Road Biking Massachusetts  by Tom Catalini

Road Biking Massachusetts Guide Book

by Tom Catalini (Falcon Guides)
Road Biking Massachusetts  by Tom Catalini
Road Biking Massachusetts features forty carefully designed rides throughout the state, from the summit of Mount Greylock to the tip of Cape Cod and everywhere in between. Local cyclist Tom Catalini provides a sampling of the state's diverse offerings, including rides in the rugged Berkshire Mountains, through scenic Nashoba and Pioneer Valleys, around the historic North Shore, and along Boston's picturesque South Shore to Provincetown.

© 2007 Tom Catalini/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Road Biking Massachusetts" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 40.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 40.

Interstate 495 is often viewed as the demarcation point separating greater metropolitan Boston from Massachusetts’ vast rural areas. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the Bolton Berlin Challenge. The convenience of the highly developed starting area in South Acton is quickly contrasted by long, open stretches of country roads where fast food—or any type of modern convenience—disappears. Many of the roads go mile after mile without even passing a house. Load up on supplies before heading out on this one, there’s only one real stop for food and restrooms along the way. That inconvenience is easily outweighed by the beauty of the expansive views you’ll enjoy at the top of the route’s climbs and the winding descents that are each climb’s reward. Your camera won’t capture many historic sites on this route; this is a ride for bonding with nature rather than sightseeing.
Acton, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 59.4
On the Brookfields Cruise you explore the four similarly named towns midway between Worcester and Springfield. The surrounding landscape, a harmonious mixture of magnificent rolling farmland, wooded hills, ridges with inspiring views, and several lakes, promises biking at its best along a wide-ranging network of rural lanes and lightly traveled secondary roads. The terrain is not as hilly as the more rugged ridge country surrounding it. The ride starts in East Brookfield, the smallest and least distinctive of the quartet of towns on the route, attractively located along the shore of Lake Lashaway. A couple of miles out of town is a beautiful ride along Quaboag Pond, the largest lake in the area, followed by another ride beside Quacumquasit Pond (say it three times fast).
East Brookfield, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 27.8
An ambitious double-metric century ride from downtown Boston to the very tip of Cape Cod, the Cape in a Day Classic is not for the fainthearted. The only "one-way" ride in this book, you must plan carefully to tackle this one. You’ll need to leave by the break of daylight to ensure you make it to Provincetown in time to catch the ferry back to Boston. If you make it, you will have earned bragging rights to a classic Massachusetts ride challenge. If you don’t, you’ll get to spend some extra time in one of the Cape’s quaint, out-of-the-way towns. Invite some friends along to share this unique cycling experience and also to help ensure a safe trip. Don’t go it alone. Also keep in mind that the Provincetown II ferry runs only on Saturdays and Sundays from late June to early September. Check with the Bay State Cruise Company (617–748–1428) for specific details.
South Boston, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 124.2
The Cohasset Coastal Ramble explores the shoulder of land southeast of Boston where the coastline curves primarily from an east-west to a north-south direction. It is the first really nice stretch of coast heading southeast from the city, and the Cohasset section, just east of Hull, is among the most scenic in the state. A network of smooth secondary roads connecting these two affluent communities provides bicycling at its best. The ride starts in Cohasset, an unspoiled community that is one of the finest of the Boston suburbs. Its splendid rocky coastline, rimmed by large, impressive homes hovering above the waves with the Boston skyline in the distance rivals Cape Ann and Newport for elegance.The center of town is a New England jewel, with a long, stately green framed by a pair of graceful white churches, the town hall, and fine colonial-style wooden homes.
Black Rock, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 26.8
The heart of the Pioneer Valley, midway between the Connecticut and Vermont– New Hampshire borders, is the prime tobacco-growing region of Massachusetts. The valley here is broad and flat, with long, weathered tobacco sheds standing guard over the wide, sweeping fields, and with mountains rising in the distance. The Connecticut River Ramble offers a rare flat route in this mountainous region of the state.
Northampton, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 27.8
Dartmouth is the fourth-largest town in Massachusetts and home to the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. The Dartmouth Ramble explores its numerous back roads, which are ideal for cycling. The landscape of the route is flat, with broad stretches of farmland and salt marshes. The ramble explores the generous coastline of Apponagansett Bay and unique area attractions, such as the Lloyd Environmental Center.
Idlewood, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 27.2
Based on the popular In Search of the Llamas Charles River Wheelmen route, the Dover Cruise zigs and zags through quiet corners of Dover, Medfield, and Sherborn. You will likely see a variety of wildlife: horses, sheep, turkeys, and perhaps even llamas at Windy Knobb Farm, and pigs, ostrich, emu boars, and reindeer at Marino’s Farm. The route contains many great low-traffic, tree-lined roads for cycling enjoyment. With no real climbs and plenty of opportunities for refreshments, this is a perfect cruising route just outside the Boston metropolitan area.
