Boston’s Hub On Wheels Event – A Day of Cycling in The City

Last Sunday I rode in my first “Hub On Wheels” ride in Boston. The event has been around since 2005 and is designed to promote cycling and good health, showcase the various neighborhoods of the city, and to raise money for charity. About 6,000 riders participated in this unique event this year.

Storrow Drive

Boston’s busy Storrow Drive is closed to traffic and open only to cyclists on the morning of the event. This presents a unique opportunity to ride on a big, wide road with a bunch of cyclists while taking in a unique view of the city. Riding down Storrow Drive on a bike allows you to take in the Charles River and Boston skyline views in much more detail. The ride goes out to the end and then doubles back on the other side.

Touring the city streets and parks

Once off the cycling “highway” the route (if you’re taking the 30 or 50 mile version) takes you through the city streets of Boston, and through the Arnold Arboretum, Franklin Park, and the Forest Hills Cemetery, before heading out to the coast. The ride comes back along the shoreline and ultimately via the Harborwalk and back into Downtown Boston.

Events on the Plaza

Once back from the ride, there are tons of things going on at City Hall Plaza. Bike stunt shows, beer and food tents, and professional racing. A great way to wrap up the ride.

For more information about the event, check out their website at www.hubonwheels.org.

Spice Up Winter Training: Ride Outside

Getting outside on the road in the winter can be a refreshing break from basement workouts and indoor cycling classes. While there are many virtues of indoor training, cycling was meant for the open road. And, you’ll burn more calories in the cold weather, improve your handling skills on sloppy roads, and gain some bragging rights.

If you’re interested to try some outdoor winter riding but not ready to go it alone, find a group to ride. Many groups shut down for the winter, but there are several groups that ride all year round.

The Charles River Wheelmen (CRW) are have a busy calendar of rides planned for January. Yesterday offered the traditional New Year’s Day ride in downtown Boston. Each Sunday has rides in a variety of locales across the state – Concord, Wellesley, Brookline, Quincy, and Natick.

Dress warm. Dress in layers. Get some booties, long-finger gloves, and a skull cap. Then, get out on the road.

Photo Credit: k.steudel

Cycling Endurance – Choose A Century


from New England Sports Magazine

A major goal most cyclists embrace at some point is the century ride–a single-day 100-mile journey. New England abounds with a variety of classic century rides from the legendary Flattest Century in the East along the flat seacoast of Southern New England to the epic Mount Greylock Century that includes nearly 10,000 feet of climbing in Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains. Many of these organized club century rides also include shorter options, such as the metric century at 100 kilometers (62 miles) and the half century at 50 miles. The variety of terrain in New England and the variations on the century theme provide a wide array of options for you to establish your personal goals for the upcoming season. Here are descriptions of three challenging century rides from the guide book Road Biking Massachusetts that can be found within a short driving distance of Boston.

Half Century (50 Miles): Petersham Challenge. The Petersham Challenge will take you through the peaceful but steep hills of Central Massachusetts for a tour of quaint New England hilltop towns near the mighty Quabbin Reservoir where four towns were “discontinued” to establish a reservoir that holds 412 billion gallons of drinking water. You’ll visit Barre, North and West Brookfield, and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it New Braintree town center. The ride begins in quaint and quiet Petersham with its inviting town common and convenient general store, which boasts a full breakfast and lunch menu. The towns are quaint and the scenery is stunning, but be prepared for a good workout – the hills are frequent and steep.

Metric Century (62 Miles): Bolton Berlin Challenge. Route 495 is often viewed as the demarcation point separating the greater metropolitan Boston is from Massachusetts’s 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.

Century (100 Miles): Mount Wachusett Classic. This is no ordinary century ride. This is an epic journey through Central Massachusetts from historic Concord to peaceful Princeton where solid rock juts up 2,000 feet toward the sky to form Mount Wachusett. A great family spot for skiing in the winter, the mountain also provides a great challenging climb for cyclists during the warmer months of the year. A quick glance at the course profile will show you that the mountain isn’t the only climb along the route. Pack well, be sure you’re fit and embark on a classic cycling adventure based on the very popular and aptly named “Climb to the Clouds” ride run annually by the Charles River Wheelmen.

Tom Catalini is the author of Road Biking Massachusetts, a cycling guide book available on Amazon.com, and cycling blog www.RoadBikingMassachusetts.com.

Sidebar: Popular New England Club Century Rides

Massachusetts: Charles River Wheelmen – Spring Century (May), Climb to the Clouds (July), Fall Century (September). www.crw.org

Massachusetts: North Shore Cyclists – Blazing Saddles Century (August). www.nscyc.org

Rhode Island: Narragansett Bay Wheelmen – Flattest Century in the East (September). www.nbwclub.org

New Hampshire: Granite State Wheelmen – Tri State Century (September). www.granitestatewheelmen.org

Vermont: Mad River Valley Century Ride (August). www.mrvcenturyride.com

Sidebar: Road Biking Massachusetts

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. Rides for every fitness level and ability, from and easy 17-mile ramble to a challenging 124-mile classic. Detailed information about each ride, including directions, length, terrain, traffic conditions and road hazards. See www.RoadBikingMassachusetts.com for more details. Purchase at ww.Amazon.com or your local bookstore.