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.

It’s Bike Week in Boston

Boston Bike Week kicks off a series of events designed to encourage riding in the city. Coordinated group commuting rides from all surrounding communities make it fun and easy to test out a bike commute, or to re-invigorate your commuting experience.

Bike Week culminates in the first “Bike Friday” event of the season. Bike Fridays are coordinated rides that end at City Hall Plaza with a free breakfast and expo. They are a fun way to motivate yourself for the commute, meet other city cyclists, learn about local cycling companies, and get a free breakfast.

Find out more about Bike Week here: Boston Bikes.

Do you commute to Boston? What’s your best tip? Answer in the comments.

Photo credit: John “Pathfinder” Lester

MTB or fixie, you have my admiration


Boston is getting slammed by weekly snowstorms this winter. Total snowfall is approaching the height of Shaquile O’Neal – and he’s 7’1″! And, it’s only February 2nd…

Many riders persist in commuting to work, or working, throught it all. I’m impressed. In some ways, it seems to me that these are the folks who have their priorities in order. They’re active outdoors while many of us cower from the storms (and complain).

Hats off to you, Boston area snow riders.

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: