront. I'd suggest counter-clockwise travel. Pass through 6 Columbia Villages, past 3 Village Centers, and around all three original Columbia Lakes - Elkhorn, Kittamaqundi, and Wilde Lake. It goes through Howard Community College, over the Route 29 Bike/Pedestrian Bridge (completing a loop), then past Symphony Woods, Merriweather Post Pavilion, and ending in the Merriweather District for refreshments.
This route is ~75% on beautiful wooded CA pathways. The rest is on lightly trafficked residential streets with just a few short stretches on a busier road. Most street crossings utilize pedestrian bridges and tunnels and requires crossing just a few pedestrian-friendly intersections. Minimal stopping required.
If I had a larger mile budget, I'd extend into Long Reach to pass through Blandair Park and loop around Jackson Pond, utilizing the two tunnels under Route 175.
With 95 miles of CA pathways, I'm sure there are segments of paths that some of you would ensure be part of your route. Do share! Please critique!