Dover, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 39.7
Home to many accomplished Massachusetts cyclists, Foxboro and the surrounding towns offer many enjoyable, cycling-friendly roads. Don’t be surprised to see other cyclists along the route, particularly if you head out on a weekend morning, as there are many active clubs in the area. You may even catch a glimpse of professional racer Mark Mc Cormack or other well-known local cyclists Tobi Shultze and Mike Fairhurst along the wooded, winding roads of the Foxboro Ramble. On this ride you will explore the rural, lake-dotted countryside just south of the midpoint between Boston and Providence.You start from Foxboro, an attractive town with two fine churches and a green forming a central square. A landmark in the town is a small, ornate building that was constructed as a Civil War memorial and for many years served as the town library. From Foxboro you’ll head through tidy residential areas to Plainville, a pleasant rural town consisting mainly of woods, farmland, and orchards. You’ll bicycle along two unspoiled ponds,Turnpike Lake and Lake Mirimichi, and return to Foxboro along forested narrow lanes.
Foxboro, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 23.1
The southwestern corner of Massachusetts abounds with elegant villages and fertile farmland, with views of gently rounded Mount Everett, the second-highest mountain in the Berkshires with an elevation of 2, 602 feet, in the distance. The classic New England villages of West Stockbridge and Alford, along with the handsome commercial town of Great Barrington, add variety to the serenely rural area. And, if you like antiques, you’re in the right place—the villages of Sheffield and South Egremont boast the highest concentration of antiques shops (most of them in handsome wooden, stone, or brick houses about 200 years old) in the state. Though the Great Barrington Challenge travels along the valley ways between mountains, there’s still more than 3, 500 feet of climbing to conquer along this scenic half-century route.
West Stockbridge, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 52.5
Harold Parker State Forest, 20 miles north of Boston, is just more than 3, 000 acres of central hardwood-hemlock-white pine forest. A popular site for a variety of recreational opportunities such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, swimming, camping, and picnicking, the state forest makes for a great start to this relaxing bike route. The Harold Parker Cruise will take you through the quiet, wooded, winding roads of Boxford, Georgetown, Topsfield, and Middleton. Departing from the Harold Parker State Forest, you’ll head north through the peaceful, winding back roads of Boxford on your way to Georgetown center. Georgetown, though incorporated in 1838, was actually settled some 200 years earlier. In 1638 a small group of families from Rowley, England, sailed across the ocean to settle in the area now known as Georgetown.
North Reading, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 42.4
Just northwest of Springfield, delightful bicycling abounds in the small valley tucked between the East Mountain–Mount Tom range on the east and rugged, wooded hill country on the west. Lying in the small watershed of the Manhan River, the valley presents a harmonious blend of broad, gently rolling farms and stands of woodland, with views of the surrounding hills across the fields. Start: Bickford’s Family Restraurant, Westfield. Length: 36.1 miles. Ride time: 2.5- 3 hours. Terrain: very hilly with two big climbs. The ride starts on the outskirts of Westfield, a small industrial city that for many years was best known as the home of Columbia bicycles. You’ll immediately head into farm country as you wind along the western edge of the valley on back roads to the handsome town of Southampton, with its magnificent old white church and a brick turn-of-the-twentieth-century library. From here you’ll head through prosperous farmland to Pequot Pond and return to Westfield, skirting the base of East Mountain.
Westfield, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 36.1
This ride explores Hingham, the first town southeast of Boston that is spaciously and graciously suburban rather than congested. It is an affluent community graced with elegant wooden homes from the early 1800s, horse farms, country estates with gently rolling meadows, and a beautiful stretch of waterfront along Massachusetts Bay. Hingham is unique because it has two centers of town, Hingham and Hingham Center, a mile apart. Both are New England classics, with proud old churches and fine colonial-style homes with peaked roofs and dormer windows.
Accord, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 22.5
The Hopkinton Cruise is a hilly tour of the less-traveled roads of Hopkinton, Hopedale, Mendon, Uxbridge, Upton, and Westborough. This rural area explores the wonderful suburbs between Worcester and Boston just outside the Interstate 495 beltway along the west side of the Blackstone River Valley. The area is rich in great cycling roads and in history, including the starting point for the oldest marathon in the country, if not the world, the Boston Marathon, first run in 1897.
