Biking the Boston Marathon

A world class event, the Boston Marathon attracts a lot of attention every year. Athletes of all levels train, prepare, and participate in the event. It’s inspirational. It’s classic. And it’s also for cyclists.

Sort of.

There are a few ways to ride the famous route in celebration of the event and the spring weather that it brings (or aspires to, anyway). Check ’em out.

The Midnight Marathon

Begun modestly four years ago, this event has caught on. It’s maybe more for enthusiasts of the nonconformist than serious cyclists. But it still looks like a fun and interesting way to experience the Boston Marathon route by bike.

Here’s the Midnight Marathon event page, and a recent article by the Boston Globe about the event.

More Serious Route Riding

More serious cyclists may want to consider Hal Gabriel’s ride, a fast-paced round trip ride of the route – from Boston to Hopkinton back to Boston. Fifty-two miles, starting at 6AM sharp (the course must be clear by 10AM for the wheelchair race). Here’s a good blog post about the event from a couple years ago and a post about this year’s event.

The good folks at MassBike are organizing a very similar event.

Riding the Route

Of course, there are other ways to ride the route and like more organized groups doing something to celebrate the event and the rare closed roads in Boston. Even if you don’t ride the route, it’s time to start thinking about Spring and getting out on the bike somewhere in Massachusetts.

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

Spring training in New England


Fortunately my early season pace allows for plenty of reaction time, because the roads are rough out there right now – full of potholes and frost heaves.

Take a look at this doozie I came accross today along a pond in Harold Parker State Forest. It’s a good two bike lengths long. What’s nice is that the line of sight also includes the ice on the pond. Ah, spring training in New England…

Cycle the Seacoast Charity Ride

On May 1, 2011 there is a one-day, multi=route charity ride out of Portsmouth, NH (great riding up there!) to benefit the American Lung Association.

There are three route options: 25, 50 or 100 miles. All have panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and historic homes and villages along the Seacoast. All ages and experience levels are welcome. Fundraising minimum of $250 required ($125 for ages 7-17).

Photo credit: drocpsu

Harpoon B2B Ride 2009

Whew! What a ride. 148 miles and 8000+ feet of climbing is a long way to go for a beer, but it sure tasted good when we got there.

The Harpoon Brewery to Brewery ride is an excellent adventure. It’s a ride from the early dawn in downtown Boston to the late afternoon in rural Vermont. It’s also a ride from “I think I can” to “I know I can” to “I’m glad I did.” At least that’s how it went for my inaugural ride this past Saturday.

Thankfully all the weather forecasts of rain, showers, thunderstorms and the like were wrong. The sun was shining brightly in Boston as we arrived at the start. The ride was very well organized and every detail ran smoothly – from bike and bag drop off, to registration, to corralling riders into groups and launching them off. There was even an optional registration & packet pick up Friday night at the brewery – compete with free beer!

The ride out to the first water stop at mile 46 in Townsend was smooth and enjoyable. Our group proceeded at a leisurely pace through the more densely populated areas of Boston, Cambridge and Arlington, and then picked up the pace through Lexington Bedford, Carlisle and along Route 119.

After that, the climbing began. Up through Willard Brook and into Rindge, NH, climbing about 1000 feet over the course of nearly 10 miles. From there the route became more rolling until the big climb of about another 1000 feet, this time condensed into about 5 miles from Ashuelot up into Hindsdale. The hills continued to roll on from there with a few good smaller climbs thrown in for good measure.

Along the way there were food and water stops that seemed to run smoothly with plenty of port ‘o potties at each. Designed to keep you rolling along, each seemed to feature either simple food choices or just a water refill. Some riders (including my group) also stopped at one of the many convenience stores along the way for additional nourishment.

At the end, the prison-style shower setup for the men offered a quick refreshing clean up before heading to the bar-b-que (good food!) to listen to live music and enjoy some well-earned Harpoon beer. Bikes were loaded on trucks and riders onto buses for a two-hour bus ride back to the start.

For more details on the course, check out the Map My Ride site:

Also, check out the event’s official web page.

Also to get a feel for the ride, check out “Skip & Dan’s B2B Adventure” YouTube video:

Kane’s Donuts – Saugus

Today my training program called for rest and donuts, so it seemed time to visit an old favorite spot in Saugus, Kane’s Donuts. Kane’s is world famous, as their print materials claim, largely due to their hand made donuts and also ‘world’s largest coffee rolls.’

A Saugus institution for over 50 years, it’s worth a stop by on your next ride to the seashore. Also, if you’re a mountain biker, the donut shop is only a stone’s throw from the Lynn Woods Reservation, home of some fantastic MTB trails.

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