Hopkinton, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 42.5
Ipswich ranks as one of the most beautiful towns in the state, both architecturally and geographically. Beyond the center of town is an unspoiled mixture of wooded hills; broad, gently rolling horse farms and gracious country estates; vast salt marshes stretching to the horizon; the Great Neck peninsula rising steeply from the bay; and magnificent 4-mile-long Crane Beach, New England’s finest beach north of Cape Cod. The Ipswich River Ramble is an enjoyable flat route with a few short hills along the route. The beach and the Castle Hill estate are owned by the Trustees of Reservations. From Crane Beach you’ll return to the center of town and then head through an endless expanse of salt marshes to the Great Neck peninsula, just north of Crane Beach. Rising steeply from the bay as a succession of four round drumlins, the peninsula is bordered by salt marshes on the west, the broad Plum Island Sound on the north, the southern tip of Plum Island on the east, and Crane Beach on the south.
Ipswich, MA - Mountain Biking,Road Biking - Trail Length: 20.4
Ten miles north of New Bedford is a cluster of large, unspoiled lakes surrounded by woods, prosperous farms, and a few cranberry bogs. Lightly traveled roads threading among the lakes make this one of the nicest regions for biking in southeastern Massachusetts. You start off by going along the shore of Assawompset Pond, which, along with most of the other lakes in the area, supplies Taunton and New Bedford with water. Shortly you’ll weave between Great Quittacas and Little Quittacas Ponds, both surrounded by pine groves. On the south shore of Little Quittacas Pond is the graceful stone New Bedford Waterworks building; just ahead the lane carves through a perfectly groomed, symmetrical row of trees.
Lakeville, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 27.2
Most of the Lunenburg Cruise is over flat roads or rolling hills, a rare treat for central Massachusetts riding. You will need to conquer a couple of long climbs and a few short, steep hills, but mostly you will be enjoying long stretches on tree-lined back roads with little traffic, occasional water views of small lakes and dammed rivers, and three town centers with a variety of quaint historic buildings. A brief excursion into southern New Hampshire, passing through expansive open lands, nicely rounds out the ride. The ride starts in the center of Lunenburg, a wonderfully approachable Massachusetts small town center composed primarily of a library, town hall, and church spread across the top of a commanding hill at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Main Street. You’ll clip in and roll a short way down SR 2A, one of the few busy roads in the area, before escaping to the placid Hickory Hills Lake area.
Lunenburg, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 41
An easy and relaxing ride through two small bedroom towns north of Boston, the Lynnfield Ramble is flat and fun. You’ll pass through two modest town centers and visit a variety of residential outposts, including the winding roads around Pillings Pond. The North Reading town center offers a great resting spot on top of a large grass-covered hill that is home to its grand old meetinghouse, built in 1829. The Lynnfield Ramble covers some great residential areas just north of SR 128 that make for very enjoyable cycling.The route circumnavigates Pillings Pond, which sprawls across 86 acres of southern Lynnfield.The pond is a great scenic spot even though it’s densely populated with year-round homes on three sides.
South Lynnfield, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 22.9
Explore the wonderfully classic coastal New England town of Marblehead, cruising along a beautiful coastline peppered with many parks and places of historic interest. Marblehead Neck offers a visit to Chandler Hovey Park, a beautiful spot with a nearly 360-degree view of the sea and a 105-foot-tall cast-iron lighthouse built in 1896. From the Neck, you’ll travel to downtown Marblehead, where you’ll be much better off on a bike than in a car as you weave along the narrow streets that are lined with beautifully restored historic homes. The pace is easy and the route contains many opportunities to stop for food, shopping, or visiting many historic sites.
Lynn, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 19.2
The Marion Ramble is a flat and enjoyable one-town ride which explores Marion, Massachusetts. Traversing the peninsula of the Sippican Harbor, named for the Indian tribe that once lived there, you’ll enjoy wonderful coastal scenery, including many stunning estates. You’ll also visit the uniquely un-commercialized town center of Marion, which was developed in the 1800s primarily as a home port for sea captains and sailors. This is a one-town ride on which you explore Marion, one of the series of waterfront communities along Buzzards Bay between the Rhode Island border and the Cape Cod Canal. Midway between New Bedford and the canal along both sides of Sippican Harbor, Marion is a yachting center and the site of Tabor Academy, a prestigious private school.The expansive harbor divides the town into two portions, with the center of town on the western shore. On the eastern shore of the harbor is Sippican Neck, a peninsula rimmed with estates and large, gracious homes. One of the estates, Great Hill, matches anything to be found along the Massachusetts coast. It makes up its own 300-acre subpeninsula, with a majestic mansion overlooking the bay, narrow lanes hugging the shore, and a hill 125 feet high with spectacular views.
Marion, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 17.4
This is a tour of four classic New England communities northwest of Boston, and you’ll pass several historic sites related to the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first skirmishes of the Revolutionary War. Between the town centers lies a gently rolling landscape of gentleman farms, some estates surrounded by acres of open land, and gracious colonial-style homes and farmhouses.
Lincoln, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 23.8